Tour de Gilby Norm Minnick
Tour de Gil rides have long been a tradition of the Louisville Bicycle Club, hosted by Gil Morris, owner of Highland Cycle and the person most responsible for keeping the club alive during those decades when cycling was less popular (1960’s).
Gil is no longer able to host those rides from his home (where we always found a canoe filled with ice and cold drinks and free hot dogs but no red stuff), however, the tradition continues as an honorarium to Gil. Look for these tours on your ride schedule.
We are looking for cyclists with memories of past Tour de Gil stories to share. Some letters and notes have already come from a few of our elder statesmen. We will try to share those of interest. Please send articles to the editor.
“I rode my first Tour around 1970 and it was an established ride then. The ride used to take a different route and the current route is considered the “new” route. The new route has been used for about 25 years. I believe it was after I started riding that the ride took on its name of Tour de Gil. I remember chuckling about it when I first heard it. Back then a rider wore wool shorts, Italian shoes with cleats put on by a shoemaker, and no helmet. The only “helmet” available was the leather type which some racers wore. A Schwinn Paramount was the bike but many rode other Schwinns at 30+ pounds or French bikes. Gil’s neighborhood had few and small trees, quite a contrast to today. Gil would ride the ride himself in those days. Ted (Gil’s son) was just a lad.
Not just any Paramount, mind you. To be really in with the In Crowd, it had to be a CHROME Paramount.
And speaking of Ted, I recall him shaking his head one day and commenting, “I ride a century and go home and die. Dad does a century and goes home and mows the grass.”
Gil’s daughter watched my younger daughter when my wife went back to work. She said that Gil’s grandchildren called him Tree Trunks in reference to his cyclist’s legs.”
— Dick Durbin, Tallahassee, Fla.
“My third or fourth Tour de Gil was on Sunday, May 25th (1975). I rode a brown Raleigh Super Course that I had bought at Gil’s for $153.00. Earlier that morning, about 1 AM, our first child was born. I rode the Tour with a TA handlebar bag full of cigars, proudly handing them out. We referred to the road markings as “Morris Code”, and that also could apply to the “no red stuff” flyers. Because we like what happens on the Tour de Gil the ride will continue, in one form or another..”
— David Runge
“I rode my first Tour de Gil in 1972. I guess that first one was the last one on the old route because the second time I rode “it, it was on the “new route. Gil did ride and the turnout was always greater than any other club ride. I believe Ted was still in the Navy when I first started riding. That hill has never gotten any easier despite the passage of time.”
— Stewart Prather
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web posted: 12 July 2002
last updated: 14 July 2002