Arizona Road Cyclist News

December 7, 2011

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

Arizona Road Cyclist News is normally published every other Wednesday and is available free of charge to anyone who wishes to read it. To sign up for an E-mail notifying you when each edition is available online or to modify or cancel your current subscription, click here. All E-mail addresses are kept on a secure server and are not shared with anyone. Should you later cancel that E-mail subscription, your information will be completely deleted.

If it seems that it has been a while since the last edition was published, it has been. Due to other activities, I did not get the issue out that should have been published two weeks ago. The weather was so nice that I spent a lot of time out on the bike, and when I got home, I was so relaxed that I only had energy to sit on the coach and sip a few malted beverages.

However, as I write this issue, I occasionally peer over the top of my computer monitor and out the window at the water dripping from the eves of my house during yet another drizzling rain. It’s good weather to stay inside and write.

In this issue:
     Two Cyclists Killed in Phoenix Traffic
     Hidden Hills Easement to Close
     Improving Your Cycling by Doing LSD
     NAMI Bikes Arizona Tour – December 10
     Toys for Tots Ride – December 11
     Arizona Bicycle Racing Association Meeting – December 12?
     Casa Grande Century – January 8
     Tour de Hero – January 28
     Feedback – Our Readers Respond
     About Arizona Road Cyclist News


Two Cyclists Killed in Phoenix Traffic

This fall, at least two cyclists have died in Phoenix traffic accidents. A 79-year-old man on a bicycle was killed on November 19 around 3:30 p.m. on Seventh Street, just south of East Cloud Road, which is a desert area about one mile north of the Carefree Highway.

According to press reports, the cyclist was crossing Seventh Street from east to west at about mid-block on his bike when he was struck by a southbound 2001 Honda station wagon driven by a 27-year-old man. I have not been able to find the identities of either person involved in the accident.

The other cyclist death occurred on October 25th on 59th Avenue and Latham Street south of I-10 when a cyclist was struck by a semi-truck, which left the scene of the accident. The truck was described as a tan Peterbilt with dark fenders that was towing a white trailer. It is not known if the truck driver knew that he struck the cyclist, who was described as a Hispanic male.

Hidden Hills Easement to Close

As mentioned in a bulletin that I sent out to subscribers in November, the City of Scottsdale Transportation Committee voted at its November meeting to “temporarily” suspend the cyclist easement in the community of Hidden Hills in North Scottsdale. The word “temporary” refers to the fact that it is the Committee’s intention that the easement be reopened when it becomes part of a cyclist connection between Scottsdale and the Town of Fountain Hills. As this was written, the cyclist easement had not yet been closed, but scuttlebutt has it that the closure will take place by the end of the year.

It is also unclear when the easement will reopen, but realistically, if it is ever reopened to cyclists, it will probably not be anytime soon. The City of Scottsdale, the Town of Fountain Hills, and MCO (the real-estate developer that owns the land in Fountain Hills) must coordinate. The connection could be built within a year; it could take five years; or it might never happen. The danger is that now that the Hidden Hills Homeowners’ Association is no longer pestering the Transportation Commission, the question of building the connection to Fountain Hills will no longer be a priority.

The existing easement in Fountain Hills does not quite align with the streets planned for the development. According to City of Scottsdale staff, MCO would prefer that the easement be redone so that it aligns with a planned street and avoids an existing power line (the power line is slated to be buried when the land is developed).

MCO’s hopes to develop its land in three to five years, a plan that could change depending upon market conditions. It is my hope (perhaps an unrealistic hope) that a cyclist connection to Fountain Hills can be built much sooner Some of the Commission members, notably Chairman Josh Weiss, also expressed the hope that the connection be completed as expeditiously as possible. On the other hand, Commissioner Steven Olmsted seemed to feel that the City could better use its resources on other projects and that the cycling connection might not be such a high priority.

Incidentally, the motion passed by the Transportation Committee to temporarily suspend the easement was made contingent upon an agreement in writing by the Hidden Hills Homeowners’ Association’s to actively support reopening the easement when the Transportation Commission decides to do so. The Homeowners’ Association is supposed to also place a sign outside the community’s gates notifying prospective home buyers that the cyclist easement exists and is expected to reopen at some future date so that future homeowners would not be able to claim that they had no idea when they bought their homes that they would someday have to share their main street with cyclists.

