GABA's Bike Repair Program
By Tom Mouch
GABA recently embarked on a new bike repair adventure larger than any undertaken before. Previously GABA repaired bikes that happened to show up at the six Boys and Girls Clubs. This new opportunity is in support of GAP Ministries, which “helps children, heals families and provides hope to our community.”
Specifically, GABA is about bikes, and through this opportunity, GABA members are repairing the bikes used by the residents of GAP Ministries’ SPLASH group homes, which house children in foster care. The 10 group Tucson area homes support about 250 children a year.
So, what exactly is GABA doing? GABA is repairing bikes in a GAP Ministries’ warehouse. These rejuvenated bikes are then used in the group homes with bikes needing repair coming back: we’re talking lots of bikes!!
The first day GABA members “triaged” 75 bikes and found that about 50 were repairable and the rest were deemed to become “spare parts.” From early July until mid-August, GABA has met three times to repair these bikes and has repaired about 32 bikes (which have been distributed to 5 of the 10 homes). The difference between this opportunity and previous is that there is a constant stream of bikes that need repair—imagine 10 teenagers in each home riding bikes day in, day out, and the wear-and-tear that those bikes receive. So, in addition to the bikes that GABA has pushed out the door for use, 20 additional bikes have arrived that need repair. Yes, there is a constant “flow” of bikes to keep the five regular “amigos” busy amigos, as in friends repairing bikes and see the happy face of a child riding away.
Besides the “anonymous” bike repair that is now occurring on the northwest side of Tucson, what other opportunities are there for GABA members to participate in this community involvement? Examples include: reaching out to the group homes to teach the residents day-to-day bike upkeep (pumping tires, fixing flats, etc.), joining/leading the residents on “socially-distanced” small group rides to teach basic bike-handling skills while learning how to use the bike as more than a toy, and getting the residents involved in the actual bike repair are possible examples as the situation develops. This growth beyond bike repair opens up the chance for GABA members to reach out and support the community in a number of new ways. Please contact Wayne Cullop, Bob Willman or Tom Mouch, if you are interested in joining or expanding this community support event.
Slope Repair Will Close Part Of
The Chuck Huckelberry Loop
Pima County and its contractors will begin a repair Aug. 17 on the earthen slope along the north bank of the Rillito River just west of the Country Club Road bridge that will require closing The Chuck Huckelberry Loop for about two months.
Loop users will be detoured to the south bank between Mountain Avenue and Country Club for the duration of the project. Signage will warn users of the upcoming detour.The slope has seen a gradual deterioration over the years, said Andy Dinauer, deputy director of Pima County’s Regional Flood Control District. “A number of temporary, stop-gap repair measures have been used over the years to slow this erosion but the steepness of the slope has allowed that erosion to continue.”
This more permanent slope repair and restoration project is moving forward thanks to the purchase of some property at the top of the slope. It will include a dual retaining wall system at the base of the slope coupled with raising the elevation of the pathway and grading a more favorable slope on the hillside, Dinauer explained. That rebuilt hillside will support a variety of native vegetation including trees, shrubs, grasses and low ground cover).
“This is one of the most heavily used sections of The Loop, which makes it all the more imperative that we get that slope repaired to ensure the safety of all our users,” Dinauer said.
Help A Graduate Student
Brandon McNabb is a graduate student in the ESTEEM Program at the University of Notre Dame. As part of his capstone thesis and research, he is looking to understand where the cycling industry can improve and where there are areas to innovate. He wants to share a survey with as many cyclists as possible. The survey only takes about 15 minutes, and as a thank you for filling out the survey, he will be randomly selecting five people to win $10 Starbucks gift cards. Additionally, all data collected is for educational purposes and is analyzed in bulk.
Here is the link to the survey. Thank you in advance for helping him!
RIDER DOWN. Fantasy Islands Trail Park.
Note:This article was posted to Facebook group Fantasy Islands Trail Park which is under the Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists on July 7, 2020. Colleen Giles wants to have this article posted via GABA media to inform other bicyclists of the incident and to encourage everyone to be cautious when out riding and exploring new areas, especially construction zones. Stay safe, stay healthy.
July 7, 2020.
It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we announce that a rider died at Fantasy Island on Sunday, May 24, 2020. We have known the rider’s name and some of the details around the incident since the week after it happened, but we wanted to wait until we had all the correct information and the blessing of his family and friends before making it public.
The rider’s name was Alan Harris, and he was 70 years old. He was an avid cyclist and a respected member of the cycling community both here in Tucson and in his hometown of Worcester, MA. While Alan worked as a doctor, his passions included travel, writing, cycling, craft beer, and dogs.
He is survived by his wife Diane and his dog Gus. We didn’t know Alan, but everything from his obituary makes us wish we did. To learn more about the amazing human being he was, read Alan’s obituary The circumstances around Alan’s death have been confirmed with a close friend of his and staff from the Tucson Fire Department who responded to the emergency call. He wasn’t actually riding the trails at Fantasy Island, but was exploring the area on his road bike. Alan’s friends said that he was always exploring and looking for new routes, particularly ways to connect to the Loop. On Sunday June 24th he was out for a ride and apparently crossed into the construction zone at the west end of Drexel Rd. from Houghton Rd.
Alan rode into the area around the bathrooms and pool construction and sustained a fatal spinal injury after riding into an open hole and going over the handlebars. His body was found later that evening by an area resident, followed by emergency medical personnel from Station 17 on Houghton Rd. By all accounts Alan’s death was a fluke accident. He was an experienced rider who knew the area, had well-maintained equipment, and was wearing a helmet. This is a sad but important reminder that while riding of any kind, whether on road, singletrack, or just around the block is fun and rewarding, it comes with risks. What happened to Alan could have happened to any of us. With that in mind, please make sure to stay safe when you go out for a ride. Make sure you’re riding within your ability level. Make sure your bike and gear is well-maintained. Bring plenty of food and water (especially now with the summer heat). If you’re riding solo, check out and back in with someone at the beginning and end. And use extra caution when traveling around the construction area at Fantasy Island.
July Loop Counter Reports
The data is collected by the two EcoCounters with one on the Rillito near the Horse Race Track and the other on the Santa Cruz near St. Mary's. The graphs showing the number of users as a function of the weather in July is located in 2020_07 Weather Charts. The second document contains data separating out pedestrians and cyclists and is located in 2020_07 User Charts. The Rillito data shows 2 out of 3 users are eastbound and the pedestrians out number cyclists 2 to 1. Do you wonder why the ratio is not closer to 50 percent? For the Santa Cruz more users are northbound than southbound but not quite as high a ratio as the Rillito park. The cyclist out number the pedestrians 2 to 1.