Arizona Road Cyclist News December, 1, 2010
News for those who ride Arizona's streets and roads
Editor, Jack Quinn

Arizona Road Cyclist News is published (normally) every other Wednesday and is posted to the "Current Issue" page of the Website at Regular subscribers receive an E-mail notification when the most recent edition of the newsletter has been uploaded. To sign up for or cancel your E-mail notification, click here.

This issue is shorter than normal. The combination of the sudden cold weather and the upcoming holiday season seem to be putting a cramp on cycling events. Despite the cold, I'm bundling up most days and heading out to get at least a few miles in, and I hope that you are, too. However, with the temperature in the low 30s as I edit this newsletter on Tuesday morning, I may do my cycling on the rollers and home trainer today.

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In this Issue

     Titus Goes Belly Up 
     PMBC Free Ride -- December 4
     Line the Lake Ride -- December 4
     NYM Lake Pleasant Camping Tour - December 10 to 12
     Casa Grande Century -- January 9
     Eurand CF Cycle for Life -- January 22
     ABC Granada Park Chapter December Breakfast Ride Destinations
     Feedback -- Our Readers Respond
     About Arizona Road Cyclist News

Titus Goes Belly Up

The Phoenix metropolitan area is home to several small bicycle manufacturers including Fetish, VeloVie, Pivot Cycles, and Titus. Well, scratch Titus off the list, because on November 4, The company unexpectedly ceased to exist. So sudden and so without warning was Titus's demise, that even some of its dealers were unaware of it until they read about it in the press, received no answer when they tried to telephone the company, or read the message " is not available" when they tried to connect to the company's Website. Titus's major creditor, Factors Southwest, foreclosed on the company and quickly put the company's assets up for auction, which were purchased by the British firm Planet X on November 23. As this was written, I had not yet heard if Planet X planned to continue the Titus trademark, and the Titus Website was still down.

Titus was mainly a manufacturer of mountain bikes but also dabbled in the road bike business. Although it was a boutique manufacturer, I am told that its off-road machines were of good quality. However, Titus never got its act together in the road bike market. It did market a second-tier carbon road frame, but only a small number of those frames were sold in the retail market. Some were sold at cost directly to riders of the Phoenix Consumer Cycling Club, the racing team to which I belong and of which Titus was once a minor sponsor.

Titus was founded by Chris Cocalis in 1991, but he was forced out of the company in a major reorganization in 2006. Chris went on to found Pivot Cycles, a mountain bike manufacturer located in Tempe.

Although I was surprised at the suddenness of Titus's demise, I did know that the company was in a downward spiral. Titus made some bad decisions after Chris's departure. As already mentioned, its attempts to get into the road bike market were stymied by the fact that its frames were not up to the standards of its competitors. Although I am not knowledgeable about the mountain bike market, people who are tell me that Titus failed to match the innovations of its competitors. There seems to also have been internal theft. A few years ago, a Titus employe was reportedly caught stealing frames at work and selling them on eBay.

At this point, I have no idea what plans Planet X has for the Titus brand. Will it make and market bikes under the Titus name and thus keep the brand alive? Will it support the present owners of Titus bikes? As mentioned above, at this writing the Titus Website is still not functioning, and that does not bode well for the future of the Titus name. Planet X does sell road bikes in the USA, but up until now it has not marketed mountain bikes in this country. Perhaps the acquisition of the Titus assets will give it a foothold in the US mountain bike market and motivate it to keep the Titus brand alive.

PMBC Free Ride -- December 4

That's right! This ride is free! The Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club will hold its 6th annual free ride this Saturday, December 4, starting at Pioneer Park in Mesa with sign-in at 9 a.m. with riders off at 9:30 a.m. There are 25-, 40-, and 60-mile options, of which the latter two have hills. Food and drink will be served during the ride, and there will be a catered lunch after the ride. Although there is no charge, the organizers need to know how much food to bring, so riders are requested to RSVP through the ride's Website, which you can do by clicking here.

Link the Lake Ride -- December 4

The Link the Lake ride is promoted by Not One More, an organization dedicated to ending cyclist-motor vehicle accidents. The Link the Lake event is a fundraiser to benefit the family of Jay Fretz who, as reported in an earlier edition of Arizona Road Cyclist News, was killed on May 17 in an accident with a motor vehicle while commuting on his bike in Tempe. The event takes place from 9 a.m. to 12 noon and will feature rides from various points around the Valley to Tempe Town Lake, which, I am told, has some water in it again. As this is being written, I am unable to ascertain where the various rides will start or just how the fundraising part of the ride will work. However, the organization's Website says that things get underway at 8:30 a.m. at the Tempe Town Lake Beach Park. Perhaps more information will soon be posted. You can view the Not One More Website by clicking here.

