SaddleBrooke residents looking to join a high-level cycling group, a leisurely Saturday morning bike crowd or a creatively fun social club centered around cycling may look no further than CycleMasters, one of the largest and most diverse bicycle clubs in Arizona.
Patsy and Bud Chase attended the inaugural meeting of CycleMasters in 1992 and have seen the club grow to almost 250 members, with more than a dozen committees, a board of directors and bylaws.
CycleMasters has numerous rides available for all levels, according to Bud Chase, who is a past vice president and past safety officer, and currently cycles with the most advanced members.
“We’re probably the second largest bike club in Arizona. The largest is Greater Arizona Bicycling Association,” Chase reported.
Members can find a group to join any day except Sunday. Weekday rides are divided into different routes. The options include staying in SaddleBrooke, riding outside the community to the south or heading north on Oracle Road. “Going south we can have as many as 30 people, and we spread out to not interfere with traffic,” Chase said. “We may go to Beyond Bread, Einstein’s, AJ’s, and Village Bakehouse. Sometimes we ride to the U of A area, which is about a 55-mile (round) trip.”
Saturday social rides, which are held within SaddleBrooke, are divided into four levels, starting with the Casuals, which Patsy Chase calls “the Lollygaggers.” They progress up to the Sensibles, the Semi-Hots and then the Hot Shots, who pedal longer and harder rides. Afterward, they all meet up for breakfast at Roadrunner Grill.
Additional social activities abound with the group. There’s a Valentine’s dance, holiday get-togethers, trips, a spring picnic, good-bye to snowbirds and welcome back parties, as well as the club’s Easter egg and treasure hunts that are carried out on bicycles, noted Chase.
Committees and chair positions include communications and Webmaster, who are responsible for sending out news and updates by email and Yahoo Group; historian; ride conduct advisor, previously known as safety officer; and newspaper delivery coordinator.
The club uses the money it earns from delivering newspapers to purchase bicycles for kids, according to need and improvement of grades, at Mammoth and San Manuel schools.
Typically, CycleMasters sponsors a charity at Thanksgiving and Christmas, most recently making donations through Golder Ranch Fire District, said Chase. “We also have a lot of people in the bike club who do volunteer work at schools, hospitals, the Golden Goose and the sheriff’s office.”
In addition to his four weekly club rides, Chase has competed in area cycling events for years. His cycling career includes 13 times in El Tour de Tucson’s full-distance race, plus stints in Tour of the Tucson Mountains and El Tour de Phoenix. He also has served six times as a volunteer on El Tour de Tucson’s bike patrol.
“If a person has a flat tire or medical problem, you stay with him until help comes. You still receive a medal for the race and a T-shirt, just not a (competition) time,” Chase said of the patrol position.
For all his volunteerism and avid participation in the cycling community, Chase received the CycleMasters 2010 Cyclist of the Year Award, presented last month at the Valentine’s dance.
“That was quite a surprise. They give a plaque that changes each year and a trophy you get to keep,” he noted.
The club also presented the Most Improved Cyclist Award to Marc Porpora.
CycleMasters’ ride schedules, including start times and locations, can be found at www.saddlebrookecyclemasters.org. Names of committee heads for everything from Senior Olympics to special activities are also available on the website.