The subject of completing the connection is scheduled to be discussed again at the meeting of the Transportation Committee at 5 p.m. in Kiva City Hall on the third Thursday in January. At that time City staff is expected to report back with further information, and Chairman Josh Weiss, acknowledging that the staff has other duties and therefore limited time to devote to this issue, expressed the expectation that cyclists work with City staff to come up with some creative ideas to get the connection to completed.

As I have in the past, I would like to thank cyclists James Winebrenner of Bicyle Haus Racing, Phil Wilson of the Phoenix Consumer Cycling Club, and Preston Miller of Tri Scottsdale for their work on this issue. It was James who discovered that the City of Scottsdale already owns an easement in Fountain Hills that could be used to complete the bicycle connection, and Phil wrote an extensive argument in opposition to closing the easement. Both plan to continue working with the City of Scottsdale to get the easement reopened as soon as possible.

Until the easement is closed, James, Phil, Preston and I request that all cyclists who use it show respect for the homeowners by not exceeding the 20-mile-per-hour speed limit, by not tailgating motor vehicles, by not riding on the sidewalks, and by not entering any street other than 145th Way, which is the street that leads to the top of the hill.

Incidentally, for those with nothing better to do, you can view and listen to the audio-video recording of the last meeting on the City of Scottsdale’s Website if you have Microsoft’s Silverlight installed on your computer. To view the video, click here. For those who prefer a short read, the Arizona Republic’s article on the meeting can be viewed on the newspaper’s AZcentral Website by clicking here.

Improving Your Cycling by Doing LSD

Before you start licking postage stamps or sucking on sugar cubes or chewing blotting paper that has been spiked with some sort of funny chemical, I should tell you that when it comes to cycling, LSD does not stand for lysergic acid but rather for “long, slow distance” and refers to a cycling technique to improve conditioning. It should be more accurately termed “long medium distance,” but I suppose LMD doesn’t quite have the same cachet.

Bicycle racers have long known that after a layoff, the first step in getting back in shape involves going out on the bike every day and riding about 60 miles at a moderate pace. This is known as base conditioning. After a month or so of these long rides, the racer begins adding interval training and speed work to the ride. During the winter lay-off, racers have also traditionally done lots of LSD to maintain and even improve aerobic conditioning.

An article in the December 2011 issue of VeloNews (p. 68f) updated what many cyclists already knew about base conditioning. The article divides improving the body’s VO2 max (its ability to process oxygen) into two components: central conditioning and peripheral conditioning. Central conditioning determines the heart’s ability to pump oxygen-rich blood to the muscles, and peripheral conditioning determines “the muscle cells’ ability to take up and use that oxygen.” The article states that central conditioning “accounts for up to 80 percent of the improvements in a trained cyclist’s VO2 max."

VeloNews further divides central conditioning into two components: stroke volume and maximum heart rate. Maximum heart rate is, of course, the fastest that a person’s heart can beat. Stroke volume is the amount of blood that the heart can pump with each beat and is determined by the size and strength of the left ventricle, both of which can be increased by training.

Although the article states that there is not much a cyclist can do to increase maximum heart rate, some medical professionals maintain that it can be improved. On the Website, Gabe Mirkin, M.D. writes that leg muscles squeeze their blood vessels to pump blood from the leg veins toward the heart. The more developed a person’s leg muscles are, the more they take over some of the work of pumping blood, permitting the more-lightly-loaded heart to pump faster. If this is true, it suggests that cyclists CAN raise their maximum heart rate as cycling builds up their leg muscles. (The article can be read by clicking here.)

