Arizona Road Cyclist News

September  21, 2011

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

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A reminder to all: Tomorrow evening, September 22, a meeting will be held about a proposal to “temporarily” close the bicycle easement in the community of Hidden Hills. The meeting will be held at the Via Linda Senior Center, 10440 E. Via Linda in Scottsdale from 6 to 7:30 p.m. This meeting will be held for the purpose of hearing public comments on the proposal. All cyclists who ride to Hidden Hills at the east end of Via Linda in North Scottsdale are urged to attend and express their views.

As a warm-up to the meeting, I have written a long tirade err,, I mean “reasoned editorial” on the situation. It is the first article in the newsletter.

In this issue:
     Hidden Hills Yuppies Try to Pull a Fast One
     Tucson Cyclist Killed in Hit-and-Run
     The Book Bike Arrives in Tucson
     Underground Criterium – Every Tuesday Evening
     Criterium at DC Ranch – September 24
     Arizona Hill Climb Championships – September 25
     Critical Mass Phoenix – September 30
     Tour de Scottsdale – October 2
     Sonoita-Patagonia Time Trial – October 9
     Tour de Paradise – October 15
     Sedona Metric Centuries – October 15 & 16
     Heart of Arizona Century – November 5
     Cave Creek Bicycle Festival – November 11, 12, & 13
     GM Classic 2011 Omnium – November 5 & 6
     Feedback – Tour de Scottsdale
     About Arizona Road Cyclist News

Hidden Hills Yuppies Try to Pull a Fast One

The history of the Hidden Hills problem reads like a novel by Franz Kafka. In Kafka novels, the protagonist is confronted with an illogical problem and tries to solve it by logical means, which do not work, because the obstacles that the protagonist faces are caused by illogical forces. In the Hidden Hills saga, cyclists are the protagonists who are under attack by the illogical bureaucracy of the City of Scottsdale, which is in turn being manipulated by the Hidden Hills Homeowners’ Association.

As readers of this publication know, an open meeting will be held tomorrow (Thursday September 22) from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Via Linda Senior Center, 10440 East Via Linda, to gather feedback on a proposal to “temporarily” suspend cyclists’ access to the easement on 145th Way in Hidden Hills, a gated community. I hope that a large number of cyclists who ride out to Hidden Hills will be present.

A bit of history: Before Hidden Hills was built, the City of Scottsdale had plans to turn 145th Way into a four-lane street that would have provided an alternative to Shea Boulevard for cars and bikes between Scottsdale and Fountain Hills. When the developer of Hidden Hills petitioned the City for permission to install a gate, the City inexplicably abandoned its plans to build the street but reserved the right to build a connection to Fountain Hills for cyclists.

The developer agreed to an easement to allow non-motorized traffic, specifically including bicycles, unrestricted access to 145th Way, and the gates at the entrance of the community were installed with gaps to enable cyclists to enter and exit the community. Everyone who purchased a house in Hidden Hills accepted this agreement and is currently bound by it.

Just why the City of Scottsdale gave away so much to the developer and seemingly received nothing in return, I cannot say, but Arizona municipalities have a history of caving into developers’ demands. At least the City did not cave in on the matter cyclists’ right to access to 145th Way. Not yet! But now some City of Scottsdale bureaucrats are asking their bosses at City Hall to do just that.

It would seem to a rational observer that the developer and the residents won a great victory and would want to keep a low profile before it dawned on City officials how badly they allowed Scottsdale residents to be ripped off. However, so arrogant are some residents of Hidden Hills that they are back asking for more. They claim to find the presence of cyclists in their community intolerable, and they are demanding that the City cave in completely and relinquish that last shred of its rights (and dignity?) by banning cyclists from their community. Why are they so vociferously opposed to coexisting with cyclists? Their stated reasons, for the most part, do not make sense.

One of the supposed problems was that groups of cyclists would ride up the hill, and the first cyclists to reach the cul-de-sac at the top would wait there for the latecomers, and then all would ride down together. The residents claimed that the cyclists “loitering” in the cul-de-sac caused an intolerable condition.

Why a group of inoffensive cyclists spending a few minutes in the cul-de-sac should be so objectionable defies reason. Nevertheless, the cyclists changed their behavior in a futile attempt to placate the residents. Cyclists now turn around when they reach the top and ride back down individually. They regroup outside the community’s gates.

Another issue was and continues to be speeding. 145th Way inside the community has an unrealistically low abet unofficial speed limit of 20 miles per hour. The only people who obey the speed limit are some of the cyclists and the outside laborers who come to do the stoop work that the residents will not do for themselves. The residents, almost without exception, routinely exceed this speed limit (except in the week or so before each hearing on cyclist access, at which time the residents suddenly and become model citizens). Many cyclists also exceed the speed limit, but for some reason speeding cyclists are a problem, and speeding cars are not.

The residents claim that speeding cyclists (meaning anyone who rides down the hill at more than 20 miles per hour) are a safety hazard. Why a 145-pound rider on a 15-pound bike who exceeds the 20 mile-per-hour speed limit should be more dangerous than a speeding two-ton motor vehicle is not explained. The number of minor accidents involving bicycles that have occurred over the years is almost zero. In short, the argument that bicycles constitute a safety hazard is not supported by the facts.

To a logical person, cyclists seem inoffensive. They are quiet, seldom litter, do not play loud music, and are generally unobtrusive. Unless you see them pass, you do not even know that they were there. Hidden Hills residents are thus shielded from most of the problems that citizens face who live in real neighborhoods.

If cyclists are as inoffensive as I claim, why do the Hidden Hills residents want to be rid of them, and why, to that end, have they spent large sums of money, some of which came from the pockets of Scottsdale taxpayers, to fuel a very effective anti-cyclist propaganda machine? The cynical answer has to do with property values. If Hidden Hills could weasel out of its obligations to cyclists and to the City of Scottsdale, property values might go up.

Whether the residents’ complaints are logical or not, most cyclists have modified their behavior in a vain attempt to placate the residents. As stated, cyclists for the most part no longer regroup at the cul-de-sac inside the community but instead ride down 145th Way individually and regroup outside the gate. Most cyclists also ride their brakes when descending 145th Way. The change is apparent to the impartial observer, but the residents claim that cyclist behavior has not changed at all, and at least one bureaucrat who works for the City of Scottsdale has accepted this falsehood at face value.

In a normally functioning society, the residents would be dismissed as the self-centered yuppies that they are, people out for monetary gain at society’s expense. However, bureaucracies do not operated according to the rules of common sense. Instead of laughing the residents out of their offices, City of Scottsdale bureaucrats have treated the residents of Hidden Hills as if they had a genuine problem. City officials at first believed that all they had to do was modify cyclist behavior to make it acceptable to the residents. The last thing the residents want is a well-behaved cycling community. They want the cyclists gone, and to that end, they want to be able to cite examples of cyclist misbehavior, real or invented, to bolster their case.

The easement for cyclists is envisioned as part of a future cycling route connecting Hidden Hills with Fountain Hills and thus providing cyclists an alternative to mixing it up with the high-speed traffic on Shea Boulevard. One argument put forward in favor of temporarily closing the easement to cyclists is that the easement only exists for the purpose of the connection to Fountain Hills, and as long as that connection does not exist, the cyclists have no right to enter Hidden Hills. Therefore the easement should be closed to cyclists until the connection is built (the Lord only knows if that will ever happen). Once the connection is built and the easement is part of a legitimate transportation corridor, the residents’ objections to cyclists will somehow magically disappear.

There are two problems with this argument. If the connection is ever built, cycling traffic through Hidden Hills is almost sure to increase, and that will do nothing to lessen the residents’ ire. Kicking the can down the road is not a solution, because the residents will not be satisfied as long as cyclists have access to their community. If they object to cyclists riding up and down their principal street now, imagine how irate they will be if that street becomes part of an official bicycle transportation corridor!

The second problem is that the statement that the that cyclists only have a right to access Hidden Hills if they are traveling to or from Fountain Hills is patently false! (I swallowed this argument myself until I did some research.) Plat map 535PLAT1101, an unofficial copy of which you can access for yourself in PDF format by clicking on the map number in this sentence, contains the following statement of the agreement to establish the easement:

AN EASEMENT IS HEREBY DEDICATED TO THE PUBLIC FOR BICYCLE AND NON-MOTORIZED ACCESS OVER ALL OF TRACT "A" AS SHOWN ON THE PLAT EXCEPT THE PORTIONS LABELED AS WETHERSFIELD ROAD, CHARTER OAK DRIVE, SWEETWATER AVENUE AND CORRINE DRIVE.

