TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A Tucson man won’t let anything get in the way of him riding in the El Tour de Tucson this weekend — not a near-death experience or even a bike theft.
Marc Luety might be sporting a new look and bike this year, but one thing hasn’t changed: his resiliency.
On Sept. 15, 2018, Luety cycled down Broadway Boulevard traveling eastbound near downtown, training for the tour, when he and pickup truck turning left onto Broadway Boulevard from Aviation Highway collided. He was thrown across nearly three lanes of traffic and rushed to a nearby hospital with a collapsed lung and traumatic brain injury.
Determined to race again, Luety repaired his body and his bike. He said the bike was symbolic.
With both his body and bike broken, Luety was determined to get back in the saddle.
Then, his beloved bike was stolen. He says he left it “wrapped up several times, leaned against a tree” at the Heirlooms Farmers Markets in Rillito Park on Nov. 10. Luety said he was only gone for a few moments, but it was enough for a thief to swoop in.
“A lot of the Tucson cycling community reached out, offered contributions,” he said. “Tucson Bicycle Rentals reached out and offered up a bike.”
After some minor tweaks, Luety got back out on the trail for the first time Thursday. It brought back a familiar feeling.
“To be free, to put everything behind you and focus on what’s ahead of you,” Luety said.
Now, Luety rides for a new purpose.
“So many cyclists are hit on a daily and weekly basis,” he said.
So, this year, Luety wears a bright yellow jersey for “LOOK! Save a Life." The nonprofit was founded by Brendan Lyons, a man with a similar story.
“On Oct. 4, 2013, a motorist going 45 miles per hour looked down to see who was calling, drifted into the bike lane and struck my girlfriend and I,” Lyons said.
Lyons used his brush with death to spread awareness.
“A moments distraction can be a lifetime of regret,” he said.
LOOK! Save a Life helped get Arizona’s hands-free law passed.
“My only regret is not being part of the cause, or knowing about it, prior to [the collision],” Luety said.
Even without his own bike, Luety was set on crossing the finish line because the tour isn’t just a race for him — its a chance to be a role model for his kids.
“It’s showing my children that with faith and a determining heart, nothing will stop you the way nothing stopped me,” Luety said.
Luety will compete in the 50-mile race starting at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23. The bike he will be on is just a loan for the weekend. After that, he will start rebuilding a new one. Luety says he is still hopeful his stolen bike will be returned.
Anyone with information can contact the Tucson Police Department or Luety directly at (520)-850-4000. A reward is being offered, no questions asked.
If you would like to support Luety’s ride to save lives, visit: www.bikesignup.com/marcluety