Tucson streets offer plenty of fine obstacles for motorists and bikers alike.

Bicycle limbo/Urban Assault Ride photo

Bicycle limbo/Urban Assault Ride photo

We get potholes, jagged palm tree shards, random cardboard boxes, those metal street plates put down during construction and occasional bouts with darting pedestrians and roadkill.

Bicyclists are particularly lucky as they are not protected by a couple of tons of metal car-shaped armor with cushy leather seats.

But bikers need not despair – they can get training instead – all in the name of fun.

The fun comes in the form of the Urban Assault Ride, kicking off its 2010 tour in Tucson on April 18.

Bicyclists sign up with partners and then bike around the city, conquering a number of strategically placed obstacles.

Drivers don’t fret – no obstacles will be set up in places like Aviation Parkway or the middle of Speedway.

More than 450 bikers in Tucson signed up for the Urban Assault Ride’s debut last year, which once again started in Old Pueblo before moving on to other cities across the nation. The ride hits Seattle, Chicago, St. Louis and Des Moines – just to name a few.

Paperboy relay/Urban Assault Ride photo

Paperboy relay/Urban Assault Ride photo

Learn more or register at www.urbanassaultride.com/tucson

Cost is $45 per person, which goes up to $60 per person as even draws nearer. Monies help benefit Sonoran Desert Mountain Bike Association. The association is also looking for event volunteers.

Oh! There is one other requirement. Bicyclists have to be ready for a beer-filled party at Maynard’s Market following the event. Belgium Brewing sponsors Urban Assault. And we’re glad the beer comes after, not before, the ride.

While the organizers would not disclose this year’s obstacles – “that would ruin the surprise,” said PR rep Sharon Cutler – she did mention some of last year’s challenges.

They included a bike limbo, BMX racing, a paperboy relay, the human wheelbarrow, boats and water slides.

Riders are allowed to dismount their bikes for some of the obstacles.

While neither roadkill nor big metal street plates were on the list, obstacles in the Urban Assault Ride will make us safer if we ever happen to encounter a water slide while bicycling down the street.

You never know.

Two major bicycle obstacles floored me in the past, both about 100 years ago and both while biking in Michigan. The first was a woman who pulled her car into and stopped in the middle of my path as she was pulling out of a driveway. The second was those dang construction barrels.

My bike rammed into the side of the woman’s car, leaving a colossal dent in her passenger door. Rather than apologizing, she quickly rolled up her window and sped away. My bike cracked in half on the way home.

The construction barrels were my fault. I was swiftly tooling down the street and thought it would be fun to kick one. No one ever told me they were filled with sand. I woke up in the middle of the roadway.

For some strange reason, I have not been biking a lot – or at all – lately. But if I were to start up again, I’d definitely go for the Urban Assault Ride to get some preliminary training.


Tucson Urban Assault Ride foot race/Urban Assault Ride photo

Tucson Urban Assault Ride foot race/Urban Assault Ride photo

wb-logolilWhat do you think?

Will you be signing up for the Urban Assault Ride?

What other biking events have you attended?

What’s the most annoying obstacle on Tucson roadways?