The Tour of Utah starts in Zion National Park this August to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial, and to promote cycling as a healthy way of recreating outdoors. This race draws top cyclists from around the world. In 700 plus miles over seven stages, the race highlights Utah’s unique heritage, challenging terrain, beautiful cultures and stunning landscapes.
In this one minute spotlight of Stage One you may have noticed the peloton (the group of cyclists) is crossing the road centerline. This is because the road is closed to public traffic for the racers’ safety. This is the case with most professional races. In amateur races roads usually remain open to the public and cyclists use the right lane. Protection is provided with a rolling enclosure (escort vehicles in front and behind), and intersections are controlled by traffic police while the racers pass through.
Cycling is a great way for Americans to appreciate our national heritage while preserving the integrity of the landscape. Cycling is a solution for “NPS’s dual mission–to prevent ecological injury to parks while simultaneously promoting tourism” (Brinkley, Rightful Heritage). It is exciting to see a cycling event highlighting features that make America unique, and showcasing our cultural identity as a healthy people inspired by our lands. Cycling is becoming as iconic to the American identity as Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and the colorful canyons of Zion.