Monthly Archives: August 2013

Don’t go down that road- It’s closed

On August 30, 2013 rolling reporter James McKenzie said
Tucson Bicyclists: Warning:  Julian Wash between Kolb and Rita Ranch is CLOSED due to construction.  There are baricades on the Rita Ranch side but not at the entryway on Kolb (well not blocking the bikeway).  There was a dump truck, Bobcat and other ‘stuff’ working to repair the washouts from earlier this year.  And I found out the hard way, I rode down it…

A special place in Hell

I believe in Hell.  I believe there is a special area in hell dedicated to bike thieves.  They are destined for an eternal torture that includes a never ending headwind, golf ball sized hail, acid rain that boils the skin, no hydration, bonking, a corner store just ahead, but they never can reach it, a crank that slips on every rotation, saddle soars, occasional blasts of artic air that freeze to the bone marrow followed by extreme heat that causes a tingling sensation that is best described as having their skin stripped one layer at a time.  Actually, I think it is much harsher, but I really don’t want to disturb my readers with graphic images.

Why am I off on the Bike thief tangent?  Unfortunately, yet another Tucson cycling family was violated last night.

Stephanie and David Raine use their bikes as their primary form of transporation.  They live in Sam Hughes near 4th and Tucson.  On the night of August 30th, 2013 they had three bikes stolen from their home.  Please keep an eye out for the following bikes.  As I get more details on each I’ll update this post.

If you have info please contact Stephanie at or call 520.271.7377

Bike 1- 1996 bontrager privateer comp.

Best photo at this time of the 1996 bontrager privateer comp.
Best photo at this time of the 1996 bontrager privateer comp.

Bike 2- Gt Dyno Moto Glide Kustom Kruiser Purple

Gt Dyno Moto Glide Kustom Kruiser Purple
Gt Dyno Moto Glide Kustom Kruiser Purple


Bike 3- Surly Crosscheck

2011 54cm Surly Crosscheck frame. It was built using Shimano 105 ST-5600 Shifters where the brakes and shifters are in same movement. It has a Shimano 105 RD-5600 rear derailleur with a matching Shimano 105 front derailleur. It uses a Shimano 105 CS-5600 cassette in the back which is 10 speeds and a Shimano Tiagra FC-4500 52T-39T Chainring in the front. The Chainring runs on a Hollow-II Shimano 105 FC-5600 bottom bracket with a KMC DX10Sc chain. A Canecreek headset is fitted to some FSA handlebars and there are Richey Speedmax Comp tires 700x35c for comfort and durability and Shimano Ultegra PD-6610 SPD-SL pedals. The brakes are Tektro Oryx with Kool-Stop Salmon Pads.
2011 54cm Surly Crosscheck frame. It was built using Shimano 105 ST-5600 Shifters where the brakes and shifters are in same movement. It has a Shimano 105 RD-5600 rear derailleur with a matching Shimano 105 front derailleur. It uses a Shimano 105 CS-5600 cassette in the back which is 10 speeds and a Shimano Tiagra FC-4500 52T-39T Chainring in the front. The Chainring runs on a Hollow-II Shimano 105 FC-5600 bottom bracket with a KMC DX10Sc chain. A Canecreek headset is fitted to some FSA handlebars and there are Richey Speedmax Comp tires 700x35c for comfort and durability and Shimano Ultegra PD-6610 SPD-SL pedals. The brakes are Tektro Oryx with Kool-Stop Salmon Pads.


What happens when a cyclist breaks his back?

There is going to be one less road hazard this weekend on the roads of Tucson. The Dodge Bridge, just south of River is getting some new asphalt. For years a 3 plus inch wide separation between curb and road has beckoned tires like a streetcar track.

The gap is clearly visible between the green bike lane and the curb.  Crews power washing in preparation of the new concrete.
The gap is clearly visible between the green bike lane and the curb. Crews power washing in preparation of the new concrete.

Earlier this summer a county employee caught his tire in the crack and had a severe collision with the ground. It was because of this that the county finally took action to have it repaired. They were aware of the issue for the past 6 years, but were told by engineers that it could not be remedied due to drainage issues. Apparently, as a result of this tragedy, they were able to discover a fix for getting water off the bridge and closing the gat. It is sad that this summer someone had to break their back in order to get the county to take action.

