Saving your town from the bike ninjas: a how-to

Dressed all in black, biking down your street the wrong way in the middle of the BikeNinjaPosterLandscape copynight, giving no sign of their existence save for the squeak of a rusty chain: the bike ninja is a fearsome adversary indeed. They’re rarely seen until they’re right in front of you, requiring a sudden swerve out of the way and perhaps a fist shaken in their general direction. Riding a bicycle at night without adequate lighting is unsafe and against the law in most states, but many cyclists do it anyways, either because they’re not aware of the dangers or they don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of buying and maintaining bike lights.

Here at the Tempe Bicycle Action Group, one of our recurring events it the Bike Lights for Ninjas ride: volunteers stake out a handful of streets and intersections where bike ninjas are known to travel and hand out bike lights, for free, to anyone on a bicycle who needs one. It’s a cheap and easy way to reach out to a segment of the cycling community you don’t usually see on organized rides or major events, and it helps reduce the risk of cyclist injuries or fatalities in your town. So how do you go about doing an event like this?


Buy Cheap (but Good) Lights

There’s numerous online stores with a focus on delivering bulk consumer goods, tadpole bike lightand bike lights can be found on many of them. Check out,,, and for a few examples, or do a search for bulk bike lights or wholesale bike lights. Look for lights that come with batteries included, so you don’t have to buy batteries separately and pack them by hand. Lights with simple attachment mechanisms are best – the “tadpole” light design with a wrap-around silicone loop seems to work really well, whereas designs using velcro straps or screw-together mounting brackets are much harder to install. Go for light sets of one white and one red light – some light suppliers sell red and blue light sets, but these are definitely not street legal in th
e US! Finally, avoid the really weak lights with low power LEDs – they may be cheap but they don’t provide enough illumination. We’re usually able to find lights for less than $4 per set, and will buy 50-100 lights at a time.


Get Some Volunteers

Talk to your friends, network at social rides, start a Facebook page, ping your mailing list – whatever it takes to get a handful of volunteers willing to hunt down bike ninjas and give them free stuff! The best way to entice people to help is by making the event fun – bribe them with free pizza after the ride, get a portable speaker and some music playing, hand out costumes. Sparkly lights and fairy wings are a good choice; ninjas have a known weakness to fairies.


Pick a Date, Time, and Location

Here in Tempe, there are a number of key streets and intersections that have high ridership, mostly around the ASU campus. We like to stake out Mill Avenue, University Drive, and Apache Boulevard is prime ninja-hunting streets. Where you set up depends on where you see bike ninjas most frequently. Is there a university nearby with student housing concentrated off-campus? Do some streets concentrate cyclists due to the presence of bike lanes, protected lanes, or other bike-friendly features? Think about what time of day has the highest traffic and what the light conditions are like. Once you’re actively looking for them, bike ninjas are easy to spot after dusk but hard to identify between sundown and proper night – is that rider a ninja, or do they have lights and are waiting to turn them on?


Hand Out some Lights! (but Be Nice About It)

When the big night arrives, get ready to chase people down and give them lights! Bring a backpack or panniers to carry your lights around. Watch for vehicular traffic while you’re out – you’re going to be making a lot of U-turns and stops, so be extra conspicuous with your signaling. When you catch up to a bike ninja, be nice to them! Tell them you saw them riding without lights and you’d like to give them a free set, no strings attached. If they accept, that’s great! Congratulate yourself on defeating a bike ninja. If they decline, that’s okay too. Don’t push the issue or harass them, just let them go on their way.

One issue in particular to keep in mind: think about what your reaction would be if you were biking along, at night, and a stranger suddenly appeared and offered you free stuff. You’d probably feel suspicious and possibly a little nervous. Maybe this weird bike person is trying to mug or assault you. This is a normal reaction for people to have, so try your best to be as non-threatening as possible. Stick to areas that are highly trafficked and well-lit, and don’t pursue people who aren’t interested.


You Saved Your Town From the Bike Ninjas! Now Go Party!

Eat that pizza you used to bribe your volunteers, have something nice to drink, and congratulate yourself on a job well done. Plan your next bike lights for ninjas ride, and get those volunteers signed up for it.

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Homespun heroes, unite! -TBAG Second Saturday Sept 8th

Remember when simple things like a blanket suddenly made you a flight-worthy avenger or your mom’s high-heeled shoes and a smear of lipstick made you a fearful queen? For one night in Tempe, return to the world of make believe. Don your superhero snow-gloves that allow you to smash your opponents, wield your mighty vacuum hose that allows you to suck out the souls of your victims, this September marks the homemade heroes Second Saturday ride.

