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This issue is not only late being sent out and short, it is
also mostly written by other
people. Instead of writing, I have been spending much of my
spare time this week in front of the TV watching the Tour of
California stage race. I did not take the time to research
cycling rides and races coming up, but I hope that feature
will be back in the next issue.
Motorist to be Sentenced for Killing Cyclist
Some of you may remember that cyclist Michael Gray was
killed while riding on Maricopa Road south of the Metro
Phoenix area in April of 2009. Mr. Gray was reportedly
riding to the right of the fog line when a car swerved into
him causing fatal injuries. The driver of the vehicle that
killed him, David Wiechens, was suspected of driving under
the influence and, after much legal maneuvering, later
pleaded guilty to one count of manslaughter, a class 2
dangerous felony, which carries a minimum sentence of seven
years, a presumptive sentence of 10.5 years, and a maximum
sentence of 21 years in prison. Pending more legal
maneuvering, his sentencing is scheduled to take place at
8:30 a.m. on June 18 in Maricopa County Superior Court. If
you would like to read up on this case, you can do so on the
Arizona Bike Law Blog by clicking
Landis Admits Doping -- Implicates Armstrong
Professional cyclist Floyd Armstrong was stripped of his
2006 Tour de France victory after being accused of and
convicted of doping. For years, Mr. Landis maintained his
innocence and has invested large sums of money in his
defense, most of which was contributed by people who
believed in him. Now that the statute of limitations is
about to run out on his offence, he has admitted to spending
90,000 a year on dope.
He claims to have begun doping in 2002 while riding with the
U.S. Postal Service Team headed by Lance Armstrong. Mr.
Landis also accused riders David Zabriskie, Levi Leipheimer,
and Lance Armstrong of doping and implicated Johan Bruyneel,
who is Armstrong's longtime coach and presently the coach of
the Radio Shack team, for which Mr. Leipheimer and Mr.
In an impromptu press conference yesterday,
Lance Armstrong maintained his innocence, pointing at
Mr. Landis's long history of lying, both to the press
and under oath.
Mr. Armstrong claimed that Mr. Landis had contacted the
promoter and chief sponsor of the Tour of California
threatening to make his allegations public if the Tour did
not permit him and his team to compete. Obviously, he was
not invited to ride in the Tour.
Mr. Armstrong's statements yesterday were not the first time
that Mr. Landis has been accused of blackmail. Former Tour de France winner Greg LeMond also
made that allegation. When Mr. LeMond was
scheduled to testify at a doping hearing against Mr. Landis,
reportedly had one of his associates telephone Mr. LeMond
and pretend to be an uncle who threatened to be at the hearing
to talk about pedophilic acts, that the uncle had reportedly
perpetuated against Mr. LeMond when the latter was a child.
Instead of being intimidated, Mr. LeMond testified and revealed the attempted blackmail
during his testimony.
I have no way of knowing whether Lance Armstrong, David
Zabriskie, and Levi Leipheimer ever doped or not, but I do
know that Floyd Landis's reputation for veracity is
nonexistent. Unless he offers some evidence to back his
allegations, I think they should be regarded as one more in
a long series of lies that Mr. Landis has uttered, and Floyd
Landis admitted to ESPN.com that he has no such evidence.
Pat McQuaid, president of the International Cycling Union,
refuses to believe anything that Mr. Landis says.
In the meantime, an arrest warrant has been issued for Floyd
Landis in France, where he is accused of involvement a
computer hacking incident involving an anti-doping lab that
had conducted tests on Mr. Landis's urine samples. I agree
with Johann Bruyneel, who was quoted in the
New York Times
as saying that "[Floyd Landis] needs to seek professional
help, and by that I don't mean lawyers."
Tucson Makes List of Top Ten Bike-Friendly Cities
Bicycling Magazine recently ranked the USA's 50 most
bicycle-friendly cities. I don't know what the criteria were
for the rankings, but obviously weather didn't play a major
part, because Minneapolis came out on top followed by
Portland, OR, Boulder CO, Seattle, and Eugene OR in that
order, all places that have lousy cycling weather during
much of the year. The only Arizona city to make the top ten was Tucson
in position number 9. Phoenix/Tempe were ranked together in
position 15, and Scottsdale was number 20.