THE INTENT AND EFFECT OF THE EASEMENT IS TO PROVIDE THE PUBLIC PERMANENT UNRESTRICTED BICYCLE AND NON-MOTORIZED ACCESS FROM AND BETWEEN THE EXISTING VIA LINDA RIGHT-OF-WAY THROUGH AND UPON ALL OF TRACT "A" (EXCEPT THE PORTIONS LABELED AS WETHERSFIELD ROAD, CHARTER OAK DRIVE, SWEETWATER AVENUE AND CORRINE DRIVE) TO THE PROPERTY LYING NORTH OF THE NORTHERNMOST PORTION OF TRACT “A”.

The key words are “permanent unrestricted bicycle and non-motorized access.” Permanent means permanent and unrestricted means unrestricted. There is not a hint in the agreement that cyclist access is contingent upon their being underway to or from Fountain Hills or upon any other condition. Cyclists may enter Hidden Hills from Via Linda for the simple pleasure or riding up and down 145th Way. Period! And each resident agreed to accept the conditions of the easement upon purchasing a home. Honorable people accept the terms of the contracts that they sign.

I call upon the City of Scottsdale City Council to not cave into real-estate interests and to tell these obsessed residents to behave like responsible citizens instead of trying to game the system.

On the other hand, if the agreement is voided, then the entire agreement should be void. The gate at the community’s entrance should come down, and the City of Scottsdale should go ahead with its plan to build a street through Hidden Hills to Fountain Hills – with a bicycle lane on each side, of course.

If cyclists lose access to Hidden Hills, it will not be the end of the world. I and other cyclists could live with turning around at the gate at the entrance to the community. However, it would be a shame if a group of selfish yuppies who whine and cry loudly should manage to pull the wool over the eyes of City officials and thereby weasel out of their public responsibility.

[I E-mailed the above quote from the plat map to Reed Kempton, Principal Transportation Planner for the City of Scottsdale along with the comment that I came away from a telephone conversation with him with the impression that it was his opinion that cyclists only had the right to use the easement as a connection to Fountain Hills. Perhaps my impression was a result of my imperfect understanding and not of anything he said. Here is his reply to my E-mail.]

Jack,

When we spoke, I indicated that the intent of the easement was to provide public bicycle access between Scottsdale and Fountain Hills. I’ve never said that the easement was contingent upon a connection or that the public didn’t have a right to use it.

The dirt road to the north is on private property. There are no easements that allow for public access. The Town of Fountain Hills has plans to secure a public nonmotorized access easement between 145th Way and Eagle Ridge Drive when the property is developed.

The subdivision was platted in 2001. I started receiving emails from the HOA near the end of 2004. We worked with them and did public outreach in 2005, 2007, and 2009. Each time they requested us to release the easement permanently. We always said no. In 2009 we provided funding, approved by City Council, for them to hire an engineering firm for the design and installation of speed humps. This year they asked if we would close the easement until the connection was made to Fountain Hills. I forwarded their request to the City Attorney’s office and was told that the City could close it if we chose to.

At that point, Susan and I began meeting with local cycling clubs and organizations to let everyone know that we were considering temporarily suspending bicycle access to 145th  Way.  We presented the issue to our Trails Subcommittee in May and will be taking it back to them on October 6. We are asking them to make a recommendation to the Transportation Commission which will hear the item on October 20. All the comments we receive at the public meeting on September 22 and any we receive through email, letters, etc., will be included in the packets for the subcommittee and commission members. We will be asking the Transportation Commission to decide whether or not to temporarily suspend public bicycle access into Hidden Hills.

