If Tucson is so bike friendly, why are some scared to ride?

Tucson continuously ranks as one of the most bike friendly towns around, with the latest nod from Bicycling Magazine.

Tucson cyclist at past Bike to Work fest/Ryn Gargulinski

Tucson cyclist at past Bike to Work fest/Ryn Gargulinski

We nabbed No. 9 on the magazine’s Top 50 list, which cited the region’s 700 miles of designated bikeways, year-round sunshine and the rule that new street construction and reconstruction must contain bike lanes.

Dang, that sounds friendly – in theory. We wonder if those who compile the list ever tried to take a trek to the corner Blockbuster without getting hit by a pickup.

I used to bike daily. My bike’s only purpose of late has been getting in my way in the garage, where it slumps with deflated tires.

In the three years I’ve lived in Tucson, I’ve hopped on my bicycle twice. Once for a glorious ride along the Rillito River path and another for that heart wrenching trek a mere two miles to Blockbuster on North Swan Road.

My heart is still pounding from the Blockbuster jaunt.

Several folks I know agree that biking in Tucson is like taking our lives into our own hands.

Actually, it’s putting our lives in the hands of Tucson drivers.

That can never be a good thing. The only thing that seems to stay safe in some of those hands is their cellphones.

TPD bike patrol/Ryn Gargulinski

TPD bike patrol/Ryn Gargulinski

So how can we make Tucson a safer bicycling place?

The best solution, especially in honor of all this Earth Day hoopla, is to ban all cars. It works in Michigan’s Mackinac Island. Everyone there must get around on foot, bicycle or horse.

Since in Tucson that will never work, and make too many folks late for work, we can simply stick to riding bicycles around bike paths.

While these rides would certainly be safe and scenic, they, too, could interfere with our getting to work. Unless, of course, we happen to work in the Rillito riverbed.

Any other ideas?

We must give kudos to all efforts already in place to make area bicycling safer. We have some great initiatives and groups like the Tucson Bicycle and Pedestrian Program, the Pima County Bicycle and Pedestrian Program and the Greater Arizona Bicycling Association – just to name a few.

We also dig nationwide efforts at better biking, namely a new one called People for Bikes.

Past Bike to Work photo/Ryn Gargulinski

Past Bike to Work photo/Ryn Gargulinski

The campaign, which just kicked off last week, “aims to unite one million bicyclists of all riding styles and abilities to encourage government leaders to support legislation that improves bike paths, lanes, trails and other facilities from coast to coast.”


Join the efforts at www.peopleforbikes.org

People for Bikes already got a big boost when Lance Armstrong signed on and encouraged his 2 million Twitter followers to do the same.

Now if we could just get motorists on board with the bicycling mindset, maybe I could pump up those bike tires.

Vehicles versus bicycles

Tucson police statistics

2010 (through March 21)
Personal injuries: 74
Property damage: 25
Bicycle only accidents: 8

Deaths: 2
Personal injuries: 221
Property damage: 71
Bicycle only accidents: 35

Deaths: 3
Personal injuries: 252
Property damage: 85
Bicycle only accidents: 30


What do you think?

Do you ever ride your bicycle in Tucson?

Are you scared to? Do you even have a bicycle?

Have you had any incidents either with a biker or as a biker?

What would make biking safer around town?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at ryngargulinski.com.
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47 Responses to If Tucson is so bike friendly, why are some scared to ride?

  1. John says:

    hi Ryn,
     man you give the motorists of Tucson a bad name 🙂 If you pay attention on your bike it is a very frinedly place to ride.  Dont assume the motorists see you and KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN.
    If you don’t like to ride on the streets try the Aviation Bikeway, Rillito Bike Path, Santa Cruz Bike Path, CDO Bike Path, Pantano Bike Path, El Paso Southwestern Greenway to avoid traffic. There is also the 3rd Street bikeway and many other local streets designated as bike routes to get you around town. Future river park paths and greenways are under development and will provide additional off-street paths to ease your sense of traffic concerns.
    I agree with Bike Magazine in that Tucson is a great place to ride but it can always use some additional help.