Do you know of anywhere in the area that the road posses a risk to cyclist? Let me know and I’ll inform Pima county. If enough of us are vocal, we will see change.

New Bike Friendly Laws – Can it happen?

This morning I met with State Representative Ethan Orr to discuss bicycle friendly legislation that might be introduced next session. Bob Morken Jr. also joined us.

Last year two bills were introduced into the state legislature that related to cycling, but both did not make it past committee. In addition to discussing what bills he would support we also talked about what strategy he would use to actually get them passed. On that front, Otto von Bismarck said it best “Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.”

The great news is that we had no shortage of ideas. Many were discussed, but did not make the list as they are not in the state legislators control. Others would be great if Bikes were the dominant mode of transportation, but at this time are not practical and would never be passed. The following list are the ideas we think might stand a chance of becoming law.

1- One idea definitely seemed to garnish the most attention from people I polled before the meeting. It was the Idaho Stop. This would allow cyclist to yield at stop signs. There is considerable research to show most bicycle accidents happen in intersections. Allowing bikes to coast though will actually reduce those numbers.

2- The fines that cars face for breaking the existing laws are not very tough at this time. If you look at DUI tickets they progressively get more expensive for repeat offenders. The same should be in place for the 3 foot law and other bike related laws.

3- Allow video/media evidence to be used in ticketing unsafe and illegal driving.

4- Drivers education and looking at the existing questions on the license to include more about bicycle related laws and the rights of cyclist on the road. Additional literature sent out with yearly vehicle registrations alerting drivers of all new laws pertaining to driving.

5- A law that will legally allow cars to cross a double yellow line in order to give the cyclist 3 feet.
Based on many questions that Ethan asked it became clear that I am not an expert on what the existing laws are. There is definitely a need to be educated before we go any farther. Also, we talked about national organizations like Bikes Belong and the League of American Bicyclist. Perhaps they have a template available and/or knowledge of other bills that have worked across the country.

One additional point that we went over that consumes my mind is how do we engage the cyclists, YOU, to pick up the phones, e-mail, and tell their elected officials when they have an issue. Are you willing to take action when we ask for it? Are you willing to step up now? The answer must be YES if we really want to see a change.

A special thanks to Rep. Orr for meeting with Bob and I to discuss this. I have known Ethan for nearly 20 years, I do not agree with him on many policy issues, but have a great respect for his willingness to listen to all of the stake holders. It was very clear in this discussion today that this is not about Republican, Democrat, Independent or Green but about a shared concern for the safety of the people of Arizona.

*** I had one additional idea on the list, but it was not included in the discussion, but I expect it will be at the next meeting. That is the Vulnerable User Law. This law would have mandatory sentencing for distracted drivers who inflict a serious injury or death of a vulnerable road user.

Tucson makes #2 in top 20 cities

The website published their annual top 20 cities for 20-somethings. I was pleasantly surprised to see Tucson at #2. Today also marked the arrival of the first streetcar in Tucson. There is a buzz that has existed in our community in the 25 years I have lived here. The following is from the article and at the bottom I have commented on the links that they provided as reference.

“When we released last year’s list of the top 20 cities for 20-somethings, some readers were pleased and some were less so. We were looking for ultra-cool spots where young adults could find jobs they love, unwind at happy hours, join sports leagues, and make new pals. This year we’ve updated that list, and many of the cities you suggested met our new criteria. In general, it’s hard to pinpoint what qualities 20-somethings go for in picking the perfect city. There are common factors such as cleanliness, park space, and efficient transit systems, but this year we expanded our scope: Does a city provide ethnic and cultural diversity? Can you walk in peace or are the streets packed with cars? We compiled this year’s list taking into account as many factors as we could to bring you the most accurate list of healthy cities for 20-somethings. Read on for our 2013 picks, presented in reverse alphabetical order, and let us know: Did we include your favorite?

2. Tucson, AZ
Average Temp (High, Low): 82, 55
Per capita Income: $20,460
Average Rent for 1-Bedroom Apt: $669
Population: 524,295
Median Age: 33
Take a deeeeep breath. Tucson is one of the cleanest cities in the U.S., as measured by year-round particle pollution. That should come in handy when we’re panting heavily on a bike, hike, or simple jog. Surrounded by mountain ranges, this year-round sunny city is the place for outdoor activity aficionados, especially cyclists. A program called “Bicycle Boulevards” helps turn city streets into safe pathways for bikers. And unlike some of the other cities on this list (cough New York cough), Tucson’s not a place where we’ll end up blowing our whole paycheck: The city’s been rated one of the most affordable places to rent an apartment. Spend some of that extra dough at the restaurants, bars, and boutiques in the historic Fourth Avenue district.”