The VeloNews article does not discuss how to determine maximum heart rate, so I will. There is a popular misconception that maximum heart rate can be calculated, and the most-cited formula for doing so is maximum heart rate = 222 – the person’s age. This formula is phony! It was popularized when it was included in the instruction books that accompany the Polar line of heart-rate monitors. Maximum heart rate does tend to decrease with age, although not usually as quickly as this formula would indicate, but every individual is different. Your maximum heart rate is probably very different than that of a given fellow rider of your age. Just as people of the same age have different heights, weights, strengths, intelligence, etc, they also have different maximum heart rates. (To read an interesting New York Times article on the subject of maximum heart rate, click here.)

Medical experts recommend that, for safety’s sake, maximum heart rate be determined by having a cardiologist perform a stress test. In theory, a cyclist could determine maximum heart rate by wearing a heart-rate monitor and exercising at maximum effort after a suitable warm-up, but some doctors warn that the athlete may have a heart irregularity that only shows up when the heart is stressed and which could prove dangerous or even fatal if the test is not medically supervised. Any cyclist who has been racing has probably already pushed his or her heat rate to the maximum many times, so I believe that this concern should be directed mainly to the person who is out of shape and beginning an exercise program.

Once the cyclist's maximum heart rate has been determined, the VeloNews article says that the cyclist should spend about 80% of riding time with the heart beating at about 65 to 70 percent of maximum. Even new riders should get in several three-hour or longer rides a week under these conditions. For most people, who work for a living, that means doing long rides on Saturday and Sunday with a rest day on Monday to recover. The article also says that core conditioning takes up to ten years to peak, so if you are not in the shape you would like to be in during your first year of hard cycling, don't get discouraged. You may get much better even as you age.


NAMI Bikes Arizona Tour -- December 10

This ride is a fund-raiser for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) that starts and ends at Veterans’ Park in Sierra Vista with 35-, 67-, and 100-mile options. Riders pay a registration fee of $35 and are also expected to raise donations. The longer routes include such historic Southern Arizona towns as Tombstone, Benson, and Bisbee. The century ride starts at 7:30 a.m., the 67-mile ride at 9 a.m. and the 35-mile ride at 10:00 a.m.

To connect to the homepage of the ride’s Website, click here.

Toys for Tots Ride -- December 11

Lush Burger is going to host a Breakfast Ride on Sunday, December 11th to benefit Toys For Tots. We are inviting all of the local clubs in an effort to collect a great number of toys for kids in need this season. I would like your help in getting the word out to your members. It is open to all comers.


LUSH BURGER, 18251 N Pima Rd, Scottsdale, 85255 (Pima and The 101)

Sunday Dec 11th

Wheels Down at 7:30

Route TBD figure 35-45 miles out and back so people can choose their distance, and still make it back for breakfast (7 Springs??)

BREAKFAST...Lush will provide a breakfast buffet with eggs, bacon, pancakes, fruit and more. We will also have complementary mimosas and bloody marys for those interested (if you made it to the first one you know that chef Chuck is not messing around)

PLEASE BRING 1 new, unwrapped toy for us to donate to TOYS FOR TOTS...The Club with the most toys wins a meeting hosted by LUSH with free apps and beers!

Please RSVP so that we know how many rides/eaters we will have.

This could be really a really special ride, and obviously it will be really special for the kids that we help out so come on out and represent your club!

Please contact me with any questions. I am working on some other things to make the ride an exceptional experience, so if you have any ideas please feel free to let me know.


Michael Nemeth



Abby Luedecke

Triathlon Coordinator

Village Health Clubs

480-502-8844 ext 257

480-612-5232 cell

Arizona Bicycle Racing Association Meeting – December 12?

The annual meeting of the Arizona Bicycle Racing Association (ABRA) is scheduled to take place next Monday December 12 at noon at the Holiday Inn, 777 North Pinal Avenue in Casa Grande. (The reason I have a question mark after the date above is because this meeting generally takes place on a weekend, and I wonder if the Monday date is an error.) All racing clubs are expected to send a representative to discuss the 2012 racing schedule and junior incentive checks.

