Arizona Road Cyclist News
May 9, 2012
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 email notifying you when the latest edition has been uploaded to the Website or to modify or cancel your subscription, click on the "Subscribe to Arizona Road Cyclist News" link in the navigation pane to the left on the Website or on the link at the end of every email. All email addresses are kept on a secure server and are not shared with anyone. Should you later cancel your email subscription, you information will be completely deleted from our server.

This time I made the two-week deadline to get out this issue. That will happen less and less  often as summer approaches. In addition to stepping up my riding in the summer, I have some very pressing obligations. For example, this week and for two weeks to come, I will be spending several hours a day in front of the TV watching the Giro d'Italia. Also, the latest editon of Velo News has arrived, and I haven't yet begun to read it. Then there's tomorrow morning's Hour of Power B ride, the old man's version, followed by intervals on the way out to Hidden Hills. I'm sure I have some other equally-pressing obligations that I will remember as soon as I can make some time in my retiree's hectic schedule to think about them. Ah, yes! Watching the Tour of California on TV.

In the newsletter text, words and phrases that are in both in blue text and underlined are hyperlinks that you can click for more information on other Websites.

In this issue:
     ADOT Requests Cyclist Input
     Phoenix Police Cycling Website Errors
     Berkley Hit-and-Run Captured on Helmet Cam
     GABA's Mount Lemmon Hill Climb May 11
     PMBC's Spin Cycle Sacaton May 13
     Ride of Honor to the State Capitol May 19
     Criterium at DC Ranch May 19
     GABA's Luna Lake Tour May 26 to 28
     Traffic Skills 101 Course May 24 & 26
     Arizona Track Series May 26 & 27
     Thunder Road Time Trial June 3
     Cotton Classic Time Trial #2 June 10
     Race Across America June 12 to June ?
     Bike the Bluff Omnium June 16 & 17
     Arizona Track Series June 23 & 24
     Alta Alpina Challenge June 30
     Grand Canyon Campout August 24 to 26
     ABC Granada Chapter May Ride Destinations
     Feedback Our Readers Respond
     About Arizona Road Cyclist News

ADOT Requests Cyclist Input

The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) instituted its first bicycle and pedestrian plan in 2003 and updates it periodically. In preparation for the next update, ADOT would like your feedback and is asking you to participate in a short online survey. This is your chance to tell ADOT what cycling facilities on state roads are important to you.

To take the survey online (it only takes a few minutes), click here. If you prefer receiving a copy by mail, you can call (602) 712-8141 or write ADOT's Bicycle and Pedestrian Program, 206 South 17th Avenue, Mail Drop 310B, Phoenix, AZ 85007.

Phoenix Police Cycling Website Errors

The Phoenix Police Department has a Webpage on bicycle safety, and whoever designed the Webpage seems to need a primer on traffic laws as they pertain to cyclists. Under the "Laws to remember..." section, I found the following:

Those may be good safety tips, especially the last one, but they are not laws. If Arizona's law-enforcement agencies do not what is and what is not a traffic law, how can they expect to educate drivers and cyclists?

You can check out the Phoenix Police Department's Website yourself by clicking here.

On the positive side, I heard some interesting gossip from the Phoenix Bicycle Summit. I did not attend the Summit myself, but I am told by someone who did, that the Phoenix Police Department is going to institute a training program for its officers on bicycle law and bicycle safety. The instructor is supposed to be a person who is well-versed in the rights and duties of cyclists on the road. I applaud that effort. It is sorely needed. Now it's time for other police departments to follow this example.

On the negative side, if rumor is correct, the Paradise Valley Police Department's promise to train its officers in traffic law as it pertains to cyclists may not be working. On Saturday morning, as I headed north 64th Street in Scottsdale on the infamous Wheezers and Geezers ride, we were briefly joined by another cyclist at a stop light. This cyclist related an incident to me, that if true, is disturbing. He said that a cyclist on his group was struck by an automobile recently on Double Tree Ranch Road and that the officer who responded was Corporal Nigel Williams, the same officer who endangered my life by trying to pass me in his unmarked patrol car where there was no room to do so and, when I complained, wrote me a bogus traffic ticket for cycling without carrying a driver's license.

According to the cyclist, the driver was clearly at fault in the accident, but when Corporal Williams arrived, he promptly took the motorist's side,  claimed that the cyclist was at fault, refused to cite the motorist, and generally expressed his disdain for cyclists.

