El Tour de ‘Zona Returning to Cochise County
Stu Carter and El Tour de 'Zona
For Stu Carter, cycling is more than a passing hobby: it’s a passion. One of the founding members of Velo Vets, a local cycling organization that supports veterans and civilians with “No Drop” rides. The website declares, “Nobody gets left behind!”, and they really mean it. Stu often rides with his friend and fellow veteran Richard who has experienced a slow loss of vision over the last decade or so. Riding tandem with Stu, Richard is still able to participate in the rides.
Stu Carter’s enthusiasm for bicycling led his involvement in bringing this Cochise County-wide event, El Tour de ‘Zona to our area. Attracting 719 registered riders last year, cyclists from 34 states and Canada flocked to Southeastern Arizona to participate. This year the event is expected to be even more popular, with 1,000 to 1,500 riders anticipated to attend.
The 2022 El Tour de Zona
In spite of lingering Covid restrictions, last year’s ride was such a success, organizers are expecting an even better turnout for the 2023 event. According to the website, the tour will offer three days and nights of scenic and safe bike riding, camping, and fun throughout Bisbee, Sierra Vista and Tombstone. This year, the vendor and food truck offerings will be expanded in Veterans Park to bring even more to attendees and to the public.
The Tour de ‘Zona is more than just a riding experience for bicyclists. In 2022, the economic boon to Cochise County was estimated at more than $1 million. Drafting off the excitement and buzz from last year’s riders, the total impact is expected to be even higher this year.