Skip to main content
Add Me To Your Mailing List
Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club
Home2013

The Hub Archive - 2013

 


December 28 Saturday Cycling Report

A Double Report; Lucky 7's and MidSummer Ride

Added December 29, 2013
written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Two ride reports in one, again.

The cool mist surrounding us at the sign-in gave way to bright sunshine as 56 cyclists rode out of the park on Dec 21st. But by the ride's end, a thick cloud cover and temperature drop made it look and feel like a proper winter solstice.

I was happy to see 72 sign in today. Our largest turnout since September was helped by the addition of several out-of-town visitors. 'Tis the season.

I hope everyone enjoyed some Christmas time off from work, and have more to look forward to next week. Cheers to National Holidays! Gosh bless them, every one.

Coming up...

Saturday, 01/04/14 8:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Tour de Sue
Happy New Year! Let's start with a flat loop to the south, with route options of 25 or 35 miles. Both routes include a good long stretch with no traffic lights. Now that our winter start time is making some of us miss the breakfast service at Paradise, January has been declared AZ Bread Co month (SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot). Sunrise: 7:33 - and that's as late as it's going to get

Saturday, 01/11/14 8:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. ...or Give me Hills
This route approaches the Ahwatukee Foothills from the east on Chandler Blvd., then cuts south to Pecos before hitting the hills. The 30-mile standard route loops back on Liberty Lane. The extended route adds a couple more hills before returning east on Chandler. Both routes head back to Tempe through Equestrian Trails. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co in Tempe, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 7:33

Saturday, 01/18/14 8:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Chandler/Gilbert Bronze
Let's ride the flatlands of Gilbert and Chandler with route options of 25 or 35 miles. And it gives us another opportunity to breakfast at AZ Bread Co. at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 7:32

Tid Bits...

Santa Claus delivered a shiny new bike/pedestrian bridge over the 101 expressway at Galveston in Chandler. I was able to test ride it on Christmas Eve. It looks pretty nice as far as concrete and steel structures go. There is a tight turn on one side that you'll want to take single file, and both sides spill out onto the high-speed frontage road, so you'll want to use this bridge with caution. But do use it!

On the other hand, the Grinch arranged for a 5 month closure of a popular multiuse path so that SRP could perform some canal maintenance. One of our members submitted a complaint to the City of Chandler and received a personal call from Mayor Tibshraeny to discuss better solutions. We hope he'll take it up with SRP soon.

The Casa Grande Century still needs volunteers. It's easy to sign up at: www.SignUpGenius.com/go/8050C45AAAA2AA75-2014.

The annual J&P Tucson Tour has shifted one day. It is now Saturday, February 15- Tuesday, February 18, 2014.

Have fun, and ride safely


Decmber 14 Saturday Cycling Report

The Third Plan's the Charm

Added December 15, 2013
written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

After plan A and plan B for our quarterly meeting both fell through, a plan C was devised that worked. We rode. We met. We got fed. Mission accomplished.

Only 54 cyclists signed in at the ride start, while eighty-some showed up for the meeting. C'mon you guys. It wasn't that cold. Felt like another gorgeous autumn day to me. Put on a jacket or two and come ride with us!

Coming up...

Saturday, 12/21/13 8:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Lucky 7's
Last year I promised Santa that I would schedule a flat route for his annual visit in his furry costume. Seems he was overdressed for the climbs. The Lucky 7's route loops clockwise to the south and takes advantage of some of the new roads over by the Wild Horse Pass casino/resort area. The name plays off the mileage options of 27 and 47 miles, plus the two casinos along the way. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 7:29

Saturday, 12/28/13 8:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. MidSummer Ride
Better bundle up in midwinter for this shade optimized route. Options of 28 miles with one climb, or 38 miles with a couple of bonus hills. Breakfast at Paradise Bakery, SE corner of Guadalupe and McClintock. Sunrise: 7:32

Saturday, 01/04/14 8:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Tour de Sue
Happy New Year! Let's start with a flat loop to the south, with route options of 25 or 35 miles. Both routes include a good long stretch with no traffic lights. If you don't know the origin of this route's title, you must be new! Feel free to ask and learn. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co in Tempe, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 7:33

Tid Bits...

I'm not the newly elected club secretary. Denise Thienpont is. But here is my unofficial summary of the quarterly membership meeting anyway:

Thank you Margi for a great year as Secretary! Denise will be replacing her next year joining Armando, Kevin and Laura who will repeat their roles as President, VP and Treasurer.

We were reminded of near-term events, like this Wednesday, 12/18, when Santa Claus will be leading a 20-mile tour of the holiday lights in the flatlands of west Chandler. The start is 7:00 PM at Zip's on the NE corner of Ray and McClintock. The Route will be about 20 miles with no climbing. Santa Neal promises a slow pace. Just be ready to short-cut back to Zip's if you get separated. Santa is a little out of practice at slow.

The 2014 Casa Grande Century registration is live. More volunteers are still needed www.SignUpGenius.com/go/8050C45AAAA2AA75-2014.

The annual J&P Tucson Tour registration is live. Friday, February 14 - Monday, February 17, 2014 enjoy a self-supported 4 day loop from Scottsdale to Tucson and back.

Tim recommended a great charity ride opportunity on March 1st: The Honor Ride helps to provide special need military veterans with financial aid and specialized cycling equipment. More at https://ride2recovery.com/.

The Mining Country Challenge and the White Mountain Tours are scheduled. Watch the web site for details to be posted soon. The ride leaders promised good weather, tail winds and easy climbing.

Lastly, we can expect an on-line payment option for club membership to be available soon.

Have fun, and ride safely


Decmber 7 Saturday Cycling Report

Thanksgiving Weekend Wrap-up and Free Ride

Added December 11, 2013
written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Eighty-six is the number of people who signed in at the Free Ride - far fewer than the 120 who registered. I assume that was because of the cold and rain in the forecast. Too bad, because the others missed out on a beautiful desert ride with a perfect temperature for climbing Usery Pass. And the air was as clear as it was cool, treating us to awesome mountain views, all within bicycling distance of home. The BBQ lunch at the finish was also great. Thanks Glen for pulling it all together!

Last week, after a 4 day weekend of cycling, the ride report was written but failed to send which remains a mystery. Here's parts of it for the record:

Thirty-two cyclists signed in to start their combined Thanksgiving and Hanukkah holiday with a bike ride last Thursday. The streets were relatively calm and quiet in the welcomed morning sunshine. So many things to be thankful for. Mazel tov!

On Saturday we had 51 friendly, fun-loving people sign in for the McKellips Loop.

Coming up...

======== ALERT – the location of the club meeting has changed!! ========

Saturday, 12/14/13 8:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Marco Polo meets Iguana Mack
Time for another Quarterly Membership Meeting! And once again, we have discovered that the location we arranged (JJ North's (formerly Home Town Buffet)) has closed. Our other favorite site didn't work out either so we're trying something new: lunch at Iguana Mack's at 1371 N Alma School Rd, just south of Knox. To get there from Kiwanis Park we'll be using a modified version of the Marco Polo route. Or meet us at Iguana Mack's for sign-in starting at 10:15 a.m. The food will be served at 10:30 a.m. and the meeting will start shortly after. Sunrise: 7:25

Saturday, 12/21/13 8:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Lucky 7's
Last year I promised Santa that I would schedule a flat route for his annual visit in his furry costume. Seems he was overdressed for the climbs. The Lucky 7's route loops clockwise to the south and takes advantage of some of the new roads over by the Wild Horse Pass casino/resort area. The name plays off the mileage options of 27 and 47 miles, plus the two casinos along the way. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 7:29

Saturday, 12/28/13 8:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. MidSummer Ride
Better bundle up in midwinter for this shade optimized route. Options of 28 miles with one climb, or 38 miles with a couple of bonus hills. Breakfast at Paradise Bakery, SE corner of Guadalupe and McClintock. Sunrise: 7:32

Tid Bits...

A big thank you to Kris Preston who arranged our lovely holiday party at Pesto's Wine Bar on Saturday evening. Earlier that same day she could be seen volunteering at the Free Ride sign-in and scurrying to find a new venue for our quarterly meeting. Busy day.

Here's an interesting volunteer opportunity: you can be part of the Fiesta Bowl Parade Bicycle Security team. The Parade is on Dec 28; volunteers are needed form 6:30am to 2:00pm. No experience necessary. Volunteers receive a free event t-shirt, breakfast that morning, and are invited to the post parade thank-you party in April. Sharon Newman-Matt is the new chair-person for the bike patrol; you can contact Sharon Newman-Matt to volunteer. Or go to fiestabowlparade.org and link your way to Volunteers:Parade to register on line.

Don't forget: Quarterly Membership Meeting on Saturday December 14th at Iguana Mack's

Have fun, and ride safely


November 16 Saturday Cycling Report

Marco Polo Ride Passes Through 4 East Valley Cities

Added November 17, 2013
written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Sixty-four cyclists signed in today for a long, fast, flat route that touched 4 of the east valley cities. The only tricky part was remembering when you were in Gilbert so you weren't surprised by the lagging left-turn lights; that which is first in other towns comes last in Gilbert and Scottsdale. The unusual weather played tricks on us as well, with the headwind hitting on the southbound and westward return legs, instead of the usual easterly morning wind tunnel.

Coming up...

Saturday, 11/23/13 8:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Foothills Training Ride
The Foothills Training Ride takes us on a loop through the Ahwatukee Foothills with options of 25 miles with a couple of gentle climbs, or 38 miles that will take you up 5 bigger hills. If you can follow the spaghetti-bowl long-route map, you will have gone up and down all 5 approaches with no repeats and no U-turns. Breakfast at AZ Bread Co. at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 7:08

Thursday 11/28/12 8:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Tour de Lehi
Whet your appetite on our annual pre-feast Thanksgiving Day ride out to the quiet streets of Lehi. Route options of 27 miles or 35 miles, with no climbing. Breakfast at Einstein Bagels, NW corner of McClintock and Guadalupe (yes, they are open on Thanksgiving Day). Sunrise: 7:12

Friday 11/29/12 8:00 a.m., DC Ranch Safeway. Scottsdale/Fountain Hills Loop
Come join us to work off the Thanksgiving Day weight gain. We'll meet at the DC Ranch Safeway at Thompson Peak Parkway and Pima Road. Some climbing (Dynamite and Shea) and the thrill of going down Nine Mile Hill. Main route (54 miles) visits Scottsdale, Rio Verde and Fountain Hills and if you time it well you traverse right by the fountain that spouts for the first 15 minutes of every hour. Short route (27 miles) loops you around North Scottsdale. Neal himself will lead this special holiday weekend ride. Sunrise: 7:13

Saturday, 11/30/13 8:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. McKellips Loop
This 28-mile or 37-mile loop from Kiwanis Park will take you north through Tempe and then east through Mesa on McKellips Road, returning to Paradise Bakery for breakfast. Sunrise: 7:14

Tid Bits...

Wishing a safe and successful El Tour de Tucson for all who are heading south for that adventure next weekend. I hope you wear your club colors and do us all proud. I don't care how fast your ride, just want to know that you were role models for safely enjoying the fun of spirited cycling with a group of friendly people. And then come back to ride with us again as soon as you can for more of the same. It's never too soon to start training for next year!

Remember to sign-up for our upcoming major events.

It's not too late to volunteer to support the Casa Grande Century in January, please follow this link to sign up: www.SignUpGenius.com/go/8050C45AAAA2AA75-2014.

Have fun, and ride safely


November 9 Saturday Cycling Report

Girl Power in Tempe and the Ahwatukee Foothills

Added November 15, 2013
written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

There was a major display of girl power in Tempe and the Ahwatukee Foothills on Saturday. Besides approximately 21% of our 69 Saturday Cyclists, we saw thousands of pink ladies (and a few pink men) walking for the cure. Then out on Pecos, using a route very similar to our own, we were accompanied by hundreds of women from the Lifetime Fitness “Esprit de She” fully supported fun ride. It was crowded out there, but great to see so many people enjoying a sunny day without their motor vehicles.

Coming up...

Saturday, 11/16/13 8:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Marco Polo
Designed to stretch us to the eastern limits of our range. The 26-mile standard route goes east on Guadalupe for 12 miles, then loops back on Elliot. The 41-mile long route keeps going east all the way to Ellsworth, then loops to the south before joining the Elliot return path. Breakfast at Paradise Bakery on Guadalupe and McClintock. Sunrise: 7:01

Saturday, 11/23/13 8:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Foothills Training Ride
The Foothills Training Ride takes us on a loop through the Ahwatukee Foothills with options of 25 miles with one gentle climb, or 38 miles that will take you on 5 more. If you can follow the spaghetti-bowl long-route map, you will have gone up and down all 5 approaches with no repeats and no U-turns. Breakfast at AZ Bread Co. at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 7:08

Thursday 11/28/12 8:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Tour de Lehi
Whet your appetite on our annual pre-feast Thanksgiving Day ride out to the quiet streets of Lehi. Route options of 27 miles or 35 miles, with no climbing. Breakfast at Einstein Bagels, NW corner of McClintock and Guadalupe (yes, they are open on Thanksgiving Day).

Friday 11/29/12 8:00 a.m., DC Ranch Safeway. Scottsdale/Fountain Hills Loop
Come join us to work off the Thanksgiving Day weight gain. We'll meet at the DC Ranch Safeway at Thompson Peak Parkway and Pima Road. Some climbing (Dynamite and Shea) and the thrill of going down Nine Mile Hill. Main route (54 miles) visits Scottsdale, Rio Verde and Fountain Hills and if you time it well you traverse right by the fountain that spouts for the first 15 minutes of every hour. Short route (27 miles) loops you around North Scottsdale. Neal himself will lead this special holiday weekend ride. Lunch stop is TBD.

Tid Bits...

'Twill soon be the season…for PMBC major events!

Saturday, December 7 is the date of our annual Free Ride, at Pioneer Park in Mesa. This ride replaces Saturday Cycling on that day, so don't show up at Kiwanis Park – we won't be there. This is a fee-free, fully supported ride with a warm lunch at the finish. We need you to pre-register so we know how much food to buy. Get all the details on our web site.

The 2014 Casa Grande Century is on Sunday, January 12, 2014. CGC is usually our biggest event and helps fund all of our other programs for the rest of the year. Registration is open now; see the web site for more information. If you'd like to make this be the event you work instead of ride, please follow this link to sign up as a volunteer: www.SignUpGenius.com/go/8050C45AAAA2AA75-2014.

And then, from February 14 to February 17 over the President's day weekend, will be the J&P Tucson Tour. This four day credit-card tour goes from Scottsdale to Tucson and back. Online registration is not yet available, but it should be coming soon, so stay tuned.

Have fun, and ride safely


Musings Of a Recumbent Newbie

Thoughts on Riding in a Radically Different Position

Added November 10, 2013
written by Brian Buckmaster

I recently bought a recumbent. After many decades of riding upright, I have chosen to try riding in a radically different position. This choice was forced upon me by severe pain in my shoulders/back due to arthritis that has developed in my cervical vertebra as well as discs that have become badly worn. I've seen several doctors about my condition and basically my only option is pain mitigation. When I try riding an upright road bike, I start experiencing pain/numbness in my right shoulder after only a minute or so; the pain increases in intensity as I continue to ride.

So, one day I went shopping for a recumbent. I found a shop in Austin that sells only recumbent and the owner has plenty of bikes and trikes to try out. I soon found that riding a recumbent bike is almost like learning how to ride all over again! The biggest problem is starting out – there is a tendency, when starting from a stopped position, to lift your supporting foot too soon and you start to lean over and lose control. After a few times I sort of figured it out. But after riding a trike, I opted for three wheels instead. So I ended up buying an ICE Vortex:


I chose the Vortex because I wanted something that offered some performance. The Catrike 700 is also a fast machine, but I found the Vortex to be a tad lighter and I am able to accelerate more quickly. So, what's it like riding a recumbent trike? Well, I'll tell you. The following are my impressions after having ridden over 600 miles on mine.

First of all, it's a hoot to ride! I felt like a kid with a new toy. But right away I noticed that my peddling was not smooth at all and I found myself weaving back and forth with each peddle stroke. It takes awhile, but you eventually learn to smooth your stroke – the steering, which is very sensitive, gives you almost instantaneous feedback. When going at speed, it can be disconcerting to yaw left/right and so I worked hard to smooth out my pedal stroke.

