by Melissa Lau
On Sept. 7 the cities of Claremont and La Verne hosted Tour de Freeway from 4:30 to 8 p.m. on the I-210 which is expected to open sometime in October.
The event took place on the eastbound and westbound lanes of the newly finished 210 freeway.
The eastbound lanes provided free parking, as well as accommodated the needs of the numerous booths, spectators and walking participants.
Bikers were directed to ride in the westbound lanes of the freeway. The route began at Towne Avenue and ran west to Damien Avenue at which point bikers turned around and headed back east to Monte Vista. At this point they turned around once more to travel back to the starting point at Towne Avenue.
Experienced bikers were allowed to begin the 12-mile round-trip journey at 5 p.m., recreational bikers began at 5:15 p.m., and family and children bikers began fifteen minutes later.
The starting times for the Fun Walk accommodated participating groups. Fitness walkers began at 5 p.m. while family walkers began at 6 p.m.
Participants who pre-registered before Aug. 26 received a free T-shirt. All cyclists received a bag with energy bars, chewing gum and Fiji water, while walkers received pins that said they were participants of the Fun Walk. When checking in, all participants were given a wristband. White wrist bands designated walkers while green designated bikers.
Walkers and bikers from all areas were welcomed to participate.
Duarte resident Frank Zadian heard about the event from friends. He and eight others, which included his family and friends, carpooled to the area to participate as bikers.
“It was a good time; we had a good time,” Zadian said.
He also confessed that he uses the 210 freeway a lot and feels that the opening of the continuation will be great.
In addition to bikers and walkers there were hundreds of spectators. Some were there to cheer on participants they knew, while others went for the rare experience of walking on a freeway.
Claremont resident Eness More sat on the center divider as a spectator while people she knew participated.
“It’s fun. It’s good,” More said. Referring to a lady sitting beside her, she added, “She said she ‘ll tell her great grandchildren she walked on the freeway.”
Like many others that were present, More also uses the 210 a lot and feels that the opening of it will be good.
In addition to participants and spectators, various groups were present either through walking and biking, or by having a booth set up to inform the public or sell goods.
One such group was the Claremont Bicycle Group, which is made up of residents from Claremont, La Verne, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga and Pomona. Some members of the group volunteered their time on the day of the event by taking part in booth activities such as helping participants check-in. Because they were needed at the booths on the day of the event, this half of the group was permitted to ride their bikes on the freeway on Friday, which was volunteer training day. Those who did not have to stay at booths were able to participate as bikers on Saturday.
La Verne residents Barbara Nicoll, professor of education at the University of La Verne, and Conrad Nicoll, her husband, were two of the many members of the Claremont Bicycle Group present. Both are in favor of the completion of the 210 freeway.
“I’m hoping it’ll relieve some of the traffic on Foothill and Baseline,” Barbara Nicoll said. In addition to the Claremont Bicycle Group, numerous other companies were also present. These included both Claremont and La Verne police departments, the Chambers of Commerce for Claremont and La Verne, the L.A. County Fair, the American Cancer Society, Claremont High School, the Marine Corps League, the Inland Valley Humane Society and SPCA, Arrow 93 FM and the Claremont Cross Country People.
Fiji Water was present and constantly stayed busy throughout the day, giving away free bottles of water.
According to Jay Herkins, district manager for San Diego and Orange Counties, Fiji has many customers in the area and wanted to give back to the community for their business. They accomplished this by giving away 5,040 bottles of water in two-and-a-half hours.
“It’s been great, very busy. I talked to a lot of neat people and did some networking. It went very well,” Herkins said.
The Answer, a band that plays classic rock, performed on a stage located on the eastbound lane at the end of the aisle of booths and before the starting line for the walkers. They played a variety of classic music from various artists including the Doors, Chicago and the Beatles.
Money raised from this event will go to the Claremont Youth Scholarship Fund, the Claremont Community Foundation, the La Verne Youth Scholarship Fund, and the La Verne Youth Sports Organizations.