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postheadericon State of the SIR’s 2013

Well, November 8th marked our 5th birthday as the SIR’s! Yay us!

 

With two of my kids getting married in the near future, I haven’t had as much time to sit back and formulate our annual “State of the SIR’s Address” but I will post an abbreviated version.

 

“Membership” continues to grow. Of course, by membership, I am referring to anyone who takes the time to register on one of our internet locations or who takes the time to ride with us.

 

The number on the Yahoo Group and Google+ are essentially unchanged. Due to so many potential spammers registering on skyislandriders.com, I closed it to registration. (For anyone concerned about this, registering really didn’t do anything and we had about one real person for every 500 spammers.)

 

The Facebook group continues to be our most active location. Last year there were 144 members, this year we have 184. There some of those who aren’t active on Facebook at all, some are just lurkers and there are a few who are very active.

 

I’m not sure how I counted events and activities for the 2012 address, but in counting from December 2012 til the end of November, 2013, it looks like we had 24 events/rides. This is about the same as last year.

 

Rallies:

For A Few CC’s More III – Attendance at this year’s rally was about the same as last year. Thanks to our sponsors and all those who purchased raffles tickets, we were able to donate $784 to Ben’s Bells. This is up from $752 last year.  Thanks to Sean for making those wonderful, collectible cards that we used for our Poker Run.

 

El Scoot de Tucson V – We had a record number of riders show up this year. We did have one injury crash at the beginning of the ride but the rest of the ride went well. I think there were 33 bikes start this year’s El Scoot. (For those wondering, there was a big foul-up at the patch place and El Scoot patches are still forth coming. We will announce when they are available.)

 

**On a serious note: 2013 was a bad year for crashes. We have had at least 5 significant crashes. 3 of these resulting in visits to emergency rooms. There were 2 hospitalizations and 1 person had to have surgery. Not all of these crashes occurred during a SIR’s event, but they all happened to one of us. Please, be careful out there, my friends.

 

Other 2013 notes:

  • We have had an increasing number of interactions with other area clubs. We have had riders going to Phoenix to ride with VespaAZ and the Phoenix S.C. We also had riders meet with the Prescoots of Prescott. Phoenix and Green Valley riders have been coming to some of our events as well.
  • Stan Scott rode in the inagural “Real Cannonball” from New York to L.A. He didn’t finish, but made it further than any of the other riders. Stan has been active in several events held by the MSLSF (Motor Scooter Land Speed Federation)
  • Several of us represents the SIR’s at this year’s Amerivespa in San Diego. We had a great time.
  • Chaeri & Randy met on a SIR’s ride, fell in love and they were married in November! Our first club wedding.
  • A new Ride Rating System was released. in November. Time will tell if this is helpful, or not.

Looking toward 2014:

  • For A Few CC’s More IV – The 2014 edition is hitting the road for the ultimate AZ scooter adventure. We are hoping to ride AROUND the state. This will be an 1800 mile, 5-day trek.
  • Stan is planning to ride in the 2014 Scooter Cannonball. They will be “racing” from Hyder, Alaska to New Orleans! The race is scheduled to end during Amerivespa. Should be great.
  • We are hoping to have a few of us make it to Las Vegas for High Rollers.
  • We’re looking forward to more interclub events with our friends in Phoenix.
  • We are planing to create a club roster. More info on the soon.
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postheadericon State of the SIR’s 2012

State of the SIR’s 2012

It is time, again, for the (hopefully) annual report on our Sky Island Riders. Now that I’ve done one of these before, this one should be a bit easier since I will (more or less) use the same format as the last one.

First – Happy Birthday SIR’s. 11/8/12 was our 4th birthday. From my limited research of scooter clubs nationwide, we are about 3 years older than average

MEMBERS

Let’s take a look at how our membership has changed over the past year:

tucsonscooters – The yahoo group number declined from 309, last year, to 2scooter club.90 as of this writing. Traffic there has also declined dramatically. In 2009, right after the SIR’s were formed, there were 1493 message posted there. In 2011 there were only 191 messages and this year only 139. I will continue to post club rides and info there, but it is clear that the majority of action has moved on.

skyislandriders.com – As of 11/21/12, there are 184 registered users on the SIR’s homepage. This is an increase of 44 users over last year, or about 30%. Unlike the Yahoo group, I periodically go through the names and delete accounts with email contacts like “cheapskate@dirt_cheap_canadian_pills.com.” As with the yahoo group, forum traffic is virtually dead, but like last year, overall visitors to our homepage to view the various articles continues to increase. At this time last year we were averaging 60 unique visitors per day. As of today, that number is 137 visitors/day. A change of over 100% over last year. Traffic is such that I have been contacted by a couple of companies about advertising on the site. Nothing definite on that has happened, yet.

Facebook – Our FB page now has 147 members, which is up from 114 last year. I am very pleased at the amount of traffic present on the page right now. There are people organizing there own rides and a lot of great chatter. This means that we don’t just have a bunch of lurkers. People are feeling comfortable enough to join in the conversations.

