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Grand Fondo bike ride cancelled

The TWFG Insurance Services Gran Fondo: Texas TMCO bike ride has been canceled due to concerns about the safety of the route.

“We were really concerned with the ability to put on a safe ride with the volumes of traffic,” said Scott Beard of the ride’s steering committee.

The ride was expected to attract about 3,000 cyclists to The Woodlands area for the weekend of March 29, and organizers hoped to raise thousands of dollars for the Texas Medical Center Orchestra and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

“It’s a lost opportunity for our community to be part of one of the major fundraising events for the MS Society,” said Gordy Bunch, president and chief executive officer of the title sponsor company, The Woodlands Financial Group. “I wish we could have worked something out with Precinct 2. Hopefully, we don’t give up on this community for that event.”

Bunch expressed his regret that the ride will not be able to raise the $74,000 it donated to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society last year, as well as disappointment that The Woodlands will not benefit from the business brought in by about 3,000 riders.

The Gran Fondo organizers will still hold a fundraiser concert at the Dosey Doe Music Café on FM 1488 on March 28, featuring country western recording artist Zane Williams. Tickets cost $15 each and are available online at

Although Beard said it was not the reason the ride was canceled, Precinct 2 Commissioner Charlie Riley had rescinded permissions for the ride to use some of the busier county roads in his precinct.

“I don’t want 2978 and 1488 closed down anymore for that kind of activity,” Riley said. “It creates so much havoc that people just get upset about it. It just wasn’t going to work out. ... There’s no four-lane roads that I’d feel comfortable putting 3,000 bicycle riders on.”

Riley’s sentiment is one that seems to be shared by several directors on The Woodlands Township board.

“We need a policy for this. … The impact on the Saturday activities in The Woodlands with the massive amounts of runs and bike affairs that are on the roads has — I believe — driven the residents to almost a breaking point,” said Director Peggy Hausman.

Directors Mike Bass and Jeff Long also expressed similar concerns.
“I think we do need to have an event policy that does not overburden or over-utilize the roads,” Bunch said. “Future events should thoughtfully consider other areas that haven’t been previously used.”

He added that he believes the Gran Fondo ride did address these concerns by planning it on a less-used route and holding it on a Sunday.

The board was scheduled to discuss creating a policy regarding approving events, such as the Gran Fondo ride, at Thursday’s board retreat.

The organizers of the Gran Fondo are already planning the 2016 ride, of which TWFG will be title sponsor again.

“We’re looking at all of our options,” Beard said. “What we have to do is take the lessons we’ve learned from this year.”

Story Source: The above story is based on materials provided by YOURHOUSTONNEWS.COM
Note: Materials may be edited for content and length

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