Reed

Reed Kempton

Principal Transportation Planner

City of Scottsdale

7447 E. Indian School Rd., Suite 205

Scottsdale, AZ 85251

480-312-7630

Fax: 480-312-4000

rkempton@ScottsdaleAZ.gov

www.ScottsdaleAZ.gov

Tucson Cyclists Killed in Hit-and-Run

56-year-old Tucson cyclist Albert Eugene Brack was struck from behind at approximately 9 a.m. on September 4th by a Ford F150 pickup while riding in a bicycle lane near East Escalante Road and South Calexico Avenue in Tucson. Edward Gómez Nava was arrested on charges of second-degree murder, leaving the scene of a fatal accident, and criminal damages and held on a bond of $75,000. Tucson police say Mr. Nava abandoned his vehicle after striking Mr. Brack. Police located Mr. Nava on foot near the scene of the accident. According to a press release, police are investigating whether alcohol was involved.

To read the Tucson Police Department press release about the incident in PDF format, click here, then select the press release dated 9/4/2011. Your browser will have to allow pop-ups in order to view the release.

Edward Gomez Nava – Police Photo

The Book Bike Arrives in Tucson

The Book Bike is a three-wheeled, pedal-powered vehicle that brings books to people who may be unfamiliar with public libraries. The Pima County library intends to pedal books around Tucson beginning this winter. The vehicle will carry books that will be free for people to borrow and to distribute information about library services and library cards.

The project is made possible by a $4,000 grant from the State. A similar book bike is already in operation in Chicago.

You can connect to the Book Bike home page, by clicking here.

Underground Criterium – Every Tuesday Evening

The Underground Criterium is still taking place every Tuesday evening on a closed, lighted course at the southeast corner of Seventh Street and Deer Valley Road in North Phoenix. This is a training criterium and is not sanctioned by any organization. Therefore, all riders race at their own risk.

There are two races. The B race for new riders or casual cyclists who want a good workout begins at 6:30 p.m. The A race for categorized racers begins at 7:15.

The course is 8/10 of a mile around with four corners and a hill on every lap. Course times are about two minutes per lap. Although the course is lighted, tail lights are mandatory, and a headlight is advised.

This is not only a great training event; it is also an exciting race for spectators.

Criterium at DC Ranch -- September 24

The second annual Criterium at DC Ranch will be held on September 24 this year with a $5,000 prize list. The race is part of a run-up to the Tour de Scottsdale. The race will be held on a closed course at Canyon Village near the intersection of Thompson Peak Parkway and Legacy Boulevard in North Scottsdale. Racing starts at 8:15 a.m. with the juniors' races and ends around 6 p.m. with the final sprint of the Senior Men categories 1 and 2 and professional race.

Entry fees vary from $10 for juniors to $30 for most adult categories and $35 for the Senior Women category 1, 2, and 3 and professional race and $40 for the top category men's race. All racers must be licensed by USA Cycling.

This should be an exciting day of racing for those spectators who are willing to make the drive out there. It is for good reason that criteriums are the preferred form of racing for spectators in the USA: The riders come by every few minutes, so spectators are able to follow the development of the race, especially if the organizers employ a knowledgeable race announcer who can explain the tactics.

For more information of the Criterium at DC Ranch, click here.

Arizona Hill Climb Championships -- September 25

As has happened every year for the past 32 years, the Arizona State Hill Climb Championship races will take place up Mount Graham in Southern Arizona again this year. The race will be held on Sunday, September 25.

Although the members of each USA Cycling category and age group race against each other for the championship medals, by tradition this is a mass-start race. That means that everyone starts together in one big pack.

The entry fee was $10 for juniors and $40 for all other categories until September 11. Riders who did not register by that date must add another $5 to the entry fee.

Racers will ride either 10 or 20 miles up the mountain. Juniors 10 through 16 years of age ride 10 miles, and 17 and 18 year olds can chose either 10 or 20 miles. Men through 59 years of age and women through 49 years of age ride 20 miles. Above those ages, riders have a choice of which distance to ride. The winner in each category will win and Arizona State Hill Climbing Championship jersey. Only Arizona registered riders who hold a yearly USA Cycling license are eligible to receive jerseys and medals.

For more information about the race, click here.

Critical Mass Phoenix -- September 30

The Phoenix Critical Mass ride leaves Steele Indian School Park at 300 East Indian School Road at 6:30 p.m. on the final Friday of every month. The Phoenix ride is still much smaller than the one in San Francisco with an estimated average attendance of 50 riders, possibly because most Phoenix-area cyclists are still unaware of the ride. As the word gets around, perhaps the ride will grow and really will reach critical mass.