Many races are already on the 2012 tentative calendar, which has not yet been published. The University of Arizona Criterium is scheduled for January 21 (the second one is on the calendar for February 26), and the first of two Avondale Criteriums is scheduled for January 22. The McDowell Mountain Park Circuit Race is to take place on February 4 with the Valley of the Sun Stage Race to follow in February 10, 11, and 12. The State Road Race Championship Races are not yet on the calendar (there are two competing offers from clubs to put on this race), but the State Criterium Championships are to take place on the weekend of April 28 and 29. The State Track Championships will take place on July 14 and 15 (presumably on the track in Balboa Park in San Diego). The Team and Tandem Time Trial Championships will take place on September 9, followed by the Individual Time Trial Championships on September 23.


Casa Grande Century -- January 8

The Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club is already gearing up for the Casa Grande Century ride, an event that it promotes every year. There will be a 100-mile full century, a 62-mile (100-kilometer) metric century, and a 34-mile option. All three options are mainly flat.

All three rides start and finish at the Safeway store at 4970 South Alma School Road in Chandler. Registration is from 8 to 9:30 a.m. Riders may leave as soon as they check in. Sensibly, there is no mass start.

The ride fee is a reasonable $20 for the century and metric century for members of the Phoenix Metro Bike Club, the Greater Arizona Bicycle Association, and the Arizona Bike Club who pre-register by New Year’s Day. Non-members will pay an extra $10. The fee includes SAG support and lunch in Casa Grande. Those registering after New Year’s Day should add another $10 to the fee.

The 34-mile ride, which does not include lunch, costs $15 for members of the three bike clubs and $20 for non-members until January 1. After that date, the fee goes up by $10 for both groups.

Online registration (with a possible extra fee) is available, or you can download and print out a mail-in registration and release form in PDF format by clicking the appropriate link on the ride’s Website. You can view that Website by clicking here.

However, you may want to read the release carefully before signing it. It seems to have been written many years ago by a lawyer gone berserk. It goes far beyond releasing the ride organizers from responsibility it you are injured on the ride. You also release anyone associated with the ride from any responsibility for almost anything they might do to you at any time in the future. You even forfeit all claims against the “League of American Wheelmen.” (How many years has it been since that organization’s name was changed to the League of American Bicyclists?)

I suspect that the PMBC release was copied verbatim from an old League of American Bicyclist document, and I respectfully suggest that PMBC should consider writing its own release with more reasonable and understandable language for future rides.

Tour de Hero – January 28

The Tour de Hero is an annual ride whose purpose is to raise awareness of the Arizona blood donor program. Riders are encouraged to recruit people to donate blood at a United Blood Services center between November 1 and January 14.

The ride starts and ends at the United Blood Services Headquarters at 6220 East Oak Street in Scottsdale. There are two ride options: a 62-mile metric century and a 31-mile half metric century. The first ride starts at 8:30 a.m. and the second starts at 10 a.m. There will be a complementary lunch after the rides from 1 to 3 p.m. courtesy of Papa John’s.

Online registration is available until January 14. The cost of the ride depends on the number of blood donors that the rider recruited. The base cost is $50 but drops to $40 for those who recruit from one to three blood donors, $25 fro those recruiting from four to seven donors. Riders who recruit eight or more donors ride for free, and early registrants who recruit 15 or more donors receive the free United Blood Services T-shirt.

To connect to the Tour de Hero page on the United Blood Services Website, click here.

Feedback -- Our Readers Respond

Hey Jack,

I apologize if I've gone through this with you before. Regarding wrong-way cyclists in the city (as opposed to rural), I think it's very enlightening to look at the Phoenix Bike Collision Summary, which I have tabularized here:

There are few wrong-way-in-the-road crashes (looks like only 10% of total). However, there are a huge number of wrong-way on the sidewalk, i.e. at driveways, or crosswalks, i.e. they had been riding on the sidewalk just prior to the collision (it's a little more than HALF of all collisions!)

Here's the rub: it is NOT illegal to ride either direction (in Phoenix) on the sidewalk, or through the crosswalk. (maybe it should be; I don't know. I'm somewhat conflicted). By contrast, as you may know, it is expressly illegal to ride the wrong way on sidewalks in Tempe.

