Arizona Road Cyclist News

February 1, 2012

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

Arizona Road Cyclist News is supposedly published every other Wednesday (although the schedule is rarely kept) and is available free of charge to anyone who wishes to read it. To sign up for an E-mail notifying you when the latest edition has been uploaded to the Website 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.

In the following text, words and phrases that are both in boldface and underlined are hyperlinks that you can click for more information on external Websites.

In this issue:
     Cyclist Stop Signs as Yield Signs Redux
     Cyclist Killed in Traffic, Another Seriously Injured
     McDowell Mountain Park Circuit Race – February 4
     Flapjack Flats Time Trial – February 5
     Valley of the Sun Stage Race – February 10, 11, & 12
     Picacho Century – February 12
     NYM Phoenix
à Tucson Tour – February 17 to 20
     Sun Devil Criterium – February 19
     South Mountain Silent Sunday – February 26
     Avondale Criterium #2 – February 26
     Tucson Bicycle Classic Stage Race – March 2 to 4
     Mining Country Challenge – March 10
     Cyclovia Tucson – March 18
     Tour de Cure – March 24
     Sonoita-Bisbee Spring Bike Tour – March 24 & 25
     ABC Granada Park Chapter Breakfast Ride Destinations
     Feedback – Our Readers Respond
    About Arizona Road Cyclist News

 

Cyclist Stop Signs as Yield Signs Redux

As happens every year, a bill to permit Arizona cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs has been introduced in the House of Representatives of the Arizona State Legislature. The past two years, the bill was defeated in its first committee hearing on a straight party-line vote, with all Democrats voting in favor of the bill and all Republicans voting to kill it. This year the bill got a more-promising start. On January 26 it passed the Transportation Committee with a 6-to-2 vote.

House Bill (HB) 2211 would amend Section C of Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 28-855 to read as follows. The text if blue would be added to the statute, and the text in red would be deleted.

The driver of a vehicle approaching a yield sign and any person who is at least sixteen years of age and who is 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.

The bill is still a long way from becoming law. It must still pass through two more committees (the Military and Public Safety or MAPS Committee, which meets today although this bill is not on the agenda, and the Rules Committee, which met January 30 without considering this bill. Assuming it makes it through the committee process, it must be approved by the full House and then go over to the Senate, where the process starts all over. If it then makes it through the senate unaltered, the governor must sign it before it becomes law. I would say that given the lack of knowledge about cycling among our politicians, the chances of the bill's making it through this torturous process are slim, but the fact that it has made it through one committee and the fact that it received some Republican votes in that committee gives me hope.

The Rules Committee is supposed to review all bills to ensure their language is constitutional and then pass them on to the full House. Unfortunately, the chair of the Rules Committee can sit on a bill and through inaction stop it from progressing. The chair is Republican Representative Jerry Weiers of Glendale, who is also one of the two representatives who voted against the bill in the Transportation Committee. That is not a good omen for the bill’s success.

Politics aside, the argument for allowing cyclists to treat stop signs as if they were yield signs is that it improves safety. Most cyclists are clipped into their pedals, and most cyclists are not able to come to a complete stop without unclipping one foot and putting it on the ground. When it's the cyclist's turn to go through the intersection, the cyclist must put that foot back on the pedal, clip in, and accelerate through the intersection. It takes a cyclist much longer than a motor vehicle to accelerate from a dead stop and clear the intersection. A cyclist who is permitted to maintain some momentum can clear that intersection much more quickly than a cyclist who comes to a dead stop.

There are three arguments against this proposal. The first comes from people who do not understand and who often do not want cyclists to be on the road. They view this bill as a request for special privileges from a group of elitists in Spandex who they believe should be riding on the sidewalks or sitting at home watching TV.

The second two arguments come from a minority of cyclists who either believe that cyclists and motorists should obey the same rules under all circumstances or who think that the law would increase motorist anger against cyclists.

