GV cycling hits newstands nationwide

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

By Kevin Duke

So Green Valley got a mention in a national magazine this month.  Sunset magazine published a one-page article called the “10 best ’burbs for biking,” and Green Valley was at the top of the list.

Green Valley, along with Scottsdale, were the only two communities in the western half of the United States to receive a “Gold” rating.

The strides made for cyclists in our community have been well-documented and the magazine says “Green Valley is the latest community in the county to double its bike lane miles in the last five years.”  We can thank Chuck Hill, Bill Adamson and all the folks at the Santa Cruz Valley Bicycle Advocates Committee for that, plus bike maps, the Ride of Silence (just completed) and countless other projects, rides and goals by the group.  The group works tirelessly, constantly in touch with me to update and seek publicity for the SCVBAC and cycling in general.
 
What the magazine didn’t say was that the award was a little dated.   The designation was part of Pima County’s “Gold” rating from 2006, and was covered at that time right here in the Green Valley News. What the heck, we’re still a great cycling community, and getting better!  The magazine’s focus was on “communities without an obvious bike  ready population that are making it easy for people to ride to shops, restaurants, work and more.”
 
“The whole county is renowned for its cycling community,” Loren Mooney, travel editor for Sunset said. “It’s pretty clear that Green Valley and Pima County are on the forefront of taking biking seriously.”  “Our focus was on smaller cities that are improving biking in their communities.”
 
Bill Mesper, vice president of the League of American Bicyclists, agreed with Mooney.  “Green Valley was part of a larger application from Pima County and Tucson,” he said. “We’re excited about all the parts.”
 
The criteria for receiving the gold designation includes what Mesper called the “Five E’s.”  Those include engineering, the bike network on and off street; education, classes for kids and adults; encouragement, bike culture, clubs and cycling events; enforcement, how the law enforcement community and biking community interact; evaluation, setting targets and planning for the future.
 
“Only 16 gold designations have been awarded nationwide over the last nine years,” Mesper said. “The county is getting very close to receiving the platinum designation.”  Only three other locales in the country have achieved that level: Davis, Calif., Portland, and Boulder, Colo.  “Tucson and the Pima region are special,” Mesper said. “They have, by far, the largest task force to improve conditions.”  “Thus, it’s become a much, much better place to ride over the last five years.”  Mesper went on to say that the area is a destination for cyclists around the country, who specifically come here to ride.
 
So while the magazine may have drawn from old information, the people familiar with cycling still know the area is a great place to ride.

Click here for the 'hot list' of the ten best burbs

Click here for the complete Sunset Magazine article - June, 2012