I invited the cyclist to write up his experience and send it to me for publication, but so far he hasn't. I had intended to then invite Corporal Williams to respond with his side of the story. (I would still like to hear his side of the story.)

I cannot testify to the veracity of the story that the cyclist related, although it does coincide with my experience with this same officer.

Berkley Hit-and-Run Captured on Helmet Cam

Thanks to a helmet-mounted camera, the hit-and-run driver who struck Brazilian bike racer Bruno Gregory and his cycling companion in Berkley, California is behind bars. The video shows the car veering to the right into the cyclists and then continuing on without stopping. From the video, it appears that the cyclists may have been deliberately struck.

Berkeley police later arrested 43-year-old Michael Medaglia on suspicion of hit and run, heroin possession, a felon in possession of ammunition, and parole violation despite the fact that Medaglia had reported his car stolen after the cyclists were struck. Medaglia was on parole in connection with an earlier incident involving illegal possession of a switchblade knife.

Video cameras are now light and inexpensive enough to be part of the equipment that we routinely carry, and the video that they record could be posted to the Internet every time a motorist passes a cyclist too closely and could be used as evidence in those far-to-frequent incidents in which the police officer takes the motorist's side when we have a problem with an aggressive or abusive driver. As reader RR Grace pointed out to me in an exchange of emails, cameras are not yet available whose battery charge can last through a four- or five-hour bike ride. I think that someday in the near future, I will have a video camera mounted on my handlebars every time I ride recording everything I encounter on the road.

To read an article about the incident in the Silicon Valley Mercury News and to view the video of the car striking the cyclists, click here.

My thanks to reader RR Grace for drawing my attention to this incident.

GABA's Mount Lemmon Hill Climb — May 11

Tucson's Greater Arizona Bicycle Club (GABA) will hold its annual ride up Mount Lemmon this Friday. This is a 21-mile climb with an average grade of 4.5 percent and an elevation gain of approximately 6,600 feet. As there are almost no places to get water on the climb, GABA will have four SAG stops spaced along the mountain road with snacks and drinks. The entire ride, from the starting point, up the mountain, and back down is 56 miles.

Check-in will be from 5:30 to 7:00 a.m. at McDonald District Park on Harrison Road, north of the Catalina Highway. Slower riders are urged to start early.

Pre-registered riders who are members of GABA or the Arizona Bicycle Club pay a modest fee of $10. Other pre-registered riders pay $15. For day-of-ride registration, add $5 to those fees.

To connect to the ride's Website, click here.

PMBC's Spin Cycle Sacaton — May 13

The Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club (PMBC) is hosting a ride to Sacaton and back on May 13 beginning at 7:00 a.m. at Desert Breeze Park in Chandler. The park is on Desert Breeze Boulevard southeast of the intersection of Ray and Rural Roads. There will be 37-, 52-, and 58-mile ride options with some climbing on the latter route. Pace options are from intermediate to advanced. Riders will stop for breakfast at the Wildflower in Chandler Mall.

Ride of Honor to the State Capitol — May 19

As reported in the previous issue of Arizona Road Cyclist News, motorist Amy Alexander was fined a total of $420 for drifting into a bike lane and killing cyclist Shawn McCarty on Thompson Peak Parkway in March. This slap on the wrist has raised the ire of many cyclists and non-cyclists alike who believe that taking someone's life through carelessness should be more severely punished.

What are needed in Arizona are a distracted-driver law and a vulnerable-user law. The first would stiffen the punishment for a driver who causes an accident because of being distracted, especially if that accident resulted in death or injury of an innocent party. The second would make it a graver offense if the driver of a motor vehicle injured or killed a vulnerable user of the roadways such as a pedestrian, a wheelchair users, or a cyclist. The Ride of Honor on May 19 designed to call public attention to the need for such laws. The culmination of the ride is a meeting of cyclists at the Arizona State Capitol. Cyclists can ride to the Capitol, which would draw more media attention to the event, or just show up.

The event is being organized by Sterling Baer and Dara Schlenberg through their Not One More Cyclist Foundation. The organizers are encouraging bike shops, racing teams, and bicycle clubs to organize rides to the capitol for the demonstration  Those who have team or club jerseys are encouraged to wear them, as this will be a media event, although I am not sure how many racers will make the ride. (For some reason, this event is scheduled to take place on the same day as the Criterium at DC ranch — see below — one of the most important events on the Arizona Bicycle Racing Association's calendar.)

For those who wish to join an already-scheduled ride, there are several meet-up locations listed so far. The four rides depart at 9 a.m., so try to be at the meeting point a bit before then. The Kiwanas Park group will commence riding at 8:30 a.m.

To keep up with any changes in plans, to learn about new routes, and to express your intention to take part, connect the the ride's Facebook page. The link is:

Criterium at DC Ranch —  May 19

Unfortunately, as mentioned above, on May 19, bicycle racers will have to decide between the Ride of Honor and the Criterium at DC Ranch. The Criterium, which will take place in North Scottsdale from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m., has a $5,000 total prize list. The entry fee is $30 for most classes of racers, $10 for juniors 18 years of age and younger, $35 for women's professional and category 1, 2, and 3 riders and $40 for men's professionals and category 1 and 2 racers. Online registration closes on May 16 at midnight. Registrations can also be mailed in. Walk-up registration will be available at the race with the addition of a $10 late fee.

The race location is Canyon Village at the intersection of Thompson Peak Parkway and Legacy Boulevard.

To connect to the race's Web page, click here.

GABA's Luna Lake Tour —  May 26 to 28

This annual GABA ride is one of Arizona's most beautiful, perhaps because most of it takes place in the high country of New Mexico. The ride starts at 28 North Central in Springerville, Arizona on May 26 with ride check-in at the reasonable hour of 8 a.m. The first day's ride is 48 miles from Springerville to the unincorporated town of Quemado (Spanish for "burned" -- I wonder why?) in New Mexico, a bustling little town with a population density of 0.3 people per square mile and which is so far off the beaten track that it had only two registered sex offenders in 2011.

Don't forget to change your watch as you ride across the Arizona-New Mexico border. As incomprehensible as it seems to those of us from the more-enlightened state of Arizona, the good people of New Mexico preserve the backward custom switching to Daylight Saving Time in the summer.

Day two is a 55-mile jaunt from Quemado to the Village of Reserve, New Mexico. Those who want more miles can make an additional unsupported 32-mile detour to the Continental Divide. In Reserve, there will be an optional supper in the evening and breakfast the next morning for an additional charge.

Day three is the most challenging ride, 63 miles of pedaling back to Springerville. There will be three SAG stops along the route including a lunch stop.

Members of GABA and the Arizona Bike club pay an $80 registration fee until May 23. Non-members pay $95. Day-of-ride registration is available at $95 for members and $110 for non-members. The meal prices in Quemado are an addition $9.50 for Saturday supper and $7.50 for Sunday breakfast. At Reserve Sunday supper costs $13.00 and breakfast costs $7.00. Saturday and Sunday night camping are included in the ride fee. Those who plan to stay in motels must make their own arrangements.

To connect to the ride's Web page for more information, click here.

Traffic Skills 101 Course — May 24 & 26

The Tempe Bicycle Action Group is offering the League of American Bicyclists' Traffic Skills 101 course at the Landis Cyclery, Tempe North location at 2180 East Southern Avenue in two parts on May 24 and May 26. The course is designed for new riders and for those who do not feel comfortable riding in traffic or who do not know how to do basic bicycle maintenance such as making adjustments and fixing flat tires.

The May 24 session from, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m., is the classroom portion. The second session, on Saturday morning May 26 from 8:00 a.m. until noon, includes the on-bike portion of the course.

The two-day course is a bargain at $20. It is limited to 10 participants, so interested parties are encouraged to register early online and pay through Pay Pal. To do so, click here.

Arizona Track Series — May 26 & 27

Despite many efforts to get a velodrome constructed in both Tucson and Phoenix, the State of Arizona still does not have one. Therefore, Arizona track races are held at one of the velodromes in California. This year the Arizona Track Series will be held on the velodrome in Encino on May 26 and 27 and again on June 23 and 24. The fee is $20 per day per racer except for juniors who pay $3 per day each.

On May 26, registration starts at noon at which time the track will also be open for practice. The first race starts at 1 p.m. Events to be held on this day are the points races for category 3+, the scratch races for category 4 and 5, and the open team sprints. The time trial events will be held on May 27 including the team time trial plus individual time trials at the following distances: 200 meters, 500 meters, 1,000 meters, 2,000 meters, 3,000 meters, and 4,000 meters.