(I disagree with this relative ranking as I live in Phoenix but
find North Scottsdale to be more bike friendly.) According to Bicycling the five worst cities to cycle
in were Fargo, ND, Anchorage, Baltimore, Little Rock and
Rochester NY. (I have no plans to move to any of those cities in
the near future.)
To see the complete list, click
of California on Versus & the Web
There are three days left in the Tour of California, the
USA's most prestigious professional bicycle stage race, and
the final hours of each stage will be broadcast live on
Versus, a premium channel on satellite and cable networks.
with a recap later in the day. For those who don't have
access to Versus, the live broadcast can also be viewed on
the Tour's Website. The hours of the live
Friday: 2 to 4 p.m.
Saturday: 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Sunday: 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
If you are setting your video recorder, my advice is to set
the recording to end a half hour later than the scheduled
end of the broadcast, as the stage could end later than
To watch the race live on the Web or to view video
highlights of each stage after it is over, connect to the race's Website.
Motorists and Cyclists -- Sharing the Road
Several news organizations have taken note of cycling's
increasing popularity, but unfortunately, the slant taken by
many of those media has been to exaggerate a supposed conflict between
motorists and cyclists. I bicycled 15,000 miles last year,
and yes, I did have a handful of unfortunate incidents with
motorists, but I found the large majority of motorists to
not only be tolerant of cyclists but to even go out of their
way to share the road by sometimes insisting that I take the
right-of-way, even when it legally belonged to the motorist.
After all, almost all adult cyclists also drive motor vehicles,
and about 1/4 of motorists also cycle, so many of us have a foot
in both camps.
Perhaps we in Arizona are lucky, because visiting cyclists
from other parts of the country often remark on how friendly
Arizona motorists are to cyclists compared to where they
come from. Maybe the conflicts between motorists and
cyclists are worse in other states.
National Public Radio has aired at least two programs in the
past two years on cycling that, in my opinion, unduly
concentrated on the motorist-cyclist conflict, and of course, John Hook showed his lack of
knowledge of cycling's place in the traffic mix on a talk
call-in show on Phoenix radio station KTAR a few weeks ago.
CNN is one of the latest news organizations to join the fray
with a Web article headlined "Drivers, bicyclists clash on
road sharing." You can read the article by clicking
SouthWest Bicycles Cycling Club by Teresa Filleman
The following guest article was written by
Teresa Filleman about SouthWest Bicycles Cycling Club, a West
Valley club that is very welcoming to new riders. -- Jack Q.
Have you heard of the SouthWest Bicycles
Cycling Club (SWBCC)? You are probably not alone! SWBCC was founded just 10 months ago by Jeff Morris, one
of the owners of SouthWest Bicycles and Teresa Filleman, a casual
cyclist who believes in encouraging riders new to the sport and
using her own cycling to raise money for charities. Together,
Jeff and Teresa envisioned a cycling club that would offer
organized rides to the casual cyclist and encourage
people to get active, stay active, meet new people, and ride to
SWBCC officially launched its membership
drive in August on 2009, and has grown to just over 100 members
in less than a year.
Members and visitors have met other riders with similar
interests and enjoyed casual cycling in a non-competitive,
encouraging, and well-organized environment.
Our no-drop rides are designed to promote a love for
casual, recreational cycling with routes designed for the novice
to experienced riders. We host Thursday novice rides, Saturday
rides suitable for novice through advanced riders and Sunday
Intermediate to Advanced rides. You may check out our club
calendar at www.swbcc.org.
Click on the calendar tab.
Many of our club members joined the
team for the Phoenix Tour de Cure(www.diabetes.org/tour
) in March 2010. Our 44 members raised over $17,000.00 for the
American Diabetes Association. At
last count, SWB was the largest team and raised the most money
for the cause!