    • Rynski says:

      hiya john,
      awww, didn’t mean to give motorists bad name – just to express some fears.
      thanks for the head’s up on additional paths to try – and sound advice, always, to NEVER assume other people see bikes coming.
      i’ve just heard too many horror stories, me thinks, even from very experienced and longtime tucson cyclists.
      i do miss my bicycle, that’s for sure. it’s also really getting on my nerves since it blocks my garage – but if i hang it upside down out of the way, i know that’s the end of it forever. while it sits in my way, there’s at least a small CHANCE i’ll ride it…(once i pump up tires).
      i’ll check into those paths you recommended, for sure. i have a brand new helmet that’s not even broken in yet…

  2. DistantMemory says:

    We bicycled every opportunity we had back in Ohio. We had 100’s of miles of dedicated biking/walking paths and obviously, no worries about vehicle traffic. I cannot imagine trusting vehicles to watch out for me on roadways here in Tucson. It is putting your life into the hands of strangers … no thanks, I’m enjoying this life! Thus, our bikes also sit in the garage, looking sad & lonely! While we couldn’t bike all year in Ohio … it was very enjoyble the 8 out of 12 months we could bike!

    • Rynski says:

      hi there distantmemory,
      my lifeless bicycle says hello to your lifeless bicycles! hahahah.
      i like the idea of dusting it off, however – also like the paths john mentioned above. maybe just have to concede that biking in tucson is best done on bike paths – not necessarily for functionality. used to be my main mode of transportation in brooklyn – for errands, getting to work, everything.
      i’ve also ridden in winter conditions – not snow but in cold – it does seem such a shame to waste all this tucson weather without a bicycle.
      hoping your bikes get less sad and lonely.

  3. kirby says:

    Perhaps if many of the “Earthfriendly” Bikeriders would follow the rules of the road we were ALL taught when we were young, they would get more respect by Drivers!  I travel Oracle everyday, when they stack up 3 and 4 wide traveling coming so very close to the right lane of cars, and acting as if they have the right of way.  They don’t stop for red lights or signal when they plan to cut in front of you.  All to their own
    detriment!  and ours of course!
    We were traveling down Mount lemon a few weeks ago, and one ,lone
    bikerider thought he was going to LEAD the cars down the mountain.
    He had a stack of vehicles traveling behind him and do you think he would pull off in the one of the many pull outs to let them by NOOOOOO!  We went around him as soon as we had a clear moment
    and he wasnt’ too happy, but neither were all the vehicles following him!

    • Rynski says:

      hey kirby,
      hey! i think we, too, were behind that mount lemon cyclist – it was a thursday afternoon and there were at least seven cars behind it…yes, cyclist gave the glare when cars passed. even if it wasn’t the same cyclist, i know what you mean.
      i’ve seen bikers with no regard – but then i’ve seen some with plenty of regard. seen motorists on both side of regard/disregard too.
      oracle seems a crummy, or at least dangerous, bike spot. mount lemon seems a beautiful one – provided you have enough leg power to pump uphill – and maybe if the road were about 800 feet wider for the safety of both cars and cyclists – hahah

  4. Mike M says:

    I have been commuting to work on a bike in Tucson for 25 years.
    Having a locker and shower at work makes it doable.
    A couple of things I have learned over the years (only been run over once by an oblivous driver- I was in the bike lane following ALL traffic laws).
    1) Obey all trafic laws. Use hand signals. Even though most drivers do not us turn signals.
    2)Wear a helmet.
    3) Ride defensively. Any car/bike altercation- the bike looses.
    4) A Little courtesy goes a long way.
    5) Pick your routes for safety – not time.
    6)The 1 finger salute to oblivious drivers- never helps. I have had beer cans thrown at my head and friends shot at. Even though we were obeying the law.
    7)Drivers and cyclist should read the traffic laws and not just go by what they THINK they are.
    8)I have been driving a car longer then I have been biking. I do not have a seizure everytime I have to slowdown for a slow car or cyclist. There are more important things to worry about.
    9) I am not religious, but if we all lived by the Golden Rule, the streets and the world would be better.

    • Rynski says:

      mike m –
      you lucky man, with a shower and locker at work.
      that is probably the ONLY way to bike to work in summer. so glad you’ve been biking to work for a quarter century – very cool – the one run over is not cool, but i guess that’s not too bad odds? – beer cans and shot at are feeding my fears…(as if they need feeding – hahah).
      THANK YOU for sharing your bicycle safety tips – ALL of them are good – esp. like the reminder about a bike always losing against a car, courtesy and picking routes for safety rather than time. that’s def. one i would not have considered, thinking time was the key – but it’s not.
      you are a courageous man to keep biking after the beer cans – kudos!