To connect to the Arizona Track Series Web page, click here.

Thunder Road Time Trial June 3

The Thunder Road Time Trial is an unusual event in Arizona USA Cycling-sanctioned racing, an individual time trial that actually pays prize money. The course is out-and-back and 16 miles in total length. The route is advertised as a slight climb going out and a fast downhill on the return leg. The start/finish line ist at Sahuarita Road and Alvernon Way, 2.5 miles east of the South Nogales Highway in the Tucson area. The course will be open to motor traffic.

Registration is from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. with the start list to be posted at 6:45 a.m. and the first rider off at 7:00 a.m. The entry fee is $20 per rider per category except for juniors who pay only $3 to cover insurance.

To view the race brochure in PDF format, click here.

Cotton Classic Time Trial #2 — June 10

This is the second in a series of three time trials being held this year over the same course starting in Arizona City. Registration is on site from 5:30 to 6:30 a.m. with the first rider off at 7:00 a.m. Riders can also register the night before at Lerua's Mexican Restaurant at 2005 East Broadway Boulevard in Tucson.

The results will be individually calculated for all categories and USA Cycling age groups.

To view the race brochure in PDF format, click here.

Race Across America  June 12 to June ?

As happens every year, the Race Across America (RAAM) will take place in the heat of summer. Cyclists will pedal from the Pacific Ocean in San Diego, California to Washington, DC on the Atlantic coast. Naturally, the race would be too tame if it didn't include a ride though Arizona's scorching Sonoran Desert in its hottest season and rides up some of our state's most notorious climbs such as Yarnell Hill, Mingus Mountain, and the Mogollon Rim. Riders are required to check in at time stations along the route. Arizona time stations will be at Parker, Salome, Congress, Prescott, Cottonwood, Flagstaff, Tuba City, and Kayenta in the order that riders will reach them. The Bull Shifter's Bicycle Club generally mans the timing station at Congress, and as far as I know, they will be out there this year as well in their not-quite-palacial accommodations, which consist essentially of  a piece of tarp stretched across a few poles

Riders start from San Diego on June 12 and are expected to ride through Arizona on June 13 and 14. The Arizona section of the race is approximately 400 miles in length.

For those who do the classic solo race, this is one of the most grueling bike races in the world. In the individual category, riders pedal day and night from coast to coast stopping only for short cat naps and to take care of the necessities of life. Riders commonly hallucinate from lack of sleep, especially at night. Solo riders, who are usually accompanied by several support vehicles each, are given 12 days to complete the ride, but the top riders will do it in much less time. For those who are not up to pedaling almost 24 hours a day for a week or more, there are team categories. In the team competitions, each rider takes a turn riding on the course while the other riders rest and recuperate in the support vehicles.

For more information, connect to the RAAM Website by clicking here. To view the Bull Shifters' luxury digs at the Congress Time Station, click here for the daytime shot and here to see the nighttime setup.

Bike the Bluff OmniumJune 16 & 17

The Bike the Bluff Omnium is a series of two races to be held in Show Low on the weekend of June 16 and 17. Saturday features a road race. Most juniors will ride 22 miles. Junior men from 15 through 18 years of age will ride 62 miles as will most adult racers. The men's pro, category 1, and category 2 riders will pedal 81 miles.

Sunday features a criterium for licensed racers and kids' races for the young'uns from 6 to 12 years of age.

The entry fee for the full omnium is $24 for juniors and $70 for others until June 1. From June 1 to June 14, there will be a $5 late fee adder. Riders who wish to ride only the road race or only the criterium can do so for a lesser registration fee.

To connect to the race Website, click here.

Arizona Track Series — June 23 & 24

See the May 26 & 27 entry above for this event, or to go directly to the Website, click here.

Alta Alpina Challenge — June 30

This ride doesn’t take place until the height of the summer, but because it takes place in the cool mountains of Northern California and Nevada, it is probably something you want to plan for in advance, so here’s the info.

The Alta Alpina Challenge starts at Turtle Rock Park in Alpine Country in California near Lake Tahoe and the Nevada border. This ride is just the thing for those looking for a high-altitude, tough ride away from the Arizona desert at the peak of the Arizona hot season. How long is the ride? Well, take your pick. For those looking for some family fun with the kids there are two family fun rides. Choose either the 15- or 20-mile option.

