Police Unity Tour on a New World Tourist


Honoring Fallen Police at the Police Unity Tour on a New World Tourist.

Did you know that folding bikes have military roots? Since their invention by the French Military in the 1890’s, folding bikes quickly gained popularity with police as well as civilians. 130 years later, police and bicycles come together every year to honor fallen police around the country.

Bob F. has worked in public safety for the last 36 years. The first 12 years he was a firefighter/paramedic in the Chicago area, then the last 24 he was a police officer/detective/Lieutenant in Arizona.) He retired from the Phoenix Police Department as a detective and was subsequently recruited back to work as a cold case detective with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, where he was recently promoted to Lieutenant.

Bob and his New World Tourist

Bob is also a proud New World Tourist owner who recently completed the 250-mile Police Unity Tour on his Bike Friday, honoring fallen servicemen. The Police Unity Tour (P.U.T.) started in 1997 as a way to raise public awareness about law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty and to ensure that their sacrifice is never forgotten.

Bob’s reason for researching and buying a Bike Friday was fueled by his desire to complete the 2018 Police Unity Tour. Prior to that, he had participated in other similar rides, which always seemed to be on the opposite side of the country from where he lived. The challenges associated with traveling with a full-size bicycle led him to research options, and his ultimate decision landed on the folding New World Tourist. “It was the perfect fit for my bicycle touring needs, and would also work for rides such as the Police Unity Tour.” Bob stated.

Bob wanted to ride the P.U.T. in honor of his cousin who lost his life in a police duty-related incident in 1988. Wearing his cousin’s bracelet and then giving it to his mother/aunt was an honor he completed after the 2018 ride. Even the color scheme on Bob’s New World Tourist was purposely chosen to reflect the blue and black representing fallen police officers.

Blue and black color scheme

“When I arrived with my “funny suitcase bike” to the 2018 P.U.T, there were more than a couple naysayers. “You can’t possibly complete this ride on that thing,” they said. In my defense, the event bike mechanic corrected them: “Anybody with that type of bike knows what they’re doing!” I had no doubt about the bike’s ability, and knew the only limiting factor would be the person riding it (me).”

The first day of the ride went smoothly until approximately the 70-mile mark when problems with the rear hub arose, ultimately freezing solid and eliminating his ability to continue riding. The XT hub was the problem, not the bike, and due to a lack of immediately available parts, it was not possible to rebuild the wheel in time to complete the ride on the Bike Friday. While nobody gave him a hard time about it, he was disappointed in not completing the ride on his Bike Friday. Bob has since upgraded multiple aspects of the bike, including bombproof Chris King hubs, so he had no doubt the bike would make the entire tour this go-round

Similarly to 2018, he met multiple people who declared he would not be able to complete the ride on the “funny” looking bicycle.

Group of Police Unity Tour riders

The pace during the 2024 ride was faster than previous years, and while he kept up for most of day 1, but at 108 miles, he hit a wall and had to drop to the SAG for the remaining few miles to the finish (114 total miles). “I could have finished the mileage, but the pace, elevation, and headwinds eventually caught up with me. At the end of day 1, I realized I was carrying more weight than needed, so dropping the spare tube(s), repair tools, handlebar bag, etc. helped my efficiency for the remaining days of the ride. I completed the 71ish miles of day 2 (2000+ ft elevation gain) without issue, and kept up with the leaders for the entire ride.”


Riding towards the US Capitol Building

When asked about his experience riding his NWT, Bob shared “It is an emotional experience beyond what I expected. The overwhelmingly positive response from the various communities we passed through was… Refreshing, to say the least. It is not hard to find negative stories in the news media regarding law enforcement these days, so to see almost everyone we encounter during the ride to be supportive is a boost of positivity that is greatly appreciated. While I have never been an overly emotional person, it took a determined effort to hold back tears during the final part of the ride into the Memorial. Children, wives, brothers, etc. of fallen officers lined the route as we rode through the horseshoe shaped Memorial, and high-five’d us as we passed. The emotional dump is hard to describe, but simply put, it makes the difficulty of the preceding days/ride well worth the effort. Will I do the ride again? Maybe. And if I do, I’ll most certainly be riding the “funny” bike that fits in a suitcase.”

Check out this video recap, courtesy of Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, about Lt. Furneax and his Bike Friday at the 2024 Police Unity Tour.


Thank you to our military, police, firefighters and paramedics protecting & serving our communities and keeping everyone on bikes safe.

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