One of the longest-running week-long bicycle tours is seeking a new operator to breathe new life into the Cycle Across Maryland.
The statewide bicycle advocacy group One Less Car has been running CAM Tour for most of this decade, but has concluded that the event — which celebrates its 20th year in 2008 — is taking too much time away from its advocacy role.
After hearing that this was going to be the final year One Less Car would organize the event, I called executive director Richard Chambers to find out if another group was stepping in. Not yet.
“We don't want it to die,” he said. “We want someone to take it on. It needs a couple of people who can put a lot of time and effort into it to make it a real success.”
CAM Tour got its start as a state-sanctioned across-state bike ride in 1989 with the support of then-governor William Donald Schaefer. It was later operated by the nonprofit Cycle Across Maryland Corporation and eventually by One Less Car.
It originated as a point-to-point tour covering 400-500 miles in a week. More than a thousand cyclists would wend their way through Maryland every year, stopping at small towns and camping on high school athletic fields or sleeping in gyms.
The CAM Tour now is an extended weekend event located at a single location.
“This is a ride with a great history. Maybe someone can make it a point-to-point ride again,” Chambers said.
This year, CAM Tour runs from July 24-27 at St. Marys University in Emmitsburg. There are daily rides, including a century, rolling out from the home base, as well as bicycle classes, movies, entertainment and good food. There also will be activities to commemorate its 20-year history.
CAM Tour had been a good fund-raiser for the One Less Car group. It will continue to operate the Tour du Port, scheduled Oct. 18 this year in Baltimore.
Chambers wants to hear from anyone who is interested in taking over the Tour, or even has suggestions about possible organizers. You can contact him at Rchambers@onelesscar.org.
Let's hope this isn't the end of the road for CAM Tour.