The bikes are back

By on August 27, 2014

Rock Lititz Tour will return in 2015 as a weekend event

The Rock Lititz Tour will return to town next April.

The Rock Lititz Tour will return to town next April.

The organizer of the Rock Lititz Tour bike race is ready to resume the event next spring.

Organizer Rich Ruoff, who put together 13 races a year ago and dozens more in his career, was preoccupied with the Lancaster Roots & Blues Festival earlier this year, forcing the cancellation of the 2014 Rock Lititz Tour.

The Lititz community was hopeful the cancellation wouldn’t be permanent.

“There’s not much say right now except we’re coming back in 2015,” Ruoff said, adding that he has yet to meet with race sponsor Rock Lititz.

Quite a few details will need to be worked out with Rock Lititz, the entertainment industry giant formed in the 1990s when Atomic Design joined forces with Clair Brothers (now Clair Global) and Tait Towers (now Tait).

But that appears to be a formality since Rock Lititz reluctantly canceled the race last year, mainly because Ruoff wasn’t available.

He informed Rock Lititz in November that he couldn’t organize the bike race because he was putting together a multi-venue music festival in the city, which required all of his attention.

But Chloe Rich, Atomic’s marketing manager, on Monday confirmed that discussions have begun on the 2015 Rock Lititz Tour.

“We’re very excited to be in the early planning stages of a possible event in April of next year,” she said. “We’ve just started to have preliminary conversations and are currently working on getting the appropriate sponsors and supporters in place.”

After the 2013 race, Ruoff and Rock Lititz agreed the event needed to expand beyond one day in order to attract bicyclists from outside the region.

In previous years Ruoff had done three-stage events (including a weekend road race on Saturday and time trials and the criterium on Sunday) in Ephrata, Lancaster and Philadelphia.

“So we said if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this right,” Ruoff said. “If you do a weekend, (racers) will stay in a hotel and we will get the numbers up.”

Plans called for adding a bicycle tour for non-competitors, a running race component, and an increased focus on music.

Patrick Burns is a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455.

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