Speaking of speed, you can really fly! I found that on the flats I could pull away from guys, especially going into the wind – the aerodynamic advantage is that great. On downward pitches I can coast and keep up with others who are peddling. Of course, climbing hills is another matter. It's like being on a tandem – you slog up the hill, being passed by almost everyone. But wait until you crest the hill! I've got a triple, and I have no qualms about using granny on long climbs.

One of the first things you'll notice when riding a recumbent is that due to the seated position, your head is more upright and you can view and enjoy the surrounding scenery without lifting your head and straining your neck. Being in a laid back position, enjoying the scenery is one of the most enjoyable aspects of riding a recumbent. But there is a downside – you will be looking directly into the sun if you travel eastward in the mornings. To combat the bright sun you will need really dark sunglasses. I've solved the problem by wearing a new Giro Air Attack helmet with the tinted shield over a pair of sunglasses.

Riding a ‘bent gives you more flexible clothing options. No longer do you need padded shorts. Just about any pair of shorts will do, but I've found that cargo shorts, with all those pockets work great. Since you are laid back, the rear pockets in regular cycling jerseys are pretty much useless, and you can use those pockets on cargo shorts to carry your wallet, repair kit, etc. You can buy jerseys for recumbent riders that have pockets in the front and sides, but so far I haven't tried any of them.

Aside from the obviously different body position, riding a trike is more like riding a go-cart, in that you have to lean into the corners. Also, on roads that are off camber, you'll find yourself leaning, which can be uncomfortable after awhile. Being low to the ground gives you a different perspective – a sort of a fido's eye view, especially when riding with other cyclists on upright bikes. You do get the benefits of drafting behind others, but you don't provide much of a draft yourself.

Since recumbent are somewhat of a novelty, motorists tend to notice you and give you a wide berth. A tricycle is perceived as taking up more space than it really does, so you find that you're given plenty of room! Other cyclists will smile and give you looks of pity, as if you're handicapped and you're riding a hand-cycle. But on organized rides, some of the uninitiated soon learn that trying to keep up with a fit rider on a bent is hard work.

All in all, my trike has met my expectations, and even though I'm now well enough to ride my custom Waterford, the novelty of riding the trike is still new. I'm glad I got it, and only wonder why I didn't do it sooner!


November 2 Saturday Cycling Report

Exceeding Goals on Tour de Mesa

Added November 2, 2013
written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

With several annual event rides available this weekend, our Saturday crowd was down to 61. As a couple of people noted, the mileages quoted on the route map are an understatement. For all who finished the full route: congratulations on exceeding your goal! There was plenty of time to recover on the patio at Paradise Bakery where lingering long was the norm.

Coming up...

Saturday, 11/09/13 8:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Ahwafooty
We'll circle around to approach the Ahwatukee-Foothills from the south. 24-mile or 35-mile options with moderate climbing on the longer route. Breakfast at AZ Bread Co. at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 6:55

Saturday, 11/16/13 8:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Marco Polo
Designed to stretch us to the eastern limits of our range. The 26-mile standard route goes east on Guadalupe for 12 miles, then loops back on Elliot. The 41-mile long route keeps going east all the way to Ellsworth, then loops to the south before joining the Elliot return path. Breakfast at Paradise Bakery on Guadalupe and McClintock. Sunrise: 7:01

Saturday, 11/23/13 8:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Foothills Training Ride
The Foothills Training Ride takes us on a loop through the Ahwatukee Foothills with options of 25 miles with one gentle climb, or 38 miles that will take you on 5 more. If you can follow the spaghetti-bowl long-route map, you will have gone up and down all 5 approaches with no repeats and no U-turns. Breakfast at AZ Bread Co. at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 7:08

Safety Tidbit...

My favorite safety tip for riding in traffic is: BE PREDICTABLE. And the best way to be predictable is to follow the rules of the road. This applies to any vehicle operator sharing the streets. Often we see motorists modify the rules and invite us to usurp their right-of-way. Like this morning as we exited the park turning left on Guadalupe and a motorist stopped mid-street and waved us across. This is a 4 lane, 45mph arterial. How are the other road users going to know about the impromptu traffic rule? Will they stop too? It's a key decision time for the safe cyclist. I encounter this scenario often while commuting alone, and have several suggestions of how to react to the well meaning Samaritan:

  1. Graciously accept. If I perceive there is no risk of confusion, I make eye contact, mouth the words "Thank You", smile and proceed.
  2. Politely decline. Sometimes I just shake my head no and stay still until they begrudgingly proceed, shrugging in disbelief.
  3. Feign a stall. Other times I reach for my front wheel or brakes and pretend I have a mechanical problem so they will stop waiting for me.
  4. Go around behind. Especially useful when making a left turn and an oncoming vehicle is expecting me to ride in front of them. I slowly roll forward, making it obvious I'm waiting for them to proceed. When I get all the way up to the car, I keep rolling past and circle back behind the car to make my turn. They will usually get moving as soon as I come alongside, clearing the way.
  5. Be the traffic cop. When there are several of us gridlocked at an intersection, I will point to the person who has the right-of-way so everyone knows why I'm not moving. Other times I might point at the stop sign I am honoring, or the green light they are ignoring.

In every case, you need to assess the situation. Keep in mind that other vehicles approaching are likely to be surprised and confused too. They should expect everyone to be following the rules.

I believe the main reason defensive motorists make these benevolent gestures is that they have come to expect noncompliant behavior from cyclists. The more we honor the right-of-way laws, the less we will be treated like deviants.

In other news: the Casa Grande Century leadership team has set up a web site for volunteer sign-up. If you'd like to make this be the ride where you give back to your club, please follow this link: www.SignUpGenius.com/go/8050C45AAAA2AA75-2014.

Ride safely


October 26 Saturday Cycling Report

Nothing Scary on Chandler/Gilbert Bronze Route

Added October 28, 2013
written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Thanks again to Armando for leading 70 cyclists on the Mummy Mountain ride last week. Seventy is the exact number of people who signed-in this past Saturday as well.

I know that some of the standard route riders are reluctant to turn onto Arizona Ave. from Guadalupe due to the lack of bike lanes, and the fact that it is a state highway so you'd expect high traffic volume. But other than one pile of broken glass, there was nothing scary encountered on this early Saturday morning. Traffic was relatively light, and there was plenty of room for everyone. Of course, you can always deviate from the route, but when you do go off map, it reduces the chances that any of your companions will happen by if you find yourself in need of aid.

Coming up...

Note: November ride start changes to 8:00 a.m.

Saturday, 11/02/13 8:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Tour de Mesa
The Tour de Mesa takes us to the northeast, with route options of 29 miles with no climbing or 39 miles with a gentle climb. Breakfast is at Paradise Bakery at Guadalupe & McClintock. Sunrise: 6:48

Saturday, 11/09/13 8:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Ahwafooty
We'll circle around to approach the Ahwatukee-Foothills from the south. 24-mile or 35-mile options with moderate climbing on the longer route. Breakfast at AZ Bread Co. at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 6:55

Saturday, 11/16/13 8:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Marco Polo
Designed to stretch us to the eastern limits of our range. The 26-mile standard route goes east on Guadalupe for 12 miles, then loops back on Elliot. The 41-mile long route keeps going east all the way to Ellsworth, then loops to the south before joining the Elliot return path. Breakfast at Paradise Bakery on Guadalupe and McClintock. Sunrise: 7:01

Tid Bits...

We have a volunteer who wants to lead a Friday ride on Thanksgiving weekend (11/29). More details coming soon. If anyone would like to step up and lead a Thanksgiving Day ride, please let me know.

Speaking of volunteers, it's not too soon to sign-up to help with the Casa Grande Century. Just shoot an email to Casa Grande Century Organizers and let them know how you can help.

The coalition of Arizona Bicyclists (CAzB) is having their annual membership meeting on Saturday November 9th. They are the premier education and advocacy group for us in AZ. Visit their web site for details: cazbike.org

The City of Phoenix wants our help in developing a 20-year Bicycle Master Plan. There are several meeting opportunities for public input. It looks like the closest one to our end of town is 6-8pm, Wednesday October 30 at Eastlake Park, 1549 E. Jefferson St. Even better, they have set up a mapping tool that you can use to highlight your favorite areas for improvement on the Phoenix streets. I haven't tried it yet myself, but I like the concept. Here's the link to that: http://wikimapping.net/wikimap/Phoenix-Bicycle-Master-Plan.html.

Ride safely


October 12 Saturday Cycling Report

Return to South Mountain

Added October 13, 2013
written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Sixty-two cyclists signed in for the return to South Mountain. It was a great day to be riding among the sun soaked mountains with spectacular views of the valley and beyond. Many phones went into camera mode at the look-out spots.

Sixty-six signed in last weekend, but Janet and I weren't two of them due to my wounded wing. No ride report either. Hope everyone else enjoyed the St. Francis route without us.

Coming up...

Saturday, 10/19/12 7:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Mummy Mountain
One of our most popular routes. A 40-mile loop with lots of climbing, or 31 miles with a couple of moderate climbs, takes us north into Scottsdale and around Mummy Mountain. Breakfast stop at Paradise Bakery at McClintock and Guadalupe. President Armando will lead again. Sunrise: 6:36

Saturday, 10/26/13 7:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Chandler/Gilbert Bronze
The flatlands of Gilbert and Chandler provide a break from the previous 4 weeks of climbing. And it gives us another opportunity to breakfast at AZ Bread Co. in Tempe, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 6:42

Note: November ride start changes to 8:00 a.m.

Saturday, 11/02/13 8:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Tour de Mesa
The Tour de Mesa takes us to the northeast, with route options of 29 miles with no climbing or 39 miles with a gentle climb. Breakfast is at Paradise Bakery at Guadalupe & McClintock. Sunrise: 6:48

Tid Bits...

I hope you all saw the email blast from VP Kevin about our 2nd annual (after skipping one year) Chili Cook Off event. It's Sunday October 7th from 3-6 at D'Vine Wine & Bistro and Wine Bar in Chandler. The club will pay for the venue which includes chili condiments and eating utensils, but you'll have to pay for your own drinks. Volunteer chefs will make the chili. Everyone will have a great time. Contact Kris Preston, or call at 602-617-6449 to sign up to bring a chili, or to RSVP that you will attend as a participant and chili judge.

Counting next week, there will have been a 6 week series where Pres. Armando substitute led the ride 3 times, and only 2 ride reports got sent. Sorry about all the absences. I just want to assure you that Saturday Cycling is alive and well and I am still committed to the role of ride leader. My elbow is better, after next Saturday we have no more weekend getaways planned, and the extra projects that have consumed me at home and at work will be in remission. I've missed our Saturday rides as well as my daily commutes, and will be very happy to be back to normal. As normal as I get anyway.

Ride safely


September 28 Saturday Cycling Report

Summer Switch Flipped to Fall

Added September 29, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Seventy-two cyclists signed in for our first Saturday ride of the autumn season. It was as though a switch got flipped at summer's end and fall suddenly fell, as did the morning temperature – by about 20 degrees.

Thank you to Jules for designing this version of the foothills romp. Feedback is always appreciated, especially when a new route is introduced.

And thanks again to President Armando for leading the past two rides while Janet and I lazed away on our final vacation of the year. Everything must have gone well, since I haven't heard a word about either.

Coming up...

New this year: October start time changes to 7:30 a.m.!

Saturday, 10/05/13 7:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. St. Francis Loop
Both the 25-mile or 36-mile options include three moderate climbs, taking you north through Papago Park, around the St. Francis Cemetery, and returning to Tempe via south Scottsdale. Breakfast after, at Paradise Bakery at McClintock and Guadalupe. Sunrise: 6:26

Saturday, 10/12/13 7:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. South Mountain
Route options of 24 miles with a bit of gentle climbing, 38 miles with moderate climbing, or 39 miles with the longest steady climb within 20 miles of Kiwanis Park. Breakfast at AZ Bread, southeast of Elliot & Kyrene. Sunrise: 6:31

Saturday, 10/19/12 7:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Mummy Mountain
One of our most popular routes. A 40-mile loop with lots of climbing, or 31 miles with a couple of moderate climbs, takes us north into Scottsdale and around Mummy Mountain. Breakfast stop at Paradise Bakery at McClintock and Guadalupe. Sunrise: 6:36

Tid Bits...

If you follow the efforts of the League of American Bicyclists you've probably noticed a lot of emphasis lately on diversity and inclusion in the cycling community. The area they seem to be getting the most traction on is gender. They have created a Women on Bikes program with its own mission statement: "To change the face of bicycling by getting more women on bikes and participating as riders, advocates and leaders to create strong communities and celebrate the joy of riding a bike."

I've always thought Saturday Cycling has enjoyed a decent percentage of women participants, but never had any data to back that up. So I did an informal count of all the female sounding names on the sign-in sheets (the ones with superior penmanship) and saw 15, which means we were 21% female. Somehow I thought it would be higher.

You can get more information on the League's Women Bike initiate at http://www.bikeleague.org/womenbike.

Ride safely


September 7 Saturday Cycling Report

81 Riders on Tour de Sue

Added September 7, 2013
written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Forty-one cyclists signed in for the Labor Day ride to Cesar Chavez Park. That's a pretty good number considering there were rumored to be 2 or 3 splinter-group rides taking place at the same time. A friendly motorist picked up a dropped a headlight on this ride and handed it over to one of our members. I have it now, so if it's yours let me know who you are and I'll get it to you.

Today we had 81 sign in to ride the Tour de Sue, while a nice blanket of clouds protected us from the searing summer sun. It hasn't been that comfortable out on the patio at the breakfast stop since April. It was great to have several new riders joining us today. It helped make up for the 10 regulars who posted on FB this morning from the Amtrak Century ride in California.

Coming up...

Saturday, 09/14/13 7:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. MidSummer Ride
It's still summer for another 8 days. This route includes options of 28 miles with one climb, or 38 miles with a couple of bonus hills. There is hope of shade on about ½ of the ride and plenty of opportunities to shortcut back if the heat becomes oppressive. Breakfast at Paradise Bakery, SE corner of Guadalupe and McClintock. President Armando will lead this week. Sunrise: 6:11

Saturday, 09/21/13 7:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Length of Lindsay
Time for another Quarterly Membership Meeting! As always, that means free breakfast for club members. This time, at Jason's Deli in Chandler on Frye Road just South of the Chandler Mall. You can get there by joining us for the Length of Lindsay route - options of 27 miles or 39 miles, no climbing - or be at Jason's Deli for sign-in starting at 8:45 a.m. The meeting should begin around 9:15 a.m. Please wear your club jersey for a group photo at the start of the ride. President Armando will once again cover the ride lead duty. Sunrise: 6:16

Saturday, 09/28/13 7:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. ...Or Give Me Hills!
This route was created for the bonus holiday on Friday July 5 to follow our 'Give Me Liberty!' ride the day before, and is now being added to the standard rotation. It gives us a new approach to the familiar Ahwatukee Foothills, arriving from the east on Chandler Blvd., then cutting south to Pecos before hitting the hills. The 30-mile standard route loops back on Liberty Lane. The extended route adds 8 miles by going out-and-back to the western limit of Pecos and climbing a couple more hills before returning east on Chandler. Both routes head back to Tempe through Equestrian Trails. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co in Tempe, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 6:21

Tid Bits...

Janet and I will be unable to lead the ride for the next 2 Saturdays. President Armando will be there for you with the maps and sign-in accessories. We'll miss you, but feel free to have fun without us.

Since that's two weeks without a ride report, let me remind you about the September 21st quarterly breakfast meeting details. We time the start of check-in (8:45 this time) so that if you do the standard Saturday Cycling route and don't ride too fast, you'll get there just in time. The start of the meeting is approximately 9:15, to coincide with when we expect the long route riders to all reach Jason's Deli by the Chandler Fashion Mall. If you don't do the ride and plan to attend the meeting in street clothes, those are the times to aim for.

It has been a long standing policy that club members receive a free breakfast at the quarterly meeting. We have consistently had enough money in the treasury from dues and ride fees to cover this. A family membership entitles you to two free breakfasts. Non members and additional family members may still join us, but will need to pay for their own food. Many people use these meeting times as an opportunity to join or renew on the spot. Just make sure VP Kevin can identify you with your payment so the database gets properly updated. New members should fill out the form that will be available at the check-in table.

Our Merchandise Master, Scott, will have club logo items for sale at the meeting. I hear inventory is getting low, so grab what you can while they last. If we're out, let Scott know what you need and he'll figure out how and when he can get it to you.

For all money matters, please have checks or cash – I don't think we have the credit card payment option available anymore.

President Armando will run a quick and efficient meeting to keep the members informed of the state of the club and all the special going-ons you'll want to know about. It's always a good time and I'm sorry I'm going to miss it.

