Arizona Road Cyclist News

 © February 18 2009

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In this issue:
                Running Stop Signs Legally?
                Mavic R-SYS Wheel Recall
                Tour de Tucson Entry Fee to Increase
                CAB "Share the Road" Jerseys Available
                A Brief History of CABA.... errrr... GABA
                The Senior Olympics
                PCCC's Midweek Criterium Series in Phoenix
                Upcoming Bicycle Races in Arizona
                Bicycle Racing on Versus
                Upcoming Tourist Rides in Arizona
                Final Note

Running Stop Signs Legally?

In a past issue, I mentioned that the State of Idaho allows cyclists to essentially treat red traffic lights as stop signs and and stop signs as red lights. Now Arizona may take a step in that direction.

As I reported last week on the Arizona Road Cyclist News Website, Ed Beighe of the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists has drawn my attention to a bill that has been introduced in the Arizona Legislature that would give Arizona bicyclists the right to treat stop signs as yield signs. In other words, cyclists approaching a stop sign would be required to slow down, look both ways, and then would be permitted to ride through the intersection without making a complete stop as long as there were no cross traffic approaching.

The proposal has been introduced as House Bill 2475 and has nine sponsors and co-sponsors. It would modify Arizona Revised Statute Section 28-855 Subsection C to read as follows. The blue text would be added to the statute, and the red text with the strikethrough will be deleted.

C.  The driver of a vehicle approaching a yield sign and any person riding a bicycle approaching a yield sign or a stop sign shall slow down in obedience to the sign to a speed reasonable for the existing conditions and shall yield the right‑of‑way to any vehicle in the intersection or approaching on another highway so closely as to constitute an immediate hazard during the time the driver or bicycle rider is moving across or within the intersection.  If after driving or riding past a yield sign or stop sign without stopping the driver or bicycle rider is involved in a collision with a vehicle in the intersection, the collision is prima facie evidence of the driver's or bicycle rider's failure to yield the right‑of‑way.

You can read the bill, follow its progress, and see who its sponsors are by clicking here. Once on the Website, click on "Show Versions" and then under current versions click on either HTML or PDF to read the complete bill. As this was written, the bill had undergone its second reading in the House. To the best of my knowledge, the bill faces no oppositon.

Mavic R-SYS Wheel Recall.

Mavic has announced a recall of the front wheel of its R-SYS front wheels, which have carbon spokes. Mavic has determined that the spokes are subject to breaking, putting the rider in danger. Mavic requests that owners of the wheels, regardless of whether they purchased the wheels individually or received them on a new bike, return the front wheel to the nearest Mavic dealer. Because the replacement front wheel will not be available until March 31st, Mavic will give anyone who returns an R-SYS front wheel a free set of Aksium wheels to ride in the interim. After the replacement R-SYS front wheel is shipped, the cyclist will get to keep both wheel sets. More details are available on the Mavic Website by clicking here.

My thanks to Arizona Road Cyclist News reader Skip Legrady for calling my attention to this recall.

Tour de Tucson Entry Fee to Increase.

The entry fee for the Tour de Tucson is expected to increase this year by an estimated $10, according to Tour director Richard DeBernardis. Tour organizers say the fee increase is likely to be made necessary by an expected increase in the fee that Police Department charges to support the ride. The Tucson INSIDER in a Web article cited unnamed "people close to the race" as saying that "the race can't survive in Tucson if the city insists on raising its fees to the level proposed." However, Scott Shipman, the public affairs director for the Tour assured Arizona Road Cycling News that "El Tour de Tucson will remain in Tucson with no plans to move." He continued, "There were rumors to the contrary, and they were just that. Tucson is THE home of El Tour." He added that the Tour is receiving "extraordinary cooperation [from] the City of Tucson." He adds that the Tour understands that the current economy requires cities to raise fees due to revenue losses.

CAB "Share the Road" Jerseys Available.

The Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists (CAB) is selling a jersey on its Website with the "Share the Streets" logo in large type and the message "Bikes Get 3 Feet" in smaller type. The jersey's background color is hi-vis green/yellow which is easily visible in traffic.

Most Arizona motorists seem to be unaware of the fact that Arizona law requires them to give bicycles three feet of clearance when passing. Maybe this jersey will help them get the message. You can see an image of the jersey on the Coalition's Website by clicking here. The jersey can also be ordered online at the same site.

A Brief History of CABA ... err... GABA.

Sometime in the late 1970s, an elderly gentleman, whose first name was Leon and whose last name I cannot recall, cycled into Phoenix on his touring bike, rented a small house in the area between Tempe and Scottsdale near the Salt River, and got a job at the Bicycle Harbor bicycle shop, which was then located in the shopping mall on the northwest corner of Rural and Baseline Roads in Tempe. Leon also decided to start a new bicycle touring club, which he called the Central Arizona Bicycling Association or CABA.

CABA competed with the already established Arizona Bicycle Club (ABC), which was then an organization within the Phoenix chapter of the American Youth Hostels, but the two clubs appealed to a different class of riders. ABC tours tended to be sagged and generally used motels for overnight stays on its rides. CABA appealed to a younger and generally poorer group of cyclists who were willing to travel self-contained, carrying changes of clothes and sleeping bags in panniers on their touring bikes, forego sag wagons, and camp outdoors overnight. Some of the early CABA rides were free of charge to members, whereas ABC overnight trips always carried a fee for insurance, sag wagon expenses, etc.

In about 1981, Clara Dow approached Leon with the idea of forming a Tucson chapter of the club. Tucson riders had formed a more-or-less informal riding group called Los Turistas after the earlier Tucson Wheelmen had gone defunct. (There was also a club in Maricopa Country called the Phoenix Wheelmen, which also went defunct.) With time, Los Turistas became a more formal group and began to charge dues and publish a newsletter. By 1980, Clara was the president of Los Turistas, and it was she who decided that the club needed a more formal structure and insurance for its rides. After giving the matter some thought, she decided that it would be a good idea to link Los Turistas with CABA. She came to Phoenix and met with Leon at his house, which had evolved into an informal CABA club headquarters. (I seem to remember that I was also in the meeting.) It was agreed that Los Turistas would become a Tucson-based chapter of CABA.

Then the problems began. Clara Dow was a very feisty woman and found several things about CABA not to her liking. One problem was the name. Tucson is not located in Central Arizona, so the name Central Arizona Bicycling Association had to go. CABA was rebaptized as the Greater Arizona Bicycling Association or GABA.

The next problem concerned the club's finances or rather the lack thereof. Clara discovered that CABA's books were not in order, and rumors began circulating that Leon had been siphoning money from the club. Whether the rumors were true or not, I cannot say, but I do know that Leon soon packed his belongings into his panniers, remounted his bike, and pedaled out of Phoenix for parts unknown.

The owner of Bicycle Harbor then discovered that he was also missing money. In fact, the shop's financial situation was so bad that it was in danger of collapsing. Bud and Yvonne Morrison, the owners of the Tempe Bicycle Shop, came to the rescue by purchasing Bicycle Harbor. Later, they closed the Tempe shop and opened a new bicycle shop with the same name in the Pavilions shopping center near Scottsdale. At about that time, I dropped out of GABA and stopped keeping track of its development.

Today, to the best of my knowledge, GABA still has two main chapters, GABA Tucson and the Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club. I believe that the Prescott-based Chain Gang Bicycle Club is or was also affiliated with GABA.

This little history that I have written largely from my poor memory is sketchy at best. I believe that some of the readers of Arizona Road Cycling News can fill in more details. For example, what was Leon's last name? I have forgotten, and no one whom I asked can remember. If you have portions of the story to contribute, please send them in by replying to this E-mail or by writing to the E-mail address at the end of this newsletter. Helpful additions to the story will be published in a future edition of this newsletter.

The Senior Olympics.

The cycling event of the Senior Olympics takes place on March 7 and 8 at 40th Street and Pecos Road Park in Ahwatukee. The event is open to cyclists 50 years of age and older, and competition takes place in five-year age groups. On Saturday there are two very short time trials of 5 kilometers and 10 kilometers. On Sunday there are two road races, also a bit short at 20 kilometers and 40 kilometers. Registration is $20 plus an additional $8 for each event in which the cyclist participates. There is a $5 discount for online registration, which must be completed no later than February 21. You can view the Senior Olympics brochure by clicking here. The information on the cycling event is on page 13 of the brochure, and directions to the event location are on page 23. The entry form is on pages 7 and 8. You can register online by clicking here. The main Website for the event is www.seniorgames.org.

PCCC's Midweek Criterium Series in Phoenix.

The Phoenix Consumer Cycle Club (PCCC) continues the Midweek Evening Criterium Series at 5 p.m. on Wednesday evenings through the end of April. The two exceptions are the first week in April, when the race is moved from Wednesday to Tuesday evening, and the Wednesday April 1 race, which is rescheduled to Monday March 30.

The races are held in the Phoenix Municipal Stadium parking lot on the southwest corner of Priest and Van Buren beginning at 5 p.m. and usually ending shortly after 7 p.m. There are four races based on ability with the race for newer riders beginning first. In addition, a fixed-gear race is held on the last Wednesday of each month. One-day or annual racing licenses can be purchased at the race. The races feature a low entry fee and are an excellent way for riders to practice their criterium skills. Spectators are welcome. For more information, click here. (The online information does not contain the second schedule change shown in the previous paragraph of this article.)

Upcoming Bicycle Races in Arizona.

February 21 brings the Vulture Mine time trial in Wickenburg, whose Website can be accessed by clicking here. The race takes its name from the fact that it is held on Vulture Mine Road. The Sun Devil Criterium, presented by ASU's bicycle racing team, takes place in Tempe on February 22nd on a D-shaped 1/2-mile course. The race's Website can be viewed by clicking here.  Finishing off the month is the Yuma Bike Club's North End Classic stage race on February 28 and March 1. The February 28 stage is a criterium, and the March 1 stage is a road race. The main Web site for the race can be viewed by clicking here.

The three-day Tucson Bicycle Classic takes place from Friday March 6 through Sunday March 8. The race consists of a prolog time trial on Friday, a road race on Saturday, and a circuit race on Sunday. More information can be found by clicking here.

The San Tan Criterium takes place in Mesa on Saturday, March 14 just south of Falcon Field Airport. The race's Website can be accessed here. The Hungry Dog criterium follows on Sunday March 15 in Ahawatukee. Information about the race can be accessed by clicking here.

Bicycle Racing on Versus.

The Tour of California is being broadcast this week and through the weekend on Versus , a premium channel on most cable and satellite systems. Although I have not verified it, I have been told that Cox Cable has moved Versus from its premium sports package to its basic service for its digital TV subscribers. I've put the live broadcast times on the Arizona Road Cyclist News main Web page (www.azroadcyclist.com). A word of caution if you use the information to program your video recorder, however; although the start times of the broadcasts are probably accurate, the races often last longer than the ending times shown on the Web page. There are also several rebroadcasts each day.

The next cycling broadcast on Versus will be Paris Nice starting at 3 p.m. on March 8 and March 15 and the Criterium International on March 29 starting at 3 p.m. Although in the USA we use the word criterium to designate a circuit race over a short course, the word does not have the same meaning in European cycling. This criterium is a tough road race.

Upcoming Tourist Rides in Arizona.

The Arizona Bicycle Club is holding the Wickenburg Overnight this weekend. Registration is $20 for ABC and GABA members and $25 for others. More information and online registration are available here.

The Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club presents the strenuous Mining Country Century on Saturday, March 14. This challenging ride features lots of climbing. The standard century is 96 miles and follows the route of the former Mining Country Bicycle Race starting in Superior, climbing over the Top of the World to Miami/Globe passing over El Capitan with its 8-percent climb, descending into Winkelman, and returning to Superior by climbing Ray Mine Hill and then the leg-breaking End of the World, a 1.5-mile climb with a grade of 11 percent. From there it is a downhill cruise into Superior. The shorter 66-mile metric century heads from Superior to Winkelman and then returns by the same route. In exchange for a shorter ride, the metric century passes over the dreaded End of the World twice! The ride’s Website can be accessed here.

GABA Tucson presents the Sierra Vista Spring Classic Bike Ride on March 15 and the popular Sonoita-Bisbee ride on March 28 and 29. The GABA Tucson ride page can be accessed by clicking here.

The Tour de Cure will take place on Saturday, March 14. Route maps and directions are posted on the Bullshifter’s Web site, which you can access by clicking here.

If we miss listing your club’s ride, send details by replying to this E-mail or by writing to editor@azroadcyclist.com.

Final Note.

I miss the days of frame pumps. Somehow sticking a CO2 cartridge in someone's spokes just doesn't give the same sense of satisfaction

 

Arizona Road Cyclist News,  http://www.azroadcyclist.com
Jack Quinn, Editor