Tucson cyclists honored at Bike to Work Week finale
Several Tucson cyclists were honored at the 2012 Bike to Work Week finale at Maynard’s Market.
The awards are organized by the Tucson-Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee. Check out the winners below and excerpts from the awards to find out why they won.
Commuter of the Year Award: Tucson City Council Member Steve Kozachik
“Our first award is for “commuter of the year” — residents who take bicycle commuting seriously — riding not just on Fridays, but as often as they can. People who ride even when its hot out, which it is sometimes here in Tucson. We received a number of deserving nominations for this award, but this year’s award goes to Councilmember Steve Kozachik. I personally feel like every time I go out on the roads I see this Steve riding or running. I have been told that Steve’s 1986 Camry has 30,000 miles on it, while his Cannnondale has over 130,000 miles — a ratio we can all aspire to. And I think we can all agree that we’re lucky to have an avid commuting cyclist representing us on City Council.”
Bicycle Advocate of the Year: Chuck Hill, Santa Cruz Valley Bicycle Advocate Committee
“This year’s award goes to someone who has done a lot of work behind the scenes in the Santa Cruz Valley to make that area better for mountain bicycling and road cycling: Chuck Hill. According to his many fans, Chuck isn’t well know outside of the Santa Cruz Valley area as he should be as a lot of his work is behind the scenes but his accomplishments are very visible to the cycling community. Just a few of the things he’s done to make cycling better in the Santa Cruz Valley:
- As a member of the Santa Cruz Valley Bicycle Advocate Committee, he created and maintains their website which allows them to stay in contact with their supporters and get their message out
- He organized the Ride of Silence for the last five years in the Green Valley/Sahuarita area
- He spearheaded the publication of the Santa Cruz Valley Bike Map
- He has organized numerous Mountain bike rides and trail maintenance events
- And last, as the prime force in the design and marketing of a Santa Cruz Valley Cyclists bike jersey.”
Staff Appreciation Award: Jim Degrood, Pima Association of Governments Transportation Services Director
“Our next award goes to a member of regional government who has gone above and beyond their expected duties to include bicycles as part of the transportation system in Tucson.
Since its inception in 2006, the RTA has constructed or has in design over 330 miles of bike lanes, shared-use paths, and bike boulevards in the Tucson region, and a primary reason for the RTA’s success in providing these facilities is Jim DeGrood. A tireless advocate for efficiency and common sense in the region’s transportation network, Jim recognizes the beautiful-simplicity of the bicycle, and how it fits in so well to the overall range of transportation options for residents of our region.
As a child of the Tucson region, Jim rode his bike around its many tiny washes and along Speedway Blvd. before it had bike lanes. As Jim grew older, his technical mind led him to discover his love for engineering. He graduated from the University of Arizona, College of Civil Engineering, and has over 25 years of experience in public works, having served previously as an Assistant Town Manager for the Town of Marana, as Town Engineer for the communities of Oro Valley and Sahuarita, and in development review for both
the City of Tucson and Pima County. Mr. DeGrood is currently the Director of Transportation Services for Pima Association of Governments. In this capacity he is responsible for overseeing the management of the Regional Transportation Authority of Pima County.
Whether it’s his advocacy of HAWK-crossings, bike lanes, urban trails, low-stress bikeways, or Transportation Enhancement improvements that help cyclists get around easier and safer, Jim has strived to ensure that the RTA has kept its promise to the voters of the region: delivering the truly multi-modal system that every citizen deserves. And so, I am happy to present Jim DeGrood with the BAC’s 2011 Staff Appreciation award.”
Bicycle Friendly Workplace of the Year: Tucson High School
“The BAC has introduced a new award this year for businesses or organizations who make it easy and attractive for their employees to ride a bicycle to work. We often hear people say that they’d ride their bikes to work more often if they just had a safe place to lock their bikes, or a place to take a shower.
This year’s recipient is Tucson High. The high school already had covered, secure bike parking for 40 bikes, but in the last year they added an additional 40 hoops for bikes that are secure and protected from the weather. The bicycle ridership amongst their staff is around 10% — more than three times the Tucson average.”
Lastly, the TPCBAC created a new award called the Steve Vihel Memorial Award to honor Vihel, a bike shop owner, and my friend, who died from heart failure.
“Our last award is a new award for this year, and it goes to Steve Vihel. When we came up with our list of candidates for each of our awards this year, we felt like Steve was at the top of the list for half of them. His passion for all things bicycles was legendary, whether he was helping novice cyclists find bicycles that made them feel confident, or organizing bike to work breakfasts throughout the year. Many of us spent too much time in his shop “There and back bicycles” just because his positive energy and enthusiasm for cycling was so infectious. Many of us here work towards a future in which bicycling will be a normal, safe, and popular way to do most of your our trips. Hanging out in Steve’s shop always made me feel like that future was already here.
As most of you know, Steve passed away last December after a battle with heart failure, and the Tucson bicycling community has lost one of its brightest lights. We hope to do our part to remember him each year by establishing this new award, “the Steve Vihel Memorial Award” which will be given to a person whose passion for bicycling is an inspiration to all of us.”
Vihel’s brother Geoff Keppel accepted the award.
Check out the photos from the ceremony: