Arizona Road Cyclist News

January 5, 2011

News for those who ride Arizona's streets and roads
Editor, Jack Quinn

Welcome to the first edition of Arizona Road Cyclist News of the new year and technically the first issue of the new decade (although it is popularly believed that the decade began last January 1). I hope all of our readers had a chance to put in some miles on the bicycle over the holiday season despite the bitter cold.

An advance notice about this year’s plans for the newsletter: I plan to be in Europe (France, Germany, and Spain) during the months of July, August, and September. Although I could write the newsletter from there, thanks to the great communication that the Internet provides, I most likely be too busy hiking and BSing with the locals to find the time. Therefore, the newsletter will almost certainly be on vacation during the entire Arizona monsoon season.

When I tell one of my fellow cyclists about the trip, the first question is always, “Are you taking a bike with you?” Sadly, I am not. Although I would love to take a touring bike and spend the entire three months cycling from youth hostel to youth hostel, the cost of taking a bike on any of the airlines that accept my air miles is prohibitive. However, I do plan to do lots and lots of hiking. I hope to spend over a month doing the pilgrimage on foot from Southern France to Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain, not for religious purposes, but for the adventure.

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In this issue:
     Prison Sentence for Driving in Bike Lane
     A Message from the Arizona Bicycle Club
     Arizona 2011 Racing Calendar Online (sort of)
     Casa Grande Century -- January 9
     Not Your Mom Usery Park Tour -- January 21 to 23
     Eurand CF Cycle for Life -- January 22
     Tour de Hero -- January 29
     GABA's Picacho Century -- February 6

     Not Your Mom Tucson Tour -- February 18 to 21
     ABC's Wickenburg Overnight -- February 26 & 27
     Tour de Cure -- March 12
     GABA's Sierra Vista Bicycle Classic -- March 13
     PMBC's Mining Country Challenge -- March 19
     Bike MS Arizona -- March 26 & 27
     Alta Alpina Challenge -- June 11
     ABC Granada park Sunday Breakfast Ride Destinations
     About Arizona Road Cyclist News

Prison Sentence for Driving in Bike Lane

OK. I'll admit that the article title is more than a little bit of a stretch, but it is technically true. At 1:43 a.m. on January 3, the Mesa Police Department arrested a man who was pulled over for driving in a bike lane, but that wasn't the offence that has him headed for the slammer. The driver turned out to be an escaped convict.

It happened on Monday morning. A Mesa police officer pulled over a car that had been traveling in a bike lane near Main Street and Extension Road. After the car turned into a parking lot and stopped, the driver fled on foot into an apartment complex. More officers arrived, and the driver, 38-year-old John A. Fajardo was arrested for fleeing a traffic stop. When police checked the man's record, they found that he was wanted for escaping from prison in Florence and had a history of arrests for such offences as drug violations, criminal trespass, armed robbery, and aggravated assault. Nice guy!

See? Some of those people who do not respect bike lanes really are bad people. Kudos to the Mesa Police for enforcing a law designed to protect cyclists. Now, if we could just convince police departments to enforce the three-foot law. Although I have absolutely no facts to back up this supposition, it may be that more of those people who drive with no regard for human life may have criminal backgrounds.

A Message From The Arizona Bicycle Club

The Arizona Bicycle Club sent out this message by E-mail yesterday regarding the possible elimination of a proposed cyclist and pedestrian overpass over 19th Avenue near Greenway. I am not familiar with the proposed structure, so I reprint the message here without comment. The E-mail also did not mention who the author is, so I cannot give that person credit.

Dear Friends,
The bicycling community needs your help!  Please attend an important meeting this week to show your support for an important bicycle/pedestrian overpass which is on the chopping block.  A plan to build a bridge over 19th Avenue, just south of Greenway Road is in jepordy.  The City of Phoenix Street Transportation Department is scheduled to present options for the proposed 19th Avenue Bikeway/Pedestrian Bridge and Multiuse Path project at 10:00 AM Thursday January 6, 2011, to the Transportation, Sustainability, and Infrastructure (TS&I) Subcommittee for their consideration and possible action. This public hearing will be held in the  Assembly Rooms in City Hall., 200 W. Washington Street. There is a potential of a change in meeting location, please check the following link for additional information on this item and potential changes in location. The link can be found at, scroll down and click on 1/6/2011, 10:00 AM "TRANSPORTATION, INFRASTRUCTURE AND SUSTAINABILITY SUBCOMMITTEE".
 The Cave Creek Wash Trail (CCWT) should be viewed as a supplement to (and not as an alternate for) safe on-street provisions for bicyclists and pedestrians.  The mix of on- and off-street accomodations for bicyclists and pedestrians are a network, and all the parts of the network need to work together.  The CCWT is not merely a recreational feature.  Reducing our dependence on automobiles by promoting cycling and walking is one of our most cost-effective means of improving health, reducing pollution and traffic congestion.  Several studies have shown significant increases in property values attributed to such features.  The CCWT can, and should, be a key component of the multi-modal transportation network in the area.  The regional planning process has recognized this need for many years.  We are now a mere few thousand feet from making it a reality.  Don't let this opportunity slip away. 
The Cave Creek Wash Trail (CCWT) currently runs from Union Hills Drive, south for 7 miles.  At its south end at Dunlap Avenue, the CCWT meets the Arizona Canal multi-use path, in the Metrocenter area.  The Arizona Canal path which is part of the nearly 70 mile Sun Circle Trail, established in the 1960's, should probably be considered the crown jewel among the area's multi-use trails.   With it's miles of paved surface and dozens of underpasses beneath busy roads, the Arizona Canal path is one of the most popular trails in the area.  The CCWT also intersects the Greenway Parkway multi-use path.  The Greenway Parkway trail provides a connection to the Phoenix Sonoran Bikeway's 50 miles which run from South Mountain Park to the Phoenix Sonoran Preserve just south of Carefree Highway.  At the north end of the CCWT, Union Hills Drive features 6 miles of designated bike lane to the west, all the way to the Arrowhead area, and 6 miles to the east, to Tatum Boulevard. 
Unfortunately, today, the Cave Creek Wash Trail is not continuous.  Even though it sits at a crux in the middle of the Metropolitian Phoenix area, two gaps, totaling a mere few thousand feet, stand in the way of connecting literally hundreds of miles of bike paths and bike lanes into a functional network.  The CCWT provides access to the Rose Mofford Sports Complex but not for the thousands who live north of Greeway Road.  Without completing the CCWT, the substantial investment we have made in our Multi-modal transportation network falls well short of its potential.  Anyone who doesn't see the critical importance of this bridge simply isn't looking at the big picture.

Arizona 2011 Racing Calendar Online (sort of)

The preliminary 2011 racing calendar of the Arizona Bicycle Racing Association (ABRA) has been posted to the Web and may be viewed by clicking here. Racing starts on January 23 with the first Avondale Criterium (apparently there will be at least one more later in the year). January finishes with the U of A Criterium on January 29 and the Flapjack Time Trial on January 30. In addition, the Tribe bicycle shop in Scottsdale is holding a women’s clinic on January 22.

As this was written, there were no links on the ABRA Website to any of the individual race Websites. Also, our discussion forum has been undergoing frequent redesigns, and with each redesign, the logon credentials of all registered users vanish. The result is that many potential posters have grown tired of constantly reregistering, which discourages the dissemination of information among the Arizona road racing community.

Casa Grande Century -- January 9

The Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club (PMBC) will put on its annual Casa Grande Century ride this weekend 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, 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 was a quite reasonable $20 for members of PMBC, GABA, and ABC until January 1. However, for those not yet registered, an additional $10 late fee has kicked in. The 34-mile ride now costs $25 until with a $5 adder for non-members of the three cycling clubs.

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.

Not Your Mom Usery Park Tour -- January 21 to 23

This a self-supported tour, meaning that you should ride you touring bike, carry everything you need in panniers or a touring trailer, and be prepared to camp out. The ride is a short 28 miles each way, and cyclists will spend the weekend at a developed campsite in the park. If you plan on taking par in this ride, a tent would be a good idea, and a very warm sleeping bag is a must if you are planning on sleeping out, as January is the coldest month of the year in the Phoenix area.

For links to this and other NYM tours, 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." 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 contributions will be rewarded by some very desirable prizes.

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

Tour de Hero -- January 29

United Blood Services and the Los Freeloaders cycling group present their annual bike ride on January 29 to support National Volunteer Blood Donor Month with advanced, intermediate and beginner routes. The ride begins at the United Blood Services headquarters at 6220 East Oak Street in Scottsdale. The advanced ride starts at 8:30 a.m. and has a length of 62 miles, a metric century. The intermediate ride starts at 10:30 a.m. and is a metric half century of 31 miles. For beginners, a five-mile fun ride will start at 11:00 a.m. The routes will be on lesser-traveled city streets in Scottsdale, Phoenix, and Tempe. Riders are requested to check in at least a half hour before their start times.

The cost of the two longer rides is $20 until January 22 and $25 thereafter. Cut those prices in half for the fun ride. However, the object of the ride is to recruit blood donors. Riders are encouraged, but not required, to sign up three blood donors. Those who sign up donors by January 22 will be entered in a raffle with a chance to win what Blood Services promises are “great prizes.” Those who want to donate blood but do not wish to ride may donate in the name of a rider by signing up at For more information on the event, click here.

GABA's Picacho Century -- February 6

For those who like a flat course, the Picacho Century is for you. There are three ride options, a 100-mile full century starting at 8 a.m., a 71-mile ride starting at 8:30 a.m., a 35-mile starting at 9 a.m., and a 15-mile ride, which also starts at 9 a.m. The ride starts at Cortaro and Silverbell in Tucson, which is one mile west of I-10 exit 246, and heads north through Avra Valley and Marana. The 100-mile ride goes as far north as Picacho Peak before turning back to Tucson..The ride fee is $25 for members of GABA and ABC members and $40 for other riders registered in advance. A $10 late feel will be added for registrations submitted the day of the ride.

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

Not Your Mom Tucson Tour -- February 18 to 21

The 2011 edition of Not Your Mom’s (NYM) annual tour from Scottsdale to Tucson takes place over four days from February 18 through February 21, which is President’s Day weekend. The tour will be sagged, and each rider is permitted to put one piece of luggage in the SAG wagon, so you can ride your racing bike and leave your touring bike with panniers at home. However, riders are expected to take turns driving the SAG wagon and to chip in for gas.

The first days ride on Friday is a 66-mile jaunt from Scottsdale to Florence. Day two is a 64-mile ride from Florence to Tucson which includes a 37-mile-long gentle climb of 2300 feet. On Sunday riders will peddle 56 miles of gentle downhill from Tucson to Casa Grande, and on Monday the ride concludes with a 55-mile ride from Casa Grande to Scottsdale.

NYM is a chapter of the Arizona Bicycle Club (ABC), and its participants are expected to join ABC to take advantage of the club insurance. For more information on the Scottsdale-Tucson four-day ride, click here.

ABC's Wickenburg Overnight – February 26 & 27

The Arizona Bicycle Club (ABC) is holding its annual roundtrip ride to Wickenburg on the weekend of February 25 and 27. The ride starts in the Albertson's parking lot on the Carefree Highway just east of I-17 at 10 a.m. Motor vehicles will carry luggage, so riders will be able to pedal the easy 45 miles to Wickenburg unencumbered by pannier bags. The cost of the ride is $25 for members of ABC and other area bicycle clubs and $30 for others. Riders are also expected to book and pay for their own motel accommodations.

The ride is limited to 30 riders, so it may pay to register early. To view the ride's Webpage, click here.

Tour de Cure – March 12

The Tour de Cure is a fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association. The starting point for the ride is the Reach 11 Sports Complex at 2425 East Deer Valley Road in Phoenix and features three ride choices, a 62-mile metric century, a 35-mile ride, and an 8-mile fun ride. In order to participate, each rider must raise at least $150 in donations.

The ride will be well supported. SAG wagons will rove the course looking for problems, and mechanics will be available to take care of any breakdowns. Communications will be handled by amateur radio operators in each SAG wagon and at rest stops. The ride organizers also have medical volunteers lined up to man all rest stops and will have a first aid tent at the start/finish area.

If you are interested in this ride, you can get more information from the Tour de Cure Website by clicking here..

GABA's Sierra Vista Bicycle Classic – March 13

GABA presents the Sierra Vista Bicycle Classic on March 13 with three ride options: a century, a metric century, and a half metric century. As the ride's name implies, the ride starts and finishes in Sierra Vista, specifically in the parking lot of Buena Vista High School. The full century goes south all the way to the traffic circle in Bisbee and includes the climb up to Mule Pass plus a ride through the historic town of Tombstone for a total of 103 miles. The metric route cuts of the loop through Bisbee. The half metric century appears to be an out-and-back route.

The registration fee is $25 for GABA and ABC members and $40 for others with a $10 adder for those who register the day of the event. You can view the ride's Web page by clicking here..

PMBC's Mining Country Challenge – March 19

This ride, promoted by the Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club, follows the route of the now-defunct Mining Country race, which the Phoenix Consumer Cycling Club used to promote every spring, except that the starting point has been moved from Miami to Superior. The long version of this ride competes with the Bullshifters' Heart of Arizona Century for the infamy of being the most difficult one-day century ride in Arizona, and even the short version involves two ascents of the infamous "End of the World" climb, which can require some cyclists to get off their bikes and push and causes even those cyclists who stay on their bikes to cry out in pain. This is a ride for real masochists, so it's the perfect ride for many of my readers.

As stated, both the metric and full centuries start in Superior. The century climbs up the mountain through Queen Creek Tunnel and tops out at the little settlement called Top of the World before descending into Miami. The section from Superior to Miami is the only touchy part of the ride, because sections are narrow with no shoulder.

From Miami it's generally uphill to the nearby city of Globe. After Globe, the route climbs uphill at about eight percent for mile after mile to the top of El Capitan. From El Capitan, it's a thrilling and welcome downhill into Winkleman, where the rest stop serves lunch. This descent holds memories for me, because while zooming down off the mountain at high speed several decades ago, a bee flew into one of the vents of my helmet. While holding onto the bars with one hand, I used the other hand to unbuckle and rip off my helmet, but too late. The bee stung me right on the top of my bald head.

After Winkelman, the road starts climbing up Ray Mine Hill. The climb seems awful, but it's just a warm-up for what's to come. If there's a SAG stop at the top of this hill, stop, drink, and fill your water bottles, even if you feel strong enough to proceed, because you're about to face a real challenge. Soon you will see the road ahead seem to climb at an impossible angle right up into the sky. The usual reaction when a cyclist first sees what lies ahead is to exclaim: "Oh, my God!" The climb is just under two miles, but it averages 11 percent with sections that are even steeper. If you have a triple chainring, this is where you'll use the granny gear. Racers many years ago appropriately nicknamed this climb "End of the World."

When you reach the top of End of the World, you can relax and enjoy the rest of the ride, which is generally downhill back to Superior, where you will be forgiven if you collapse at the side of the road.

The metric century is an out-and-back from Superior to Winkelman. By cutting about 40 miles off the full century, riders avoid Top of the World and El Capitan, but riders still must climb Ray Mine Hill, and they get to do End of the World twice, once in each direction.

I don't know what the ride fee is, but I assume the fee and a link to a registration form will soon be posted to the ride's Web page, which you can view by clicking here.

