Add more street obstacles on purpose with Urban Assault Ride

Tucson streets offer plenty of fine obstacles for motorists and bikers alike.

Bicycle limbo/Urban Assault Ride photo

Bicycle limbo/Urban Assault Ride photo

We get potholes, jagged palm tree shards, random cardboard boxes, those metal street plates put down during construction and occasional bouts with darting pedestrians and roadkill.

Bicyclists are particularly lucky as they are not protected by a couple of tons of metal car-shaped armor with cushy leather seats.

But bikers need not despair – they can get training instead – all in the name of fun.

The fun comes in the form of the Urban Assault Ride, kicking off its 2010 tour in Tucson on April 18.

Bicyclists sign up with partners and then bike around the city, conquering a number of strategically placed obstacles.

Drivers don’t fret – no obstacles will be set up in places like Aviation Parkway or the middle of Speedway.

More than 450 bikers in Tucson signed up for the Urban Assault Ride’s debut last year, which once again started in Old Pueblo before moving on to other cities across the nation. The ride hits Seattle, Chicago, St. Louis and Des Moines – just to name a few.

Paperboy relay/Urban Assault Ride photo

Paperboy relay/Urban Assault Ride photo

Learn more or register at

Cost is $45 per person, which goes up to $60 per person as even draws nearer. Monies help benefit Sonoran Desert Mountain Bike Association. The association is also looking for event volunteers.

Oh! There is one other requirement. Bicyclists have to be ready for a beer-filled party at Maynard’s Market following the event. Belgium Brewing sponsors Urban Assault. And we’re glad the beer comes after, not before, the ride.

While the organizers would not disclose this year’s obstacles – “that would ruin the surprise,” said PR rep Sharon Cutler – she did mention some of last year’s challenges.

They included a bike limbo, BMX racing, a paperboy relay, the human wheelbarrow, boats and water slides.

Riders are allowed to dismount their bikes for some of the obstacles.

While neither roadkill nor big metal street plates were on the list, obstacles in the Urban Assault Ride will make us safer if we ever happen to encounter a water slide while bicycling down the street.

You never know.

Two major bicycle obstacles floored me in the past, both about 100 years ago and both while biking in Michigan. The first was a woman who pulled her car into and stopped in the middle of my path as she was pulling out of a driveway. The second was those dang construction barrels.

My bike rammed into the side of the woman’s car, leaving a colossal dent in her passenger door. Rather than apologizing, she quickly rolled up her window and sped away. My bike cracked in half on the way home.

The construction barrels were my fault. I was swiftly tooling down the street and thought it would be fun to kick one. No one ever told me they were filled with sand. I woke up in the middle of the roadway.

For some strange reason, I have not been biking a lot – or at all – lately. But if I were to start up again, I’d definitely go for the Urban Assault Ride to get some preliminary training.


Tucson Urban Assault Ride foot race/Urban Assault Ride photo

Tucson Urban Assault Ride foot race/Urban Assault Ride photo

wb-logolilWhat do you think?

Will you be signing up for the Urban Assault Ride?

What other biking events have you attended?

What’s the most annoying obstacle on Tucson roadways?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
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18 Responses to Add more street obstacles on purpose with Urban Assault Ride

  1. radmax says:

    Mornin’ Rynski! Sounds like a fun event. I just hope the participants bring their autos to ride home in after the beerfest, like you said, would want them riding a bike intoxicated…
    You should have included blue hairs and incredibly slow drivers(rolling roadblocks) to the list, or at least all of the above. 🙂

    • radmax says:

      Doh! I must be intoxicated…should read ‘wouldn’t want…’

      • Rynski says:

        hiya radmax!
        hahahhah – yes, it would be MUCH better for people to DRIVE home in a car after drinking rather than biking – hahhahahahhahaha.
        rolling roadblocks! what a hilarious term, that is also so a propos. you can check CARS in the poll to cover the rolling roadblocks – it’s the catch-all for any annoying drivers. couldn’t get too specific with all the different categories of annoyance or we’d be here all day! hahah –

  2. andrew says:

    Waking up in the road made me laugh at myself cause I’ve done it twice, once like you with the barrel but it was those blinky light thingies and another time with a low lying telephone cable after a monsoon came through and caught me by the neck while riding the two wheeled veliocepede.
    “Flabby that”

    • Rynski says:

      hey andrew,
      i am laughing, too – i felt like such a dork. i was glad, at least, the cars were stopped instead of just trying to ride around me or something….
      OUCH!!!! on the telephone cable – that’s scary as heck. glad you were not beheaded.
      and yes, those blinky light thingies are another menace, right up there with construction barrels. did you know i heard people are hot on stealing those blinking light thingies? some of them have HUGE WARNING STICKERS on the back about the penalties that come with ripping one off.

      • andrew says:

        My dog at the time held off traffic while I was “sleeping” on the street and when the driver stopped, he growled at the guy and protected me.
        guzzler budget.

      • Rynski says:

        guzzler budget,
        what an awesome dog!!! he even protects you when he thinks you’re dead. i think mine would eat me if they thought i were dead – hahahahhaha.

      • azmouse says:


      • Rynski says:

        hahahhah – you know i’m kidding. they’d make a beeline for the treat cabinet before they even thought of chewing my leg….

  3. azmouse says:

    I’ll have to tell my son about this…he prefers biking over driving and has been hit by cars many, many times.
    Might be beneficial for him to learn some urban skills.

    • Rynski says:

      tell him! think he would thoroughly enjoy it – look at how much dang fun the people are having in the photos….i might even consider riding in it – as long as they don’t put any construction barrels in there – hahaha.

      • azmouse says:

        Yeah Ryn, that wasn’t good. Your lucky to still have your foot…and leg!

        Ahhh, some of life’s hard lessons to learn.

      • Rynski says:

        yeah…but you KNOW they have to be learned first hand. if someone would have said ‘don’t kick that’ – it wouldn’t have made a difference.
        just like putting a hand on a hot stove just to see what will happen after someone says not to – hahah.

      • azmouse says:

        I know, it’s true. When told NOT to do something, it makes it that much more enticing…

  4. Graeme says:

    It’s going to be another great event this year. SDMB still needs some volunteers, so please visit our website and sign up. Thanks, and I’ll see you all at whatever checkpoint I’m assigned to. 😉

  5. JDavis says:

    Other = those *&%^$ drivers that don’t seem to realize that the “Lane Ends, Merge Left” sign….and all of the accompanying giant white arrows on the road actually DOES apply to them.

    • Rynski says:

      ooooh, that’s a good one, jdavis!
      yes!!! it NEVER applies to those that ramble up to the front of the lane that is about to end to cut off everyone else that has been waiting patiently in 2 mph traffic.
      perhaps they see fine print no one else sees beneath the BIG WHITE ARROWS that says (except you….) hahha.

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