Let's first consider the argument that motorists and cyclists should obey the same rules of the road under all circumstances. This argument was popularized by John Forester, the author of a book entitled Effective Cycling, a book that I recommend, to novice cyclists and to anyone interested in bicycle touring. While generally true, this argument can be carried to extremes. Motor vehicles are much more powerful, heavier, and faster than bicycles, and there are circumstances under which it is better for the two to obey different rules. For example, generally speaking, when a bicycle is traveling more slowly than the speed of traffic, the cyclist is required to ride as far to the right as practicable (there are exceptions). Cyclists are not permitted to use the HOV lanes of freeways. I also contend that because motor vehicles are able to accelerate much more quickly from a dead stop, a law that would permit cyclists to retain some momentum when entering an intersection after making sure that the coast is clear would make sense.

The second group of cyclists opposes allowing cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs contending that it will just give motorists another excuse to be angry at us and put us in danger. Fortunately, we don't have to speculate on the effects of the law. For decades, Idaho has not only permitted cyclists to treat stop signs as yield signs, it has also permitted them to treat red lights as stop signs. In other words, in Iowa a cyclist is permitted to ride through a red traffic light after coming to a complete stop and ascertaining that there is no traffic approaching on the cross street. Is the relationship between cyclists and motorists perfect in Idaho? Of course it isn’t. However, there is no evidence that these special rules for cyclists have made the relationship any worse, and studies have shown that the exceptions have no negative effect on cyclist safety.

House Bill (HB) 2211 has its own Web page on the Arizona Legislature's Website. If you would like to follow the bill's progress through the legislative process, you can do so by clicking here.

 

Cyclist Killed in Traffic. Another Seriously Injured

A car hit and killed a cyclist on the evening of January 21 near Alma School and Guadalupe roads in Mesa. Daniel Everlov, 32, was struck by a 1991 Nissan Pathfinder while attempting to ride his bike across Alma School Road, reportedly against a red light. Mr. Everlove was pronounced dead at the scene.

Another cyclist was struck by an automobile and seriously injured on the afternoon of January 13 near Via de Ventura and Pima Road in Scottsdale. The cyclists was reported to be crossing Via de Ventura southbound at approximately 3 p.m. when he was struck by a Chevrolet SUV, which left the scene but then returned whereupon the driver was retained by Scottsdale police who reported that alcohol may have been a factor in the collision.

 

McDowell Mountain Park Circuit Race – February 4

The 11th Annual McDowell Mountain Regional Park Circuit Race takes place this Saturday. As the race’s name implies, it will take place in McDowell Mountain Park. The race is organized by the team that I am racing for this year, Team Green Choice/Team RPM/Airpark Bikes. I have been informed by race promoter, Larry McCormick, that I WILL race or else, and having heard stories of Larry’s temper, I have decided not to find out what “or else” means. I plan to be out on the course mixing it up with the other racers in the 70+ age group.

A circuit race takes place on a closed course that is longer than a criterium course, in this case a 1.6-mile oval with two sharp right turns and several “rollers,” a term bike racers use for a series of very short climbs and descents. The rollers should help break-away groups to form and make for an exciting race for riders and spectators. Because the riders pass by frequently, this should be a great race to watch.

The entry fee for all adult riders is $30 for the first race and $10 for each additional race. Juniors race for free. Riders may register online by clicking here (then click the green “Register Now” button at the upper right of the screen) or by mailing a standard USA Cycling release form with the entry fee to Team RPM, PO Box 2215, Scottsdale, AZ 85252-2215. Riders and spectators will also have to pay the park entry fee.

The race’s brochure in PDF format can be viewed by clicking here.

Incidentally, if you register on active.com, pay no attention to the map on that site. The true location of the race is about four miles north of Fountain Hills on McDowell Mountain Road. The racecourse is at the north end of the park about five miles from the entrance. You can find the course on Google Maps.

(*The RPM in Team RPM stands for Reata Pass Masters.)

Flapjack Flats Time Trial – February 5

The Flapjack Flats Time Trial will be held on a 30-kilometer out-and-back course on Park Link Drive, which connects the I-10 Frontage Road near exit 226 to US-79. Riders will depart in the order they register for the event with the first rider starting at 9 a.m. (I have already registered.)