Ride safely


August 31 Saturday Cycling Report

Five Tandems Two Recumbents Along for McKellips Loop

Added September 1, 2013
written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

There were five tandems and two recumbents among the 67 cyclists who signed in this week for McKellips Loop. Four of us stopped for donuts at the designated 2nd regroup location. The long, slow line at the counter did not meet the quick-stop requirement of a regroup. Those of you who skipped it and instead used the QT at Extension and University were better off. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Now I know better.

Don't forget: we have a Monday Labor Day ride offering for this 3-day weekend.

Coming up...

Note: the start time changes to 7:00 a.m. in September!

Monday, 09/02/13 7:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Paseo de Cesar Chavez
Dusting off this seldom used route in honor of Labor Day. The 34.5-mile version is our western-most excursion going park-to-park from Kiwanis in Tempe to Cesar Chavez in Phoenix, and back. The standard route turns back at 7th Ave for a 25.5 mile loop. Both routes are mostly flat. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 6:03

Saturday, 09/07/13 7:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Tour de Sue
A flat loop to the south, with route options of 25 or 35 miles. Both routes include a good long stretch with no traffic lights. If you don't know the origin of this route's title, you must be new! Feel free to ask and learn. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co in Tempe, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 6:07

Saturday, 09/14/13 7:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. MidSummer Ride
It's still summer for another 8 days. This route includes options of 28 miles with one climb, or 38 miles with a couple of bonus hills. There is hope of shade on about 1/2 of the ride and plenty of opportunities to shortcut back if the heat becomes oppressive. Breakfast at Paradise Bakery, SE corner of Guadalupe and McClintock. President Armando will lead this week. Sunrise: 6:11

Saturday, 09/21/13 7:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Length of Lindsay
Time for another Quarterly Membership Meeting! As always, that means free breakfast for club members. This time, at Jason's Deli in Chandler on Frye Road just South of the Chandler Mall. You can get there by joining us for the Length of Lindsay route - options of 27 miles or 39 miles, no climbing - or be at Jason's Deli for sign-in starting at 8:45 a.m. The meeting should begin around 9:15 a.m. Please wear your club jersey for a group photo at the start of the ride. President Armando will once again cover the ride lead duty. Sunrise: 6:16

Tid Bits...

As of August 29, the city of Tempe is offering a free, on-line bicycle registration service. I don't really know how useful this will be to Tempe cyclists, but the announcement from the city says this: Identification is a critical component in the successful investigation, arrest and prosecution of bike thefts. Bike owners who register, photograph, etch, record the serial number in a safe place at home, or otherwise take proactive crime prevention steps have a significantly higher chance of recovering stolen property.

Here is the link: http://www.tempe.gov/registeryourbike
And contact info if you have questions or comments:
Sue Taaffe
480-350-8663

Ride safely


August 24 Saturday Cycling Report

56 Riders Show for Lucky 7's

Added August 25, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

There must have been a good showing for the Flagstaff adventure this weekend, since the Saturday crowd at Kiwanis was down to 56 cyclists. And I hope the weather cooperated with them like it did for us. We had a great ride, with a touch of headwind from the northwest thrown in at the end for a little extra challenge. The breeze was a welcome comfort on the patio at AZ Bread, as long as you didn't let your napkin escape.

Coming up...

Saturday, 08/31/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. McKellips Loop
This 28-mile or 37-mile loop from Kiwanis Park will take you north through Tempe and then east through Mesa on McKellips Road, returning to Paradise Bakery for breakfast. Sunrise: 6:02

Note: the start time changes to 7:00 a.m. in September!

Monday, 09/02/13 7:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Paseo de Cesar Chavez
Dusting off this seldom used route in honor of Labor Day. The 34.5-mile version is our western-most excursion going park-to-park from Kiwanis in Tempe to Cesar Chavez in Phoenix, and back. The standard route turns back at 7th Ave for a 25.5 mile loop. Both routes are mostly flat. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 6:03

Saturday, 09/07/13 7:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Tour de Sue
A flat loop to the south, with route options of 25 or 35 miles. Both routes include a good long stretch with no traffic lights. If you don't know the origin of this route's title, you must be new! Feel free to ask and learn. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co in Tempe, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 6:07

Saturday, 09/14/13 7:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. MidSummer Ride
It's still summer for another 8 days. This route includes options of 28 miles with one climb, or 38 miles with a couple of bonus hills. There is hope of shade on about 1/2 of the ride and plenty of opportunities to shortcut back if the heat becomes oppressive. Breakfast at Paradise Bakery, SE corner of Guadalupe and McClintock. Sunrise: 6:11

Tid Bits...

Calling all volunteers! I still need a substitute ride leader for Saturday 9/14. Armando has already taken 9/21.

The other opportunity is for the Thanksgiving Day Holiday ride. Anyone have an idea for a Thanksgiving Day ride they would like to lead? Scott has already agreed to reprise his Black Friday event from Ray and the 101 in Chandler on the day after.

Ride safely


August 17 Saturday Cycling Report

Super Hot Saturday for Marco Polo

Added August 18, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Sixty-nine cyclists signed in for what I hope is the last super hot Saturday of the summer. Seemed like more than 69 to me, but that was the count. I'd like to thank Sue M. and Janet W. for helping one of our newest members who was in need of some aide. It takes a village to manage a club ride.

Coming up...

Saturday, 08/24/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Lucky 7's
This route loops clockwise to the south and takes advantage of some of the new roads over by the Wild Horse Pass casino/resort area. The name plays off the mileage options of 27 and 47 miles, plus the two casinos along the way. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:57

Saturday, 08/31/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. McKellips Loop
This 28-mile or 37-mile loop from Kiwanis Park will take you north through Tempe and then east through Mesa on McKellips Road, returning to Paradise Bakery for breakfast. Sunrise: 6:02

Monday (Labor Day), 09/02/13 7:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Paseo de Cesar Chavez
We're dusting off this seldom used route in honor of Labor Day. The 34.5-mile version is our western-most excursion going park-to-park from Kiwanis in Tempe to Cesar Chavez in Phoenix, and back. The standard route turns back at 7th Ave for a 25.5 mile loop. Both routes are mostly flat. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 6:03

Saturday, 09/07/13 7:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Tour de Sue
A flat loop to the south, with route options of 25 or 35 miles. Both routes include a good long stretch with no traffic lights. If you don't know the origin of this route's title, you must be new! Feel free to ask and learn. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co in Tempe, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 6:07

Tid Bits...

Here is your advance notice that the next quarterly club meeting is scheduled for Saturday, September 21st. It is also going to be picture day! Please plan to wear your club jerseys and smile for the camera at the start of the ride. Janet and I will be out of town again that day. President Armando has volunteered to lead the ride, the photo session, and the meeting.

For those who missed this morning's announcement, it was about staying in the good graces of the convenience stores where we regroup. It's been reported that, in our haste to replenish our ice water supply, we have been leaving a big wet mess behind. Please try to keep the ice from splaying all over the counters and floors, and mop up your mishaps. Hydration is very important to us. I'd hate to see "cyclists not welcome" attitudes greeting us at the regroups. Spending an occasional dollar on some quick refreshments may also help us stay in good stead.

Ride safely


August 3 and 10 Saturday Cycling Reports

Tour de Mesa and Foothills Training Ride

Added August 11, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Here's the report from last week (thanks Jules!):

Seventy cyclists gathered under a cloud covered sky that lasted a couple of hours, then gave way to increase the already humid conditions. Only a few flats...most likely from leftover debris from recent major storms.

Breakfast was like a press conference as we welcomed back our Tour de France TV personalities adorned in the very recognizable bright yellow headwear/wig. They were most happy to share the highlights of their adventures and take questions from the crowd about this year's TDF. Thanks guys. Always entertaining. Maybe a slide show is in order at our Fall social Chile Cook Off this year:-)

Today we had 74 sign in for another foothills free-for-all. The spaghetti bowl map makes it easy to customize this route for medium or extra long distances. It was great to see a few new faces in the crowd. Apologies go to Carol for embarrassing her with a cacophonous rendition of Happy Birthday to You. We're cyclists, not singers.

Coming up...

Saturday, 08/17/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Marco Polo
Designed to stretch us to the eastern limits of our range. The 26-mile standard route goes east on Guadalupe for 12 miles, then loops back on Elliot. The 41-mile long route keeps going east all the way to Ellsworth, then loops to the south before joining the Elliot return path. Breakfast at Paradise Bakery on Guadalupe and McClintock. Sunrise: 5:52

Saturday, 08/24/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Lucky 7's
This route loops clockwise to the south and takes advantage of some of the new roads over by the Wild Horse Pass casino/resort area. The name plays off the mileage options of 27 and 47 miles, plus the two casinos along the way. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:57

Saturday, 08/31/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. McKellips Loop
This 28-mile or 37-mile loop from Kiwanis Park will take you north through Tempe and then east through Mesa on McKellips Road, returning to Paradise Bakery for breakfast. Sunrise: 6:02

Tid Bits...

Here is the 3rd and final installment on pace line basics. This week is risk and safety. If you missed the first two on motivation and technique, you can find them on the web site: Part 1: Motivation and Part 2: Technique.

Let me know if you'd like to participate in a practice session during one of the next three rides listed above.

To repeat an important point from last week: A pace line needs to be smooth and steady, on a predictable straight line, at a constant speed. The participants should be relaxed, confident and attentive. It involves a lot of trust. You need to remember that others are depending on you to keep them safe.

On group rides, always assume someone is right on your wheel. If you want to join a pace line already in progress, you should ask permission; they may have reasons for keeping it as-is. If you come up behind someone and want to draft, at least tell them "I'm on your wheel" so they'll know.

Approximately 1 foot is the optimum distance to follow the rider ahead. Six inches or less is too risky. If your front wheel touches the bike ahead, you will almost certainly fall, while the rider you hit may not even know what happened till they hear your scream.

Always keep pedaling. Never suddenly brake. You can fine-tune your speed by soft pedaling, sitting up in the wind, or gently feathering your brakes while your feet continue to spin. Don't do anything to surprise the riders behind you.

Set your gaze as though you are looking through the next rider. Don't just stare at their wheel. Be attentive to their center of mass – hips and torso. Glance around to see what you can of the road ahead, but always keep that rider in front of you in the center of your field of view. No turning your head to see what's going on behind or checking out the scenery. If shadows of the riders ahead are visible, that can help assure you that all is well 2 or 3 riders up.

The rider in front is responsible for safely guiding the group past hazards, around corners and through traffic controls. He or she is the only one who can clearly see everything ahead, and is the only one who can safely look back to check for traffic approaching from the rear. Everyone else needs to be eyes forward. Communication of what's ahead is important. It should start with the lead rider, and then be echoed by every 2nd or 3rd rider back in sequence to be sure all have seen or heard it.

The most important communication from the lead dog is when it's time to slow or stop. There is a standard hand signal – left arm out and down with palm facing backward. It also helps to yell out "SLOWING" or "STOPPING". If there is a wall or curb to your right, shout towards that so you voice bounces back; otherwise shout to the road below you. Always give the signal immediately before you stop peddling and begin to decelerate, and do so as gradually as possible.

When approaching hazards, the lead needs to detect them early enough to safely and smoothly deviate from the straight line path. A last-second flick of the hips to avoid a rock is not acceptable when leading a pace line. It's important to point at the hazard before you reach it, so that the rest of the line knows there is a reason for drifting over. It is not a signal for riders behind to crane their necks, or move out of line to see what's ahead. It's a cue to keep the line tight, and closely track the path of the wheel ahead to avoid whatever the danger is. There are various hand signals for alerting to hazards, but the most fundamental is to simply point with the index finger and extended arm. It doesn't tell what the hazard is, but usually that's not important. For an unavoidable hazard – like a speed bump or wide swath of gravel, use the slowing or stopping signal and shout out the reason.

When approaching traffic controls, the lead rider should try to make a decision that works for the whole group. The leader may slow the line in anticipation of the light changing to green, accelerate slightly to beat the yellow, or bring everyone to a full stop. Nevertheless, it is still everyone's individual responsibility to obey the traffic laws. Just because the first couple of riders make the light does not always mean everyone gets through; it may be time to split the group. But you need to communicate your intention: shout out "STOPPING" before you hit your brakes (may not be enough time for a hand signal), or "ROLLING" to say you are going through. This can be one of the more chaotic moments, as one or two law-abiders stop, and the wreckless riders behind them come around and run the light to stay with the group. Always remain calm, confident and attentive.

For negotiating turns, the lead rider makes the standard hand signals, and perhaps shouts out the direction. This is an implied SLOWING signal as well, and the whole line should create a little more space between each other. If you are double file, you need to keep your line in the turn – a constant distance from the curb – to avoid sideswiping. Coming out of a turn, or starting from a dead stop, is not the time to show off your acceleration skills. The goal is to keep the pack together, not drop your competition.

The toughest pace line challenge is dealing with the unexpected, like a flat tire or other mechanical failure. It's still essential that you don't surprise the riders behind you with any sudden moves. As quickly as you can, shout out "FLAT", or "STOPPING", because you are going to slow down without trying. Then smoothly move yourself out of the line to the right and decelerate as gradually as you can. If you're lucky, one or more will stop and wait with you while you do your repair, but the important thing is that no one behind crashes into you and falls.

If you're behind someone who flats, or falls, or screws up somehow, it sometimes takes exceptional bike handling skills to avoid a crash. Staying relaxed and attentive is a great start. Strive to make a smooth swerve around the hazard, as you shout it out for the riders behind you. If you can bunny hop over a fallen rider, or up a curb, you're a better rider than I; just use whatever skills you have to stay up on two wheels.

One last safety tip: If you are gasping for breath and barely keeping up, then bow out. Either drift off the back after your last pull at the front, or if you're somewhere in the middle, signal the riders behind you to come around and announce your intention to drop out, then drift to the right. They will ensure it's safe to pass (on the left as usual) and probably have no qualms about leaving you behind. It's hard to make safe choices on the fly when the blood isn't making it to your brain. Remember that others are depending on you to keep them safe.

Ride safely


July 27 Saturday Cycling Report

Ahwafooty was a Tour de Flats

Added July 28, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Seventy-nine cyclists signed in for our final ride of July. And good riddance to it. I'm sure August weather will be much more comfortable. Although the route was hilly, it was a tour de flats for us. I know of 5 flat tires today, and one of them was on our own tandem. All different causes; nothing that made today especially hazardous for tires.

Next weekend, Janet and I will be in the cool Colorado mountains lazing about on a non-bike vacation. Saturday Cycling is still on, of course. Jules has volunteered to cover for us, bless her big heart.

Coming up...

Saturday, 08/03/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Tour de Mesa
The Tour de Mesa takes us to the northeast, with route options of 29 miles with no climbing or 39 miles with a gentle climb. Breakfast is at Paradise Bakery at Guadalupe & McClintock. Sunrise: 5:42

Saturday, 08/10/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Foothills Training Ride
The Foothills Training Ride takes us on a loop through the Ahwatukee Foothills with options of 25 miles with one gentle climb, or 38 miles that will take you on 5 more. If you can follow the spaghetti-bowl long-route map, you will have gone up and down all 5 approaches with no repeats and no U-turns. Breakfast at AZ Bread Co. at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:47

Saturday, 08/17/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Marco Polo
Designed to stretch us to the eastern limits of our range. The 26-mile standard route goes east on Guadalupe for 12 miles, then loops back on Elliot. The 41-mile long route keeps going east all the way to Ellsworth, then loops to the south before joining the Elliot return path. Breakfast at Paradise Bakery on Guadalupe and McClintock. Sunrise: 5:52

Tid Bits...

Four people so far have expressed an interest in learning pace line skills. The last three routes in August (17, 24, 13) all have long flat eastbound segments and should be good opportunities to get organized and practice. Don't be shy; there's plenty of room for more. Now for some discussion on how-to.

To reap the benefits of drafting, you need to put yourself in the slipstream of the rider in front of you. You'll usually find it by placing your front wheel about 12 inches behind their rear wheel. It can vary with the size of the rider and strength of the wind. Closer than 6 inches is unsafe. If you are more than 2 feet back, you probably aren't getting any benefit. In a crosswind, the sweet spot may be a little to one side behind the bike ahead. But don't overlap your wheels to get there; stay at least 6 inches behind. When you find it, you will feel it. You will especially feel it if you were there and then lose it.

A pace line needs to be smooth and steady, on a predictable straight line, at a constant speed. The participants should be relaxed, confident and attentive. Always keep peddling. Never suddenly brake. You can fine-tune your speed by soft peddling, sitting up in the wind, or gently feathering your brakes while your feet continue to spin. Don't do anything to surprise the riders behind you.