      • Mike M says:

        Thanks. The website you you listed:

        Has the actual Bicycle/car laws listed.
        Read them. Yes, there are bad cyclist and bad drivers.
        I sometimes ride in a group and sometimes pass them in a car.
        As, I said earlier, I do not have seizure when I pass a group.
        I wait until it is safe to pass, just like the law says. 90% of the time when a car passes me when I am on the bike by myself they never wait until it is safe to pass. Even on a road with little traffic. They have too pass me when the only other car on the road is adjacent to all of us ! Courtesy to other people seems to being dieing. I tried to be nice and tell a guy the other day that his backup lights on his car were not working.(For safety and not getting a ticket). He started screaming at me that it was going to cost him a bunch of money and I should shut up ! Be nice out there !

      • Rynski says:

        hahahh! i’m laughing at the guy’s reaction to you doing  him a favor and mentioning his backup lights.
        some people! have to laugh or we’d just sit here crying all day….

  5. Jeff says:

    Hi Rynski,
    I used to be one of those drivers that hated bicyclists. I never understood how we as drivers were supposed to give them 5ft, since there is no 5ft to give. Except if you include driving over the center line into head on traffic. I used to think….”Yeah, that’s better …better to hit another car..head on, then to hit a bicyclist……NO!!!!!” I didn’t think it was right to cross the center line vs giving them only 3ft and pissing them off!
    Well since then my Jeep’s transmission has broken and I need to save $5000 to fix it. And guess what?  I now have to bike to work everyday! Or at least I have to bike to the closest bus stop which is 2miles away down to University Villa Apartments.
    Those who are familiar with this area will know that there are no bike lanes going up to Camino de Oeste. And during rush hour traffic both in the morning and in the evening, its having nerves of steel that get me through it daily.
    Though I haven’t been  hit, I cant help but sympathize with the drivers who literally drive in the other lane behind blind hills to give me 5ft. This would all be solved if we had a new “ROADS” program to redo those roads without bike lanes.  And how much more can it really cost to add good sized bike lanes on each side of the road when you are repaving an area that desperately and I mean desperately needs it!

    Just thought I d add my 2 cents!

    • Rynski says:

      hey jeff –
      yours is a living example of how life makes us learn the most ironic lessons!~
      glad you’re staying safe…and getting a new point of view. whew!

  6. Joe W. says:

    The pretense that you’re not bashing Tucson drivers is betrayed by your survey question.  Yes, of course all of us drive like maniacs, forcing as many bicyclists off the road as possible, unless we can outright nail them before they get out of the way, then we belly laugh and brag to the other person on our cell, send a text and take a swig of our frappaccino as we race to the next encounter with you hapless losers.
    Of course, people on bikes are perfect road mates in contrast.  They never ride 3 abreast on a two lane road and give you the finger if you don’t swing into oncoming traffic to get around them as they train for the Tour.  How do I know they’re training for the Tour?  Well because they all have their official color coordinated spandex outfits and $5000 bikes.  How else could you tell that they were SERIOUS about riding?  I mean, every ride must be conducted with the strict adherence one gives to riding in the peloton as they all chase down Lance no?
    Oh, and I almost forgot, you and all other bike riders NEVER drive do you?  You also never ride in cars or motorized transport of any kind.  And if you did, you certainly wouldn’t talk on the phone while you did it would you?  I’m certain you’ve never cut off anyone on a bike, or in another car in your entire life.
    Sorry about your trip to Blockbuster, but the reality is, pedestrian, bicycle, motorcycle or car, if you aren’t looking out for your own safety, then no one is.

  7. bpa says:

    MUTUAL RESPECT & a CONSCIOUS EFFORT to SLOW DOWN & LOOK!!!   Whether pedestrian, biker, driver, motorcyclist, scooter dude, wheelchair bound, etc., take a deep breath, slow down, be polite & respectful, ALWAYS look out for your own safety & the safety of others.  Wear a helmet – personal experience tells me they do save lives and hospitals are very expensive!  Daily I pray for my husband’s safety as he commutes via motorcycle & weekends on his bicyle; every ride he has a tale to tell of someone “not even looking or seeing” and only his own awareness prevents the worst.  This has made me a more respectful and careful driver as well.  Last thing – lock the cell phone in the trunk unless needed for a true emergency!  