Organizers promise smooth pavement and low traffic volume on a course with a slight elevation gain on the outbound leg, which should make for high speeds on the return ride.

There are categories for all age groups plus a tandem and "Merckx" open category for riders who what to ride traditional road bikes with no aero equipment. The registration fee is $20 for adult riders, $5 for juniors, and $30 for tandems. Riders can register online or in person at Miles Ahead Cyclery in Tucson. There are no prizes other than bragging rights for doing well in this race, but riders will be fed flapjacks after the race. (Does that explain why I want to participate?)

For more information, click here or to register online, click here.

Valley of the Sun Stage Race – February 10, 11, & 12

The annual Valley of the Sun Stage Race, known simply as VOS to its aficionados, is one of Arizona's major bicycle-racing events, which attracts riders from all over the Southwest and even riders from the chilly Northeast who jump at a chance to race in the sun this early in the year.

This year VOS takes place on the weekend of February 10 through 12 with three stages at three different locations in the Phoenix area. The race is held in honor of the late John Earley, a friend of mine and a fellow bike racer in the years when we used to compete against each other in the 35+ age category and then drink beer together after the race. John was a good friend, and I miss him.

Racing action begins on February 10 with a time trial starting at Sun Valley Parkway near exit 109 of I-10, about 50 miles west of Phoenix. The road race takes place on February 11 with the start about 50 miles south of Tempe near exit 185 of I-10. The race finishes on February 12 with a criterium in downtown Phoenix near Third Avenue and Washington.

The criterium course looks especially interesting. To see it mapped, click here. The course is laid out on wide streets in downtown Phoenix and has ten 90-degree turns. One of the turns may be the best place to watch the race, especially if you object to the deafening music that is usually played at the start-finish line at Arizona Criteriums. (Why is music volume at bicycle races inversely proportional to the music’s quality?)

Entry fees are $50 for juniors and from $90 to $100 for adult categories. For more information about VOS and for links to both the race brochure and online registration, click here.

Picacho Century – February 12

The Tucson-based Greater Arizona Bicycle Club.(GABA) has come up with a new course for its Picacho Century ride, which also includes 63- and 40-mile options. GABA promises that this year’s route will be a delight to cycle.

The 100-mile ride will begin at the Fry’s parking lot at Cortaro and Silverbell in Tucson, whereas the two shorter rides will start at Ora Mae Harn Park at the Marana Municipal Center in the town of Marana.

The cost of the ride, which includes SAG stops and a SAG lunch, is very inexpensive at $15 for GABA and Arizona Bike Club members who pre-register. Others pay $25. For day-of-ride registrations, add $10 to those fees. At these prices, many Phoenix riders may want to drive (or cycle?) to Tucson for the ride.

To visit the ride’s Website, which has a link to online registration, click here. Online registration is $25 except for GABA members, who can log on to receive their discount. ABC members who want the member discount or others who do not want to register online can print download and print a registration form and release in PDF format. To avoid the $10 late fee, mail-in registrations must be postmarked by February 8, which is also the deadline for online registration.

NYM Phoenix à Tucson Tour – February 17 to 20

Not Your Mom (NYM) is a chapter of the Arizona Bicycle Club that organizes cycling tours throughout the year. Most of the tours are self-contained and involve camping out. Riders are expected to be self-reliant, and hence the group’s name: The tour organizers are “not your mom!”

The group does an annual tour from Phoenix to Tucson and return over four days. Originally, this tour was also self-contained, but it has evolved into a SAGed ride with an easy (for cyclists not carrying their gear on their bikes) 60 miles a day. Riders are expected to take turns driving the SAG wagon. Riders are responsible for their own eating and sleeping arrangements, which for most riders will involve making motel reservations in advance.