Anyone who can ride a bike is invited to show up and pedal with the group. Of course, with no formal organization and an open-ride policy, the ride does not always make the best impression on motorists. There have been reports of riders running red lights and of the group spreading out across more than one lane in the street. The Phoenix Police seem to be taking a tolerant attitude toward the ride. According to a recent article in the Arizona Republic, which you can read by clicking here, the police have issued several warnings for traffic violations but no tickets.

As I understand it, the purposes of the ride are to raise the awareness of cycling as a legitimate means of transportation, to draw attention to the need for better cycling routes in Phoenix, and to draw attention to lawlessness on the part of motorists when they encounter a cyclist on the street. An unintended consequence of the ride may be to draw attention to the lawlessness of some cyclists.

I will not claim that I never roll through a stop sign on my bike early in the morning when there are no cars present, but it seems to me that a ride that hopes to raise the awareness of cycling among the general public should scrupulously adhere to traffic regulations. Traffic law violations on large rides only serve to create a negative image of cyclists among the motoring public.

There is a tendency for cyclists to show less respect traffic laws when riding in groups than when riding alone. That is exactly the wrong attitude. Motorists become impatient with large groups of riders much more easily than with individual cyclists, especially if the group of cyclists impedes traffic by spreading out over more than one lane of a multi-lane street.

If you would like to participate in Phoenix’s Critical Mass ride, show up September 30 or the last Friday of any month at Steele Indian School Park with your bike. Perhaps I will see you there.

Tour de Scottsdale -- October 2

The Tour de Scottsdale takes place on October 2 this year. There are two rides, both of which are billed as "citizens' rides," which means that anyone with a pulse who can balance a bike may enter. The short version is 20 miles, and the longer version is 70 miles. Riders will carry chips for timing purposes.

This ride is not cheap! The entry fee was $85 until August 28. For those not yet registered, the fee has jumped to $100 and will jump to $125 on September 29. In exchange, you get your ride timed and a T-shirt, and part of the proceeds go to charity.

For more information on the ride, click here.

Sonoita-Patagonia Time Trial -- October 9

The Sonoita-Patagonia Time Trial is a short, fast individual time trial with an elevation loss of 700 feet. The winners usually average well above 30 miles per hour over that course, and all riders who break the 30-mile-per-hour barrier will receive a “Minimum Speed 30 mph” T-shirt. In addition to normal time-trail bikes, there will be categories for recumbents.

Registration is $3 for juniors and $20 for others. Riders must be licensed by USA Cycling. Day and annual licenses will be for sale at registration.

As the race name implies, it starts in the town of Sonoita with parking at the Sonoita Fairgrounds. Registration is onsite from 8 to 9 a.m. the day of the race with the first rider off at 9:30. Riders can pre-register the night before the race from 4 to 8 p.m. at Lerua’s Mexican Restaurant, 2005 East Broadway Boulevard in Tucson.

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

Tour de Paradise -- October 15

The Tour de Paradise is a fund-raising ride to benefit Duet, a non-profit organization that helps homebound seniors with chores such as getting groceries and rides to the doctor’s office. In order to participate, all riders 17 years old or older are required to raise a minimum of $100 in pledges. Registered riders can create a Webpage online to help them obtain their pledges. Riders 16 years old and younger are not required to obtain pledges, but those youngsters who do obtain pledges of at least $100 are eligible to win prizes.

The ride itself starts at Moon Valley Park, 502 West Coral Gables Drive in Phoenix. There are three distances: a 62-mile metric century, a 30-mile ride, and an 8-mile family fun ride. Check-in is at 6:30 a.m. with the first group of riders departing at 7:30.

In addition to raising pledges, riders must pay an entry fee of $35 for adults and $15 for youths. A ride jersey may be ordered at the time of registration for $59.

For more information on the Tour de Paradise, click here.

Sedona Metric Centuries -- October 15 & 16

Here’s a chance for the macho among you to do back-to-back metric century rides on two consecutive days. If you don’t feel up to putting in 124 miles over the weekend, there are also 40-mile options both days.