The lead dog has special responsibilities, being the forward eyes for the group. Avoiding and alerting hazards, managing traffic signals and negotiating turns are a few examples. More on this next week when we address risk and saftey. How long the lead rider should stay on the front varies. You can agree to a time or distance, or just let the leader decide when they've had enough and are ready to drop to the back and recover. The important thing is to not pull for so long that your speed starts to decrease due to fatigue. Rotate out before you are exhausted so you can still keep contact, and the group speed stays constant. If you're already barely hanging on, it's okay to rotate out right away – better that than to slow the pace.

The method for rotating from the front to the back can also vary. First, there's signaling to the next in line that it's his or her turn. The two most common are: a flick of the elbow, or a pat on your hip. First look over your shoulder to ensure that it's safe to move over. Give your signal, ease to one side and then gradually drift back till you reach the tail and rejoin the line. But should you move left or right? In general, I recommend that the lead rider moves left, because they are the only one who should be looking back to see if it's safe to make the move. Everyone else should be eyes-front, so should not be expected to move left into the traffic lane where faster vehicles may be approaching. If there is any cross component to the wind, it is best to move to the side that is towards the wind, since the other riders will be biased behind you in the other direction. Either way, the whole line should be consistent about which side to use for drifting back.

A common mistake when the lead changes is for the new front-person to accelerate. After drafting for a while, you may be feeling spry and want to pick up the pace. It is important to keep the speed steady. I like to downshift one gear, since I'll be working harder, and increase my cadence to keep my speed constant. It's also a good idea to drop down into a working tuck position when you are on the front. While drafting, I tend to sit up with my hands on the hoods, and take a higher gear. If you feel you must increase the pace, wait till the previous leader has a chance to drift back, reconnect and catch their breath. Then announce your intention by shouting something like “PICKING I T UP!” and gradually accelerate to a new, manageable, steady pace. Frequent change of pace is miserable for the people farther back and is not a safe practice.

The keys to effective pace lines are: get positioned in the slipstream, stay smooth and steady, be relaxed and attentive, and maintain a controlled rotation from the front to the rear. Optimum size is probably two to seven. Longer pace lines do form, but often only the front half-dozen do all the work. The rest are just along for the ride.

Ride safely


July 20 Saturday Cycling Report

Sunshine, Wind and Humidity on Mummy Mountain Route

Added July 21, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Sixty-one cyclists signed in to take on Mummy Mountain. We had it all: sunshine, wind and humidity. From what I hear, not very many people actually climbed all the hills, but everyone did return safely. More climbing is on tap for next week, with plenty of opportunity to take shortcuts around the steep parts.

A handful of us had a fun time watching the penultimate Tour de France stage together, in spite of the short notice for the gathering. We cheered for Neal and Mike in their PMBC colors and silly yellow wigs, running alongside the race leaders on the final climb.

Coming up...

Saturday, 07/27/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Ahwafooty
We'll circle around to approach the Ahwatukee-Foothills from the south. 24-mile or 35-mile options with moderate climbing on the longer route. Breakfast at AZ Bread Co. at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:38

Saturday, 08/03/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Tour de Mesa
The Tour de Mesa takes us to the northeast, with route options of 29 miles with no climbing or 39 miles with a gentle climb. Breakfast is at Paradise Bakery at Guadalupe & McClintock. Sunrise: 5:42

Saturday, 08/10/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Foothills Training Ride
The Foothills Training Ride takes us on a loop through the Ahwatukee Foothills with options of 25 miles with one gentle climb, or 38 miles that will take you on 5 more. If you can follow the spaghetti-bowl long-route map, you will have gone up and down all 5 approaches with no repeats and no U-turns. Breakfast at AZ Bread Co. at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:47

Tid Bits...

A couple of people have requested that we provide some pace line skills training for club members. If this is something you'd like to participate in, please hit the reply button and let me know. In the meantime, I'll use the ride report to give my perspective on the why, how and risk aspects of drafting and pace lines. If any of this is new to you, please don't jump in till you've got the whole story and had a chance to practice in an organized group. Today I'll discuss motivation. It's risky. Why bother?

According to Newton (bear with me you non-engineers), the drag force we feel from the wind is directly proportional to the surface area the wind strikes. Your first line of defense against headwind is to tuck. Use those dropped sections of your handlebars and reduce the cross-section of you that the wind hits. Cutting your cross section in half reduces your fight with the wind in half. Remember that the air speed is relative to you. It could be the wind blowing in your face, or just your own speed rushing through the air.

It turns out that the relative rider-to-air speed is an even bigger factor than surface area. The drag forces increase with the square of the velocity. This means that if your relative air speed doubles, the effort you have to put out to maintain your pace quadruples! Not fair, I know. But it's the law. The point is, your effort required to fight the wind goes up very quickly as your speed, or the headwind, increases. These are the times when it really pays to know how to draft.

Directly behind every moving cyclist is a small pocket of partial vacuum called the slipstream. If you can put yourself in that sweet spot, the experts say it will reduce your effort by about 20-30%. Let's say you're with a small group in a stiff headwind, and one member of the group is a much stronger rider. If you put that big engine in the front, and everyone else lines up single file behind, like the cars of a train, you can increase the overall speed of the group. You just need to find a pace that the lead rider can maintain, and everyone else back to the caboose can keep up with. Tandems also make good train engines. They have the inherent advantage of two motors with the same cross section of a single bike. Plus the slipstream behind a tandem is bigger and better due to the size.

If you're in a more evenly matched group, you can organize yourselves into a pace line to use drafting to your collective advantage. In this case, everyone takes turns being the engine. The person in front works the hardest for a time, then rotates to the back and lets the next rider take a pull. Whoever isn't first is recovering for their next turn at the front. Next week I'll go into some techniques for effective pace lines. After that will be the ever important safety tips and rules of etiquette to mitigate the inherent risks of riding fast in close formation.

Again, these techniques are most useful in a headwind, or for pushing fast on flat roads. On a steep uphill, the slower speed makes drafting less useful. I discourage you from drafting on a steep downhill, since you need to give yourself more room to stay safe. Just sit up tall to slow down, or tuck to go fast.

Ride safely


Neal and Mike Spotted at Tour de France

PMBC Duo on Slopes of Mont Ventoux with Chris Froome, Richie Porte and Alberto Contador

Added July 14, 2013

written by Terry Wright

As Ken St. John wrote in his Saturday Cyling Report, "The most important thing to watch for on the big climb at the end of Sunday's mountain stage is the familiar colors of the PMBC jersey. Neal and Mike will be in the crowd; Neal seems to have a knack for getting his smiling face on TV in France."

Sure enough! On Sunday's (July 14th) Stage 15 from Givors to Mont Ventoux, Neal and Mike were both spotted on TV wearing their PMBC jerseys and distinctive yellow wigs on the slopes on Mont Ventoux.

Neal runs along wearing a PMBC jersey and yellow wig and carrying a potato alongside TDF yellow jersey wearer Christopher Froome being lead by his SKY PROCYCLING teammate Richie Porte and followed by TEAM SAXO-TINKOFF rider Alberto Contador, the winner of the 2010 Tour de France. Mike can be seen on the left side of the video also wearing a PMBC jersey and yellow wig.



Robert Kearney and Aaron Mills also sent in their images of the event:


Robert writes: "PMBC makes an appearance at le Tour. Here is a screen of Neal on the climb to Mount Ventoux with Chris Froome and Richie Porte."

  


Aaron writes: "Used to ride with your club a long time ago. Saw a guy with your team jersey on today's stage of the Tour de France. Thought I'd send to you to share with your group. It was a great shot."




July 13 Saturday Cycling Report

Chandler/Gilbert Bronze: A Sunny, Humid Sweatfest

Added July 14, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

In spite of having 2 from the fast pack in France and dozens of members on the White Mountain Tour, we still got 65 cyclists signed in for Saturday Cycling this week. Plus what looked like 1,000 runners who were thankfully centered in the larger parking lot to the south so there was still some room for us at our usual start location.

What started out as a mild July day, turned into a sunny, humid sweatfest. By the time we got back to the park, the only remaining sign of the runner's event was a row of porta-potties. I hope the WMT enjoyed the same sunny sky and gentle breeze with cooler temps.

Coming up...

Saturday, 07/20/12 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Mummy Mountain
One of our most popular routes. A 40-mile loop with lots of climbing, or 31 miles with a couple of moderate climbs, takes us north into Scottsdale and around Mummy Mountain. Note: Expect some traffic restriction on Mill Ave. If you like to take 5th St to College and ride through the campus, you'll need to choose a different street to make the transition. Breakfast stop at Paradise Bakery at McClintock and Guadalupe. Sunrise: 5:33

Saturday, 07/27/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Ahwafooty
We'll circle around to approach the Ahwatukee-Foothills from the south. 24-mile or 35-mile options with moderate climbing on the longer route. Breakfast at AZ Bread Co. at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:38

Saturday, 08/03/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Tour de Mesa
The Tour de Mesa takes us to the northeast, with route options of 29 miles with no climbing or 39 miles with a gentle climb. Breakfast is at Paradise Bakery at Guadalupe & McClintock. Sunrise: 5:42

Tid Bits...

There is no club Tour de France viewing party this weekend since many of you should be up at the White Mountain Tour. However... that does not mean the action in France has slowed. As of Friday (I won't give away Saturday's results), here's the situation as I see it:

Team Sky put Christopher Froome in yellow with an impressive display of power in the 1st big mountain stage. Froome solidified his lead by taking 2nd place in last week's time trial and appeared to be unbeatable. But...his team has been showing some signs of weakness.

On the 2nd day in the Pyrenees, he was left teammateless in the lead pack and had to defend the yellow all alone. Which he did without much trouble, but only one contender bothered to attack him on that last climb. Since then, two important Sky members have been forced to abandon the tour. Then on Friday, which was expected to be a routine everyone-together sprint finish, Alberto Contador's team (Saxo-Tinkoff) made a power play in the crosswind and succeeded in eating into Froome's lead. Team Sky tried, but was unable to bridge the gap.

Now they head to the Alps, with the lead looking surmountable. Contador's team is gaining strength with him in 3rd and a teammate in 4th. The current 2nd place rider from team Belkin also has a strong teammate sitting 5th. And although they missed the split on Friday too, team Movistar looked very impressive in the Pyrenees with two strong climbers on board. There should be plenty of action in the Alps, and one more time trial to make it even more interesting.

The most important thing to watch for on the big climb at the end of Sunday's mountain stage is the familiar colors of the PMBC jersey. Neal and Mike will be in the crowd; Neal seems to have a knack for getting his smiling face on TV in France. You can follow a blog of their excellent adventure here: Suffer in France, Savor Belgium.

Next chance for a cool mountain escape ride is in Flagstaff on Aug 23-25. As far as I know, this is a no-fee, unsupported series of club sponsored rides. No registration is required, but ride organizer Bob would like an RSVP so he'll have an expected head count. Get all the details on the August ride schedule section of the web site.

Ride safely


July 4-6 Saturday Cycling Report

4th of July Holiday Weekend Wrap-Up

Added July 7, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Sixty cyclists signed in for the Independence Day special event ride. The route worked out well given the ferocious summer heat, being all flat and with plenty of shade on the northbound legs. Of course, the southbound portion, with almost no shade, was the one with the headwind. Good thing the regroup came in the middle of that stretch. The longest line of cyclists I saw was the one waiting for ice water at the circle-K. But the longest line period was at Liberty Market, which motivated many of the extended route riders to find a different breakfast spot. When we test rode at the same hour on a Sunday, the place was half empty. Maybe just the way it is in Gilbert.

Thirty cyclists showed up on Friday to attack the Ahwatukee Foothills on the second holiday ride of the weekend. As is usual for foothills rides, the map was just a guideline. I hear some created their own variation on the fly. Thank you Jules for creating a new route and leading the ride.

Then Saturday provided another opportunity for hill training in preparation for next week's White Mountain Tour. The heat and humidity didn't seem to slow us down much, but the flat tires and other minor mechanical issues did. About half of the gang at the breakfast stop sat out on the shaded patio, while the rest of use enjoyed the air conditioned comfort inside.

Coming up...

Saturday, 07/13/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Chandler/Gilbert Bronze
Keeping this one in the rotation at least for the summer. The flatlands of Gilbert and Chandler provide a break from the hot weather climbing. And it gives us another opportunity to breakfast at AZ Bread Co. in Tempe, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:28

Saturday, 07/20/12 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Mummy Mountain
One of our most popular routes. A 40-mile loop with lots of climbing, or 31 miles with a couple of moderate climbs, takes us north into Scottsdale and around Mummy Mountain. Breakfast stop at Paradise Bakery at McClintock and Guadalupe. Sunrise: 5:33

Saturday, 07/27/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Ahwafooty
We'll circle around to approach the Ahwatukee-Foothills from the south. 24-mile or 35-mile options with moderate climbing on the longer route. Breakfast at AZ Bread Co. at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:38

Tid Bits...

In our consumer culture, we're often overwhelmed with choices. Shop for a new bike, and you'll find so many manufactures, makes, models, colors, sizes, component sets and accessories that it's a wonder we ever get to a decision and finally fork over the cash. But occasionally there are exceptions when the corporate powers try to make our decision for us.

Did 99 out of 100 dentists agree that mint is the only flavor for toothpaste? And when did the major commercial radio stations decide that all morning commuters want to hear is two or three DJ's entertain themselves with humorous banter, instead of music?

In the bicycle domain, I have these questions: How come all the manufactures have conspired to equip every commuter bike must with straight handlebars? Do they think commuters never have to fight a headwind? Or go fast? Or travel more than a few miles at a time? And why is it that the primary feature which distinguishes a road helmet from other helmets is the absence of a visor? Do they believe only mountain bikers want to avoid burning their noses? Does the sun not shine in the eyes of road cyclists? I may not own a mountain bike, but I will keep buying mountain bike helmets and using them on the road, while I ride to work on a drop-bar bike with fenders and a rack. Because I'm a rebel.

There's still time to register for the White Mountain Tour.

Tour de France party at Buffalo Wild Wings at Rural north of University in Tempe, Sunday 7/7 5-8pm. Those who attended last week say it was a good venue with good food and a great time.

Ride safely


June 29 Saturday Cycling Report

Seventy-Seven Cyclists Brave Record Breaking Heat Wave on Tour de Sue

Added June 30, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

On January 12 of this year, a scant thirty-three cyclists showed up for the Tour de Sue when the start time temperature was a bone chilling 28 degrees. Today, in the midst of a record breaking heat wave, at 87 degrees at start time, seventy-seven cyclists signed in for that same route. Thankfully, a merciful cloud cover saved us from too much suffering. And the absence of wind meant that whichever direction we rode, the cooling breeze was always in proportion to the amount of effort we put into the pedals. By the time we got back to Kiwanis Park, the cheap little thermometer inside the car was reading 104.

Another item of note: there were 5 tandems in today's crowd. I hope a few of you were able to take advantage of the slipstreams.

Coming up...

Thursday, 07/04/13 6:30 a.m., Downtown Gilbert.Give Me Liberty...
Put on your red, white, and blue for an all new Independence Day holiday ride! We will start from the downtown Gilbert park & ride next to the big water tower off Gilbert Road just north of Elliot. It's a flat, mostly north-south 25-mile loop through Mesa and Gilbert, with an extra journey west to Dobson for the 35.5 mile extended route. You'll find the map on the miscellaneous routes section of the web site. Breakfast is at Liberty Market near the start location. Sunrise: 5:24

Friday, 07/05/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. ...Or Give Me Hills!
Jules will lead this holiday special ride with a new route. This time we approach the familiar Ahwatukee Foothills from the east on Chandler Blvd., cutting south to Pecos before hitting the hills. The 30-mile standard route loops back on Liberty Lane. The extended route adds 8 miles by going out-and-back to the western limit of Pecos and climbing a couple more hills before returning east on Chandler. Both routes converge again at 40th St. and head back to Tempe through Equestrian Trails. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co in Tempe, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:24

Saturday, 07/06/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. St. Francis Loop
Both the 25-mile or 36-mile options include three moderate climbs, taking you north through Papago Park, around the St. Francis Cemetery, and returning to Tempe via south Scottsdale. Breakfast after, at Paradise Bakery at McClintock and Guadalupe. Sunrise: 5:25

Saturday, 07/13/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Chandler/Gilbert Bronze
Keeping this one in the rotation at least for the summer. The flatlands of Gilbert and Chandler provide a break from the hot weather climbing. And it gives us another opportunity to breakfast at AZ Bread Co. in Tempe, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:28

Saturday, 07/20/12 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Mummy Mountain
One of our most popular routes. A 40-mile loop with lots of climbing, or 31 miles with a couple of moderate climbs, takes us north into Scottsdale and around Mummy Mountain. Breakfast stop at Paradise Bakery at McClintock and Guadalupe. Sunrise: 5:33

Tid Bits...

