Arizona Road Cyclist News
J
ack Quinn, Editor

 © November 11, 2009

Published ever other Wednesday and sent out free of charge by E-mail.

In this issue:
     New Bike Route in Ahwatukee & Around S. Mountain
     Tour du Faso on Versus - November 15
     Heart of Arizona Wrap-up & Editorial Whining about Wickenburg Ticket Trap
     ABC's McDowell Mountain Century this Saturday
     GABA Tucson Bicycle Swap Meet this Saturday
     Cave Creek Bicycle Festival Saturday & Sunday
     El Tour de Tucson November 21
     Silent Sunday at South Mountain Park
     The Wheezers and ABC Thanksgiving Rides
     GABA's Toys for Tots Ride December 5
     Tour de Cookie -- Phoenix & Tucson
     About Arizona Road Cyclist News

New Bike Route in Ahwatukee & Around S. Mountain

The Arizona Bike Law Blog reports that those riding in Ahwatukee or around South Mountain through Ahwatukee now have a simpler route. The Blog also details some concerns for cyclists with the intersection of 40th Street and Pecos. To read the blog entries, click here

Tour du Faso on Versus - November 15

Mon Dieux ! Encore une course dans un pays francophone ! The Tour du Faso is one of Africa's leading professional cycling stage races and was held in early November. This year's winner was.... wait!.... perhaps you would rather not know who won, because Versus will transmit a one-hour summary of the race this Sunday, November 15 from 2 to 3 p.m. Arizona time. Versus is available as a premium channel on Cox and the Dish Network but is unfortunately no longer available on Direct TV. If your pay TV subscription includes Versus, set your video recorder now so that you don't miss the race. The next Versus transmission of professional bike racing will be Australia's Tour Down Under in January.

You don't know where Faso is? Faso or more properly Burkina Faso is a landlocked North African country and former French colony formerly known as Upper Volta.

Heart of Arizona Wrap-up & Editorial Whining about Wickenburg Ticket Trap

The 100-mile Heart of Arizona and its longer 120-mile brevet version was held on Sunday November 8, starting and ending in Congress, Arizona and traversing such Arizona hotspots as Hillside, Kirkland, Kirkland Junction and Yarnell. The brevet riders also got to visit the swinging hamlets of Bagdad and Wilhoit. Incidentally, "brevet" is a French word that means "certificate," and I assume the ride carries this name, because the riders must have their certificate or brevet signed at various checkpoints to prove that they completed the ride. A filled-out brevet can qualify a rider to participate in some of the ultra-marathon rides that are held around the world such as Paris-Brest-Paris.

As usual, riders faced a strong headwind on the final climb from Kirkland Junction to Yarnell before whizzing down Yarnell Hill and then pedaling the final few miles to the finish. The hamburgers, hot dogs and homemade Chili served at the finish line capped off a very difficult but also very satisfying ride.

If there is any slight criticism to level against the ride, other than the inevitable hills and wind, it is that the ride took place later in the season this year, and the cooler weather left some riders feeling a bit chilly at the highest altitudes as the wind whipped across sweat-soaked jerseys. However, the cooler weather was welcome on the long climbs, and luckily the temperatures were above average for that time of year.

If you are in good enough shape to ride 100 miles with a lot of long climbs, I suggest that you watch for this ride next year.

The Wickenburg Speed/Traffic-Circle Trap on the Drive Home

Unfortunately for me, I discovered on the drive back to Phoenix that in addition to  Wickenburg's reputation as a speed trap, the town has added a traffic-circle trap to its repertoire of methods of fleecing out-of-town drivers. There are two new traffic circles at either end of a new Wickenburg bypass, and Wickenburg Police are using them to clean up on tourists by writing phony traffic violations and then jawboning the victims into paying a stiff fee to attend traffic school and get the ticket dismissed instead of driving back out to Wickenburg at a later date to challenge the ticket in court.

I merged into traffic (safely, I believed) at the first traffic-circle on the way back to Phoenix, only to have an unmarked police accelerate toward me and turn on its flashing lights. The first words out of the officer's mouth were to ask me if I were eligible to attend traffic school and have the ticket dismissed. When I made the mistake of saying that I was, he wrote me a ticket citing a statute that does not apply traffic circles and suggested that I attend the school to avoid getting points on my driver's license.

The ticket was for failure to yield at an uncontrolled intersection, although that intersection is controlled and that statute therefore does not apply. Although the ticket is phony to anyone who examines it closely, the officer seemed to assume that I would not persue the issue and would happily pay more than $200 to enroll in traffic school and thereby contribute to the Town of Wickenburg's municipal budget.

I drove away, then doubled back to take some pictures of the intersection to bolster my case in court only to discover the cop pulling the same dishonest trick on another driver. At three to four drivers an hour at $200 a whack, that traffic circle must be contributing thousands of dollars a day to the Wickenburg coffers.

No, I'm not going to traffic school. I've already applied for a hearing date to argue my case in court, and I hope that anyone else who received a phony ticket in Wickenburg will do the same.

ABC's McDowell Mountain Century this Saturday

The Arizona Bicycle Club's annual McDowell Century takes place this Saturday, November 14 in Scottsdale, Rio Verde, and Fountain Hills. The ride starts at Serano Park, 56th Street and Sweetwater in Scottsdale. There are three versions of the ride: a 100-mile century, a 62-mile metric century, and a 30-mile half-metric century.

Members of ABC, GABA, and Bullshifters pay $35 for the event. Non-members pay $45. Tandems are $45 for members per bike and $60 for non-members. However, if you haven't registered yet, you need to add a $5 late fee for individual riders and a $15 late fee for tandems. The entry fee includes sag stops with lots of munchies and insurance. The first 130 riders will also receive ABC logo insulated Polar water bottles.

