The Magnolia Bike Tour began as a fund raising event of the Country Estates Water District. In the mid- 1990’s the neighborhood was transitioning from an independent water district to being added to the city system. We needed money to cover some expenses and decided to hold a bike ride in the spring of 1997. We named the ride “Magnolia Bike Tour” and tried to become a part of the city festival which was also starting that year. We changes logos for the second year but went back to MBT year three. The first three years the start/finish was at the parking lot on the east side of Bloomer Sullivan Gym. We had a small but steady group of 45-60 riders and the whole neighborhood worked hard on ride day. After three years the deal with the city was done and the neighborhood was ready to move on.
Early in 2000 Dave Decker of the Durant Rotary Club approached Tommy Yates and I to ask us to join Rotary for the purpose of having the bike ride as a fund raiser for the Rotary Club. We agreed and co-chaired the even for the next several years. The ridership increased to around 100 during that time. Beginning with the 4th annual ride in June of 2000 we moved the start/finish to Carl Albert Park by the city pool. We also established a closer relationship with the Magnolia Festival. By the next year we also had developed the 40 mile and 67 mile routes which are still a part of the ride today. A post-ride lunch for the riders was added which is enjoyed by all. We have had interesting t-shirts with a Durant Rotary Magnolia Bike Tour theme each year.
The Durant Rotary Club members have developed good leadership for the ride over the years and learned to cover all aspect of the event. After a few years the leadership of the event passed to Ron Erickson and more recently to Mike Davis. Both have done an excellent job as chair of the event. The club has experimented with awards to top finishers of the different routes, longer routes, a variety of area roads, holding the event earlier in May, and including a family walk/ride the evening before. This past year, 2018 the start finish was moved again to the parking lot on the east side of the high school for the 22nd annual Durant Rotary Magnolia Bike Tour. The event is beginning to grow again with the new location; registration, start, routes, route support, post-ride lunch and accommodations are best in 22 years. The event continues to be a major fund raiser for the Durant Rotary Club which draws participants to the city from across Texas and Oklahoma.
Here are are the t-shirt logos for the first and second years.