This seems like a good time to remind everyone of the symptoms of heat exhaustion. Recognizing these symptoms, and taking steps to cool down when you do, can prevent heat stroke which is much worse.

Here is what WebMD says:

The most common signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include:

  • Confusion
  • Dark-colored urine (a sign of dehydration)
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Pale skin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Rapid heartbeat

If you, or anyone else, has symptoms of heat exhaustion, it's essential to immediately get out of the heat and rest, preferably in an air-conditioned room. If you can't get inside, try to find the nearest cool and shady place.

Other recommended strategies include:

  • Drink plenty of fluid (avoid caffeine and alcohol).
  • Remove any tight or unnecessary clothing.
  • Take a cool shower, bath, or sponge bath.
  • Apply other cooling measures such as fans or ice towels.

Get all the details at: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/heat-exhaustion

Remember to register for the White Mountain Tour by July 6 to get the discounted rate.

Tour de France party at Buffalo Wild Wings at Rural north of University in Tempe, Sunday 6/30 5-8pm.

Ride safely and stay hydrated


June 22 Saturday Cycling Report

Second Official Day of Summer

Added June 24, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Welcome to summer! Seventy-seven cyclists signed in to ride on the second official day of summer. Some light cloud cover and a soft breeze made it a great day for riding. But not a great day for roadside repair. One flat tire took 4 attempts to fix. Having 6 or 7 spectators always makes it easier. And having a bike shop employee with extra tubes, air cartridges, and a Park tire boot in the audience is a genuine benefit.

Coming up...

Saturday, 06/29/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Tour de Sue
A flat loop to the south, with route options of 25 or 35 miles. Both routes include a good long stretch with no traffic lights. If you don't know the origin of this routes title, you must be new! Feel free to ask and learn. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co in Tempe, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:21

Thursday, 07/04/13 6:30 a.m., Downtown Gilbert. Give Me Liberty...
Put on your red, white, and blue for an all new Independence Day holiday ride! We will start from the downtown Gilbert park & ride next to the big water tower off Gilbert Road just north of Elliot. It's a flat, mostly north-south 25-mile loop through Mesa and Gilbert, with an extra journey west to Dobson for the 35.5 mile extended route. You'll find the map on the miscellaneous routes section of the web site. Breakfast is at Liberty Market near the start location. Sunrise: 5:24

Friday, 07/05/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. ...Or Give Me Hills!
Jules will lead this new approach to the Ahwatukee Foothills. Map to be posted later this week. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co in Tempe, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:24

Saturday, 07/06/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. St. Francis Loop
Both the 25-mile or 36-mile options include three moderate climbs, taking you north through Papago Park, around the St. Francis Cemetery, and returning to Tempe via south Scottsdale. Breakfast after, at Paradise Bakery at McClintock and Guadalupe. Sunrise: 5:25

Saturday, 07/13/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Chandler/Gilbert Bronze
Keeping this one in the rotation at least for the summer. The flatlands of Gilbert and Chandler provide a break from the hot weather climbing. And it gives us another opportunity to breakfast at AZ Bread Co. in Tempe, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:28

Tid Bits...

The details of our Tour de France gatherings are coming together. Just as in previous years, PMBC members are encouraged to gather together at a local sports bar and watch a rerun of the day's stage. Unlike previous years, there will not be a lunchtime telecast. And we are moving to another new venue: Buffalo Wild Wings at 705 S. Rural Rd, Tempe (on the east side of Rural, just north of University). And, since they have other sporty business on Saturday afternoons, we will be meeting on Sunday instead. So here's the plan so far:

Sunday June 30th; 5:00-8:00pm; Stage 2 with 4 categorized climbs 
Sunday July 7th; 5:00-8:00pm; Stage 9 with 5 categorized climbs 
Sunday July 14th – No club viewing due to White Mountain Tour 
The final weekend is still TBD depending on the broadcast times.

This is a no-host event – you'll need to pay for your own eats and drinks. The fun and good times are shared freely.

Remember to register for the White Mountain Tour by July 6 to get the discounted rate.

I have a nifty water bottle that was left at the club meeting last week. Shoot me a note if you lost one.

Ride safely


June 15 Saturday Cycling Report

First Day of Monsoon Season Brings Out 75 Cyclists on Length of Lindsay

Added June 15, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

The National Weather Service has declared today to be the first day of our monsoon season. The 75 cyclists who signed in to ride this morning seemed to agree; there was some humidity in the air. However, the temperature stayed bearable as we looped our way around to Jason's Deli in Chandler for the quarterly membership meeting. President Armando put on a good show that left me feeling all is still well with the club.

Coming up...

Saturday, 06/22/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. MidSummer Ride
My calendar says June 21 is the summer solstice, which was almost what this route was named (the slight Shakespearian reference won out) as it attempts to take advantage of the sun's more northerly position this time of year. Includes route options of 28 miles with one climb, or 38 miles with a couple of bonus hills. There is hope of shade on about ½ of the ride and plenty of opportunities to shortcut back if the heat becomes oppressive. Breakfast at Paradise Bakery, SE corner of Guadalupe and McClintock. Sunrise: 5:19

Saturday, 06/29/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Tour de Sue
A flat loop to the south, with route options of 25 or 35 miles. Both routes include a good long stretch with no traffic lights. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co in Tempe, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:21

Thursday, 07/04/13 6:30 a.m., Downtown Gilbert. Give Me Liberty!
Put on your red, white and blue for an all new Independence Day holiday ride! We will start from the downtown Gilbert park&ride next to the big water tower off Gilbert Road just north of Elliot. It's a flat, mostly north-south 25-mile loop through Mesa and Gilbert, with an extra journey west to Dobson for the 35.5 mile extended route. You'll find the map on the web site soon. Breakfast is at Liberty Market near the start location. Sunrise: 5:24

Friday, 07/05/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. TBD
Jules is cooking up a new angle of attack on the Ahwatukee Foothills. Map is still in the works. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co in Tempe, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:24

Saturday, 07/06/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. St. Francis Loop
Both the 25-mile or 36-mile options include three moderate climbs, taking you north through Papago Park, around the St. Francis Cemetery, and returning to Tempe via south Scottsdale. Breakfast after, at Paradise Bakery at McClintock and Guadalupe. Sunrise: 5:25

Tid Bits...

I was having so much fun that I forgot to take notice of our 1st anniversary two weeks ago. It was June 2nd of last year when Sue handed over her Saturday Cycling franchise to me. I'm relieved to say that the goal of seamless transition seems to have been accomplished. As far as I can tell, the rides have the same look and feel; even the ride report still maintains her established format. Best of all, dozens of cyclists are still showing up each week for the "fun of spirited cycling with a group of friendly people"*.

We did make a couple of tweaks. Two new routes were added, one was dropped, and two others were modified with extended distance options. We switched May to the 6:30 summer start time, and will be shifting the Oct, Nov and Dec start times to 1/2 hour later to better track the sunrise. A little change is always inevitable.

I would like to give credit to Janet, who at first said something like “no thank you” when I suggested we could be a ride-lead team. However, seems to me she has shown that we are partners in all things. And thanks to all of you who keep riding the rides and reading these silly reports. It's been fun for me so far!

Ride safely

*From section 1a on "purposes" in our bylaws


June 8 Saturday Cycling Report

Lucky 7's: A Long Hot Ride

Added June 9, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Seventy-four hearty cyclists signed in for a long hot ride around the valley. While the angled RR tracks on Guadalupe at Cooper failed to grab any wheels, they did manage to cause two flat tires. How do they do it?

Please remember to watch for signs of heat exhaustion this time of year. Drink loads of water, and take shade breaks when you need them. Consider the shorter route, to get back before the temp gets high. A shade break helped make those last few miles back to the park when the heat was taking its toll. I'm told another rider requested a lift near the end. He was wise to ask for help. Just don't have a stroke, man!

Coming up...

Saturday, 06/15/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Length of Lindsay
Time for another Quarterly Membership Meeting! As always, that means free breakfast for club members. This time, at Jason's Deli in Chandler on Fry Road just South of the Chandler Mall. You can get there by joining us for the Length of Lindsay route - options of 27 miles or 39 miles, no climbing - or be at Jason's Deli for sign-in starting at 8:30 a.m. The meeting should begin around 9:00 a.m. Sunrise: 5:18 and going up from here.

Saturday, 06/22/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. MidSummer Ride
My calendar says June 21 is the summer solstice, which was almost what this route was named (the slight Shakespearian reference won out) as it attempts to take advantage of the sun's more northerly position this time of year. Includes route options of 28 miles with one climb, or 38 miles with a couple of bonus hills. There is hope of shade on about 1/2 of the ride and plenty of opportunities to shortcut back if the heat becomes oppressive. Breakfast at Paradise Bakery, SE corner of Guadalupe and McClintock. Sunrise: 5:19

Saturday, 06/29/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Tour de Sue
A flat loop to the south, with route options of 25 or 35 miles. Both routes include a good long stretch with no traffic lights. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co in Temp, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:21

Tid Bits...

The July 13-14 White Mountain Tour information and registration link are posted on the web site now.

PMBC brings you another tour opportunity this summer. Well... a pseudo tour. We will be offering club rides each of the 4 days of the Independence Holiday weekend. You can imagine you are crazy enough to travel to the blazing hot desert in the middle of summer for a 4-day bicycle tour vacation.

On Thursday, July 4th we'll kick it off with a mostly north-south loop that starts and ends at the Liberty Market Café in downtown Gilbert. Not only will they be open on the holiday, they have agreed to reserve us a big table and have ample shaded patio space. Four of us did a test ride this morning, and it looks good to go.

Friday, July 5th, Jules has agreed to lead a yet-to-be-named ride. Probably using a yet-to-be-created new route map. Stay tuned for details.

The standard weekend rides will be on tap for the next two days. Saturday Cycling will do the St. Francis Loop. Spin Cycle, lead by President Armando this time, will be doing the Tour de Queen Creek. Plenty of variety! So rather than fight the traffic escaping to the high country... you can stay home and celebrate summer with us.

Ride safely


Tour de France 2013

Twelve Tips for Viewing

Added June 8, 2013

written by Bob Beane

Whether you are an experienced bicyclist, new to the sport or a curious spectator, you probably "only have so much time" in your life for TV viewing of sporting events. For the uninitiated, Le Tour de France is a 3-week odyssey, pain-fest and festival of sport that happens every July (Note: This year, it starts on Saturday, June 29). It will be broadcast in the USA on the NBC Sports Network (formerly OLN, Versus). Broadcasts will be both live and repeat each day. Here are my Twelve Tips for getting the most out of limited time for following Le Tour 2013:

  • Check the standings from the Criterium du Dauphine and the Tour de Swiss (two one-week tune-up races) to see who is in "good form" coming into Le Tour.
  • Race within the Race, Part 1 - Sprinters abound this year. These guys have no chance to win the overall title, because they can't climb big mountains like the more slender "angels" who ride steep climbs as fast as I ride flat roads. Watch for Brit Mark Cavendish, Peter Sagan, Andre Greipel and American Tyler Farrar to contest stages that are fairly flat with fast finishes.
  • Race within the Race, Part 2 - There is a special White Jersey for the best young rider. Last year, American Tejay van Garderen won it, and he could again (though his ambitions are higher, I think, coming off his recent win in the Tour of California).
  • Corsica - This island is the only area of France not to host Le Tour in 100 years. This year, Stages 1-3 will be raced there. Other than sprints, the main concern for potential "GC" (General Classification) contenders will be avoiding crashes.
  • Time Trials - The time trials will likely be too short this year to factor much in the overall result. The quick team time trial of Stage 4 will be won by seconds or less, but should be meaningless beyond bragging rights for the winning team.
  • The First Sort-Out - Saturday and Sunday, July 6 & 7 involve some significant tests in the mountains along the border of France and Spain. The pretenders will be separated from the contenders.
  • Race within the Race, Part 3 - Breakaway wins by a lone rider are highly prized within the pro peloton. Notching one of those can secure a place in cycling history. Look for a rider such as Jens Voigt to go for such a win on the undulating terrain of Saturday, July 13's Stage 14.
  • A B____ of a Bastille Day - The win on Bastille Day, normally a main objective for French teams, will be contested on the slopes of the intimidating Mont Ventoux. Normally, I would expect top French cyclist Thomas Voeckler to be a favorite for this day, but the bulk of the route seems too flat for him to escape early on. Look for a climber who is contesting the King of the Mountains jersey to win the stage, and the overall contenders to further sort out potential podium spots.
  • A stage for the ages - Put in your vacation request now, or plan a "sick day", for Thursday, July 18. Never in the history of Le Tour has L'Alpe D'Huez been climbed twice in a single stage. If you only watch one cycling event in your life, watch this one. This is, after all, the 100th Tour de France. The fans along the road will be out of their minds, and the racing will be epic.
  • Are you kidding me?! - After L'Alpe times two on the previous day, the organizers "kindly" scheduled a 204.5KM stage with two "Hors Category" (above categorization) climbs as a "recovery ride". This is cruel and unusual punishment.but it will help decide the overall winner.
  • And more!!! - Then, on Saturday, July 20, the penultimate stage will finish with a painful HC climb to Annecy-Semnoz. The leader at the end of the day will win the Tour.
  • Pomp & Circumstance - One of the most beautiful traditions in sport is the final day of Le Tour. It begins with a casually-paced, rolling photo opportunity for the various leaders and stars of the Tour.Champagne will be sipped and congratulations will be exchanged. Then, the riders reach the Champs-Elysees in Paris and the afterburners are ignited. Rarely can anyone get "off the front" for a solo victory. Usually, we are treated to a Sprint Royale in the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe, and that is what I am expecting for the finale this year.

As a cyclist of 25+ years, I've seen a lot in our sport/activity that is amazing and positive, and some that is "not so much". I expect this year's Tour to be, as commentator Phil Liggett would say, "One for the history books." I intend to view every minute I can of what I expect to be an epic show of talent, effort and stamina. Viva Le Tour!


June 1 Saturday Cycling Report

Debut of Newly Enhanced McKellips Loop Route

Added June 2, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

President Armando reports that 51 cyclists participated in the Memorial Day ride last Monday. Pretty good number for last minute planning. He received favorable comments about the route – one of Scott's creations. And as usual, there were no major incidents.

Today a solid 85 cyclists signed in for the newly enhanced McKellips Loop route. That's the most Saturday riders we've had since the March 30 free-breakfast meeting. I had to leave the breakfast early to fetch a stranded rider with multiple tire injuries, so didn't get to hear from the people who tried the new 45 mile extra-long option. Please let me know how it worked out, and if anyone took advantage of the fact that the 2nd regroup was situated at a donut shop.

Coming up...

Saturday, 06/08/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Lucky 7's
This route loops clockwise to the south and takes advantage of some of the new roads over by the Wild Horse Pass casino/resort area. The name plays off the mileage options of 27 and 47 miles, plus the two casinos along the way. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:18

Saturday, 06/15/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Length of Lindsay
Time for another Quarterly Membership Meeting! As always, that means free breakfast for club members. This time, at Jason's Deli in Chandler on Fry Road just South of the Chandler Mall. You can get there by joining us for the Length of Lindsay route - options of 27 miles or 39 miles, no climbing - or be at Jason's Deli for sign-in starting at 8:30 a.m. The meeting should begin around 9:00 a.m. Sunrise: 5:18 (yes, it's the same as the last week. The summer solstice is nearly here)

Saturday, 06/22/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. MidSummer Ride
My calendar says June 21 is the summer solstice, which was almost what this route was named (the slight Shakespearian reference won out) as it attempts to take advantage of the sun's more northerly position this time of year. Includes route options of 28 miles with one climb, or 38 miles with a couple of bonus hills. There is hope of shade on about 1/2 of the ride and plenty of opportunities to shortcut back if the heat becomes oppressive. Breakfast at Paradise Bakery, SE corner of Guadalupe and McClintock. Sunrise: 5:19 and going up from here

Mark-Your-Calendar Bits...

