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From 6 months to 70 years old, Cyclovia pleases them all

Editor’s note:

Be sure to check the site this afternoon to see photos from the Tucson Velo / Chris Hinkle photo booth at Cyclovia.

Also, check back tomorrow for a post about the streets in Tucson that are most like the Cyclovia route — with low traffic and safe crossings.

Thousands of cyclists, walkers and rollers turned out for the second Cyclovia Tucson on Sunday.

Five miles of streets through Tucson and South Tucson were closed to automobiles and people of all ages played in the streets.

Gail, left, and Jay Rochlin, right, talk to Cyclovia volunteer, Rob Wisner on Sunday.

First-time participants, Jay and Gail Rochlin had a great time.

“I was completely charmed,” Gail said. “What a great way to have a community event about bicycles, but not about racing. This was the opposite.”

Jay was equally enamored with the ride.

“I think I might have seen people in the ride from 6 months old, into their middle 70’s, all out there being happy, enjoying themselves, smiling, appreciating Tucson, appreciating our perfect weather,” Jay said. “It was a wonderful, wonderful Tucson experience. I am just really grateful to everybody who took the time to make it is as good as it could be.”

Cyclovia Tucson director Daniela Diamente rides on the route Sunday.

Cyclovia director Daniela Diamente said the countless hours of work were worth it, but it didn’t hit her until she got a few minutes to watch.

“When I sat down to eat, I just saw all these people flooding back and forth in both directions across the intersection,” Diamente said. “I was like ‘Whoa this is awesome. It works.'”

She said she was really happy with the route, which started at Armory Park on the north side and headed into South Tucson.

“People liked going into South Tucson and South Tucson liked having it there,” Diamente said. “That is what we want. We want it to be something the neighborhoods embrace and I think that happened today.”

Jay Rochlin said he had spent time in many of those neighborhoods taking photos and attending events, but he saw things today that he’d never seen before.

“My favorite part of the ride was rediscovering the beauty, charm and culture that is Meyer Street,” he said. “It was fantastic.”

Gail really enjoyed the car-free streets.

“I thought the view looking back toward downtown on 8th Avenue, with a couple of miles of no cars and only bicycles to be seen was pretty great,” she said.

Counts were taken at several locations around the route, but the numbers haven’t been tabulated yet. Despite that, organizers said, anecdotally, it seemed like the route was busier this year.

“I rode the route a lot last year and a lot this year, but seemed like more people were out this year,” Ann Chanecka, a Pima Association of Governments planner said.

Ann Chanecka, right, takes a moment to talk with Jason Repko during the ride on Sunday.

Chanecka helped organize the count this year and said they would have the numbers soon.

Matt Zoll, the county’s bicycle and pedestrian program manager, participated in the count. He said during the 15-minute count, more than 300 cyclists and 30 pedestrians passed though the intersection of 36th Street and Eighth Avenue at 1 p.m.

Diamente also thought more people were out today.

“The sense that I’ve gotten is that there were way more people on the route,” she said.

Overall, organizers were pleased with the event. In a conversation with a Tucson police officer who was overseeing the road closures, Tom Thivener, the City of Tucson bicycle and pedestrian program manager, said the whole event went smoothly.

The officer agreed and said they didn’t receive any calls or complaints and thought the event was a success from the police department’s standpoint.

Thivener said one ambulance was called for a cyclist who fell, but he only had minor scrapes.

Jay said there was one thing that could be improved.

“I think it is a shame it is once a year,” he said. “It would be an improvement if it happened more frequently.”

That is something Diamente said could happen with the support of the people who participated today.

“Realistically if we got the support of all those people that were out there today to help make it happen and to show their support in different ways, whether that is donating or making some some sort of statement about their support of Cyclovia, I think we really can move quicker than not to having these more often than once a year,” she said.

To find out how you can get involved, donate or even buy a t-shirt, check out the Cyclovia Tucson website.

Did you go? What did you think? What was your favorite part?

 

11 comments
Mindy
Mindy

I had a fantastic time. I was bummed back when I heard the route would be 5 miles instead of 10 like we had last year, but actually I had just as good a time, even though my husband was working and I was riding all alone! The weather was perfect....last year it was in April so was considerably hotter. This year it did feel like the neighborhoods were more excited to have us. I saw moms sitting in their front yards watching their little ones ride and play in the streets...everybody seemed to be in a really great mood, I loved it.

Tabot
Tabot

My wife and I had a great time & we are looking forward to the next one! Many thanks to all the volunteers and organizers who put on a great event! We loved the route especially Meyer St. & seeing the many different facets of Tucson that were represented. I love seeing all the different bikes too.

Ellen Shull
Ellen Shull

I intended to, but didn't make it this year. Am I the only one who would like to see the event extend into the evening, when the sun isn't so deadly? (also not a morning person)

B.J.
B.J.

Cyclovia was awesome. I was really impressed at how well it came together. I don't understand why there were police cars driving up and down the route though. Wouldn't it have made sense for them to be on bikes like everyone else? The Fire Dept even had EMS people on bikes.

Erik Ryberg
Erik Ryberg

I volunteered down on 8th and 32nd and had a really great time. It is completely obvious to me that there were way more participants than last year and the route was excellent. All the locals in both directions at my intersection were hanging out along the street, cheering the riders, and having a great time. This was 100 percent successful in my opinion. If the City of Tucson and the City of South Tucson don't do whatever they can to keep this event happening and support it, they are just crazy. Events like this one are what make our cities such great places to live.

Colby
Colby

Wow! What a great day - I think the route was awesome. I too got to see some areas of town I've never been to. It was great to see so many families out enjoying the day - and everyone was just stuck on perma-smile. Loved the flags over Meyer St and the dancers down on the south end. It was also great to see numerous cyclists eating lunch at the restaurants along South 4th Ave. Congrats and thanks to all who worked so hard to put this together!

Red Star
Red Star

B.J. -- Red Star agrees with your sentiment and sensible question regarding TPD bike patrol. Wasn't TPD bike patrol eliminated last year by Letcher/Miranda/Villasenor, ostensibly for budgetary reasons? There hasn't been any Old Pueblo media followup on this. TPD's revamped and costly website continues to tout it's bike patrol...

Martha Retallick
Martha Retallick

Ahem. Erik didn't mention his trip to Mexico City, which offers a Cyclovia-like event every month. Yup, that's right. Every. Month. Here's his blog post: http://www.tucsonbikelawyer.com/mexico-city-sunday-morning-bike-rides/ Excerpt: It turns out this is a 30 kilometer circuit that they open on the last Sunday of every month. The streets are closed from 9 AM to 2 PM. I would guess thousands of people take advantage of this ride, and a third of them or more are women. Entire families were doing the whole circuit, and the City provides water and mechanic’s stations at regular intervals. Gatorade gives out free drinks, too.

Martha Retallick
Martha Retallick

Shhhhh, don't tell Red Star, but the TPD bike patrol was on the Cyclovia course yesterday. I saw them with mine own two eyes.

B.J.
B.J.

I did see 4 TPD on their bikes just a moment ago near downtown. So the patrol does still exist. Good to hear they were cruising Cyclovia on bikes. Wish they didn't have to also have their cars on the Cyclovia course taking away from the car free spirit of the event.

Red Star
Red Star

A break-through Pulitzer or something for Martha Retallick on this one? We shall see...

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