    • Rynski says:

      love your advice, bpa!
      thanks! i always forget this one: “take a deep breath.” best advice all day!
      i agree, folks are often in a perpetual hurry hurry hurry – which is when it’s easiest to become most impatient and rude. cellphone in the trunk is nice, too – think i’ll just leave mine there for always – hahah (not a phone fan…)

  8. Running over Cyclists says:

    Running over those on bicycles is fun!  Especially when they do stupid stuff like suddenly jump into traffic without ANY warning whatsoever.  Of course – who gets into trouble?  The driver of the car!
    The most annoying cyclists are those on the one-lane roads with no bike lane but they have plenty of space to periodically move off the road to let the cars go by.  They refuse to do so thus causing a backup because we are legally required to give them 3 feet of space but they ride like they own the road.
    Even more annoying is when the bicyclists are in packs of three or four and one or two of them are clearly outside of a designated bike lane.  On top of that they clearly hear my car coming because they look over their shoulder.  They have about 20 seconds to move out of the way.  Do they move out of the way?  NO!  They don’t!  They clearly have a death wish.  50 lb. bike vs. 3,000 lb. car.  Result?  Car wins + biker = very dead.
    There might be a lot fewer bikers on the main roads if all the side roads didn’t have a billion speed bumps and Tucson came with actual roads to get from A to B.  The Tucson road system is seriously screwed up.  Please just rip everything up and start over.  Until I came to Tucson, speed bumps were an incredibly rare phenomenon and bikers kept to residential areas.  Bikers seem to avoid roads with speed bumps, which are inevitably residential areas here, so I don’t see bikers in the residential areas very often and always on the main roads…and typically in the way.  Due to a bike’s flexibility and mobility, bikers are completely unpredictable and make me nervous as to what they might try to do next to get themselves killed.
    The other type of person that is fun to run over is the stupid UA student who decides that, even though the walk light is red, that it is the perfect time to walk across the street.
    Or jaywalk.  Yesterday, I was driving down there and saw a sign that said to “stop when people enter the crosswalk”.  Literally 5 feet away from the nearest crosswalk was a lazy UA student casually jaywalking.  It is seriously tempting to obey the sign to the letter and just run such people over.  I’m not going to actually do that but it is tempting.

    • Running over Cyclists says:

      I should mention that I haven’t run anyone over but the bikers in Tucson who do these things give ALL the bikers a bad name.  I’m nervous as hell around bikers because half of you bikers do dumb crap.  I’m also nervous as hell around the drivers here – 90% of you drivers do dumb crap too.  Seriously, both Tucson drivers and bikers don’t know how to drive on your own roads.  You talk on the phone, stare at the clouds, etc.  I swear that people in Tucson don’t seem to know what clouds look like.  When you see one while driving, suddenly you start saying, “OMG!  A CLOUD!” and start swerving all over the road trying to take a photo with your cell phone to send to your friends.

      • Rynski says:

        hey running over cyclists – GLAD to hear you have not run over cyclists – or anyone else, for that matter – but you bring up a lot of valid examples of some roadway hazards.
        i refuse to drive around university area as i know clueless jaywalkers come w/ territory.
        also agree SPEED BUMPS STINK. they are my least favorite roadway hazard.

  9. tiponeill says:

    I used to bike until I realized how dangerous it was.
    It’s too bad, because I enjoy it it is great as long as you are on a bike path or anyplace where you aren’t sharing a road with a car.
    This isn’t a hit on Tucson drivers – I’ve lied places where drivers are much worse. It is just a recognition that 1) humans are imperfect, accidents will happen – and 2) when that accident does happen, the unarmored human on a 60 pound bike will suffer much more damage that the driver of the 2 ton SUV.
    What is a fender-bender to auto drivers can be a fatality if you are on a bikes.
    Sadly, almost the same inequity applies to motorcycles too.