Though Batman may be a badass and Storm has the ability to control the atmosphere, this Sept. 8, we’re more interested in your own home-spun version of heroism. Whether you’re SuperJeff who, with the help of his special armor made out of couch cushions, can crush his opponents, or Savage Sarah who’s known for her cave-woman-esque tactics of smashing her enemies heads in with a large stone, we want to know what powers you have within. And what odd things you can bind together with ducttape to make you appear bigger and better than life.

Meet your fellow powerful heroes and villains at Tempe Beach Park, the ride on to avenge your thirst for delicious craft brews in the fine establishments of Tempe. All power levels (on the bike and otherwise) welcome.

Where: Meet at Tempe Beach Park entrance: the northwest corner of Rio Salado Parkway and Mill Avenue in Tempe

When: Saturday, Sept. 8. Meet at 7:30 p.m., ride at 7:45 p.m.

Cost: FREE

How: For more information, contact or


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Free ticket to AZ Dbacks home game if you volunteer for bike valet

Valley Metro Bike Valet Volunteers needed for April AZ Diamondbacks Home Games

In celebration of Valley Bicycle Month,
Arizona Diamondbacks and The Summit will be providing FREE bicycle
valet for all April 2012 Home Baseball Games ! 

Contact Suzanne Day at Valley Metro to volunteer:

Volunteer details: Must arrive to open bike parking 2 hours before
game time and close 1 hour after game ends. Bike parking is to remain
open the entire time but volunteers may take breaks as long as demand
is handled. In return for their time volunteers will get a ticket to
a later D-Backs game, a Valley Bike Month t-shirt, and split any tips
with the other parker on duty. Need not be a cyclist but must sign a
volunteer agreement.

Two Volunteers are needed for each game to valet bicycles on the
following dates:

April 3 (Spring Training game vs Brewers) 4:40 pm – 1 hr after game ends
April 4 (Spring Training game vs Brewers) 10:40 am – 1 hr after game ends

April 6 (vs Giants) 2:10 pm – 1 hr after game ends
April 7 (vs Giants) 11:05 am – 1 hr after game ends
April 8 (vs Giants) 11:05 am – 1 hr after game ends

April 16 (vs Pirates) 4:40 pm – 1 hr after game ends
April 17 (vs Pirates) 4:40 pm – 1 hr after game ends
April 18 (vs Pirates) 10:40 am – 1 hr after game ends

April 19 (vs Braves) 4:40 pm – 1 hr after game ends
April 20 (vs Braves) 4:40 pm – 1 hr after game ends
April 21 (vs Braves) 2:10 pm – 1 hr after game ends
April 22 (vs Braves) 11:10 am – 1 hr after game ends

April 23 (vs Phillies) 4:40 pm – 1 hr after game ends
April 24 (vs Phillies) 4:40 pm – 1 hr after game ends
April 25 (vs Phillies) 10:40 am – 1 hr after game ends

Contact Suzanne Day at Valley Metro to volunteer:

Suzanne Day
Valley Metro Business Services

(602) 523-6063
101 N. 1st Ave. Ste. 1100 Phoenix, AZ 85003


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2012 Annual Bicycle Summit – Phoenix

Saturday April 21, 2012
10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at
Burton Barr Central Library
1221 N Central Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85003


10:00 Introductions & library logistics
10:15 State of Bicycling in Phoenix – The Five Bicycle Friendly Community E’s
Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement Evaluation
10:30 Review of April 2011 – March 2012 projects
11:00 Breakout Session 1: ENGINEERING
12:00 Valley Metro Bicycle Month 2012 – Bike to Work 2012
12:15 Parks & Recreation Dept presentation
12:30 LUNCH
1:30 Regroup, Discussion of Items from AM Breakout
1:45 City of Phoenix Engineering
2:30 City of Phoenix Encouragement
2:45 Breakout Session 2: ENCOURAGEMENT & EDUCATION
3:30 Regroup, Discussion of Items from PM Breakout
3:45 Summary – Bicycle Initiatives Subcommittee, Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists, Arizona Bicycle Club, Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club
4:00 Dismissal to Old Spaghetti Factory

call Joe for more info 602-534-9529



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Bike the new Buffered Bike Lane on Central Ave in Phoenix!