This year the ride’s first day takes cyclists from Scottsdale to Casa Grande, and the second day’s ride parallels I-10 to Tucson. The third day takes riders along highway 79 from Tucson to Florence, and on the final day riders will pedal along a zig-zag route from Florence back to Scottsdale.

If you think you’re up to this type of riding, connect to the ride’s Website by clicking here.

Sun Devil Criterium – February 19

As this was written, I could not yet find any information on this race on the Web. However, this criterium is put on every year by the Arizona State University cycling club and takes place in Tempe near ASU. Let’s hope that details about the race are available when the next edition of Arizona Road Cycling News is published in two weeks.

South Mountain Silent Sunday – February 26

On the fourth Sunday of every month, the City of Phoenix closes the main section of South Mountain Park to motorized traffic from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. and turns the park over to non-motorized users such as cyclists, skaters, strollers, and runners. The program has been extended to North Mountain Park, where Silent Sunday takes place on the second Sunday of each month.

Silent Sundays have become popular among those cyclists who might not want to compete with motorized traffic while pedaling to the summit of South Mountain. Serious cyclists are advised to ride the mountain early, as some of the cyclists and skateboarders who descend the mountain later in the day don’t always stay on their side of the road, especially when rounding blind corners.

To connect to the Silent Sunday Website for more information, click here.

Avondale Criterium #2 – February 26

This is the second in a series of criteriums put on in Avondale by the Carlos Obrien’s/Tribe racing team. The first one was held in January. Although I could not find a Web site specific to the second race, the brochure from the first race is still online in PDF format and can be viewed by clicking here. I assume that most of the information is unchanged. I also assume that updated information about the second race will be available soon.

Registration is already available on Bikereg.com. Despite that fact that racing goes on from 7:30 a.m. until about 4:30 p.m., the number of categories to be raced is limited. (It’s difficult to work in a race for everyone at a criterium.)

To register for the race, click here. Registration is $3 for juniors, $25 for most adult categories, $30 for category 2 through 5 men and for masters men in the 30+ and 40+ age groups, and $35 for category 1 and 2 men.

Tucson Bicycle Classic Stage Race – March 2 to 4

The Tucson Bicycle Classic is a three-event, three-day stage race held in and around Tucson. TriSports, the promoter, bills the race as “Southern Arizona’s premier three-day USA Cycling stage race.” The folks who put on la Vuelta de Bisbee might dispute that, but I will go along with the Tucson people. For one thing, the Tucson race includes a large number of categories for both men and women, from 10-year-old juniors to a 65+ age group for women and a 75+ age group for men. There are few stage races that offer categories other than time trials for us older folks, and I tip my hat to TriSports for including us.

The first stage is the Old Tucson/McCain Loop Time Trial on March 2. The course is a short 3.2 miles but includes rollers, a 5% climb, and a 6% climb to the finish.

The second stage is the Garrett Lemire Memorial Road Race on March 3. This stage is on a 20-mile loop that the race bible says has about 1,000 feet of climbing plus rollers and one rapid descent. The start and finish lines are near exit 63 of I-19 south of Tucson. Most racers will do two laps. Women’s categories 1 through 3 and pros will do three laps as will most men’s categories under 55 years of age. Men’s pro, category 1, and category 2 riders will do 4 laps, and juniors in the 10- to 12-year-old group will do six tenths of a lap. There are time bonuses for the first 3 finishers in each race.

The race finishes on March 4 with a circuit race on a 5.6-mile loop in Tucson. Different categories will ride different numbers of circuits around the loop from 2 laps for the 10 to 12 year olds to 9 laps for the men’s pro and category 1 race.

Entry fees vary from $30 for the 10-to-12-year-old juniors to $85 for the men’s pro and category 1 race. Riders are required to pre-register. A late fee of $10 for juniors and $15 for others will be added for entries postmarked after February 17.

For more information (and there is a lot of it available), click here.

Mining Country Challenge – March 10

The Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club’s annual Mining Country Challenge vies with the Bullshifter’s Heart of Arizona for the title of Arizona’s most-challenging century ride. It is modeled on the now-defunct Mining Country bicycle race, except instead of having a bit over four hours to complete the route, as the racers did, Challenge riders most of the day to complete the event.

