Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Club and Event Ride News: Monster Cookie and a Citizen-Initiated Citation

A year ago at this time we'd already had two days of 80+ degree weather, and several more in the 70s!*
Monster Cookie, 2011
This year even mid-60s has seemed like a stretch. It's been a wet and gloomy winter.

So there hasn't yet really been a day about which you can say "wheeling season is here!"

Prepping for the Monster Cookie, 2015
( New City Councilor Hoy on left in helmet, via SBC)
But the first big ride is almost here, on Sunday the 30th.

If you bike regularly, you'll already know about the Salem Bicycle Club's Monster Cookie ride. (Even City Councilors do it!)

It's a metric century - 62 miles - through the rolling hills of French Prairie out to Champoeg and back. Some people only do half of it, from Salem to Champoeg, and get picked up at Champoeg.

Day-of-ride registration ($35) opens at 8am on the Capitol Mall Fountain. Unless you ride regularly and want to commit regardless of the weather, that's the way to do it. The last minute decision is ok!

And always remember Governor Geer, who rode his bike out to Champoeg on May 1st, 1900, to set in motion the establishment of the historical marker and then the park!

Citizen Initiated Citation

April 2017 Spokes newsletter
The bike club's April newsletter has a very interesting piece on a citizen-initiated traffic citation.

A person driving a car passed too closely to two club members and struck them while out on a ride. Fortunately no one was hurt. The Marion County Sheriff's office was not very responsive, and club members along with long-time advocate Doug Parrow initiated citations under the provisions of ORS 153.058. They were successful: The Judge found the driver guilty of Careless Driving.
The Citizen Citation process is a good tool for holding motorists accountable for traffic violations in which they endanger bicyclists when law enforcement won’t do so. It does take time, energy, and diligence to successfully pursue issuance of a citation. As cyclists, we don’t often have the opportunity to issue such a citation because positive identification of the motorist is essential and we generally do not get a good view of a motorist who passes too closely or cuts us off at an intersection. (A citation cannot be issued based solely on a license plate number.) Issuance of a citation does leave a person feeling a little vulnerable to a hot-head who might retaliate in some manner because the citation cannot be issued anonymously and, in fact, the violator will learn both your name and address.
Parrow describes the full process and, as that last bit indicates, shows also some of the weakness in that process. The whole piece is worth a read.

Changing Market for Event Rides?

Urban transportation - utility cycling - really is the main interest here, and not club riding or event rides, which get plenty of coverage elsewhere. Still, it is perhaps interesting to note that the market for large event rides seems to be changing. The longer-term trend has been for declining numbers here and around the state.

You may remember that the Watermelon ride was discontinued and the Boys and Girls Club was unsuccessful in creating a new event in that time slot. The peak participation for both the Monster Cookie and Peach of a Century rides were set a few years ago, and it does not look like participation will return to those numbers any time soon. Off-road and mountain biking has seemed to grow in popularity, and the Salem Trail Alliance has benefited. Though I can't find the citation at the moment, I have seen conjecture that rural roads have seemed less safe to many, and that a chunk of recreational activity has shifted to trail riding.

The costs of event rides and the kinds of amenities offered has also been changing. The most expensive ride, Cycle Oregon, has not seemed to have experienced decline. The market seems to be segmenting some, and a kind of luxury segment has emerged.

The Salem Bike Club model has been for an inexpensive, no-frills kind of ride. The Monster Cookie features box lunches and a cookie. October's Peach ride offers a box lunch and a slice of peach pie.

By contrast, later this summer in June, the Petal Pedal ride starting at the Oregon Garden (and not affiliated with the Salem Bicycle Club) offers something much fancier:
Riders enjoy breakfast, lunch, and different yummies along the course but the After-Party steals the show. Relax after your ride with live music and a gourmet dinner: hand-carved tri-tip steak, chicken marsala, grilled asparagus, Greek orzo salad, mixed green salad, dinner rolls, carrot and chocolate cakes, iced mochas....and bottomless wine and Hopworks beer and cider!
The activity mix for rides also changing. This year two multi-sport events with a biking component will take place in Salem. (They really don't even count as rides.)

In September the Salem River to Ridge will feature kayaking, biking, and running.

Also in October the Salem Rotary Triathalon will feature swimming, biking, and running.

It will be interesting to see how these new events go. One element of the Rotary Triathalon seemed worth noting: The biking leg goes out South River Road to the Independence Bridge, and between the curves, limited sightlines, and railroad trestles, that route has never seemed like a very good candidate for a large organized bike ride. (I wonder if the organizers bike themselves.)

The River to Ridge route follows roads frequently featured in bike club rides, is more scenic, and in a lot of ways looks more attractive and fun. Though when you stack the ride from Salem to Silver Falls on top of a swim and a run - that's pretty hardcore! So there may not be much opportunity to enjoy the scenery.

Both of these events are more competitive than the bike club event rides, with explicit timing and race components.

All in all there is some flux in area event rides. Do you have thoughts on where things are heading?

* As satisfying as that might be personally, the likelihood of unseasonal warmth and the longer-term trend is of course increased by climate change, and this seeming benefit comes at a great cost.


d. davis said...

Curious to see if gravel/multi-surface rides continue to grow. Although it doesn't appear to have been scheduled for this year, the gravel ride out in Polk County was getting larger each year.

Anonymous said...

River 2 Ridge is getting a lot of subsidy!

"Redmond-based Breakaway Promotions is running the event and designed the course. They received $20,000 in seed money this year and $10,000 for next year to put on the event. That money came from Salem’s transient occupancy tax on hotels, which is typically used for tourism, promotion and heritage events,[Travel Salem's Angie] Morris said."

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

The City Manager's update this past week says:

"Only 40 participants are registered for this year’s River to Ridge event. 2019 would have been the third year for the event. Travel Salem has canceled the event, a decision that City staff support. Travel Salem will attempt to bring on a new event promoter for River to Ridge in the future. Travel Salem will refund $9,900 in City event funding and there will be no expectation of City funding for this event in the future."