Sun. Jan 8, 12:00 NOON
We are meeting at Stinkweeds, 12 West Camelback.
Stinkweeds opens at 12:00 noon for on time arrivers.
Early arrivers can shop around the excellent shops on the northwest corner of Camelback and Central.
At Stinkweeds parking lot we will discuss these possible destinations: Postino, Windsor/Churn, TrailHead Cafe, SunUp Brewery.
12pm – We will be riding the new BUFFERED bike lanes on Central Ave from Camelback to Bethany Home then to Camelback then to Bethany Home then to Camelback then to Bethany. (a series of out and backs)
1pm-Lunch at Postino
2pm-we will do another hour of circles OR we could ride to Trail Head Cafe via AZ Canal then SunUp brewery.
3pm-Windsor/Churn OR TrailHead Cafe
4pm-more bike riding.
5pm-SunUp Brewery /End of Event

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Film Screenings – With my own Two Wheels and Contested Streets

For many Americans, the bicycle is a choice. An expensive toy. An eco-conscious mode of transportation. For countless others across the globe, it is much more.
For Fred, a health worker in Zambia, the bicycle is a means of reaching twice as many patients.
For Bharati, a teenager in India, it provides access to education.
For Mirriam, a disabled Ghanaian woman, working on bicycles is an escape from the stigma attached to disabled people in her community.
For Carlos, a farmer in Guatemala, pedal power is a way to help neighbors reduce their impact on the environment.
For Sharkey, a young man in California, the bicycle is an escape from the gangs that consume so many of his peers. With My Own Two Wheels weaves together the experiences of five individuals into a single story about how the bicycle can change the world—one pedal stroke at a time.
44 mins.
Here’s the trailer:
Co-Director Jacob Siegel-Boettner will be present to answer questions after the show.


Contested Streets is a Transportation Alternatives produced, Cicala Filmworks made documentary that explores the rich diversity of New York City street life before the introduction of automobiles and shows how New York can follow the example of other modern cities that have reclaimed their streets as vibrant public spaces.

Contested Streets features new footage of reclaimed streets in London, Paris and Copenhagen and interviews with New York savvy notables such as Ken Jackson, Mike Wallace, Bob Kiley, Majora Carter, Kathryn Wylde, Enrique Peñalosa, James Howard Kunstler and many more.
57 mins.
Here’s the trailer:


November 7 @ 8 pm, FilmBar in Phoenix
November 9 @ 6:30 pm ASU Tempe SCOB   
November 10 @ 7:30 pm University of Advancing Technology


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Mullet Ride

TBAG Third Fridays presents:

Show your redneck pride! Get out the Aquanet and peroxide and freshen up your do. This month we’re heading over to the glitzy McDowell strip to sample some of the swankiest dives in east Phoenix.

We’ll be a stone’s throw from the light rail our entire route, so if you need to check out early no worries.

What to wear – jean cutoffs, tank tops, western-checked shirts – NO SLEEVES. Show your sweet farmer’s tan, the ladies love this stuff. If you feel like your tresses ain’t golden or curly enough to roll with the best, you can find wigs at places like Fun Services Party Store, Mardi Gras Costumes, or even at your local Goodwill.

MEET at Tempe Beach Park on Friday July 16th at 7:30 p.m. We’ll roll out at 7:45. Bring lights and locks

This is a 21+ event, y’all bring your ID! Also, we’ll be in traffic and it’s real important everybody exercises safe behavior.

Be sure to RSVP to the facebook event here.

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Installation of the two Ghost Bikes

From Eric Iwersen:

The bicycling community came together recently to honor two cyclists killed in separate, unrelated accidents in Tempe during May. Chris Volpe was killed May 10 when he was struck by a vehicle while riding his bike at University Drive and Ash Avenue. A week later, bicyclist Jay Fretz was struck and killed at the intersection of McClintock and Alameda drives.

Memorials for each of the cyclists included installation of a “ghost bike” – a bicycle that has been painted solid white – near each of the accident locations. A well-known practice by cycling communities internationally, the ghost bike serves as both a memorial and a reminder of the potential dangers bike riders face.

City of Tempe staff have been working together with the bicycling community for decades to make Tempe a bicycle-friendly community. Following these two accidents, members of the Tempe Bicycle Action Group and other bicycling advocates have contacted city staff and elected officials to express concern and advocate for continued efforts to increase bicycle safety.

Tempe encourages community members to participate in planning bicycle facilities and outreach efforts, and has a number of ways people can be involved, including the Transportation Commission, which is comprised of Tempe residents (several of whom are bicyclists), and the Commission’s Multi-modal Planning Committee to facilitate community dialogue and input on bicycle/pedestrian projects and issues.

Over the last 14 years – since passage of Tempe’s transit tax – the city has emphasized multi-modalism and creating a balanced transportation system with connectivity between transit, bicycle and pedestrian facilities. Improvements include on-street bicycle lanes, multi-use paths, streetscape and traffic calming projects. Tempe now has more than 170 miles of bikeways throughout the city.

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