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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Hottest Day of the Year Benefit Ride


Baraha Elkhalil / Arizona Summer Wildcat

Scott Weiler points son Sam Weiler’s attention to a model bike while changing a flat tire at BICAS on Saturday, June 22.

On June 27, Bicycle Inter-Community Art and Salvage is hosting their second annual Hottest Day of the Year Benefit Ride to celebrate biking and the community of Tucson. The event provides Tucsonans with a community-geared outlet for exercise and even a fun way to cool off after the race through the summer heat.

BICAS opened its doors in 1989 and has since become one of the oldest community bike centers in the U.S.. Originally intended to support the homeless community, BICAS has created an inclusive space for all different types of Tucsonans to feel welcome while learning about bikes.

BICAS strives to provide resources for the community to learn how to operate, fix and build bikes while helping those without access to affordable transportation. Carlyn Arteaga, a BICAS collective member, explained that as an organization, BICAS believes in teaching skills that will last students a lifetime.

“Instead of paying somebody else to work on your bike, you can come in and learn how yourself,” Arteaga said.

BICAS offers a variety of classes that teach people how to ride, build and maintain a bike at all different levels of expertise, ages and walks of life. The organization even hosts a touring seminar, which prepares those interested in making long-distance trips.

BICAS also features a build-a-KID’s-bike class designed to teach children and adults the basics of biking. Arteaga detailed the importance of putting tools in young people’s hands early so they feel like they can do anything.

“Seeing all these kids with wrenches in their hands getting greasy with smiles on their faces” reminds her of why BICAS continues to contribute to the Tucson community.

BICAS believes in celebrating and empowering those who are marginalized by society.

Every Monday, from 4-8 p.m., a workshop invites people that identify as female, transgender or femme who feel they have been prevented from participating in bicycle mechanics to join in the Womenn, Trans & Femme (WTF) bicycle repair workshop.

“It is a nice night to welcome people to the space and gain confidence,” Artega explained. “It is a really empowering workshop for a lot of people in the Tucson community.”

It’s crucial to BICAS that the work they do touches not only the community, but the environment as well. Monique Laraway, BICAS Collective and Art Coordinator, explains that BICAS promotes sustainability by reusing old bike parts to create beautiful art. There are many art classes and services provided to help create pieces that contribute to Tucson’s vibrant art scene.

“Tucson is a really great place to ride a bike, and be a biker, and to be in the biking community,” Artega said, making it the perfect place for a massive annual bike ride.

The event includes a roughly 14-mile ride along the Santa Cruz River bike trail. Laraway said it’s the perfect way to spend a day with family and friends.

“Along the ride, there are trees, and we always see little critters, squirrels and lizards,” Laraway said, along with various cooling-off stations throughout that carry water, lemonade, Otter Pops and even a few squirt guns. The trek ends at the Menlo Park Pool, with music, food, drinks and a pool party.

David Schwartz, a graduate student at the UA, loves the concept of cooling off throughout the ride, after feeling bogged down by the summer heat on his bike ride to and from work. “A pool party at the end of a long bike ride sounds really nice,” Schwartz said.

Laraway noted that last year’s event had a wonderful turnout. Everyone including first-timers, young biking enthusiasts and elderly Tucsonans came to enjoy the festivities.

“You’re on a bike, and wind is in your hair, it’s super beautiful out, and it’s a really great way to bring people together, no matter their background,” she said.

BICAS hopes to celebrate their love for Tucson even in the scorching heat that keeps many inside during the summer months.

“It can be hard to be [in Tucson during the summer,] but BICAS is still here, and a lot of people that live here year-round are here too,” Arteaga explained, adding that BICAS is going to celebrate their love for the community of Tucson even if it is the hottest day of the year.

All of the proceeds will be recycled back into BICAS and will continue to help the Tucson community.

“It takes a lot to run a space like this,” Arteaga said, “but we have been around this long because of the support from the Tucson community.”

Tickets costs $25 for adults and $15 for youth, but make sure to purchase tickets in advance, as an additional $10 will be added to those who purchase on the day of the event.  

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