By encouraging or insisting that police must "crack down" on "wrong-way" cyclists, you end up having police issuing bogus tickets to sidewalk cyclists (usually ones involved in collisions) -- apparently, if you can believe it, the cops ticket bicyclists for violation of 28-815A in this situation. And even more incredibly, motorists involved in these collisions generally do not get faulted or ticketed despite their having just rolled out at a stop sign or right-on-red (that's the predominant mode of collision, motorists at stop signs or driveways or red lighst don't bother to look both ways; they only look towards the direction that traffic is expected to come from).

There is a certain group of cyclists that is very happy to ride on the sidewalk, veeery slowly, and therefore are probably reasonably safe -- that's why I say I'm conflicted about, say, simply outlawing it.... it would give motorists yet another reason to not look both ways, and get away with it (although they generally usually do now).

Ed Beighe

Your comments are always interesting, Ed.

My wish is for police to crack down on cyclists riding the wrong way on the roadway, because they are a danger to other cyclists and their dangerous behavior is clearly illegal. I was told that on the Thanksgiving Day ride to South Mountain, several cyclists crashed and two were injured (I have the story second hand, so I'm not sure of the details) when they swerved to avoid a cyclists coming at them head-on on the wrong side of the street. The police were called but didn’t show up.

I once crashed head-on into a wrong-way cyclist just after making a right turn from one residential street to another. (The other rider was hugging the curb and was obscured to my view by a large oleander bush.) Fortunately, neither of us had injuries any more serious than a few scrapes and bruises, although I believe I did enrich the other cyclist’s vocabulary.

It is very true that many casual bicycle riders are not aware of how dangerous it can be to ride on the sidewalk, especially on the left side of the street, where every driveway and intersection offers a potential for a collision with a motor vehicle. However, those riders are mainly a danger to themselves and not to others, unlike bicyclists who ride against traffic on the roadway.

I sometimes ride on the sidewalk against traffic for a short distance and slowly when someone behind me in the cycling group has a mechanical and I want to double back to help. However, I am aware of the danger and come to a complete stop and wait if I approach an intersection where a car is about to pull out. -- Jack Q.

Hi, Jack!

This has been a long time in coming, but I just wanted to "thank you" for getting the word out in your newsletter about "The 100- A ride for Jim Stenholm". I believe EVERYONE (minus the police escort who "crashed" early on) had a great time! It was a good turnout, good ride and I attribute that to you and AZ. Road Cyclist.

Just like you and apparently MANY others, I knew nothing about the McDowell Mountain Century either. If you get any further information about why the ride was "cancelled" this year, could you mention it in a future newsletter? Another "mystery" is whatever happened to the annual "Laveen Country Challenge" normally held in February? I don't believe it happened this year. Might you know why?

If I could ask another favor: Even though it's still a few months away, the 3rd. annual "Tour de Hero" will be taking place in Scottsdale on January 28th., 2012. I have attached to this email the "flyer" for the ride. If you could mention this in an upcoming newsletter, I would greatly appreciate it! I'm a BIG supporter of this event just like I am for "The 100-A ride for Jim Stenholm". "Incentives" (reduced registration, etc.) are offered for those who "donate/recruit" blood donors from November 1st. - January 14th.. "Donating" is NOT a requirement however. For more information or questions, the marketing/P.R. director at United Blood Services is a lady by the name of Sue Thew. She's a nice lady. She can be contacted by telephone at (480) 675-5454 or email at

Anyway, it's time to go. My wife (who's also a "cyclist") & I are planning on riding from here to Tucson next week to attend but not participate in the "El Tour de Tucson". A few of the people we normally ride with ARE participating in the event, so we're going down there just to offer our "support".

Have a great night, and "thank you" again! We LOVE the newsletter! Keep up the GREAT work!

Dave McMeechan

Thanks for the feedback, Dave, and I hope that you and your wife had an enjoyable time on your ride to Tucson. The Tour de Hero information is included in this issue above. As to the McDowell Mountain Century, it is my understanding that the organizers started planning too late to get everything done. I don’t know what happened to the Laveen Country Challenge. Perhaps a reader will write in with an explanation.

A ride that I miss is the Palo Verde Century, which took place the West Valley on mainly rural roads. Perhaps someone will take the hint and put it on this spring. –Jack Q

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