There are two options: 66 miles and 96 miles. Both start and end in Superior. (the Mining Country race used to start and end in Miami.) Neither route is for wussies!

The 66-mile route takes riders from Superior over the God-awful hill that cyclists have dubbed “End of the World” and down into the turnaround point in Winkleman. On the return route, cyclists will struggle up Ray Mine Hill before seeing the west side of End of the World soaring up into the sky ahead of them. It looks impossible to get over, and some cyclists will indeed get off their bikes and walk over it. Luckily, from the top of the climb it’s a downhill coast back to Superior.

The 96-mile route is a loop. The good news is that riders on this route only have to cross End of the World once. The bad news is that there are two other tough climbs, Top of the World (misnamed “Top of the Hill” on PMBC’s Website) and El Capitán. Riders begin climbing right from the start, up through Queen Creek tunnel and then over Top of the World. This is the hairiest part of the ride, because in places the road is narrow with no shoulder, and many of the drivers on this route consider it a challenge to take the curves at top speed.

From Top of the World, there is a rolling descent into Miami and a ride through urban traffic to the adjoining city of Globe. Then the route turns right and ascends El Capitán. From the top of this climb, it’s a pleasant descent into the town of Winkleman and lunch. After leaving Winkleman, riders will, of course, have to climb the End of the World before descending back into Superior.

On the plus side, this challenging ride will give anyone who completes it a tremendous feeling of accomplishment. On the downside, many cyclists who do the long route find the high-speed and dense weekend traffic on the narrow sections of road on the climb from Superior to Miami to be nerve-wracking. In addition, this area of Arizona has a reputation of being redneck country where cyclists are not always looked upon kindly. Be prepared for a few pickup trucks buzzing by as close as possible at high speed.

If after reading this write-up, if you’re still macho enough to do the ride, you can get more information by clicking here.

Cyclovia Tucson – March 18

According to the Cyclovia Website, “Cyclovia Tucson is an annual car-free event that opens selected streets to people so that they can walk, skate, run, bicycle, and socialize with their neighbors. It’s a free event, open to the public, and fun for people of all ages.”

Cyclovia takes place on March 18 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. starting in downtown Tucson and making a five-mile loop to the south. In honor of the event, the Pima County Board of Supervisors has proclaimed the week of March 21 to March 27 to be Cyclovia Tucson Week.

Of course, a five-mile bike ride may be very short for most of the readers of this newsletter, but this could be a great opportunity to get the younger kids out on their bikes on a route closed to traffic, and if you think the route is too short to bike, how about strapping on some skates to do the route or why not walk it?

For more information about this free event, including a route map and the opportunity to purchase a Cyclovia Tucson T-shirt, click here.

Tour de Cure – March 24

The Tour de Cure is an annual ride to raise funds to fight diabetes. The ride is held in cities throughout the USA. Riders are expected to raise money through donations and pledges.

This year’s Phoenix-area event offers rides of four different lengths: 80 miles, a 62-mile metric century, a 34-mile scenic route, and an 8-mile family fun ride. All routes are to be fully SAGed, and a party with lunch and entertainment is promised after the ride. It sounds like great fun.

To view the ride’s Website, click here.

Sonoita-Bisbee Spring Bike Tour – March 24 & 25

The Tucson-based Greater Arizona Bicycling Association’s (GABA) annual Sonoita-Bisbee bicycling tour is one of the most delightful bike trips in Arizona, passing through the rolling high-desert country of Southern Arizona with a stop in the historic tourist trap town of Tombstone thrown in for good measure. Of course, what is a delightful ride to a conditioned cyclist can be pure torture to someone who is out of shape. Be aware that this tour involves significant climbing.

Cycling starts on the morning of March 24 in the town of Sonoita. Camping is available the night before in the Sonoita Fairgrounds. In a departure from previous years, there will be no arranged camping Saturday night in Bisbee, so make your hotel reservations early. The limited number of hotel rooms book up quickly on the weekend of this tour.

