More than 1,000 kids and adults of all ages and abilities on bikes and on foot joined “Grey’s Anatomy” star Patrick Dempsey and top American pro cyclist Tom Danielson at the free Ride On, Tucson! bike party in Armory Park on Sunday, Jan. 20.
Bicyclists filled South Sixth Avenue between Armory Park and the Tucson Children’s Museum before Dempsey and Danielson led them on a 2.2-mile loop closed to traffic that extended from Jackson Street to 19th Street and included South Fifth and South Meyer avenues.
“We’re really proud to be here,” Dempsey told the crowd. He and Danielson and Bicycling Magazine editor-in-chief Peter Flax hatched the idea as a way to celebrate the growth of bicycling in Tucson.
“We want to show what’s unique about cycling,” Danielson said. “Cycling bonds people.”
Dempsey said Mount Lemmon would be on the cover of the next issue of Bicycling Magazine, which reaches 2.5 million people.
Ramón Valadez, chairman of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, who rode alongside County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, reminded the crowd that Outside Magazine ranked Tucson the No. 1 bicycling community in the country.
“We want to be No. 1 in every bicycling magazine in the country,” Valadez said.
Huckelberry said the County is continuing to build The Loop bike and pedestrian paths along the Rillito, Santa Cruz and Pantano rivers and on Julian Wash and Harrison Road greenways. The Loop “is one of the things that makes this a great community,” he said.
The sun shone and the temperature climbed to 75 as riders streamed by on all types of bicycles, including tandems, recumbents, arm-powered cycles and bikes with training wheels. Jovert, Tucson High Magnet School’s steel drum band, and the Determined Luddites filled the park with music. Flax said he met people from Denver and New Mexico on the route, which most cyclists rode several times.
“It’s a celebration just the way Tom and Patrick and I talked about,” Flax said.
The event was organized by Perimeter Bicycling Association of America, Pima County, the City of Tucson, Living Streets Alliance, Ben’s Bells, Downtown Tucson Partnership and Meet Me at Maynards.
For a Bicycling Magazine interview with Dempsey and Danielson about Ride On, Tucson!, visit
http://www.bicycling.com/news/featured-stories/patrick-dempsey-and-tom-danielson-want-ride- you. To watch a Bicycling Magazine video of Flax interviewing Dempsey during a magazine cover photo shoot, go to http://bcove.me/qc26v4w7.