As noted above, Saturday June 15 is our next quarterly membership meeting at Jason's Deli following the Sat. ride. This is a popular time for new members to join, and current members to renew and enjoy the benefit of free breakfast. Scott will also be there with club logo-ware for sale. I recommend you bring cash or checks, since Treasurer Wendell is still on the injured reserves list. I hope he makes an appearance at the meeting, but I would hate to ask him to do a lot of one-handed credit card scans.

The weekend of July 13-14 is the annual White Mountain Tour. I'm told the ACTIVE.COM registration has gone live. There should be more information and a link posted on the web site soon. We have a new ride-lead team this year and they have been hard at work making all the necessary arrangements. There are probably still opportunities to volunteer too.

Every Saturday from June 29 to July 20 we will have Tour de France viewing events. Our new Social Director Brigette has lined up a new venue - Buffalo Wild Wings in Tempe at Rural and University. The start times are TBD based on broadcast schedules, but expect around lunch time. As always, they are pay-your-own-way and lots of fun.

One final tid bit tip: All of the ride maps handed out at the start include the ride leader's name and phone number. If you ever have a mishap on the ride and need some assistance, or just to let the ride leader know what happened even if you don't need assistance, don't hesitate to call or text that number. And if you are in the habit of riding without a map to shave weight, you might want to load my number into your phone just in case.

Ride safely


May 25 Saturday Cycling Report

Sixty-seven Cyclists Visit South Mountain Park

Added May 26, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Sixty-seven cyclists signed up to enjoy the climbs on South Mountain today. Looked like most opted for the slightly less challenging San Juan option; while a few from the fast pack were rumored to be in Durango Colorado racing a train. But whatever way they went, everyone seemed to enjoy the ride.

Contrary to what I said last week, there will be a Memorial Day ride on Monday! Thanks to President Armando, who jumped at the opportunity to make it happen. He has to be one of the most volunteerin'est members we've ever had. (Note the non-standard start location.)

Coming up...

Monday, 05/27/13 6:30 am, Kiwanis Park. Queen Creek Holiday Ride
Yes, PMBC will have a Memorial Day Ride! President Armando who has volunteered to lead the Queen Creek Holiday Ride. Start at 6:30 a.m. from Paradise Bakery on the southwest corner of Queen Creek and Alma School Roads in Chandler. This ride offers options of a 24- or 40-mile loop out to Queen Creek and back with no climbing. Breakfast afterwards at either Paradise Bakery or Starbucks. Sunrise: 5:21

Saturday, 06/01/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. McKellips Loop
This 28-mile or 37-mile loop from Kiwanis Park will take you north through Tempe and then east through Mesa on McKellips Road, returning to Paradise Bakery for breakfast. Sunrise: 5:19

Saturday, 06/08/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Lucky 7's
This route loops clockwise to the south and takes advantage of some of the new roads over by the Wild Horse Pass casino/resort area. The name plays off the mileage options of 27 and 47 miles, plus the two casinos along the way. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:18

Saturday, 06/15/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Length of Lindsay
Time for another Quarterly Membership Meeting! As always, that means free breakfast for club members. This time, at Jason's Deli in Chandler on Frye Road just south of the Chandler Mall. You can get there by joining us for the Length of Lindsay route - options of 27 miles or 39 miles, no climbing - or be at Jason's Deli for sign-in starting at 8:30 a.m. The meeting should begin around 9:00 a.m. Sunrise: 5:18 (Yes, it's the same as last week. The summer solstice is nearly here)

Tidbits...

The east valley cites of Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler and Gilbert have all been recognized as Bicycle Friendly Cities by the League of American Bicyclists. However, Phoenix proper - as we are reminded when we ride that stretch of Baseline Rd to get to South Mountain - is not so much. But now we are hearing talk from Mayor Greg Stanton himself that there may be change for the better in our future.

First, he has acknowledged that there is a lot of room for improvement in making Phoenix bicycle friendly. He has been quoted as saying that being bicycle friendly is critical to advancing the local economy (a position that the LAB has recently been emphasizing). And, to give real credibility to his words, he has proposed an additional $1.5 million be spent now to make Phoenix more bicycle friendly.

I'm sure it will take some time before we see any tangible benefits. But having government leaders speak out in our favor, and to tie bike friendliness to a strong economy can only help further the progress towards safer roads for cyclists.

Ride safely


May 18 Saturday Cycling Report

The Last Cool Breeze on Marco Polo Ride

Added May 19, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Sixty-four cyclists, who were not up in Sedona Riding The Vortex for MS, joined us at Kiwanis Park for the Marco Polo ride. It seemed as though every direction we rode had a headwind, but for the most part, the cooling effect made it worthwhile. That could be the last cool breeze we experience till October when Roger returns.

Coming up...

Saturday, 05/25/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. South Mountain
Route options of 24 miles with a bit of gentle climbing, 38 miles with moderate climbing, or 39 miles with the longest steady climb within 20 miles of Kiwanis Park. Breakfast at AZ Bread, southeast of Elliot & Kyrene. Sunrise: 5:22

Saturday, 06/01/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. McKellips Loop
This 28-mile or 37-mile loop from Kiwanis Park will take you north through Tempe and then east through Mesa on McKellips Road, returning to Paradise Bakery for breakfast. Sunrise: 5:19

Saturday 06/08/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Lucky 7's
This route loops clockwise to the south and takes advantage of some of the new roads over by the Wild Horse Pass casino/resort area. The name plays off the mileage options of 27 and 47 miles, plus the two casinos along the way. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co. at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:18

Tidbits...

Sorry, but it looks like we won't have a Memorial Day ride scheduled this year. A few years back we adopted the tradition of special holiday rides being led by a club member who is not a regular ride leader, but is willing to step up and make it happen. They can use existing routes, modified routes, or completely fresh and new routes of their own invention. The start time, location and distance of the ride can be varied as well.

I sent an email out to the usual suspects who have led rides on occasion, and a few others, but no one bit. So this is my plea to all Saturday Cyclists… Independence Day, Thursday July 4, and Friday July 5 are both available for a willing volunteer to host a club ride. Please send me a note if you'd like to help make it happen. Free guidance is available.

Ride safely


May 11 Saturday Cycling Report

Beautiful Spring Morning for Foothills Training Ride

Added May 12, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Seventy-seven cyclists signed in to enjoy another beautiful spring morning's ride as we scattered over the foothills south of South Mountain Park. It was great to see several new people and a couple of visitors join us again. The breakfast tables were abuzz with stories of cycling vacations taken and planned.

Coming up...

Saturday, 05/18/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Marco Polo
Designed to stretch us to the eastern limits of our range. The 26-mile standard route goes east on Guadalupe for 12, then loops back on Elliot. The 41-mile long route keeps going east all the way to Ellsworth, then loops to the south before joining the Elliot return path. Breakfast at Paradise Bakery on Guadalupe and McClintock. Sunrise: 5:26

Saturday, 05/25/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. South Mountain
Route options of 24 miles with a bit of gentle climbing, 38 miles with moderate climbing, or 39 miles with the longest steady climb within 20 miles of Kiwanis Park. Breakfast at AZ Bread, southeast of Elliot & Kyrene. Sunrise: 5:22

Saturday, 06/01/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. McKellips Loop
This 28-mile or 37-mile loop from Kiwanis Park will take you north through Tempe and then east through Mesa on McKellips Road, returning to Paradise Bakery for breakfast. Sunrise: 5:19

Tidbits...

Confessions of a STOP sign roller...

In my experience, these are the top 2 sources of motorist hostility towards cyclists:

  1. When they believe that we have caused them to have to slow down. Even just a few tiny seconds' delay in getting to the next red light. If they have to let up on the accelerator at all because of a cyclist, they often take offense.
  2. When we behave as though the rules they have to follow don't apply to us.

So I strive to follow the rules like any other vehicle operator, while avoiding causing delays.

Sometimes these goals can be in conflict with each other; for example, STOP signs. When you clearly have the right-of-way, but take the time to come to a full and complete stop, you may be delaying the other vehicles waiting their turn. Nevermind that it would be no different if you were operating a motor vehicle instead of your bicycle. The presence of a danged bike caused a delay!

So here's my policy on stop signs, right or wrong:

  • I always slow enough so that if I need to stop I can.
  • If the right-of-way is not mine, I continue to decelerate and stop completely if needed; then proceed quickly when it is my turn.
  • If I clearly have the right-of-way, I coast to the stop sign with my hands on my brakes; conspicuously look both ways to emphasize my caution; and then roll on through and get out of the way. It's important that my feet stop moving or there will be no illusion of honoring the stop sign.

While not technically legal, I do believe it is safe, and less likely to antagonize motorists.

I have witnessed several examples of Saturday Cyclists very effectively following this policy. Other times, like today, I've seen more than one cyclist blow through a stop sign without even pretending to notice it was there. Please remember that we are not on a closed race course. We need to share the road.

Ride safely always


Video of 2013 Chandler's Family Bike Ride

How Cities Can Support Families With Kids Learning To Ride

Added May 12, 2013

submitted by Bob Beane

What a great video illustrating how cities can support families supporting their kids learning to ride and enjoy. No big CAzB promo here (they didn't make it to the turnaround SAG) but a nice spot for the Phoenix Metro Bike Club with two of our members wrapping up the video.

View 2013 Chandler's Family Bike Ride Video


May 4 Saturday Cycling Report

Double Report: Ahwafooty and Tour de Mesa

Added May 5, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Two ride reports for the price of one today. Thank you Ron, for leading the Ahwafooty ride last weekend while Janet and I were with Mark and Margie attracting attention at the Wildflower Century by riding tandem tandems in matching floral jerseys.

Here's Ron's ride report for last week:

We had 47 riders enjoy a beautiful day riding through the foothills. Many others were off doing an ABC ride and the Answer to the Challenge. The weather was cooperative at 85 degrees and no wind. As always AZ Bread served up a great breakfast!

Today, 68 cyclists showed up on time for May's new 6:30 start time. I know of a few more that showed up closer to 7:00 and found the maps under the windshield wiper. Either way, it was a beautiful day for riding.

Another thank-you goes to Ann who alerted me to the South Mountain Time Trial that conflicts with our planned ride for next week. So I've shuffled the schedule a bit and we will tackle our last big climb of the spring later in May, and hope the temp stays below 100.

Coming up...

Saturday 05/11/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Foothills Training Ride
The Foothills Training Ride takes us on a loop through the Ahwatukee Foothills with options of 25 miles with one gentle climb, or 38 miles that will take you on 5 more. If you can follow the spaghetti-bowl long-route map, you will have gone up and down all 5 approaches with no repeats and no U-turns. Breakfast at AZ Bread Co. at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:31

Saturday 05/18/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Marco Polo
Designed to stretch us to the eastern limits of our range. The 26 mile standard route goes east on Guadalupe for 12, then loops back on Elliot. The 41 mile long route keeps going east all the way to Ellsworth, then loops to the south before joining the Elliot return path. Breakfast at Paradise Bakery on Guadalupe and McClintock. Sunrise: 5:26

Saturday 05/25/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. South Mountain
Route options of 24 miles with a bit of gentle climbing, 38 miles with moderate climbing, or 39 miles with the longest steady climb within 20 miles of Kiwanis Park. Breakfast at AZ Bread, southeast of Elliot & Kyrene. Sunrise: 5:22

Tidbits...

Here's another opportunity to do community volunteer work, and ride your bike at the same time. Global Bikes is partnering with a national nonprofit called Ride For Reading. Their mission is to promote literacy and healthy living through the distribution of books via bicycle to children from low-income neighborhoods. Brandee Lepak tells us that they have the books and have picked a recipient school. Now they just need volunteers to deliver them by bicycle.

They will be meeting at Pivot Cycles in Tempe at 9:00 a.m. on Friday May 10, and riding to the Frank School in Guadalupe. They're hoping for 100 cyclist to deliver the books. Please come equipped with trailers, back packs, or panniers. Helmets are required.

Here are two links for registration:
Facebook sign up to volunteer.
Global Bikes meetup sign in

Ride safely


April 20 Saturday Cycling Report

Chandler/Gilbert Bronze Route and MidSummer Ride

Added April 21, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

They say only two things in life are certain. A weekly Saturday Cycling Ride Report isn't one of them. So last weekend we worked on our taxes instead. Seventy-Six of us did, however, ride! Several of us deviated from the revised Chandler/Gilbert Bronze route to be volunteers at the Chandler Family Fun ride. For those of you who did follow the new map, if you have any comments or suggestions I would love to hear them. I hope to use the route again when we have a membership meeting at Jason's Deli.

This week, we had 68 cyclists enjoy the gentle climbs on the MidSummer Ride. The crowds around Pat's Run in Tempe had pretty much dispersed by the time we got there on our return loop, so that was no problem for us at all.

Coming up...

Saturday, 04/27/13 7:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Ahwafooty
We'll circle around to approach the Ahwatukee-Foothills from the South. 24-mile or 35-mile options with moderate climbing on the longer route. Ron Waller will lead the ride this week. Janet and I will see you all again next time. Breakfast at AZ Bread Co. at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:44

NOTE: Start time changes to 6:30 a.m. in May!

Saturday, 05/04/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Tour de Mesa
The Tour de Mesa takes us to the northeast, with route options of 29 miles with no climbing or 39 miles with a gentle climb. Breakfast is at Paradise Bakery at Guadalupe & McClintock. Sunrise: 5:37

Saturday 05/11/13 6:30 a.m., Kiwanis Park. South Mountain
Route options of 24 miles with a bit of gentle climbing, 38 miles with moderate climbing, or 39 miles with the longest steady climb within 20 miles of Kiwanis Park. Breakfast at AZ Bread, southeast of Elliot & Kyrene. Sunrise: 5:31

Tidbits...

If you're like me, you never wear headphones when you ride, even solo. So you entertain yourself by singing out loud, or whistling up an original orchestral composition. Or, you can play word games, like Fun With Homonyms. Here's a couple that I made up on my daily commute:

How do you know... that a person who enjoys decorating their entry way is a nerd?
Because...
     A dork adores adorning a door!

Why is it okay... to purchase perfume mail order (okay, on-line) for less than a dollar?
Because...
     Seventy-seven cents for scents sent makes sense!

Now you know just how much like me you really are.

Ride safely and have fun doing it


Tour de Mesa Finishers

Congratulations to PMBC Members Who Completed the Tour de Mesa

Added April 14, 2013

written by Armando Charvet

Congratulations to our members who participated, and completed this year's Tour de Mesa. Great work out there.

Bike Patrol 
Bib # Rider Name 
2015 ED ROCKLAND 
2025 VINCENT PEDOTTO

70 Mile Event 
Bib # Rider Name 
863 ROB BAHL 
704 STEVEN BAILEY 
492 GAYLE BOETTO 
982 DAVID CARRIERE 
823 JOHN GARZA 
401 JONATHAN MILES 
119 TIM MISTEREK 
544 PAUL MITTMAN 
1015 MATT NICKS 
1184 TERRI PERKINS 
58 DANIEL STRANDBERG 
679 JAMES TUNE 
273 LANN VANNOY 
493 AL VEGA 
366 JOHN VELICEVICH 
876 CLAY WELLS 
528 RONALD MCFADDEN 
529 SUE MCFADDEN 
181 ARMANDO CHARVET (Drafter for 65 miles)

28 Mile 
Bib # Rider Name 
4183 KEVIN RAWLINSON


April 6 Saturday Cycling Report

Sixty-One Cyclists Ride the Tour de Sue

Added April 7, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Happy Valley Bike Month! Sixty-one cyclists remembered the 7:00 a.m. April start time and signed in to ride the Tour de Sue, while Sue herself and others were at El Tour de Mesa. It was a gorgeous day for riding anywhere in the valley. Approaching the finish, it was difficult to resist going one more time around the loop. But, there is more to life that must go on. Really.

Coming up...

Saturday, 04/13/13 7:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Chandler Bronze
Rev2 of the Chandler Bronze route will be rolled out on the same day as the annual Chandler Family Bike Ride. The new map will be posted on the web site soon. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co in Tempe, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 6:00

Saturday, 04/20/13 7:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. MidSummer Ride
Route options of 28 miles with one climb or 38 miles with a couple of bonus hills. The next time we do this route, it really will be summer. Breakfast at Paradise Bakery, SE corner of Guadalupe and McClintock. Sunrise: 5:52

Saturday, 04/27/13 7:00 a.m., Kiwanis Park. Ahwafooty
We'll circle around to approach the Ahwatukee-Foothills from the south. 24-mile or 35-mile options with moderate climbing on the longer route. Breakfast at AZ Bread Co. at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 5:44

Tidbits...

