Organisers of the upcoming Amgen Tour of California are asking spectators and fans to refrain from using paint to write traditional road messages for the bike race and its participants along route. Race technical director Chuck Hodge encourages the use of non-permanent products such as chalk instead.
“Please don't use any paint on the roads,” Hodge said. “Chalk is OK and encouraged, just be safe about applying it! Please be respectful of local residents, we are only borrowing their roads for the day. Park legally and pack out your trash.”
Writing riders names, phrases and messages along race routes, particularly on the mountain climbs, is a typical way for fans to show their support and welcome the bike race to town. Hodge is sympathetic to the sport’s traditions and is not oppose to messages written on the roads, as long as they are written with a removable product.
“Especially in the first three years we had a lot of complaints,” Hodge said. “I know that it is the traditional thing to do in races like the Tour de France, to write someone’s name in big letters. However, a lot of municipalities that the Tour of California passes through don’t really like it. We had some issues with some of the jurisdictions that we went through.
“It’s a cool thing on race day, we are all cycling fans and appreciate the tradition but when we are gone the next day, the locals don’t want to drive up the roads and see Levi’s name in six-foot high letters every time,” he added.
This year the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has included a clause that prohibits the use of permanent paint on the roads along the Tour of California route.
“As in the past we have some nervous counties and Caltrans people who don't want to see any paint on the roads this year,” Hodge said. “As a matter of fact this was written into several of our permits. We will be in danger of not being able to get a permit in the future.”