All rides start from the Big Park Community School in Sedona. Things get under way at 6 a.m. Saturday morning with registration and packet pick-up for preregistered riders plus a continental breakfast. The metric century will ride from Sedona to Jerome and back, a route that includes a challenging climb half way up Mingus Mountain. The 40-mile ride will go to Page Springs and back. After the rides, there will be a Bar-B-Que from noon to 2 p.m.

Sunday’s activities again begin at 6 a.m. with packet pick-up. Both rides will proceed to Montezuma’s Well, where a pancake breakfast will be served from 8 to 10 a.m. After breakfast, the 40-mile ride will head directly back to Sedona, whereas those doing the metric century will ride to Page Springs before returning to Sedona.

The registration fee is $50 for one of the rides or $80 to ride both Saturday and Sunday until October 8. After that day, there will be an additional $10 late-registration fee. The fee includes a T-shirt. Early registration is online.

To connect to the ride’s Web page, click here.

Heart of Arizona Century -- November 5

The Bull Shifters' Heart of Arizona Century Ride (about 100 miles) and brevet (extend it to 120 miles) is one of the toughest one-day rides in Arizona and takes place in the hilly country generally north of Wickenburg. If you'd like to finish off the season with a tough one-dayer, this is the ride. I highly recommend it.

I’ll have a description of this ride in a future edition. In the meantime, you macho types can get a peak at the ride's information on the Web by clicking here.

Cave Creek Bicycle Festival – November 11, 12 & 13

Hi Jack,

Glad you’re back! I love the local news you provide…THANK YOU!

This year, I hope to catch you early enough to ask you if you would be so kind as to include a mention of the 3rd Annual Cave Creek Bicycle Festival in your e-news letter?  We did this for our inaugural event, I was too late last year…

Check out our evolving website + Facebook page, too.  We are in the final planning stages for this year, with so many exciting things coming together I can hardly contain myself!  For the Sake of Open Space

www.cavecreekbicyclefestival.com

  •     The Mountain Bike Race Ride is a 22 mile loop through the foothills in Cave Creek, which has spawned a healthy-loyal following on various rides throughout the week…this is a spirited event taking on some major roots!

  • ·         The Bella Fondo Road Ride, 30 & 50 mile options, takes in the best routes the north valley has to offer, right off our door steps in “The Creek”….

  • ·         Our most hysterical event is the Kids Kriterium event which starts kids < age 4 on kick-bikes, through age groups up to 14…these monsters take cycling seriously!!!  We have the local Fire Company start each age group race with a cycle lead-out…guaranteed to have you cracking up, I’m just sayin’…

  • ·         Not to forget the Alley Cat Race, the Ride-in-Theatre…complete with the Huffy Toss contest, even packet pick-up & registration takes on the festival of fun~~~

As advocates for all kinds of cycling, all things considered BIKES, we consider our event a family affair, getting the youth of our communities accustomed to cycling along with the rules of the road + trail at an early age.  We like to think this will propagate a healthy knowledge about our sport & the healthy lifestyle it encourages.

Just this summer, leaders of the CCBF have developed an official advocacy alliance, the Cave Creek Bicycle Association, which is currently working to promote proper trail building in our area, and in conjunction with the Town of Cave Creek, has obtained a grant for the development of bike lane through town, border-to-border.  We held a movie screening of “Pedal Driven”, introducing to a collective audience what we hope to accomplish through appropriate channels, the preservation of our Open Space for future generations. 

Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the need for willing volunteers.  Our website offers an easy opportunity for folks to log-in with their preferences for contribution to our fabulous bike-fest.

With the best of regards, RIDE ON!

Ann Patsy

GM Classic 2011 Omnium -- November 5 & 6

In recent years, the Arizona road racing season has begun in January, and by the end of spring, the bulk of the mass-start races for the year have already been held, with little on the schedule during the rest of the year except time trials and hill climbs. It is therefore a boon to cyclists looking for a late-season race that the Yuma Bike Club is holding a two-day race in November, when the temperatures are still perfect for riding hard.

