Houston, TX - When Tour du Rouge cyclists triumphantly rode into the plaza on the New Orleans River Walk, they entered as heroes. The four lead cyclists, carrying the American, Texas, Louisiana and Red Cross flags, arrived to the cheers and applause of families and friends. Fifty-nine cyclists completed the challenging six-day, 512-mile inaugural ride from Houston to New Orleans, May 3-8.
The Tour du Rouge, spearheaded by the Greater Houston Area Chapter and sponsored by ModSpace, was the collaborative effort of six Red Cross Chapters, located in : Houston; Beaumont; Lake Charles; Lafayette; Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
Cyclists came from many states, including New York, Pennsylvania, California, New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana. Four of the riders, including one from Canada, are managers for ModSpace, the Presenting Sponsor. Each cyclist raised money and ModSpace made a large contribution. Proceeds benefit Red Cross disaster preparedness along the Gulf Coast, from Houston to New Orleans.
It was a unique ride that allowed cyclists the opportunity to experience the communities Tour du Rouge benefited. Red Cross Chapters hosted rest stops for the cyclists in picturesque small towns. Mayors came out to meet the riders, cheerleaders greeted them and cub scouts held their bikes while they got snacks and drinks.
They spent nights in: Beaumont, TX; Creole, LA; Abbeville, LA; Morgan City, LA; Gonzales, LA and New Orleans. They rode along the Gulf Coast by beautiful saltwater marshes, past hurricane damaged homes and buildings and spotted alligators and dolphins. Cyclists watched Wild West re-enactments during dinner in Beaumont, had a terrific Cajun breakfast in Abbeville, toured the Tabasco Factory in Avery Island and rode the Mississippi River Levee into New Orleans.
Planning is already under way for next year's ride.