Jan. 27, 2020

Team Yaqui – big part of 2019 El Tour success 

Go Team Yaqui!

Over the weekend Team Yaqui celebrated its accomplishments in yet another successful year in El Tour.

More than 150 cyclists participated making it the largest team in the event.

We at Perimeter Bicycling are honored to have so many dedicated cyclists in our event. Many have ridden in El Tour for years. They ride to fight diabetes and for better health.

Francis Garcia said after undergoing duel knee surgery last year he transitioned from being a runner to a cyclist.

“Now I have to keep that love for riding,” he said. “I loved (El Tour), the encouragement at the end and the resources. It was good to have that food, pizza ready for us.”

Ray Baltazar, the treasurer for the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, said he appreciated the community effort because without it the success that the program shows wouldn’t be there.

“The only thing I don’t like about El Tour is getting up at 5:30 in the morning – it’s cold,” said Baltazar.

But doable. And appreciated.

Melissa Garcia has ridden in El Tour for years, but it was the second time while she was pregnant.

“I want more parents out there riding with their kids,” she said. “It’s a way to get close to them.”

Garcia said she started after being invited to ride and when she was invited to ride. “The first mile nearly killed me,” she said. “I said, ‘I don’t know if I can do this.”

Neither did Marcillina Lucero, who rode El Tour on a one-speed bike, something that’s very difficult for riding long distances.

Marcillina Lucero talks about her experience in the 2019 El Tour.


But after starting – and struggling a bit – she rode on.

“People I didn’t even know were cheering me on,” she said. “They were saying, ‘one speed bike, one speed bike. Go, go, go. I was the last one, but I kept going. Those people who didn’t even know me motivated me.”

As she said, bicycling has become fun because “it changes lives.”

We’d like to think that Team Yaqui … thanks for being part of El Tour.



Jan. 22, 2020

A Meeting of the Cycling Minds

It was a collaborative effort here at the Perimeter Bicycling office on Wednesday afternoon. After all, it’s always El Tour season!

In an unprecedented move at El Tour, some of the biggest and brightest names in Tucson cycling came together to bring up ideas on how to make El Tour de Tucson better in 2020.

It’s part of our new vision, new version we’re looking forward to for our Nov. 21, 2020 event.

We’re talking new route, training rides for advanced and novice cyclists, encouraging more children and newcomers to ride and so much more.

“We’re looking at what’s best for El Tour,” said Charlene Grabowski, El Tour’s CEO. “We’ve got great momentum going (from the 2019 ride).”

In the room, there was an Olympian (Gord Frasier), bicycle shop owners (Steve Morganstern, Steve Wetmore and Tim Carolan), a city official (Edmund Marquez) , cycling event organizers (Todd Sadow), past El Tour first-place finishers Jimmy Riccitello, high profile women cyclists (Niccola Cranmer, Pam Alexander, Jo Roberts) and more. All came with great ideas to help make the 2020 El Tour one of the best experiences for cyclists young and old.

“We are so fortunate to have so much cycling talent in Tucson,” said Grabowski. “We wanted to tap into their wealth of knowledge to get ideas and collaborate with them. This is about moving El Tour forward with forward thinking cycling experts; we are going to leverage the results of the meeting to make El Tour even better in 2020.”

 Jan. 17, 2020

Bersano, 67, one of the Most Distinguished cyclists in El Tour

In the world where everyone wins a trophy, Martha Bersano is an exception. She comes from an era where you earn them.

Such was the case when Martha was named one of the most distinguished cyclists in the Banner – University Medicine 37th El Tour de Tucson. She was one of the top women finishers in her age group. She is 67 years old.

Martha Bersano coming into the finish of the 2019 El Tour.

“I was very surprised to find out I earned the first place for my age division,” she said. “I have never in my entire life earned a trophy.”

Key word – earned. And she did – coming in at one hour, 44 minutes nine seconds.