In October 2009, the SWBCC together with
SouthWest Bicycles, Peoria hosted the Trek Women Breast Cancer
Awareness Ride in Peoria, AZ. We had a phenomenal turn out for the event’s first year
in the Phoenix area, and look forward to seeing more riders this
year making it an even greater success. Mark your calendars for Saturday, October 9, 2010 for the
2010 Trek Breast Cancer Awareness Ride. All riders are welcomed! You can find more information on the club website at
is due to open very soon.
SWBCC endorsed the International Ride of
Silence on May 19th. This is the first time the event
has been endorsed in the West Valley and we are thrilled that
our membership took the initiative to launch the west valley
ride for such an important cause; sharing the road and
remembering and honoring those cyclists who have been injured or
killed on our roadways.
The club tagline is “Cycling for a Cause”. Therefore, SWBCC teamed up with the Plus3Network so that
all of our membership may log their rides and other activities
to raise money for a cause – literally turning “sweat equity
into social capital.” Anyone can join Plus3. We invite you to
www.plus3network.com for more information on how your
activities can be raising money for a cause.
Our membership has logged over 3000 road biking activities and over 5000 TOTAL
activities since June of 2009 on the Plus3Network. These
activities generated over $500 for various causes just by
logging our efforts!
So the next time you see a SouthWest
Bicycles jersey out there, please say, “Hello!” We are out there
making a difference in our own lives and the lives of others.
Visitors are always welcomed on our rides, so check out our club
calendar (www.swbcc.org ) and
plan on joining us when you are in the west valley or stop by
one of the SouthWest Bicycles Shops (www.SouthWestBicycles.com
) and ask for more information or send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to meet you for a ride!
This is what some of our members are saying
I am so glad that I
joined your club. Meeting new people and learning new routes has
enriched my cycling experiences. Thank you!
Thanks to Southwest Bicycles Cycling Club, they got me on my bike on my
days off and opened me to new routes!
I feel super fortunate that I found your group - without the
group I guarantee that I would never be near as fit as I am now
(even though I've got a ways to go still!)
The group's welcoming attitude has made all the difference for
me, too - I so appreciate it! You & the club have added to my life (and my health) so much that I really
consider becoming a part of the club as a sentinel point in my
Thanks so much for your encouragement! I think the club rocks ~
and I am so glad that I joined. It has been super for me!
Many, many thanks to all my rider friends through the Southwest
Bicycle Club. You guys are so wise, helpful and just generally
We've seen parts of the valley on our "cycles" we haven't seen
since we've lived here for over 20 years. It's all good!
Feedback -- Our Readers Respond
I received several E-mails in response to the last issue of Arizona Road Cyclist News I would like to
note that the readers' express their own opinions, which are
not necessarily the opinions of this newsletter.
Speaking of conflict between motorists a cyclists, reader
George Brunell sent us this E-mail about an article
published in a little-known
newspaper called the North Scottsdale Times.
Jack: I certainly enjoy reading your news and tidbits and
picking up on the cycling banter. However recently
came across a blurb in the North Scottsdale Times, May 2010,
that sadly comments on the recent death of Cindi Holub.
The article laments that “While the law does state that
drivers are to give bicyclists a 3-foot birth (berth), it
rarely happens, especially when it comes to giant garbage
trucks. How about repealing the law and keeping bikes
on the paths where they belong?”
This E-mail from Mike Sturgill came as a response
to the article we published stating that Arizona is one of the more dangerous
states for cyclists.
George W. Brunell, CR
I read your email with interest every week. You talk about the
most deadly states for cyclists this week. Sometimes these types
of "raw" statistics leave people believing that cycling is a
dangerous endeavor. In raw terms, cycling is not dangerous. When
compared with activities that the general public sees as benign
(football, baseball, basketball, soccer), cycling is quite safe.
Or, if you compare it to activities that the population
participates in without undue fear (driving, walking), it is
I wonder if painting the picture of the dangers of "life in
general" and comparing that with cycling might help people put
these tragedies in context? Here is a link to some pretty good
data. For example, there were 120 "pedestrians" killed in AZ
2008 and 632 "automobile" fatalities", compared to 19 cyclists.