Feel like getting a workout? There are rides for you. For the real wussies, there is the Wild Sierra Metric, a 64-mile ride with a mere 5,000 feet of climbing. Piece a` cake!

For those who like to stretch their legs, there is the 5-Pass Challenge. This is a bit more reasonable with 16,000 feet of climbing in 134 miles. That’s enough to get your heart beating and make it feel as if you’ve had a modest workout. However, I know that many of my readers will consider this to be a sissy ride, soooo……

How about the 8-pass challenge? Now we’re talking about a real bicycle ride. The route is 198 miles long and features 20,300 feet of climbing. Need to make it a full double century? You can always cruise around the parking lot a few times at the end of the ride to make the full 200 miles.

For those who did not register prior to May 1, the cost of the rides is now $30 for the Family Fun Ride, $70 for the Wild Sierra full or metric century, $105 for the 5-Pass Challenge, and $120 for the 8-Pass Challenge. In addition to excellent support on the ride, you’ll receive a T-shirt. Riders can also purchase a ride jersey, and those who finish the 8-pass challenger get the bragging rights of the 8-Pass Finisher’s jersey.

By the way, as you can see from the map below, the 8-pass challenge consists of a number of out-and-back legs, so there are plenty of opportunities to cheat, bypass one or more of those legs, and to cut the ride short. No one will know that you didn't do the whole thing.

To connect to this event's Website, click here.

Grand Canyon Campout — August 24 to 26

The Arizona Bicycle Club's annual Grand Canyon Campout is a chance to beat the Valley heat and get in two days of casual cycling. The group will spend two nights at Mather Campground in Grand Canyon Village (tents only, no RVs) with cycling trips along the Rim on both Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Saturday's ride is  a 49-mile round trip out the East Rim Drive to Desert View with some great views into the Canyon along the way. On Sunday morning, the group will ride in the opposite direction along the Rim to Hermit's Rest, an 18-mile round trip.

The cost of the campout is $30 for ABC and GABA members and $40 for others. After some unspecified date, there is a $5 late fee. In return, cyclists get a place to pitch a tent, ride insurance, a Saturday night Chili dinner, and what is advertised as a "pig out and pedal" rest stop.

For more information about the ride on ABC's Website, click here.

ABC Granada Chapter May Ride Destinations

The following are the destinations for the Granada Park chapter of the Arizona Bicycle Club's Sunday morning breakfast rides for the remainder of the month of May. The ride starts every Sunday morning and most holidays from Granada Park, 20th Street and Maryland in Phoenix. The current starting time is 6:30 a.m. For insurance purposes, those who are not members may ride with the group once without joining.

Feedback — Our Readers Respond

Hi Jack,
I love your newsletter and know you are passionate about bicycling advocacy.  Thanks so much and keep up the good work.
Chad Kurzman
Downhills and Tailwinds!
Just a comment on Ed Cain's letter. Everything he wrote was true; big groups of cyclists are often rude and annoying.
Every one of the three-foot violations discussed involves a single motor vehicle and just a few, and often just a single cyclist who are not doing the annoying things. Just because a group of cyclists annoyed people does not give the motorist a pass to endanger the life of some solitary unconnected rider down the road.
Russell L. Carter
Jack, I love your web site and great news and information. My family and I are looking at moving back to Scottsdale where we lived for 5 years. I'm a Cat 1 cyclist and it disturbs me that the district attorney isn't subpoenaing phone records or looking at least into the homicide at Thompson Peak. Is this going to happen or are others putting the pressure on? To walk away with just a fine should be under investigation.
Tim Hayden

[I, too, am disturbed about the light fine as the only punishment. As to Amy Alexander's cell phone records, perhaps I have not understood correctly, but I am under the impression that the police concluded after examining evidence that she was neither talking on the phone or texting, which I assume means that someone did check her cell phone records. That leaves unexplained, of course, what the distraction was that caused her to swerve into the bike lane and take a cyclist's life. -- JQ]

Wanted to thank you for the excellent article about Alta Alpina Challenge.  I really enjoy your writing style and the Challenge article is very entertaining!  We would love to have some Arizona riders join us on June 30.  We are making arrangements with some of the local hotels for special rates - maybe a nice, long weekend in Tahoe area for some of your readers/riders.
Laura Caimi

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