“I was very elated about the award as it was an unexpected surprise,” she said.

The November ride was her second El Tour. She rides for Rotary, cycling three times a week to get ready for El Tour. She said the best part of the ride is the start, where she, along with others, are excited to begin the ride.

“The ride was wonderful, the roads are well marked and safe with the great assistance that is provided by the local law enforcement,” she said. “When I ride, I have a sense of freedom and just enjoy the challenge of completing the ride. I also enjoy what I pass as I am riding. I feel exhilarated when I am on my bike.”

So, of course, she will be back in the 2020 El Tour for her third ride.

“I look forward to it,” she said.


Jan 15, 2020

Aguirre-Lazaren named El Tour’s Top Hand Cyclist

When Eduardo Aguirre-Lazaren was notified he had been named the top Hand Cyclist for the 2019 El Tour de Tucson, he was overwhelmed.

“What a nice surprise,” he said. “It’s an honor.”

Cyclist Eduardo Aguirre-Lazaren showing off his award from the 2019 El Tour de Tucson.

He said even more when he picked up his award at the monthly El Tour non-profit partner meeting, saying it was not only for him but the other hand cyclists participants in the event. He represented the Southern Arizona Adaptive Sports non-profit partner.

For him and everyone else, it was a ride to remember given the conditions. He rode in the Town of Marana 25-mile event.

“It went really well from start to finish,” he said. “I enjoyed it very much, riding the 25-mile course all the way from Marana to Armory Park on a great Saturday where the weather cooperated!”

He said his favorite moment was “the final sprint to the finish line on the 6th Avenue stretch hearing the cheers of my friends seeing me arrive.”

It was worth his preparation getting ready for the event. He said he rode more than 2,500 miles, with more than half coming from riding the Huckelberry Loop. It’s there he has time to think about his day-to-day life all the while enjoying the Tucson mountains.

It all culminated with his ride in El Tour.

“I love handcycling,” he said. “I enjoy seeing so many people out and about riding in the bike trails, I enjoy the opportunity and freedom to exercise in the outdoors.”

The joy of riding will, of course, bring him back for the 2020 El Tour, which will be his fourth.

“Certainly, and I plan to recruit more hand-cyclists through SAAS,” he said.

Bring them, the more the merrier.

After first go around on a bike, Varela’s goal is to become a better cyclist

Jan 13, 2020

Patty Varela is going into 2020 with a new resolution: become a better cyclist. It’s her main goal and a big one after just learning how to ride for the first time about four months ago … at the age of 44.


She gained so much courage in those few months that she rode a mile in El Tour’s Fun Ride – and loved it.

“It was amazing,” said Varela, who rode for Beyond-Tucson, a non-profit partner for El Tour.

After starting to learn in August, she stopped after having anxiety about it. She learned by walking (not riding) on a mountain bike but it was difficult.

The folks at Beyond then found a Pedego bike and she felt more comfortable on it. Twenty minutes later, she was pedaling on her own, if only for a few feet.

“I had a panic attack. told them, ‘I don’t think I can do it,’” she said. Still, everyone was supportive. She wasn’t discouraged so she continued to try to learn.

A couple more practice sessions and the night before El Tour, she was given a bike to get ready on. She fell down but said, “good, I got that out of the way. I know how it feels to fall down now. And it was OK.”

Good thing, in part, because she almost fell again in El Tour. But she completed it.

“I felt accomplished,” she said, of finishing the mile. “I felt like I opened a new portal in my life that is filled with a sense of being alive in a different and better way.”

What she learned is you can never be too old or be too afraid to start something new.

“I have always wanted to learn how to ride a bike; I’ve had dreams of me learning how to ride a bike,” she said. “I had friends help me when I was little, but I was never successful. I think I found the right person (to help her) and the right moment.”

We applaud her at El Tour! Does anyone one else have a great resolution to ride? Or to stay fit in 2020? Let us know what it is!



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