    • Rynski says:

      hi tip,
      yes, cars give a nice fat coating of armor. it goes with one of my favorite sayings: i am in a bubble.
      bikes and motorcycles are outside the bubble.

  10. jadewik says:

    Biking around Michigan’s Mackinac Island is completely different from biking around Tucson. Having visited and biked around that ISLAND, I can say that it’s nice that you don’t have to avoid cars while enjoying cool, crisp air, but what you really have to worry about are other cyclists. Do you know how many bikes I saw collide in my subsequent visits to Mackinac Island? Quite a few.
    The issue isn’t whether or not biking around cars is safe or unsafe, it’s an issue of whether or not the general populace has common courtesy for the people around them.
    When I have the space, out of general courtesy, I try to give bikes the additional buffer by driving towards the far lane line or change lanes; but the fact of the matter is, most cyclists (not all) don’t realize that they’re taking up more than 5-feet.
    Bike lanes are considered the area from the face of curb to the bike lane stripe, where there is a bike lane or bike route. Areas with a designated bike lane provide at minimum 5-feet for the bike lane–this is a Pima County/City of Tucson pavement marking standard which provides the cyclist ample room to bike between the face of curb and the stripe. (Your average bike and rider is how wide? 3-feet?) Ideally, passing cars (average vehicle width is approximately 8-feet) will “ride the line” and give the cyclist an additional 4-feet of their , on average, 12-foot travel lane as opposed to the “normal” 2-feet if the car stays in the center of their lane. These Cyclists now have ~9-feet in which to travel or a minimum of 5-6 feet if the cyclists is in the center of their lane and also if cars do not move aside. The mistake of there not being enough room for cyclists occurs when that distance is measured from the cyclist to the car…
    If the cyclist is riding the lane line or there are several cyclists biking side-by-side, which isn’t exactly “legal” since motorbikers aren’t even supposed to ride side-by-side according to the DMV’s motorcycle manual, that extra space disappears extremely fast. I’ve even seen people biking in the Tour de Tucson, who have a whole travel lane (plus bike lane) coned off and they still insist on competing with automobile traffic by crossing the line; however, I’ve also seen some courteous cyclists ride closer to the curb to put an extra 2-3 feet between them and automobile traffic.
    Perhaps if cyclists, motorbikers and motorists treated each other with a little more consideration (instead of griping about who is more correct) the issue would resolve itself, the heavens would align and rays of hope and sunshine would shine down from above. The fact is, people as a general rule are conditioned to think of their own well-being and not the consideration of others… so I doubt that will happen. Though, I won’t be sad if the day of common courtesy and selflessness ever returns. I can still hope, right?

    • Rynski says:

      amen, jadewalk!
      what a wonderful hope you have – and i will hope along with you. funny, i just wrote about death of common courtesy in yesterday’s blog. you hit the nail on the head:
      “…it’s an issue of whether or not the general populace has common courtesy for the people around them.”
      i haven’t been to mackinac in years, but don’t remember any cyclist crashes. i remember lots of horse poo.
      thanks for input!

  11. mevans says:

    Just a quick note:  I respect the people that do ride a bike, it looks healthy and fun!
    I seriously wish they would scoot over when they hear a car coming.  I mean, riding on the white line when there is 5 feet to the right of them, don’ t you think that’s where they should be riding? I think that’s the 5-ft clearance we’re supposed to be giving them.  I’d rather avoid crossing the center line in traffic, especially when I have kids in the car.  Bicyclist scare me!!! They’ll be the death of me, with a head-on collision.  I promise this, I’ll come back to haunt every one of them!! HAHA!

    • Rynski says:

      dear mevans –
      like your name – reminds me of someone i know!
      also like your promise to haunt the earth – you seem like a fun person! hahah. thanks for comments.

  12. Patricia Martin says:

     I always try to respect bike riders, although I am not one myself,
    HOWEVER, I do believe they should stay away from roads that are
    being worked on, ie, I come up LaCholla everyday to work and lo and
    behold there is always a biker or two traveling that route when
    there is no bike lane and hardly enough room for a car, bus
    or truck.  I just believe there are other routes they could travel when
    there is constuction of that type (road widening) involved. I have no other convenient route to travel or I would because it is a mess.