The first stage of the omnium, held on November 5, is a 7.62-mile individual time trial to be held on the oval banked road of the General Motors test track. The course is flat and should be very fast. The first rider will start at 7 a.m.

Day two on November 6 is a road race with different distances for different categories of riders. The exact distances are a bit hazy. The ride’s Web site reads that the race is “33/66/99 miles,” whereas on the registration page the distances are listed as 27 miles for juniors, 81 miles for pro, category 1 and category 2 men and women, and 54 miles for all other categories.

The time trial entry fee is $10 for juniors and $30 for adults. The road race costs $20 for juniors and $50 for all adult categories. Online registration is available until noon Eastern Time on November 1.

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

Feedback – Tour de Scottsdale

Hello Jack,

I'm writing you for the first time to offer my perspective on the upcoming Tour [de Scottsdale]. I've always waited for your newsletter with great anticipation and have always agreed with your interpretation of events. I appreciate the effort you put in, and I feel the cycling community is better for it.

I'm fairly new to cycling and for the past two years I've been gradually learning while becoming incredibly enthusiastic on every level. One of the greatest joys for me is riding in large events that raise money for great causes. I recently rode in Boston as part of the Pan Mass Challenge. Our group of thirteen raised almost $50,000 for the two-day event, as part of the 34 million total raised this year.

Last year I rode in the Tour de Scottsdale for the first time. My brother and I were in the middle of the pack at the start, and we rode the entire event without witnessing a single incident. All we saw all day long were hundreds of happy riders really enjoying themselves. Obviously, we all know that personal observations are not scientific, and cannot describe the event as a whole. There were roughly 1400 people involved last year and there were many more participating in all of the different activities as part of the event, kids’ rides, family rides, criterium, and other social interactions.

This year the event organizers have asked my brother and me to be the headliners in hopes we would motivate more people to get involved. Many people saw me riding last year, and as an amputee riding with one leg, I was hard not to notice. I've spent the past year making very special parts for my bike, which have made a significant difference in my ability to ride much greater distances. One day I would love to share the adaptations I've made with amputees who either suffer great pain while riding, or have given it up all together. My plan also includes sharing this information with the recently injured veterans that are coming home to very gloomy prospects. Maybe sometime you would like to see them for yourself.

I've discovered while riding many of the these 'Tour' type events, that I have an opportunity to meet people with whom I share something in common. Some are amputees and some know of amputees who ride or would like to ride. Seeing me ride with such ease and enjoyment can be a great motivator, and I see these large rides as a great opportunity for exposure.

So, I'm sure you know where this leading by now. Your latest position on the Tour is extremely harsh and not entirely justified. Yes, when hundreds of not so experienced riders get together, some of them make mistakes and sometimes innocent riders are injured. Simply telling everyone to pass on it or stay away, is not the approach I have come to expect from you. I think you would be better served to explain to people the dangers and offer some solutions.

Suggesting the event is very expensive, does not take into consideration, that some of the proceeds go to charity. There are also team options that reduce the price significantly, not to mention that some of the activities are free or are much less than the 70 mile event.

You have always seemed very reasonable in your approach, but I must disagree with your stance on this issue. These events can't simply be dismissed because of a very small few, when the vast majority find them so compelling.

Thank you for your time, and attention. I've included a link that will give you a little background on me, if you’re interested.

Todd Key

PS/ Here is a link to my bio on the FB page:

http://www.facebook.com/#!/notes/scottsdale-cycling-festival/tour-de-scottsdale-headlining-brothers-cycle-of-giving-benefits-cancer-research-/265800520105795

Also, here is a link to the PDF of Ranch News, where my bio also appeared on page 17:

http://issuu.com/mediapublishersgroup/docs/ranchnews_0711?mode=embed&layout=http%3A%2F%2Fskin.issuu.com%2Fv%2Flight%2Flayout.xml&showFlipBtn=true

Todd is an inspiration to us all, and I hope to do an article on Todd’s adaptations to his bike in a future issue. As to the solution to the bad crashes that occur in almost every one of these “Tour de…” events, the only solution I can think of is for the organizers to stop   these mass rides as pseudo races. As long as large numbers of riders with limited or no pack-riding experience ride so aggressively in large groups, people are going to continue to be seriously injured. – Jack Quinn

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