According to David Cook, a volunteer with Tour de Paris, there’s a need for volunteers to help with intersection control during the 35th annual Tour de Paris to reach the preferred 60 volunteers.
“For ten years, when we started doing this, I coordinated all the volunteers to guard at the intersections from the civic center, toward the cemetery, toward town and around the plaza, then back,” Cook said. “I normally get about 60 people to volunteer. I’m getting closer to that number, but we won’t know for a couple more days.”
Cook said he tries to get at least two people per intersection to ensure the cyclists’ safety is managed.
“I have a photo I got off the internet years ago of a bicycle wreck,” Cook said, referencing what he shows volunteers each year at safety meetings. “It’s a car plowing into a group of bicycles, and you see helmets, bicycles and people flying in the air. I tell them each year, ‘Folks, I’m deadly serious about this.’”
Cook said he also reads a news clip about another accident during a bicycle rally. He said the clip references five cyclists who were killed in the accident.
“I’m serious about the safety of our visiting cyclists; it’s deadly serious,” Cook said. “Most of these cyclists come from out of town. They’re coming into our house, and we want them to be safe and to be welcome.”
Cook said the bicycling community in Northeast Texas has commended Paris as one of, “if not the friendliest bicycle rally to come to because our citizens are so welcoming and treat them wonderfully.
“If you’re the very last rider and come in at 3 or 3:30 p.m. … you have a hamburger and fixings waiting for you still at the civic center,” Cook said. “We don’t shut down because of the time, we shut down after the very last rider or riders come in and we welcome them back with a hamburger and smoothie or cold drink. That’s why Paris has a great reputation.”
Cook said for those who would like to volunteer either at an intersection or with the Tour de Paris in general, to contact Becky Semple with Lamar County Chamber of Commerce at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 903-784-2501.