Steve Banta, the CEO of Valley Metro kicked off Valley Bike Month with a very positive article in this morning's AZ Republic Opinions section. I wish all CEOs and politicians thought like this. Enjoy it yourself at: www.azcentral.com/opinions/articles/20130404banta-month-rediscover-benefits-bicycling.html.

And here's some more uplifting web content. Mary Ellen sent me this link from Adventure Cycling's Bicycle Travel Video Contest: vimeo.com/groups/155805/videos/51616600 It won the award for best long distance tour video. You can link from there to many other inspiring stories.

Thank you to the 7 PMBC members who volunteered to join Janet and me in helping out at the Chandler Family Bike Ride next Saturday. There's always room for more, just let me know if you'd like to join us.

Ride safely


March 30 Saturday Cycling Report

Largest Saturday Cycling Participation on Record

Added March 31, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Combine our most popular route, beautiful spring weather and an entertaining membership meeting with free lunch and you get the largest Saturday Cycling participation on record. One hundred and seventeen cyclists signed in for the Mummy Mountain ride. Here are some more numbers: 93 made it to the membership meeting where we were told the club membership is at 499 and climbing.

Many route variations were created along the way. As far as I know, one flat tire and one Schlecked chain were the only snags. It was a great day to ride.

Coming up...

Note: In April the ride start time changes to 7:00am

Saturday, 04/06/13 7:00amKiwanis Park. Tour de Sue
A flat loop to the south, with route options of 25 or 35 miles. Both routes include a good long stretch with no traffic lights. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co in Temp, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 6:09

Saturday, 04/13/13 7:00amKiwanis Park. Chandler Bronze
Rev2 of the Chandler Bronze route will be rolled out on the same day as the annual Chandler Family Bike Ride. The new map will be posted on the web site soon. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co in Tempe, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 6:00

Saturday, 04/20/13 7:00am, Kiwanis Park. MidSummer Ride
Route options of 28 miles with one climb or 38 miles with a couple of bonus hills. The next time we do this route, it really will be summer. Breakfast at Paradise Bakery, SE corner of Guadalupe and McClintock.

Tidbits...

In case you missed the membership meeting, or were late like me, here are some of the highlights:

  • Our new president, Armando, ran a quick and efficient meeting
  • He introduced the six ad hoc board members who will be working with the 4 officers (Armando, Kevin, Margi and Wendell) we elected in December
    • Previous board members returning to serve again are: Ron Waller, Charlie Davis, Glen Fletcher and me, Ken St. John
    • New to the board this year are
      • Wayne Churchman – Major events coordinator
      • Brigette Brown – Activities Coordinator
  • Scott Barvian has taken responsibility for the clothing sales this year
  • Major events were discussed, including the potential for two more if the right volunteer steps up to coordinate the effort: Flagstaff in August and Payson for May of next year.
  • We were contacted by the advocate for a blind cyclist in Scottsdale who is looking for a tandem partner. If you can be that person, contact Armando and let him know.

Speaking of volunteers, I'm still looking for a few people to ride in the Chandler Family Bike Ride. So far I have Janet and I on the tandem. They already have over 200 people signed up to ride and are counting on our help. It would basically be the 2nd half of your Saturday Cycling ride on April 13. Please email Ken St. John if you're willing.

Ride safely


March 23 Saturday Cycling Report

First Saturday Cycling Ride of Spring

Added March 23, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

75 cyclists signed in for the first Saturday Cycling ride of spring. Scott's route update was appreciated as all 3 of the distance options were employed. Unfortunately, not everyone's luck was good luck on Lucky-7 today. A few of us ended up cutting our ride short, and one motorist went home with a ticket for failure to yield the right-of-way. All involved are recovering well and on first inspection, no bicycles were seriously injured.

Speaking of traffic laws: red means stop. For the sake of our club's reputation, public perception of all cyclists, and for your own safety, please obey the traffic laws and practice safe cycling on all PMBC rides.

Another reminder: the regroups are a courtesy for those who may have gotten caught at a light, or dropped by the pack, or others in your group who have need for a quick stop even if you don't. If you find yourself leading a pack as the regroup approaches, please lead them into the pit stop.

One more item: If you left a red water bottle with the club logo at the breakfast stop, you can pick it up at the sign-in next Saturday.

Coming up...

Saturday, 03/30/13 7:30am Kiwanis Park. Mummy Mountain
The breakfast meeting is at JJ North's Country Buffet (formerly Home Town Buffet) at 1312 N Scottsdale Rd. Sign-in begins at 9:00am and the meeting starts at approximately 9:45, or whenever the last of the long route riders arrives. Sunrise: 6:18

Note: In April the ride start time changes to 7:00am

Saturday, 04/06/13 7:00am Kiwanis Park. Tour de Sue
A flat loop to the south, with route options of 25 or 35 miles. Both routes include a good long stretch with no traffic lights. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co in Temp, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 6:09

Saturday, 04/13/13 7:00am Kiwanis Park. Chandler Bronze
Rev2 of the Chandler Bronze route will be rolled out on the same day as the annual Chandler Family Bike Ride. The new map will be posted on the web site soon. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co in Tempe, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 6:00

Tidbits...

May is National Bicycle Month! However, Chandler and Tempe wisely pulled it in one month to avoid mid spring's summer heat. Here are some of the activities they have planned:

  • The Tour de Tempe will be on Sunday, April 7 from Kiwanis Park (the lot South of where we meet). Registration begins at 7:30am and the 10-mile ride starts at 9:00. They expect over 1,000 participants and will include food and giveaways.
  • Tempe's Bike to Work Day is Wednesday, April 17 with breakfast provided to cyclists at various locations from 6:30-8:00am. For all the details on both Tempe events, visit www.tempe.gov/bikemonth
  • The City of Chandler will hold their annual Family Bike Ride on Saturday, April 13. Participants gather at the Park&Ride at Germann and Hamilton (near Tumbleweed Park) at 8am and the ride begins at 9:00. It's a family friendly 7 mile out-and-back along the Peseo Trail. The Chandler Transit Services Coordinator has requested PMBC volunteers to ride along and role model safe and joyful cycling for the beginners and children expected. Our Saturday Cycling route will take us very near the start location at just about the right time. We can start from Kiwanis as usual, then vector off to the Chandler ride after the regroup. Please let me know if you would like to volunteer so that I can let them know who to expect.
  • One more April activity of note is the 30th annual Answer to the Challenge ride April 26-28. The challenge being 325 miles with 22,000 feet of climbing in 3 days. Look for details to be posted on the web site soon.

This week, our #1 most popular route will include the quarterly membership meeting with free breakfast for PMBC members. The ride options are a 40 mile loop with lots of climbing, or 31 miles with a couple of moderate climbs.

Ride safely


March 9 & 16 Saturday Cycling Reports

South Mountain and Length of Lindsay

Added March 16, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Thank you Ron Waller for leading the Saturday Cycling pack last week on a damp and cool ride up South Mountain. It was plenty cool and damp on the Mining Country Challenge too, but we did it anyway.

Today, spring sprang a few days early as 70 cyclists enjoyed beautiful weather for a fast flat ride, free of cumbersome layers, long pants and full-fingered gloves. For those of you who have been waiting for better weather: come on out and ride! It doesn't get much better than this.

Coming up...

Saturday 03/23/13 7:30am, Kiwanis Park. Lucky 7's
In response to the survey results, Scott has modified this map to add a third, 47-mile extra-long option. The route still loops clockwise to the south and takes advantage of some of the new roads over by the Wild Horse Pass casino/resort area. The name plays off the mileage options of 27 and 47 miles, plus the two casinos along the way. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 6:28

Saturday, 03/30/13 7:30am, Kiwanis Park. Mummy Mountain
This week, our #1 most popular route will include the quarterly membership meeting with free breakfast for PMBC members. The ride options are a 40-mile loop with lots of climbing, or 31 miles with a couple of moderate climbs. The breakfast meeting is at JJ North's Country Buffet (formerly Home Town Buffet) at 1312 N Scottsdale Rd. Sign-in begins at 9:00am and the meeting starts at approximately 9:45, or whenever the last of the long route riders arrive. Sunrise: 6:18

Saturday, 04/06/13 7:00am, Kiwanis Park. Tour de Sue
A flat loop to the south, with route options of 25 or 35 miles. Both routes include a good long stretch with no traffic lights. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co in Tempe, at the SE corner of Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 6:09

Tidbits...

Here's a good idea: encourage high school students to stick with cycling even after they become licensed drivers. I just found out about the Arizona High School Cycling League that does just that, by grooming young mountain bike racers. They are currently looking for coaches and ride leaders from the cycling community.

The league has two big events coming up this week. The first is a screening of a new movie titled "Single Track High" that you can catch on Wed March 20, at 7:00pm at the Harkins Tempe Marketplace, 2000 E Rio Salado Pkwy. (ALL TICKETS MUST BE PURCHASED ONLINE AHEAD OF TIME. THERE WILL BE NO ONSITE SALES).

The second is a Leaders' Summit, March 23-24 at Pivot Cycles in Tempe. (Offered again on April 13-14 at Mile High Middle School in Prescott). The Leaders' Summit provides the education and training needed to become a NICA-licensed Head Coach, Assistant Coach or Ride Leader. Visit their web site for all the details http://www.arizonamtb.org.

Ride safely


March 2 Saturday Cycling Report

Hill Training on St. Francis Loop

Added March 10, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Yikes! Five days slipped by and I'm very late with the ride report. Work-life, work-life. It's a balancing act.

58 cyclists signed in last Saturday to ride the St. Francis Loop for more hill training before the Mining Country Challenge. We enjoyed another day of perfect climbing weather – pretty good for breakfast on the patio as well. Our numbers may have been down slightly due to the Phoenix Marathon whose path we crossed on 8th St. in Mesa. They must have had a huge turnout, still looking like one big mob at the 12 mile mark as we zipped by.

Coming up...

Saturday 03/09/13 7:30am, Kiwanis Park. South Mountain
Route options of 24 miles with a bit of gentle climbing, 38 miles with moderate climbing, or 39 miles with the longest steady climb within 20 miles of Kiwanis Park. Breakfast at AZ Bread, southeast of Elliot & Kyrene. Ron Waller will lead this week while Janet and I take the tandem on the Mining Country Challenge. Sunrise: 6:46

Saturday, 03/16/13 7:30am, Kiwanis Park. Length of Lindsay
Options of 27 miles or 39 miles, no climbing. No, it is not time for the quarterly membership meeting yet. This time we'll ride right on past Jason's Deli and have breakfast at Paradise Bakery on the SE corner of McClintock and Guadalupe. Sunrise: 6:37

Saturday 03/23/13 7:30am, Kiwanis Park. Lucky 7's
In response to the survey results, Scott has modified this map to add a third, 47 mile extra-long option. The route still loops clockwise to the south and takes advantage of some of the new roads over by the Wild Horse Pass casino/resort area. The name plays off the mileage options of 27 and 47 miles, plus the two casinos along the way. Breakfast is at AZ bread Co at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 6:28

Tidbits...

Have faith! The weather forecast for the weekend says most of the rain will fall on Friday. Saturday is expected to be partly cloudy with a small chance of some rain. So don't let a few clouds stop you from taking on the Mining Country Challenge, or enjoying the climb up South Mountain if you decide to stay closer to home.

One the most popular annual charity rides is approaching. Bike MS: Ride the Vortex Sedona Verde Valley is scheduled for May 18 and 19. Visit this web site to learn more and register: www.bikemsarizona.org.

Ride safely


February 23 Saturday Cycling Report

Beautiful Windless Morning For Romp in the Foothills

Added February 24, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Sixty-six cyclists signed in to enjoy a romp in the Foothills on a beautiful windless morning. Some Friday I'm going to sneak out and mark this route with pavement arrows. It may be the only way to keep everyone on track. Then again, choosing which hills you want to climb and in what order you want to do them has some appeal as well. Seemed to me everyone was having fun in the sun regardless of the chosen path.

After changing the route to avoid the heavy traffic around the Firebird Raceway, we were surprised to find most of Liberty Lane converted to a parking lot for what was apparently a very popular transportation festival of some kind. Didn't see that one coming. I hope everyone remembered to keep room between themselves and the parked cars to avoid any random door opening mishaps.

Coming up...

Note: March start time changes to 7:30 am!

Saturday 03/02/13 7:30 am, Kiwanis Park. St. Francis Loop
One more chance for some hill training before the Mining Country Challenge. Both the 25-mile or 36-mile loop options include three moderate climbs, taking you north through Papago Park, around the St. Francis Cemetery, and returning to Tempe via south Scottsdale. Breakfast after, at Paradise Bakery at McClintock and Guadalupe. Sunrise: 6:55

Saturday 03/09/13 7:30 am, Kiwanis Park. South Mountain
Route options of 24 miles with a bit of gentle climbing, 38 miles with moderate climbing, or 39 miles with the longest steady climb within 20 miles of Kiwanis Park. Breakfast at AZ Bread, southeast of Elliot & Kyrene. Ron Waller will lead this week while Janet and I take the tandem to the Mining Country Challenge. Sunrise: 6:46

Saturday, 03/16/12 7:30am, Kiwanis Park. Length of Lindsay
Options of 27 miles or 39 miles, no climbing. No, it is not time for the quarterly membership meeting yet. This time we'll ride right on past Jason's Deli and have breakfast at Paradise Bakery on the SE corner of McClintock and Guadalupe. Sunrise: 6:37

Tidbits...

It's time again for the City of Phoenix annual Bike Summit. Unlike the previous years, 2013 will consist of a series of mini bike summits for each Council District in Phoenix. The stated purpose of the summit is:

  • Learn what the city is doing to improve bike-ability
  • Join a forum of fellow cyclists to express needs in your neighborhoods or on your commutes
  • Meet fellow cyclists and city employees who share the common goal of making Phoenix an excellent bike-able destination

District 6 covers the Arizona Grand Resort (previously known as The Point at South Mountain), and all of the Ahwatukee Foothills area, plus Papago Park and extending northward from there. The district 6 meeting is scheduled for Saturday, March 30 from 9am-1pm at Pecos Park Community Center. Unfortunately, this conflicts with our next PMBC quarterly membership meeting and free breakfast, which is where I'll be.

District 8 includes most of South Phoenix on the other side of the mountain, and the east-central area including Sky Harbor Airport. That summit meeting is scheduled for Saturday March 2 from 10:30am – 2:00pm at Rio Salado Community College.

If you live, work or pass through any of these areas, or any part of Phoenix, and would like to participate in your district summit, just hit reply to let me know and I will forward you all the information that I have.

Reminder... Mining Country Challenge is March 9th, and we are still looking for volunteers. If you can help, please send an email to the Mining Country Challenge. For all the details, visit the Mining Country Challenge page.

Ride safely


February 16 Saturday Cycling Report

McKellips Loop Wind Tunnel

Added February 17, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

The McKellips Loop route lived up to its wind-tunnel reputation today as seventy-one cyclists enjoyed an exhilarating headwind for all of the north- and eastbound segments. It was so challenging that the whole pack decided to take an early rest stop 4.5 miles before the scheduled regroup. Probably needed to shed a layer by then; fighting headwind generates heat. Another sign of the changing seasons: most opted for the patio seating at the breakfast stop. Haven't seen that happen in a while.

Coming up...

Saturday 02/23/13 8:00 am, Kiwanis Park. Lucky 7's
In response to the survey results, Scott has modified this map to add a third, 47 mile extra-long option. The route still loops clockwise to the south and takes advantage of some of the new roads over by the Wild Horse Pass casino/resort area. The name plays off the mileage options of 27 and 47 miles, plus the two casinos along the way. Breakfast is at AZ bread Co at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 7:03

Note: March start time changes to 7:30 am!

Saturday 03/02/13 7:30 am, Kiwanis Park. St. Francis Loop
Both the 25 mile or 36 mile loop options include three moderate climbs, taking you north through Papago Park, around the St. Francis Cemetery, and returning to Tempe via south Scottsdale. Breakfast after, at Paradise Bakery at McClintock and Guadalupe. Sunrise: 6:55

Saturday 03/09/13 7:30 am, Kiwanis Park. South Mountain
Route options of 24 miles with a bit of gentle climbing, 38 miles with moderate climbing, or 39 miles with the longest steady climb within 20 miles of Kiwanis Park. Breakfast at AZ Bread, southeast of Elliot & Kyrene. Ron Waller will lead this week while Janet and I take on the Mining Country Challenge. Sunrise: 6:46

Tidbits...