Google+ – I think there are now 3 people in the SIR’s circle. Nothing happening here.

RALLIES

Last year I reported that the SIR’s had conducted two rallies. Let me do a correction to improve accuracy. The fact is that we had conducted two SPRING rallies (For A Few CC’s More), now three. I would like to add that we have also conducted four FALL rallies (El Scoot de Tucson.) That means that as of November 2012, we have actually conducted seven rallies.

For A Few CC’s More – Our third spring rally was, again, a success. We were a little disappointed because the number of riders was slightly lower than the two previous spring rallies, but there were a couple of huge, positive differences this year. First, we had almost triple the number of sponsors for this year compared to last. 60 businesses participated! (Check out the list here: http://skyislandriders.com/?page_id=1293 then go by and patronize some of them.) Second, we actually finished with money on the positive side – a club first! Finally, we were able to donate $742 to Ben’s Bells, up from $545 last year.

El Scoot de Tucson IV – This was a banner year for El Scoot. Look back and read my report ( http://skyislandriders.com/?p=1610 .) In a nutshell, attendance surged over 100% for this years ride! It was very exciting.

*** Planning for For A Few CC’s More III will be starting soon. I hope you will consider bringing your time and skills to help.

RIDES/EVENTS

I didn’t do as good a job tracking rides and events this year, but it looks like we had 29 rides or events and our 3-day rally. This is a huge increase over last year’s 18 rides/events plus the rally. I don’t know that our average number of attendee’s per event has increased much, but we are certainly offering plenty of opportunity for people to participate and that means an overall increase in the number of people who have rideen with us.

In 2012 we also had our first official “Night Ride” as well as our first 2-day ride when we rode to Cottonwood and back.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2013

  • We have more members who are interested in actively participating in the organizing and maintenance aspects of the club. That means we should be able to increase the quantity and, hopefully, the quality of next year’s events.

  • We are planning at least one multi-day, long distance ride.

  • Although we slacked off as the year went on, I want to plan to resume our “Social Nights.” For those who don’t know, these are just simple gatherings for us to get to know one another and enjoy each other’s company. You may have friends who just “don’t get” your desire to ride a scooter. We do. Look for those to start again in December after the Phoenix rally.

  • We have already started “marketing” For A Few CC’s More III. We are hoping for a great turnout. We are very excited about this rally as we already have some fun ideas in mind.

  • I’m not sure how we’ll top this year’s El Scoot de Tucson, but we’ll try to think of something.

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postheadericon Rally Report: El Scoot de Tucson IV

Well, El Scoot IV has come and gone and what an event it was. We had more bikes and riders on the ride portion than for any other ride in club history!

El Scoot is a little hard to describe. It’s not just a “ride” because we have a big dinner at the end, followed by a raffle. It doesn’t exactly feel like a “rally”, either, although I don’t really know why. We are calling this a one-day rally from now on, though.

From Foothills Magazine. This is what the start of the bicycle race looks like

We started El Scoot because of the annual bicycle event here in Tucson: El Tour de Tucson. It is a ride that takes cyclists on a 109 mile circumnavigation of the city. I have ridden in El Tour a couple of times and really enjoyed it. After I started riding scooters and planning rides, I decided to try doing the route on scooters. We can’t ride it exactly because there are two “river/wash” crossings and part of it goes through a private, gated community. Instead of 109 miles, ours was more like 120.

Creating the route was relatively easy, but I didn’t want to have just a ride and nothing else. I talked with my wife and my local scooter shop (Scoot Over) and we decided to have a sponsored stop or two along the way, just like the cyclists do, then finish with a barbecue. (I enjoy cooking on my wood smoker and decided it would be fun to make a special meal for my scooter friends. My wife agreed to make the rest of the meal and away we went. I’ve yet to get all the stops “sponsored” but I’m still working on it.

Check out the variety of scoots as we ended the ride at my house for BBQ and fun.

El Scoot I was well received. We all had a good time, so it was decided that we would keep it on our annual list of events. El Scoot I was actually the precursor to our annual spring, 3-day rally. Doing El Scoot gave us the confidence we needed to do the May Day Rally, now known as “For A Few CC’s More.” I think there were 16 bikes that first year. Shelby and Scoot Over sponsored one of our stops and provided coffee and donuts.

16 riders heading south on Houghton Rd near Catalina Highway

El Scoot II also had 16 riders, but a new group participated: the green Valley Scooter Club. We felt very good about having another regional group join us for an event. We had a good time. Scoot Over was there once again to provide us with some coffee and pastries along the way.

Different faces and different bikes, but still having a great ride on El Scoot III

El Scoot III was a little different. Due to non-scooter related issues, we were unable to host the barbecue, so chose to do the ride, then have the barbecue at a local BBQ joint: The Hog Pit. We did a long ride, and the route was altered just a little bit for variety. We all had a good time, although comments were made that the homemade meal would have been preferred. A review of pics from the event indicates there were a total of (care to guess?) 16 scooters on the ride. There were a lot of new faces, including two riders who came down from the Phoenix Scooter Club. The Green Valley guys didn’t make it, but Phoenix did. We were so stoked about this ride that one of our riders even had patches made to commemorate it. below, is the route as we rode it this year:


View Larger Map

Along comes El Scoot IV. Leading even 10 or 15 bikes through city traffic can be a bit trying. I was ready to alter our route rather significantly. After all, I am not affiliated with the bicycle event, so I have no obligation to keep to their route. Also, Tucson has very nice riding roads very near the city, so a new route was created that would keep us more rural, into more twisty, fun roads and away from stoplights and traffic.

2012 has been a good year for scooter sales, which has meant that the Sky Island Riders have been experiencing growth as well. We were still quite surprised, however, when  the RSVP count a few days before the ride was in excess of 40! Through their meetup.com site, we took note that there were even 16 riders scheduled to ride down from Phoenix. There was a little bit of scrambling as we made sure that there would be enough food to feed 50. I have been involved with scooter events long enough to know that RSVP’s are rarely an accurate count of how many folks turn up. You never know whether the actual number will be much more or much less than predicted. We did all the preparation we could, then plunged into Sunday morning and El Scoot.

Eight riders got up early to ride the “Ride to the Ride” ride.

We added additional segment to the long ride this year. We added a “Ride to the Ride.” The start of the official ride was on Tucson’s northwest side, which made it easier and closer for the Phoenix riders. The official ride also started on the edge of town so that those who didn’t want to ride as much “in town” would be able to skip the metro riding. The “Ride to the Ride” started early and we stopped in three different places so that those who didn’t want to ride to the start alone could join the group someplace close to their home and arrive at El Scoot en masse.

The Green Valley contingent was waiting for us. We had another motorcycle this year, too.

Working together to get everyone’s bike ready to ride.

We had eight riders join us for the Ride to the Ride. We arrived at James Kriegh Park, joined several who were already there and counted at scooters began to gather. Shelby and the Scoot Over Suburban arrived with coffee and donuts and riders were renewing old acquaintances  and making new friends as they enjoyed some breakfast.

Here are the nine riders from Phoenix who had to do a lot of riding to join us at El Scoot. Big props to them.

Ride out was scheduled for 10:00 am and at 9:55, Glen and 8 other riders showed up from Phoenix. We gave the Phoenix crew a few minutes to rest and as we pulled out around 10:15, there were 32 bikes behind me. 33 was not only a record for El Scoot, but a record number for any single ride in SIR’s history!

Here’s the dweeb cutting into our formation of scooters.

Here is our formation snaking around what we call scooter killer curve.

The ride itself was relatively uneventful. Early in the ride, we had some knucklehead in a white car cut right into the middle of the formation at a stoplight. The group quickly reformed and we were on our way. I really enjoyed the site of all the bikes as they snaked their way up Picture Rocks Road as well entered Saguaro National Park west. One rider (thanks Randy) estimated that the single file line of bikes was approximately a half mile in length.

You can’t see all of the bikes, but here we are at Saguaro National Park Visitors’ Center

We rode through the park down Sandario Road, turned east on Kinney and made our first stop at the national park visitors’ center. After a few minutes to rest and visit some more, we rode the rest of Kinney Rd, then weaved our way down to Mission Road. We rode past San Xavier Mission. From there it was to the least scenic portion of the ride: Hughes Access Road to Los Reales past the city dump (oh boy.)

This is on Mary Ann Cleveland Way, in Vail

We arrived at our second stop about an hour ahead of schedule. We did have one bike run out of fuel just as we got to the TTT truck stop, but otherwise the group was still intact. We stopped at Thomas Jay Park, in Little Town, which has been a stop at all the previous El Scoots. Here we had more refreshments and fuel was available.

It was a beautiful sunshiney day with some interesting cloud formations

From Little Town, we made our way to Valencia and east to ride to Pistol Hill Road and back along Old Spanish Trail Rd. We lost a couple of bikes as someone else needed fuel. Other than that, the rest of the group successfully pulled in to my house to enjoy some BBQ and the raffle.

Gathering together to eat and have some fun

Nothing builds up an appetite like a long scooter ride

I know I sure had fun hosting this event and I hope everyone had fun. Stan Scott won the raffle’s grand prize: a hand-made quilt. I would also like to thank Cycle Gear and Ride Now Power Sports for providing raffle items. Of, course, a big thanks goes to Scoot Over for providing breakfast and for driving behind us the whole route as sag wagon. I am thankful that no bikes needed to be hauled away from the ride. Finally, the biggest thanks and appreciation goes out to my wife. Without her help, i would be unable to do much of what I do with SIR’s.

 

 

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