  13. Robert Prater says:

    Yep, I ride the bike lanes a lot, and find drivers are mostly safe and  considerate.  I do three things to  keep things safe (a) wear high-visibility clothing, and (b) make myself predictable, and (c) make eye contact with drivers.  If I can’t see through their tint, or they aren’t signaling, I don’t try to assume I know what their next move is.
    Bicyclists need to be more careful, too.  There are too many bikes going the wrong way, and on the sidewalks.  Plus, some are zipping through stop signs, and riding in the dusk or even darkness, without marker lights, frustrating safe drivers.
    Our bike lanes need smoothing, and sweeping.  With some rain and pothole repair, there’s a lot of gravel in the bike lanes, these days – just when the bike training folk are in town, too.
    Finally, budget difficulties have been hard on bike lane improvement plans.  In too many locations, the bike lane ends unpredictably, forcing bicyclists to turn around and go back, go into traffic lanes, or up onto the sidewalk – all unpleasant choices.
    Overall, things are relatively good for bicyclists in Tucson, and getting better.  I’m staying, and riding, and lobbying for continued bicycle improvements, and more bicycling awareness.  Thanks!

    • Rynski says:

      hiya robert – eye contact is definitely key, also when in a car – reminds people you are a REAL person and not just some thing to be mowed over…
      the wrong way bikers can be frazzling.
      so cool to hear your staying, riding and lobbying for continued improvements – yaaaay! also agree a lot is going for tucson.
      thank YOU for input!

      • Loren says:

        Robert makes a good point about the condition of the bike lanes. On most streets, the area along the curb and gutter becomes a debris field. It can be hazardous to ride close to the curb. When I can, I stay close to the curb but it often isn’t practicable.
        Of the close calls I have had in the last few years, most have been from buses (both SunTran and MaranaUSD) and people trying to drop kids off at school. Hence, my current routes avoid school to the extent possible during the school year.

  14. zemer says:

    I’m not only afraid to ride my bike in Tucson…I’m afraid to walk in Tucson. Hardly a week goes by without a pedestrian getting mowed down. And there are no charges against the driver if the pedestrian is not in a crosswalk.
    A lot of crosswalks in Salt Lake City have a traffic cone on the curb with a bunch of orange flags stuck in the top. You pull one out and hold it over your head while you cross the street and pray that you don’t get sent to an early grave by someone TEXTING.
    If you make it across the street OK you leave the flag in the cone at the other side for the next daredevil to you.

    • Rynski says:

      ha! thanks for chuckle, zemer,
      yes, pedestrians have fun and games, too – i like that salt lake city little flag idea! but i’d bet folks would steal the flags….hahha.
      were they flags like the jolly roger with skull and crossbones?

  15. joebobbilly says:

    my only piece of advice is to stop complaining. tucson is a great place to ride, 9th in the nation i think. the weather is perfect year round, there are bike lanes, racks everywhere. why are you such a pansy?

    • Rynski says:

      dearest joebobbilly,
      tucson is No. 9 in the nation for bike friendly cities? wow – where did you hear that one? you seem to be up on the latest info. good for you!

  16. radmax says:

    Ya know Rynski, Tucson used to be a fine place to bike. My friends and I would take our ten-speeds everywhere! ALWAYS to the extreme right. (too damn scary out in the traffic lanes) We would go to El Con to check out the latest cassettes, 😉 Sabino Canyon, the Community Center for concerts, the park to burn one, 😉 we were mobile baby! Great times. I even rode my bike to Mt. Lemmon one time.(and one time only, what an excruciating experience) We loved it when people (chicks 😉 would wave or honk as they passed, actually saying hello! Now a days I could not relate to the spandex crowd…no helmets,(I don’t care for brain buckets on my motorcycle either)or form fitting designer riding apparel, just cut-offs and Cons, no shirt. (the sun was a good thing back then 🙂 Hell, nobody even complained when we went in Levy’s or Penney’s in that attire. Nowadays, driving in this burg is an aggravation in a car or motorcycle, let alone a bike. I tip my hat to those who have the wherewithal to ride in this town anymore.
    Methinks the times they are a changin’ Rynski… 😉 nice article.

