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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Students try different kind of cruising

    Every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. since July 2007, members of the UA and Tucson community have gathered at the flagpole in front of Old Main for the Tucson Tuesday Night Community Bike Ride.

    Al Van Verick, an avid biker, said if the group is big enough, they sometimes take up the entire street. The diverse group sets out in any direction from Old Main and usually ends in a parking lot somewhere, he said.

    People begin to gather at the flagpole around 7:50 p.m. and usually take off riding between 8:15 and 8:30, said Van Verick. The ride starts when the group gets big enough and someone yells, “”Let’s ride!”” and they all set out, he said.

    At the end of the bike ride there is usually a “”one-foot-down”” competition, said Van Verick. All the bikers ride around in a circle, getting closer as they go, forming a tighter and tighter circle. When someone puts their foot down to the ground or loses their balance, they must get out of the circle. The last man standing wins.

    All skill levels can be seen at the bike ride. There are racers, people training for triathlons, and those doing it just for fun of biking. Van Verick said a lot of students and young people usually come, but it is really for everyone.

    “”There are rides I’ve been on with 400 people,”” Van Verick said.

    “”I come almost every week,”” said Yusuke Arima, an exchange student from Osaka, Japan studying political science at the UA for a year. “”We don’t have this kind of ride anywhere (in Osaka).””

    Van Verick said when it is hot, more people show up because they can’t do their biking during the heat of the day; they must do it at night.

    “”It used to be bigger. I’m hoping in the summer more people will start showing up again,”” said Will Maucher, a former UA student.

    People keep the ride fun by bringing their stereos and playing music along the way. Van Verick said the music can vary from rock to classical all in one night.

    Ben Davis and Mike Dieter, both former UA students, came to the bike ride last Tuesday for the maiden voyage of their tandem bike. They also brought music for the first time and said they were going to play the “”funky stuff”” for the back of the group.

    Davis said he took the tandem bike from his grandparents’ back yard, where it had been sitting for 15 years.

    “”You definitely see some weird bikes here,”” he said.

    He said last week there was a man on a unicycle. Maucher said sometimes there is a man who comes with a bike from the 1800s that has a huge front wheel and a tiny back one. The man even wears a top hat for the ride.

    “”You have so many people, and no one is telling anyone what to do. I think it’s truly remarkable. There are 400 people with no true leader and it still works. It’s really rare to see that situation in a group,”” Van Verkick said.

    The way the bike ride got started seems to be a mystery to most of the riders. Van Verick said he does not know, he heard about it from a friend. Arima, Davis, and Dieter all said they heard about the bike ride from friends as well.

    Ed Foster, who graduated from the UA School of Fine Arts in 1996, said he was one of the originals and he still participates today. Foster said the Tuesday night bike ride began because his friend, Nick Jett, wanted all his friends to get together and go on a bike ride for his birthday. It was a Tuesday and it was in July, so they did the ride that night. There were 26 people the first time.

    “”We had so much fun we kept on doing it,”” Foster said.

    He said different people have led the ride and picked the route from the beginning, but there are definitely favorite routes.

    They did a little promotion in the very beginning, he said, with fliers, an add on Craig’s List and a Facebook group, but it seems that word of mouth is the way most people have come to participate in the Tucson Tuesday Night Community Bike Ride.

    “”Everybody’s welcome!”” Van Verick said.

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