My thoughts on the links
On the affordability scale I feel after traveling this summer to Utah and Colorado just how good we have it. Our organic produce is less than the cheapest produce. Gasoline in Tucson is .50-.75 cheaper. Eating out, going to the bar, every time you go out in Tucson it just costs less. Rents and home prices are very low. I needed to leave Tucson to appreciate this.

OK, the concept of the bike boulevards are good, but there are even better resources and examples of what is good about biking. The loop I think is better for commuters. The 6 foot shoulders that are covering hundreds of miles in Southern Arizona are better then any of the boulevards. Howe Actually, the Bike boulevard on 4th and Fontana is mostly unpleasant in terms of road quality and views. However, the concept is good, traffic calming is great, and with time and money they will improve.

Tucson is number 8 for year round Particle pollution according the American Lung Association.

This is what they used to talk about the mountains. Arizona.

As you might know, I like bikes. So when I keep seeing Tucson ranked in the top cities and the articles reference bikes as a reason, I get very excited. I wish they would say more, because there are so many incredible bike activities, commuting, races, recreation and the list goes on. The government gets it and have done an outstanding job with the pushing of a dedicated community.

The #2 ranking was a reverse alphabetical placement. I know, this should be at the top of the article, but it was brought to my attention after I originally published this.

Tu Nidito Ride for a Child

Launched in 2008, Ride for a Child is a special fundraising program that pairs El Tour cyclists with Tu Nidito children whose lives have been impacted by serious illness or the death of someone they love.

Participating cyclists pledge to raise $500 or more for Tu Nidito as part of their El Tour ride. Each Ride for a Child cyclist rides and fundraises in honor of a specific Tu Nidito child, putting a face and story to their fundraising effort and Tu Nidito’s mission. With the support of Ride for a Child cyclists, who raise over $100,000 for Tu Nidito annually, we can realize our vision of a community where no child grieves alone.

As part of the Ride for a Child program, cyclists receive…

• The story and photo of a Tu Nidito child to ride for,
• Free entry into the 31st El Tour (paid by Tu Nidito),
• A Ride for a Child jersey,
• A customizable fundraising webpage,
• An El Tour event t-shirt and poster,
• Regular Ride for a Child group rides,
• And the satisfaction of supporting a Tu Nidito child when it matters most.

Personally, I have been a part of the Ride For A Child program and a supporter of Tu Nidito for the past five years. No other organization has touched me as deeply as Tu Nidito. In addition to doing good for a wonderful cause, it has also been a great opportunity to bond with other cyclist in Tucson. Register now at

Another At”tack” near Catalina Highway

This following is from a letter I was CCéd on about another incident of tacks on the road near Catalina Highway.  This time on Snyder.  Just a reminder, we have created a fund that has $2,869 dollars for info that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) putting tacks on the road.  If you want to donate to the fund, contact me, Damion Alexander, at or call 520-977-5664.  If you have info on the tacks call the Pima County Sherriff dept.

Tack bike #2 August 25th 8am
Another tack in the road on August 25,2013

My wife and I  both flatted from silver colored tacks while riding our road bikes @ 8am today on Snyder Rd. We estimate that we ran over the tacks 1000 yrds west of Catalina hwy. There is no shoulder on this road, we were riding approximately a foot from the edge of the road when we both heard the tires clicking and then went flat. We did not see anyone near the road or a parked car etc, or someone capable of throwing them. Cyclists ride this road everyday, we would assume the tacks were placed on the road recently.

We have also had flats from gold colored tacks thrown on the bike shoulder on Catalina hwy northbound near Snyder earlier this spring. This is the first tack incident that we know of in this area since the tacks issue appeared on the tv news a few months ago and a reward  offered. The silver colored tacks are virtually impossible to see on the road while riding.



TPD Citation for Bike Rack blocking license plate

The man, delaying me on the drive home.

I was heading home from El Grupo practice this weekend and saw the red and blue lights in the rear view mirror. I was somewhat surprised to see them as I was traveling under the speed limit on an empty road.  The offence, obscured license plate by bikes and bike rack.

Clearly, with two bikes on the rack it was impossible to make out the plate.  I deserved a ticket based on the law. Fortunately, I was only given a written warning.  However, it has made me look at my rack and realize there is no way I can use it and drive “legally”.  I own three bike racks and all of them are illegal.

I talked to David Tang, The owner of Ordinary Bike Shop to see if he sells a rear mounted rack that will not block a license plate.  David said “This has been an issue with rear mount racks for decades, there are none that allow the plate to be clearly visible when loaded with bikes.  The license plate can be moved to a visible location with an aftermarket product”.  He went on to say “a few racks allow plates to be seen, but some vehicles have weird plate locations, but those are the exceptions”.

I contacted Ryan Roher with the  Pima County Sheriff Dept. for a comment and he directed me to look at ARS 28-2354B3.   In a nutshell it says  “A person shall display the license plate or plates as follows… so it is clearly legible … In a position to be clearly visible.”

In searching the web for examples of how to deal with this issue I found a solution from Barb Berle.  “I now have a lighted license plate holder securely attached to my hitch rack in a position that is highly visible while traveling with bicycles. Since the State of Arizona will not issue a second license plate of the same number, all I have to do is remove my plate from the car and place it in the bike rack holder – easy and secure.”  Good idea,  if you leave the rack on 24/7 or are OK to remove and reattach your license plate every time you remove your rack.  I expect the chances are better of be cited for no plate when you forget the plate on the rack.

There is one positive side to obscuring the plate.  If you have the photo cameras snap a photo of you, they can not ticket you.  I’m not saying this has happened to me(more then once), but perhaps it is part of the equation in weighting if you want to risk driving with obscured plates.

On a side note, I am meeting with Arizona House of Rep Ethan Orr this week to discuss possible laws that will benefit the cycling community.  Perhaps a solution to this exists.  Do you have any ideas?

Stolen Bike-Specialized Pitch

This was posted by a friend, Dana Higgins about a stolen bike.  I’ve heard variations of this, the most amazing was someone who stole a BMW first, left the car at the house and took a 10K plus TT bike out for a spin, never to return.  Hopefully, we can spread the word and find the bike as well as educate people.
I got a call about my Specialized Pitch, but the man on the line was preoccupied and didn’t really seem to know much about bikes. He asked if I could meet him to check out my bike. I met up with the guy 45 minutes after the call at the Safeway on Campbell and Prince. He asked if he could ride the bike and I let him in exchange for his car keys. Of course he disappeared and I didn’t have my bike registered with TPD. When I met him he mentioned looking at other nice bikes on criagslist. This dude is white, about 5’10” with a buzzed head and was wearing a blue COX cable Polo, khakis, and dress shoes. The key he gave me appears to be for a Mazda but none was present in the parking lot at the time. Please don’t let this happen to you and if you see my bike around call the cops. I have a picture and will post a list of parts. Lets make sure the bike Gods fuck this dude up.

2008 Specialized Pitch
Components List:
Fork: RockShox Pike 327, 140mm travel
Rear Shock:Fox RP2, 150mm travel (upgrade)
Brakeset: Avid Juicy 3 SL w/203mm rotor front/Avid Juicy 3 SL w/185mm rotor rear brakes
Shift Levers; SRAM X.9 trigger
Front Derailleur: Shimano SLX
Rear Derailleur: SRAM X.9
Crankset: Shimano Deore LX, w/ bash guard
Pedals: Specialized Lo Pro Mag
Rear Cogs: 9-speed, 11 – 34 teeth
Seatpost: Race Face Deus (upgrade)
Handlebar : Easton Monkey Bars
Stem: KCNC Flight
Headset: 1 1/8″ Threadless
Front: Mavic DEETRACKS
Rear: DT Swiss 445D, 32-hole
Tires : 26 x 2.30″ Specialized Eskar Sport

El Grupo field trip to Carmichael Training Systems

El grupo had one of the most important practices of the year Wednesday night. It included an effort of only 9-10 minutes on a trainer at Carmichael Training Systems (CTS). The entire workout consisted of riding a three mile computer course in order to establish training parameters for the year.

