History of the TOUR de HOPE

The TOUR de HOPE was founded in 2012 with a mission of “Bringing Hope to a Deserving Local Charity Through an Uncommonly Fun Cycling Event”. To truly appreciate the TOUR and what it represents, you first must understand it’s founder Mike Darby.

Mike was a proud member of the Kansas City community and loved all things KC.  Mike Darby and friendsHe was an avid Mizzou fan and loved supporting the local rivalries with KU and K-State.  He was a devoted Rockhurst High School supporter and as a business owner himself, he was a vocal supporter and champion of other small business owners in the Kansas City community. As described by his friends, Mike was an incredible study in contrasts. He was small in stature but big in personality; he was both gregarious and outgoing but still capable of being quiet and discrete. He could be the life of the party and then quietly slip out the back door.


As a friend, Mike had a remarkable quality of drawing people in with his contagious enthusiasm. It was hard to avoid his energy and excitement. You would easily get drawn in as he would say, “C’mon, you KNOW you want to do this!” with a big grin on his face. And more often than not, Mike was usually right. He had a knack for making everyone feel special when they were around him and you knew you were an integral part of whatever mischief or epic adventure he was dreaming up – like the TOUR de HOPE itself.


As a cyclist, Mike was fast, strong and a great climber. Yet on group rides he would regularly be the most supportive and encouraging sweeper for the slowest and least experienced riders. As he started attending group rides and other cycling events. Eventually Mike said, “You know what, we could put on one of these, but let’s make ours more fun!” he set out to create an event in Kansas City for the people of Kansas City. He wanted to support local organizations and truly give back while having fun on a bike. That event is the TOUR de HOPE.


When Mike first dreamt of the TOUR de HOPE, he wanted to combine his love for cycling and helping his local community. Because it was Mike, it had to be fun!  His big goal for the ride was simply to get some great people together, no matter their skill level to have a great time and do some good. That’s why we continue to say we “Ride For Good”.


Since Mike’s untimely passing his friends and family have worked to keep his legacy alive by continuing the TOUR de HOPE’s mission of creating an uncommonly fun cycling event. That’s also why we continue with our partnership with the Hope Center KC.  Mike’s heart was enormous and his capacity for compassion and care for others was truly selfless.  Each year when we start the ride we take a moment to remember Mike and why we are here. We then end the ride the same way Mike would have wanted…with an uncommonly good time with great friends and lots of laughs.