Check-in and late registration open onsite at 6:30 a.m. The century ride leaves at 7:30, and the metric and half-metric century rides leave at 8:00. (Cautious riders will sneak off a bit early and avoid the dangerous mass starts.)

To access the ride's Website and/or to register online, click here

GABA Tucson Bicycle Swap Meet his Saturday.

GABA Tucson is holding a swap meet for bicycle-related items on Saturday, November 14 on 4th Avenue between 6th Street and 9th Street in Tucson. The event is free for all. If you need more information, E-mail Greg Yares at bikeswap@bikegaba.org or call him at (520) 323-9020. Otherwise, just show up.

Cave Creek Bicycle Festival Saturday & Sunday

The Cave Creek Bicycle Festival takes place this weekend,  November 13, 14, and 15. As part of the festival, there will be road and mountain bike rides, music, free food for registrants, a beer garden, and a vendor fair. The mountain bike and road rides individually have an entry fee of $50 or you can register for both for $80 until October 31.

Anyone who is interested in participating can download a registration form or register online for an additional processing fee. After October 31, add a $15 late fee. The event organizers are also looking for volunteers. For more information, click here.

El Tour de Tucson November 21

The Tour de Tucson, often simply referred to as "The Tour," is an annual happening that attracts thousands of cyclists and whose fame has grown to almost mythical proportions. The ride is famous for its competitive nature and infamous for its frequent crashes and subsequent lawsuits. (Just because you sign a waver saying that you ride at your own risk does not necessarily mean that you can't sue someone if you crash.) The route features 102- 80- 67- and 35-mile variations for adults and a 4-mile and 1/4-mile fun ride for kids and their families.

This ride is not cheap. The entry fee for adults and teens is $70 plus a $15 contribution and  a registration processing fee of $45 for entries received after November 1. In other words, if you haven't yet registered, be ready to pony up 130 bucks in order to ride. For that fee, riders receive an event T-shirt, SAG stops, police support for the ride, first aid support for those riders who suffer accidents, and the right to brag all year long about completing "The Tour".

To visit the Tour's Web site, click here.

Silent Sunday at South Mountain Park

There are two Silent Sundays remaining at Phoenix's South Mountain Park in 2009. On Silent Sunday, the park is closed to motor traffic, leaving the roads open to hikers, skaters, and, of course, cyclists. The next Silent Sunday is November 22 and the final Silent Sunday of the year falls on December 20. 

The Wheezers and ABC Thanksgiving Rides

If you looking for a ride on Thanksgiving morning, both the Wheezers and Geezers and the Granada Park Chapter of the Arizona Bicycle Club will be riding. The Wheezers and Geezers is for cyclists who are able to rider at a moderate to fast pace and who are comfortable riding in a peloton and pace line. The group meets at 7:30 a.m. at the traffic circle at the intersection of Northern and Invergordon in Paradise Valley. The group also rides from the same location every Saturday morning at the same time with an optional start at the Camelback Inn at 7:15 a.m. The ride goes out to Hidden Hills in North Scottsdale and normally includes a stop for coffee and B.S. on the way back. This is a pick-up ride. There is no ride leader, no registration, and no fee. No one is in charge, so you ride on your own initiative and at your own risk. To access the Wheezers and Geezers Website, click here.

The Arizona Bicycle Club's Granada Park Chapter has a ride for everyone. The cyclists ride in five different speed groups. The club will meet at 7:30 a.m. at Granada Park, 20th Street and Maryland in Phoenix, on Thanksgiving morning. Thanksgiving's ride is to the Scrambles restaurant at 9832 N. 7th Street. The group also has a regular Sunday morning breakfast ride from the same place at the same time. If you are not an ABC member, you are invited to ride with the club once before joining. To access ABC's Website, click here.

GABA's Toys for Tots Ride December 5

The Greater Arizona Bicycling Associations Toys for Tots Ride takes place on December 5. As GABA explains it, "Two groups of cyclists begin the ride from different parks, leave at different times, and ride at different paces. Both groups meet at the same place, at nearly the same time, and share in the excitement generated by the reason for the ride...to bring toys to the Reid Park Zoo. The toys are then donated by the Marine's Toys for Tots program, to children right here in Tucson, who might not otherwise get a Christmas gift. This year, due to the current economic conditions, there will likely be many program shortfalls, and an even larger number of children in need."

In addition to being for a good cause, the ride sounds like loads of fun. To read more about the ride, click here and scroll about halfway down the page.

Tour de Cookie -- Phoenix & Tucson

This is a national fund-raising event for casual riders that takes place in many cities across the country including Phoenix on December 6 and Tucson on January 10. The Phoenix version will have a choice of a 26-mile and a 6-mile ride. Be prepared to consume more calories than you expend, however, because the ride includes 10 cookie stands hosted by local organizations. Riders are encouraged to purchase and eat as many cookies as possible. Every participant will receive a T-shirt and a medal, and prizes will be awarded to the top 3 male and female finishes based no only on their time but also on the number of cookies eaten.

Organizations can sponsor a cookie stand by baking 500 to 600 cookies to sell to the riders. As to the riders themselves, the entry fee is free for kids 12 and under and $40 for the rest of us. Riders can save a few bucks per person by registering teams of from 2 to 5. There is an additional processing fee if you register online, and, of course, you'll want to bring along a few buck to purchase cookies en route.

For more information, go to the event's main Web site by clicking here and then by clicking on the name of the city where you wish to ride.

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