Do we tell our kids not to walk because it's dangerous? Do we
ever think driving is dangerous? Yet 10x and 33x, respectively,
more people die in those modes of transportation than while
I've read more detailed reports specifically about cycling
fatalities (I don't have the reference at hand, but the author
was Richard Moeur) and the overwhelming majority of the deaths
have occurred when the cyclist was doing something illegal, such
as riding against traffic, riding while intoxicated, riding on a
sidewalk, riding on a limited access highway, etc. I think that
education about safe cycling practices coupled with the
education of vehicular drivers (both bicycles and passenger
vehicles), will further our cause much more than fear.
Some educational resources:
Please don't take this wrong, I am extremely conscious of what
can happen when a car interacts with a bike. We lose. I ride
12-15k miles per year and I see all kinds of stupidity. But
taken in whole, cycling is, statistically, safer than taking a
Finally, this E-mail from reader John Brush was inspired by our
article John Hook's KTAR call-in segment about cyclists.
I just finished listening to the recording of the John Hook/KTAR
radio segment concerning cyclists and the road, and also reading
Teresa Filleman's (of the Southwest Bicycles Cycling Club)
response to it.
note: Regarding John's remarks about riding as far to the right
as possible, the word in the law is "practicable," not
"possible." Additionally, cyclists are not only legally permitted to
but are actually encouraged to take over a
traffic lane if it is too narrow to safely share with a motor vehicle.
Page 18 of the
Share the Road pamphlet
and the online
Bicycling Street Smarts
published by the Arizona Department of Transportation both point
out that riding to the right in a lane that is too narrow to share and
riding as far to the right as "possible," that is, hugging the
curb while cycling, are dangerous.]
I'm not certain that anything done by anyone on either side of
the issue is going to make any minds change. Hook, from his
remarks, seems to have encountered some bicyclists he felt were
where they shouldn't have been. His tone of voice and choice of
words were borderline derisive but given both his experience
(and lack thereof) I really can't blame him for being a tad
sarcastic, and given the open-mindedness of today's general
public I'd hardly expect anything different than what he served up.
I don't know where he was when he had his experience but I've
seen pack mentality exhibited by competitive cyclists for awhile, and there are plenty of examples of what's
automotive public happening every day.
Many of us have experienced aggressive cycling from the point of
view of the cyclist. I posit that it's easy to rationalize your
behavior as a cyclist from a cyclist's point of view, and it's
not always easy to understand how cycling is viewed from a point
of view other than that when your mind is conditioned in one
direction. I've watched for decades as packs of - and individual
- competitive cyclists (myself being one of them) put
themselves in harm's way by moving out from the right side of
the road, riding aggressively through intersections, and making
snap decisions which laws to obey...and which to ignore. This
happens both by choice and chance, but it's been clear to me
that the point of view of the motorist isn't the first consideration when your heart
and your speed - increase.
When I began competitively cycling, there was a distinct pattern
to competitive training rides. You rode as far to the right as
possible, with a constant echelon/rotation either to the right
or the left. There were never more than two lines of riders, one
moving forward and the other moving back and falling in behind.
The space between the handlebars of the riders moving in either
direction could be measured in inches. This practice was
observed even during the warm-up
miles. It served a few different purposes - it kept you
in tune to rotational etiquette, you weren't overworked, and it
kept the riders to the right side
no matter how many lanes were available.
And it wasn't until you got out to the wide open spaces then the
hammer was dropped. What occurs on Via Linda in midtown
Scottsdale on a regular basis - well, that wasn't done. Christ,
there's traffic in there,
did you want to get killed?
John Hook's not interested in riding a bicycle. He's interested
in hearing a cacophony of people who think bicyclists have
attitude problems and don't know their place on the road.
He - and they - aren't interested in what we're legally entitled
to, or why we wear what we wear.
just see us as a nuisance, and are going to cherry-pick problem
occurrences as long as they keep occurring.
Bike people need to work on the public relations angle in the
trenches. That means riding like they're serious about keeping
everyone on the road happy about everyone being on the road,
i.e. riding defensively.
Until the John Hooks of the world see that their minds won't
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