Based on the results from the test the kids are able to figure out what their heart rate and Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) should be for different workouts. CTS breaks the different zones into Foundation Miles, Endurance miles, Tempo, Steady State Intervals, and Recovery miles. If you are so inclined to know what each of these is, I’ve copied the summary of them at the bottom of this post.

CTS offers a state of the art facility that has 8 trainers hooked up to computers that allows for group races. 23 kids showed up to determine their base line fitness . The A team had a little more challenging course that offered more uphill, while the others had one climb and a majority of the TT like race was downhill. For what seems like an easy 10 minute effort I have not seen as much anguish and outright pain in these kids. The computer not only tracks your watts and speed, but a huge monitor shows exactly where you are in the race compared with the other racers and how many feet you are behind the racer in front of you. For this test, they turned off the “drafting” feature, but it’s possible to set up a life like drafting feature.


Kyle Helmke giving it everything and more.

Head Coach, Jason Tullous, broke down all the info that was gathered to show the kids what their zones are. I’d like to give a special Thanks to all of the CTS staff who stayed very late to get this done. Having industry leading coaching available for El Grupo and all of us who live in Tucson is one of the reasons that Tucson is such an incredible cycling community. Most teams would need to travel many a mile to find what is generously given to EL Grupo. Again, THANKS!

Endurance miles: This is one of the primary workouts for building an aerobic energy system that will increase your endurance capabilities. Expected benefits include: Increased size and strength in slow-twitch muscle fibers. Increased stroke volume from your heart. How to do it: Although similar to the Foundation Miles workout, the pace during the EM workout is quicker than during the Foundation Miles (FM) workout. It is performed at a moderate pace, but at a slightly higher heart rate (or power output) than the FM workout. Use your gearing as you hit the hills to remain in the saddle as you climb. Expect to keep your pedal speed up into the 85-95 RPM range. As with the FM workout, you will have a certain heart rate (or power) range for this workout. The goal is to not exceed the prescribed heart rate (or power) range. Even though the intensity is greater the closer you get to the heart rate ceiling, you are still using aerobic energy to power your cycling. At end of your EM ride, you should have spent at least 95% of the ride below your heart rate ceiling. If you are training with power, the longer the EM is, the lower your average power output should be and vice versa. The appropriate intensity will be determined by the results of the CTS field test. If you are training primarily with heart rate, you don’t need to stay near the top of your EM heart rate range all the time. The range is wide to accommodate the changes in effort level resulting from uphills, downhills, headwinds, tailwinds, stop signs and stoplights.

Steady State Intervals “Goal: Increase your lactate threshold by training at the edge of your aerobic/anaerobic threshold.

Tempo: Strategically placing tempo workouts into your training program has many advantages: Greater comfort while cruising on rolling terrain. Better fuel utilization during long races or rides. Increased capacity for more intense workouts. Better power at moderate intensities. Increased muscle glycogen storage capacity. Improved free fatty acid oxidation, which spares muscle glycogen. Increased mitochondrial development, structures within the muscle cells that produce energy. Improved aerobic efficiency. How to Do It: Pedal speed should be low. Try a 70-75 RPM range while staying at the prescribed heart rate intensity. This helps increase pedal resistance and strengthens leg muscles. Also try to stay in the saddle when you hit hills during your tempo workouts. This adds more pedal resistance and readies the connective tissues and supporting muscle groups before training heads into more explosive workouts. It is important that you try to ride the entire length of the tempo workout with as few interruptions as possible – tempo workouts should consist of consecutive riding at the prescribed intensity to achieve maximum benefit. This intensity will be determined by the results of the CTS field test.

Recovery miles goal is to speed the recovery process by riding at an easy pace at low resistance on flat terrain. Benefits include increasing blood flow to the muscles to help remove muscle soreness, reducing free radical build-up that cause muscle stress and damage. Studies have shown that active recovery at an appropriate pace leads to faster recovery than complete rest. How to do it: Recovery rides should be between 30-120 minutes in length on flat to rolling terrain. Keep your pedal speed slower than normal, staying in a light gear to keep resistance low. Heart rate must also remain low even if you hit any hills, just slow down and use your gears to keep the resistance low. The key to recovery rides is to ride just enough to engage the active recovery process but not long or intense enough to induce a training stress upon yourself. This is a workout that you will use during all your training periods. Even though the temptation is there to vegetate on the couch the day following a tough workout, use RR as an active recovery workout to jumpstart the process of repair and regeneration.