Bike MS Arizona – March 26 & 27

The 25th annual Bike MS Arizona Round-Up Ride will start in Florence, Arizona on March 26 and 27. This is a fund-raising event to fight Multiple Sclerosis. The ride starts at Heritage Park at 600 North Main Street in Florence, and promoters expect that 1,500 cyclists will take part. Riders get to choose from 35-, 75-, and 100-mile rides on the 26th and 30-, 50-. and 75-mile routes on the 27th with SAG stops every 10 to 15 miles. In addition to food and drink, the SAG stops will collect excess clothing that riders strip off as the day warms up (don’t take off too much, please), bag the clothing, and transport it to the finish line where riders can collect the bags after the ride.

The routes are figure-8 and are so designed so that cyclists can cut the ride short if they overestimate their abilities. All routes are on flat terrain in the farming area near Florence, Coolidge, and Casa Grande.

In addition to supporting the ride, cyclists are also taken care of when they are off the bike. A large tent will be provided for those who wish to sleep out Friday and Saturday nights. Riders must provide their own sleeping bags. Showers are also available all day Saturday and Sunday, and for those who raise at least $1,500 in contributions, there will be special VIP tent, and there will be individual team tents for teams that raise $10,000 or more. All participants must raise at least $250 in contributions to participate in the ride.

To access the ride’s Website, click here. Those who do not wish to ride but who would like to contribute money can do so by clicking on the “Donate/Pledge” tab at the left side of the Webpage.

Alta Alpina Challenge – June 11

This ride is still five months away, but it is the type of ride that you want to plan for well in advance, both because it is out of state and because it is very challenging.

The Alta Alpina Challenge: Riding the Wild Sierra is promoted by the Alta Alpina Cycling Club, a road and mountain-bike club based in the Carson City, Garnerville, and Lake Tahoe areas of California and takes place on June 11, 2011. This is a ride for macho cyclists who love to climb hills and who want to enjoy a challenging cycling event in the cool High Sierras at the time of year when temperatures in the Arizona Desert can be over 110 degrees. 

There are four versions of the ride, or cyclists can design their own challenge depending on just how willing they are to suffer. The Wild Sierra Metric is 64 miles long and features 5,000 feet of climbing. For those who want to double the pain, the Wild Serra Century is 110 miles long with 11,000 feet of climbing. Sill not enough? Try the 134-mile long 5-Pass Challenge with 16,000 feet of climbing. The real masochists (I know you’re out there) will chose the 8-Pass Challenge with 20,300 feet of climbing, which is claimed to be the “World’s Toughest Double Century.” 100 miles of the route is at elevations above 7,000 feet. OK, the course is only 198 miles long, but purists can circle the parking lot a few times at the finish to make up the extra two miles. Compared to this, our Mining Country Century is just a ride in the park.

The registration fee is $100 for the 8-Pass Challenge, $90 for the 5-Pass Challenge, and $60 for the other two rides until May 1. After that date, add a late-registration fee of $20 for the 8-Pass Challenge, $15 for the 5-Pass Challenge, and $10 for the other two rides. An optional ride jersey is available for $69, and those who finish the 8-Pass Double Century may purchase the 8-Pass Finisher jersey for the same price.

To access the ride’s Website, click here.

ABC Granada Park Sunday Breakfast Ride Destinations

Here are the desitnations for the Granada Park chapter of the Arizona Bicycle Club’s Sunday morning breakfast ride during the remainder of the month of January. The ride starts at Granada Park, 20th Street and Maryland in Phoenix at 7:30 a.m. For insurance purposes, non-members are asked to join the club after riding with us once.

·         January 9 – Stan’s Metro Deli, 414 South Mill Avenue, Tempe (new destination)

·         January 16 – Mel’s Diner, 1747 Northwest Grand Avenue, Phoenix (new destination)

·         January 23 – Scramble, 9832 North Seventh Avenue, Phoenix (lousy coffee & annoying, repetitive trance music on the PA system)

·         January 30 – Aunt Chilada’s 7330 North Dreamy Draw, Phoenix (Plan to spend the morning. Painfully slow service. However, big plates of gringo-style “Mexican” food. A good place to spend the morning while loading up on a day’s worth of calories in one meal.)

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