As the state of Missouri and host cities such as Springfield build momentum for the first Tour of Missouri bike race, a few naysayers are trying to spoil the fun.
It costs too much, they say.
The drug scandals in the Tour of France will ruin the sport.
Loosen up your spandex bike shorts, we say.
The state of Missouri’s role in the event isn’t about the pureness of competition. It’s about tourism. And the bottom line in tourism is that you’ve got to spend a little money to make money. Early reports put Missouri’s state funding share of the race at about $1 million. That’s money that if not spent on this race would likely be spent on other smaller projects that might not have the nationwide and worldwide impact that an international bicycle competition would have.
Cities such as Springfield will end up spending money, too, but that investment should be returned in hotel stays and food and gas purchases by the visitors who come to watch the race, and the race teams themselves.
As the Tour of France does for the beautiful French countryside, the Tour of Missouri will bring attention to the unique and wondrous beauty that is Missouri, from the hills of the Ozarks to Missouri River wine country.
Missourians love to appreciate the streams, lakes, forests and rolling fields that grace the Show Me State, and many of us enjoy biking as a way to stay fit and see the natural beauty in our backyards.
What a great way for us to celebrate a healthy habit and show off our state by welcoming some of the top cyclists in the world to compete on our roads.
Our state’s politicians should put away the talking points and get on a tandem bike together to make the first Tour of Missouri the sort of success that brings tourists back to our state for years to come.