    • Rynski says:

      hiya radmax,
      thanks for the bike trek down memory lane – cassettes! hahhahaha. very cool you also attempted the mount lemmon experience. whew! don’t know if it would be more treacherous biking up it or racing down.
      oh! and those days when the sun was a good thing….i remember those – kind of…..hahha

      • radmax says:

        Before the new highway to Summerhaven was completed, it was quite a harrowing experience. (especially with provisions) We camped for two days, had a blast, then eagerly embarked on what we thought would be the ride of our lives, the ‘coast’ down the mountain.
        Good God I thought my bike would come apart at 40 MPH! Dodging chuckholes and the vibration made the trip up look like a walk in the park!
        I had heard talk of guys wearing down their brakes to nothing before.
        After that I took them seriously.
        tumblers The-this captcha thing is spooky 🙂

  17. Ben says:

    Did you consider taking any classes offered by the county or the League of American Bicyclists? They might be able to help you deal with your fear of bicycling.

    • Rynski says:

      probably a very good idea…and another reason i can give to delay actually biking. well, i can’t bike now – i have to take that class first – hahah, just kidding.
      it IS a good idea, ben – thanks.

  18. Coghauler says:

    How much of others are you going
    to require before you ‘feel’ safe?
    Safe ain’t out there,  if it’s up
    to ‘them’.
    Safe is when you know what
    you’re doing.
    Safe is when you understand
    the real world.

  19. Steve says:

    Rynski – A good part of the reason that people are afraid to ride is that the TV news and people like you tell them that they should be.   In the past 20 years I’ve ridden over 100,000 miles in and around Tucson.   You have to constantly pay attention, know how to ride, and be considerate of others, but it can definitely be done safely.

    There’s some crappy cyclists, drivers, and roads.  If you want to wait for it to all be good you’ll never ride, that’s for sure.  It is a little disappointing to see how many angry people there are out there.

  20. Barry Andersen says:

    Yes.  Riding a bicycle in Tucson is dangerous.  I have been riding here 10 to 30 miles every day for 10 years.  A car is beyond my budget.  It is bike or bus.  I choose bike.  There are more and more bicycles on the street every year.  We just get out there and go.  Traffic, yes but we just deal with it. I made mistakes at first. I caused cars to squeal brakes and honk horns but I learned.
    My bicycle is not a political statement.  It is just the way I live. I am 63 years old. I have no sympathy for people who drive safe and comfortable cars because the government hasn’t ye t made  bicycling easy for them.
    Feel the fear and do it any way.

  21. Coghauler says:

    Ride on , Barry, and the  more bikes out there,
    the safer it is for all of us.
    You’re a good ‘wheel!’.

  22. As other people have pointed out, being safe on a bicycle has a lot to do with the cyclists actions.
    I wrote a post on my site a while back about crash-report analysis that the Tucson Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee members were working on. (http://tucsonvelo.com/news/more-details-from-bac-crash-analysis/)
    28% of the crashes involved riders who were riding the wrong way when they were hit. Just by following that one law, you are much safer.
    That being said, there need to be real consequences for drivers who are negligent and injure or kill cyclists.

  23. Joseph says:

    Hi,  I am a guy (61) from the Netherlands and live here in Tucson since a couple of months after I married my American bride.  Cycling has been my passion during my entire life and I was in Cycling races for over 30 years.  And as you might know, the Netherlands is one of the greatest countries for cycling. Bike lanes everywhere. And there a excellent rules and laws to protect cyclist.  My experience here in Tucson is actually not so bad.  Many times car drivers give me more space then needed.  But, yes there are always people whom think that they are the kings of the road as soon as they step in a car. And then of course the mobile phones. For me it’s still unbelievable that the law allows you to drive with the phone in your hand. In Europe this is for many years already forbidden and the penalties are high!    But I think the most important thing to do on a bike, is to ride defensive. Think ahead and act always as if car drivers do not see you.  Don’t try to get your right, you will always loose it from a car.  Why taking risk. For me this is a cycling paradise, the weather, the hills and the mountains, and especially the cyclist I met on the road. Friendly and always interested. I love it here.  I wish all of you great rides and maybe we will meet one day.
    Joseph (Joep) Breek

  24. Alex says:

    man ive been cycling in Tucson since i was a tyke. sounds to me like you need to grow some balls. Tucson full of super cool people and is a great place to bike. let someone else enjoy the fun and just sell your locked up bike.

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