NYM Lake Pleasant Camping Tour -- December 10 to 12

The Not Your Mom (NYM) chapter of the Arizona Bicycle Club will conduct a self-contained cycling and camping tour to Lake Pleasant from Friday December 10 to Sunday December 12. Cyclists will spend the weekend in a campground and will be responsible for carrying their own equipment on their bikes. There is no fee for the ride, but there is a nightly fee of $17 to $25 per night for camping, depending on the amenities in the campsite. The camping fee can be split among various cyclists.

As this was written, the route and starting point for the ride had not yet been determined. For updated information on the Web, first click here and the click on the "Lake Pleasant Camping Tour" link on the Webpage.

Here are the dates of some of the upcoming NYM tours:

     January 12 to 23 -- McDowell Mountain Park
     February 18 to 21 -- J&P Tucson Tour
     March 11 to 13 -- Lost Dutchman State park
     April 8 to 10 -- Picacho Peak
     May 20 to 22 -- Mormon Lake

Casa Grande Century -- January 9

The Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club (PMBC) will put on its annual Casa Grande Century ride on January 9. There are three distance options available: a full 100-mile (actually 102 miles, I believe) century ride, a 100-kilometer (62-mile) metric century, and a 34-mile ride. This is a flat century that passes through the desert and farmlands between Chandler and Casa Grande.

The rides start at the Safeway store at 4970 South Alma School Road in Chandler with check-in from 8 to 9 a.m. There is no mass start (very sensible), so riders may depart as soon as they check in, although riders doing the full century are requested to depart by 8:30 a.m.

The ride fee for the full and metric centuries is a very reasonable $20 for members of PMBC, GABA and ABC until January 1. Non-members should add another $10. The 34-mile ride costs $15 until January 1 with a $5 adder for non-members of the three cycling clubs. After January 1 everyone should add a $10 late fee. Tandems should add $15. All riders get SAG support, and early registrants also receive a Polar water bottle. In addition, participants of the two longer rides get lunch in Casa Grande.

 To access the ride's Web page for more information, click here.

Eurand CF Cycle for Life -- January 22

The letters "CF" in this ride's name stand for Cystic Fibrosis, which the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation would like to change to "cure found." Needless to say, this ride is a fund-raiser to fight this dread disease. The ride starts on January 22 from the Ed Hooper Rodeo Grounds in Casa Grande, Arizona and takes place in the farmlands and desert that surround the city. There are 15-. 35-, and 65-mile routes with SAG stops every 10 to 12 miles. After the ride, there will be a beer garden and lunch at the finish line. Communication among SAG wagons and SAG stops will be carried out by amateur radio operators.

The ride's organizers point out that cystic fibrosis is the leading life-threatening genetic disease among children and young adults in the USA. The average lifespan of those living with cystic fibrosis is only 37 years, so finding a cure is very important.

For those not yet registered, the registration fee is $35 through January 21 and $45 on the day of the event. Riders are also expected to raise at least $200 in contributions by ride day. Those who raise significant amounts of contributions will be rewarded by some very desirable prizes.

For more information on the Eurand CF Cycle for Life ride, click here.

ABC Granada Park Chapter Breakfast Ride Destinations

Here are the December Sunday morning breakfast ride destinations for the Granada Park Chapter of the Arizona Bicycle Club. During the winter months, the ride starts at 7:30 a.m. Cyclists ride in five speed groups and meet at a common destination for breakfast. For insurance purposes, non-members may ride with the group once before joining.

     December 5 -- The Good Egg, 6159 North Scottsdale Road
     December 12 -- Deer Valley Airport Restaurant, 702 West Deer Valley Road
     December 19 -- Randy's, 7904 East Chaparral Road
     December 26 -- Mimi's Metro Center, 10214 North Metro Parkway West

Feedback -- Our Readers Respond

Hi Jack,

Thank you very much for writing about the Pima County courses. Pima County started those about three and a half years ago with an Enhancement grant and is continuing them by using some federal Surface Transportation Program funds. The city of Tucson is helping by paying for the locks, helmets and tire levers. Also, as an update to what you posted, Pima County is now paying for the lights so we are providing all three free items to the participants, plus the safety reflective tape and tire levers.

Thanks again and appreciate your articles.

Matt Zoll

Editor's note: For more information on the Traffic Skills 101 course in Pima County, click here.

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