On day one, riders will pedal through the town of Tombstone, which is always worth a stop. One of the things to see is the historic OK Corral, the supposed site of a famous gunfight involving Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp among others. The gunfight actually took place in the street and not in the corral, but when visiting Tombstone, it pays to suspend belief and go along with the spiel. Another not-to-be missed attraction is the Boot Hill Cemetery with the whimsical inscriptions on the grave markers. The inscriptions are not original and were written for the benefit of tourists, but again, it spoils the fun if one insists on authenticity. Don’t let me spoil the fun.

After Tombstone, be prepared, because the long climb up Mule Pass awaits you before the descent into Bisbee. Near the top of the climb, riders have the choice of cutting the climb short by riding through the tunnel and into town on the main highway or going over the top of the pass and descending along the curvy street through Tombstone Canyon. For those who are up to it, I recommend the later, or as a compromise, you can take the first exit after passing through the tunnel and still cycle down most of Tombstone Canyon.

The second day starts with a descent past the Lavender Pit Copper Mine to the lower section of Bisbee and a right turn at the traffic circle to head towards Palominas and Miracle Valley (also known as Hereford), where many years ago an alcoholic and womanizing radio evangelist named A A. Allen reportedly performed many miracles before drinking himself to death (he actually died in San Francisco of liver failure, but his body was returned to Miracle Valley for burial) and where racial tensions between a group of black parishioners and white residents resulted in the shooting death of three blacks and the injury of several sheriff’s deputies in 1982 in a confrontation that occurred after blacks complained of racist harassment by the Sherriff’s Department and white residents. (When A. A. Allen was alive, I worked as an announcer for a Phoenix radio station that carried his radio program.)

From Miracle Valley the ride continues through Sierra Vista, and Mustang Corners back to Sonoita. In previous years, the ride has passed through Fort Huachuca, but there is no mention of a ride through the military reservation on the Website for this year’s ride.

As you can see, this ride is not only very scenic, it also passes through an area of Arizona that is steeped in history. I highly recommend this ride to cyclists who are fit enough to ride 60+ miles a day with a significant climb at the end of the first day.

The cost of the ride for those who register in advance is $70 for GABA and Arizona Bike Club members and $80 for others. Add another $10 if you register on the day of the ride. You are responsible for your own lodgings in Bisbee.

To view the ride’s Web page, click here.

ABC Granada Park Chapter Breakfast Ride Destinations

Here are the ride destinations for the Granada Park Chapter of the Arizona Bicycle Club for the month of February. The ride meets Sunday mornings at Granada Park, 20th Street and Maryland in Phoenix. The current ride start time is 7:30 a.m. For insurance purposes, non-members may ride with the group once without joining.

·         February 5 - Comedor Guadalara - 1830 South Central Avenue

·         February 12 - Deer Valley Airport - 702 West Deer Valley Road

·         February 19 - Wildflower Bread Co. - 4290 E. Indian School Road

·         February 26 - Eye Opener - 524 W. Hatcher Road

 

Feedback – Our Readers Respond

Jack,

Thank you for the very nice write-up regarding Cyclovia Tucson event ... very well writtenI particularly liked the paragraph urging all of us "longer-distance" riders to consider strapping on skates ... your message really conveyed the sense of fun that is the core of CycloviaAgain, thanks.

Of similar note, I participated in a three day bike advocacy seminar sponsored by Living Streets Alliance (www.livingstreetsalliance.org) and conducted by the Alliance for Biking and Walking (http://www.peoplepoweredmovement.org/site/)In addition to meeting two of your amigos (Gene and Radar), there was a younger (aren't they all these days?) guy from Phx who's goal is to get a Phx Cyclovia event startedGene and/or Radar probably have his name/contact infoThey can also give you more info about the seminar if you are interested.

Again, thank you for including the info on Cyclovia Tucson ... hope you can make it down to enjoy the dayKeep up the good work.

Randy Garmon

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