As I watched the maps flutter away from the sign-in table this morning, I thought it would be a good day to remind everyone to be on their best paceline behavior, but was distracted by the hoard of runners in our midst and forgot to mention it. Fortunately, there were no paceline related mishaps as a result of my negligence. For next time… here are few safety tips:

  1. In headwinds, or stretches of fast, flat riding, drafting will naturally occur. Always assume that someone is right on your rear wheel and keep their safety in mind. No sudden moves, keep a steady pace and clean straight lines.
  2. Take your cues from the riders in front of you to avoid road hazards not visible to you. Follow their line. If it deviates from straight, it should be for a good reason.
  3. When you draft closely behind someone, you should not be checking over your shoulder for anything going on behind. That's the lead dog's job. If the pack needs to merge or turn left, only the lead rider can safely look behind and will make the decision for the group. If you feel you must check back, for example to pull out and pass, gradually (no sudden moves) put some distance between you and the bike in front of you first.
  4. On city streets, when the lead rider peels off to drift to the back, it should be to the left, since he or she is the only one who can look back to ensure it's a safe move. Don't make everyone else have to merge left to go around.
  5. It's best to draft in smaller packs. Maybe 8 or fewer. Long strung-out lines tend to accordion towards the back and can be more trouble than they are worth.

There are other subtleties that can help to optimize the performance advantage of a paceline. If you are already an expert, maybe you could help coach someone less experienced. If you're relatively new to the skill, please ask questions. You shouldn't just hop into a high-speed, double rotating pace-line if you don't already know what you're doing.

Mining Country Challenge is March 9th, and Jack tells me they are still looking for volunteers. If you'd like make this the event you support from behind the scenes this year, please contact Jack Graham. Or, to sign-up as a participant, visit Minining Country Challenge.

Ride safely


February 9 Saturday Cycling Report

Ahwafooty Do-Over

Added February 10, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

We lost a few regulars to the annual Palm Springs excursion this weekend, and probably a few others who are weary of the cold. Still, 45 cyclists did sign in to enjoy a do-over of the Ahwafooty route. An atypical morning west-wind made the long straight stretch on Pecos a little more challenging. Just one more example of this winter's crazy weather.

Coming up...

Saturday, 02/16/13 8:00 Kiwanis Park. McKellips Loop
This 28 mile or 37 mile loop from Kiwanis Park will take you north through Tempe and then east through Mesa on McKellips Road, returning to Paradise Bakery for breakfast. Sunrise: 7:11

Saturday 02/23/13 8:00 Kiwanis Park. Lucky 7's
In response to the survey results, Scott has modified this map to add a third, 47 mile extra-long option. The route still loops clockwise to the south and takes advantage of some of the new roads over by the Wild Horse Pass casino/resort area. The name plays off the mileage options of 27 and 47 miles, plus the two casinos along the way. Breakfast is at AZ bread Co at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 7:03

Saturday 03/02/13 7:30 am, Kiwanis Park. St. Francis Loop
Both the 25 mile or 36 mile loop options include three moderate climbs, taking you north through Papago Park, around the St. Francis Cemetery, and returning to Tempe via south Scottsdale. Breakfast after, at Paradise Bakery at McClintock and Guadalupe.

Tidbits...

Ever consider trying your hand at triathlons? PMBC member Tony has brought to our attention that Lifetime Fitness is offering a 3-day training camp that will lure aspiring triathletes from around the country to sunny Az from Feb 28 to Mar 03. Even if you are just a mono-athlete, the camp includes 3 fully supported rides (with the help of our friends at Global Bike) that are themselves worth the registration fee. One to Bartlett Lake, a tour through Scottsdale on day two, and the third is a recover ride to Mummy Mountain. Plus many more treats and perks. Membership is not required. You can get all the details at http://www.lifetimeendurance.com/public/433.cfm.

Our own Mining Country Challenge is March 9th! Get details here.

Ride safely


February 2 Saturday Cycling Report

A New Route to the Far East

Added February 3, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

It was great to see 79 cyclists sign in on Groudhog Day and risk a new route to the far east. Since this was the first February ride of the year at the 8:00 start time, there were at least 5 more that I know of who arrived late, but eventually caught up. I announced the time change at the start of last week's rainy day ride, but Roger was the only one there to hear it. He was on time.

If you have any helpful feedback on the new route and/or map, please hit the reply button and send it directly to Ken St. John.

Coming up...

Saturday, 02/09/13 8:00 Kiwanis Park. Ahwafooty
Since most of you missed this ride due to rain, let's try again. We'll circle around to approach the Ahwatukee-Foothills from the south. 24- or 35-mile options with moderate climbing on the longer route. Breakfast at AZ Bread Co. at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 7:18

Saturday, 02/16/13 8:00 Kiwanis Park. McKellips Loop
This 28- or 37-mile loop from Kiwanis Park will take you north through Tempe and then east through Mesa on McKellips Road, returning to Paradise Bakery for breakfast. Sunrise: 7:11

Saturday 02/23/13 8:00 Kiwanis Park. Lucky 7's
In response to the survey results, Scott has modified this map to add a third, 47-mile extra-long option. The route still loops clockwise to the south and takes advantage of some of the new roads over by the Wild Horse Pass casino/resort area. The name plays off the mileage options of 27 and 47 miles, plus the two casinos along the way. Breakfast is at AZ Bread Co at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 7:03

Tidbits...

If you have ever explored bicycle touring you are probably familiar with Adventure Cycling. This nonprofit organization has been around since America's bicentennial year (their original name was Bikecentennial) promoting interstate travel by bicycle. Today they lead supported tours, advocate for improved bicycle access nationwide, and have created dozens of maps for bike travel across, up & down, and all around the USA.

Later this month, Adventure Cycling's Executive Director, Jim Sayer, is coming to Phoenix for a visit. In cooperation with our sister organization, Arizona Bike Club (ABC), he has arranged to host a gathering in Phoenix on Wednesday February 20th where we can learn more about Adventure Cycling, their AZ specific activities, and bicycle touring in general. And he promises free food! The details are posted in the notices section of our web site. Visit Adventure Cycling to learn more.

One more thing: The 21st annual Mining Country Challenge is scheduled for March 9th! Get details on the web site. You can register on-line now at Active.com.

Ride safely


January 26 Saturday Cycling Report

The Joy of Riding in the Rain

Added January 27, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Roger and me. That's everyone who showed up to experience the joy of riding in the rain today. I brought my belt-drive, full-fender commuting machine, and Roger rode a single speed so I could keep up with him on the hills. The rain was perpetual. Many of the bike lanes were flooded. And 48th street was closed due to flooding of the wash at Warner, as demonstrated by the stranded car we saw in the middle. We easily passed through on the opposite sidewalk. Pure cycling adventure.

It reminded me of another rainy Saturday, 8 or 10 years ago, when 5 people showed up at the start. The three who drove to the park packed it up and went home. The other two soldiered on; Roger and me. That day we ignored the scheduled route and went climbing in the foothills on a path that would later be mapped and released as the Foothills Training ride.

Coming up...

Note: February start time changes to 8:00am!

Saturday, 02/02/13 8:00 Kiwanis Park. Marco Polo
Designed to stretch us to the eastern limits of our range. The 26 mile standard route goes east on Guadalupe for 12, then loops back on Elliot. The 41 mile long route keeps going east all the way to Ellsworth, then loops to the south before joining the Elliot return path. Breakfast at Paradise Bakery on Guadalupe and McClintock. Sunrise: 7:23

Saturday, 02/09/13 8:00 Kiwanis Park. Ahwafooty
Since most of you missed this ride due to rain, let's try again. Luck-7's is moved to 2/23. We'll circle around to approach the Ahwatukee-Foothills from the South. 24 mile or 35 mile options with moderate climbing on the longer route. Breakfast at AZ Bread Co. at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 7:18

Saturday, 02/16/13 8:00 Kiwanis Park. McKellips Loop
This 28-mile, or 37-mile loop from Kiwanis Park will take you north through Tempe and then east through Mesa on McKellips Road, returning to Paradise Bakery for breakfast. Sunrise: 7:11

Tidbits...

We're rolling out another new route next Saturday. The map will be posted on the web site very soon, if it's not there already. Named in honor of the famed 13th century explorer who journeyed eastward from Italy all the way to China, the Marco Polo route is designed to stretch us to the east as far as our mileage standards and decent roads will allow. The standard route simply goes due east for 13 miles, then makes a clockwise loop back on Elliot.

If you'd like a short break from the motor vehicle traffic, the Eastern Canal trail is just ½-mile before the turn on Higley. It forms the eastern border of the Riparian Preserve, and you'll likely see some horses on the other side. If you do take this option, please dial down the speed, be courteous to the other trail users, and don't fall in the canal!

The long route continues another 5 miles east to Ellsworth, loops south to Ray near the Mesa Gateway Airport, and eventually rejoins the standard route on Elliot by way of Cooper.

The first regroup is 11 miles out at Val Vista, and was selected as the last available on the right side of the street before the routes diverge. They only have one restroom, but it is available for our use. The second regroup, 17 miles further at Ray and Val Vista, was the first available after the turn on Ellsworth. There isn't much out there, which also means fewer traffic lights!

I test rode the full route, and with the exception of a couple of short segments here and there, these are very wide, bicycle friendly streets. There's always risk of construction projects out on the fringe. A major overpass was going up across Ray just west of Ellsworth, but it was not a problem the day I went. It even had a Share-the-Road construction sign.

I look forward to your feedback, as always.

Ride safely


January 19 Saturday Cycling Report

Tour de Mesa Longer Than Advertised

Added January 20, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Welcome back! We had 65 cyclists sign in this beautiful morning - twice as many as last week. I got to meet, ride and chat with 3 new people today; that's always fun. It turns out that the Tour de Mesa has been an over-40 route all along. We confirmed today that the standard route is actually 32 miles and the advanced is a full 44, contrary to the 29/39 claimed on the map.

Coming up...

Saturday, 01/26/13 8:30 Kiwanis Park. Ahwafooty
We'll circle around to approach the Ahwatukee-Foothills from the South. 24 mile or 35 mile options with moderate climbing on the longer route. Breakfast at AZ Bread Co. at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 7:28

Note: February start time changes to 8:00am!

Saturday, 02/02/13 8:00 Kiwanis Park. New Route to the East??
I plan to have a new route map ready to go. It is designed to stretch our limits to the east. It will be flat, fast and easy to follow. The long route will be over 40 miles. Sunrise: 7:23

Saturday 02/09/13 8:00 Kiwanis Park. Lucky 7's
In response to the survey results, Scott has modified this map to add a third, 47 mile extra-long option. The route still loops clockwise to the south and takes advantage of some of the new roads over by the Wild Horse Pass casino/resort area. The name plays off the mileage options of 27 and 47 miles, plus the two casinos along the way. Breakfast is at AZ bread Co at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 7:18

Tidbits...

I had a fun time on the Casa Grande Century last Sunday! A big round of applause goes to Jules, Janet and Armando who teamed up to coordinate the event, and to the army of volunteers who succeeded in making it a great ride for the rest of us. For those who thought it was too cold to ride, I can only say: Was not! Was not! Was not!

Naturally, there was conversation over breakfast about the Oprah-Lance interview. It seems now to be less about doping and more about personal integrity. Now that Lance has admitted that his pants were on fire for years, and that he was a big bad bully, it's harder to admire him personally. But I still say you can never negate the great things he did for cycling in America and for cancer sufferers everywhere. I'll always be grateful for that, and in awe of his athletic ability – enhanced or not.

Ride safely


January 12 Saturday Cycling Report

Thirty-Three Hardy Cyclists on Sub-Freezing Start of Tour de Sue

Added January 13, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Thirty-three hardy cyclists signed up for the sub-freezing start of Tour de Sue. I hope the rest of you still come out tomorrow for the Casa Grande Century. It really wasn't that bad this morning. Just double up on your normal winter-ware, and enjoy another beautiful, sunny, windless (we hope) day.

Coming up...

Saturday, 01/19/13 8:30 Kiwanis Park. Tour de Mesa
The Tour de Mesa takes us to the northeast, with route options of 29 miles with no climbing or 39 miles with a gentle climb. Breakfast is at Paradise Bakery @ Guadalupe & McClintock. Sunrise: 7:31

Saturday, 01/26/13 8:30 Kiwanis Park. Ahwafooty
We'll circle around to approach the Ahwatukee-Foothills from the South. 24 mile or 35 mile options with moderate climbing on the longer route. Breakfast at AZ Bread Co. at Kyrene and Elliot. Sunrise: 7:28

Saturday, 02/02/13 8:00 Kiwanis Park. New Route to the East?
I plan to have a new route map ready to go. It is designed to stretch our limits to the east. It will be flat, fast and easy to follow. The long route will cover over 40 miles. Sunrise: 7:24

Tidbits...

I've been having more fun with data. Thank you to the 152 people who took the trouble to answer the Saturday Cycling Survey for 2012! Attached is my analysis of the results. A sampling of comments is provided where they helped to illuminate each topic. The full list of (anonymous) comments have been provided to the board, so no one's voice went unheard. The #1 take-away: you can't please everyone!

Here's a quick summary of the actions I'm planning to take based on the survey results:

  • One route will be removed from the regular rotation
  • At least one route will be revised
  • New and revised routes will lean towards more mileage on the advanced segment
  • Oct-Dec start time will be moved 1/2 hour later; in May we will start 1/2 hour earlier

Your feedback is always welcome. Getting it in one big ka-chunk was really helpful.

Here is another survey-like opportunity: ADOT is asking for public comment on the update of their "Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan to improve safety and multimodal travel options." Visit http://www.azbikeped.org/studyupdate/documents.asp before Feb 8 to review and comment.

Ride safely


January 6 Spin Cycle Report

14 Brave Souls Take On The Morning Frost on Metro Mania

Added January 6, 2013

written by Glen Fletcher

I haven't done a ride report in ages, but todays ride just inspired me. While we had 14 brave souls take on the morning frost, we made our way around most of the east valley hitting towns, cities, nations, and villages along the way. However, the best part was heading down McKellips when Mr. Hot Air himself was dropped like a sack of his own potatoes. Roger calls out from the back, "Oh no, they are dropping my daddy!" I know, brings a tear to your eye.

Of course, the rest of the ride was very quiet, no laughing or joking or anything. Happy New Year everyone, time to get out and ride.

On that thought, we have our annual Casa Grande Century ride coming up next week. Remember, Sunday Spin Cycle will not ride from Desert Breeze, but support our club ride and start around 8:30 for most riders. Location is Chandler Heights and Alma School. Recommend that you pre-register to avoid the long lines.


January 5 Saturday Cycling Report

MidSummer Ride in Mid-Winter

Added January 6, 2013

written by Ken St. John

Hello Saturday Cyclists,

Our numbers are increasing at the start of the new year. Seventy-seven signed in to do a mid-winter edition of the MidSummer Ride. I'm hoping many of you resolved to ride your bikes more in 2013. I hear some resolved not to ride again till the morning lows climb back above 40.

Coming up...

Saturday, 01/12/13 8:30 Kiwanis Park. Tour de Sue
A flat loop to the south, with route options of 25 or 35 miles. Both routes include a good long stretch with no traffic lights. Breakfast stop at AZ Bread Co in Tempe at Kyrene and Elliot.

Saturday, 01/19/13 8:30 Kiwanis Park. Tour de Mesa
The Tour de Mesa takes us to the northeast, with route options of 29 miles with no climbing or 39 miles with a gentle climb. Breakfast is at Paradise Bakery at Guadalupe & McClintock.

Saturday, 01/26/13 8:30 Kiwanis Park. Ahwafooty
We'll circle around to approach the Ahwatukee-Foothills from the South. Options include a 24-mile or 35-mile routes with moderate climbing on the longer route. Breakfast at AZ Bread Co. at Kyrene and Elliot.

Tidbits...

2012 is over, and PMBC finished in 4th place on Bikejournal.com's club competition. Here is the data for the top 5 actual local clubs, like ours:

Club

Location

# riders on BJ.C

Total miles

Richmond Area Bicycling Association

Richmond, VA

253

349,364

PMBC

Phoenix, AZ

70

304,632

Space City Cycling Club

Huoston, TX

83

219,669

Memphis Hightailers

Memphis, TN

81

201,755

Cycling Connection

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

54

136,122

Clearly PMBC achieves more with less! After 1 week, we are already a couple hundred miles ahead of Richmond in 2013 (the slackers).

My 93 miles/week average didn't even get me in the PMBC top 20. Here is a chart that shows our club's top 10 participators. The trick is to figure out who is who.

 

The survey data is still being crunched. Should be ready by next week's report.

Ride safely