Swapping stories, spokes - The Explorer: Sports

Swapping stories, spokes

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Posted: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:02 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

Pity the driver of that hand-waxed BMW stuck in I-10 construction entanglements on Sunday morning, as crowds of bicycle enthusiasts combed Fourth Avenue for bargains of two-wheeled paraphernalia, in celebration of their quadricep-fueled ride of choice.

Call it a farmers’ market for cyclists. El Bike Swap de Tucson’s spring rollout sounded last call for the Sonoran desert’s prime riding season.

The 17th semiannual gala of chain-driven lore found $30 knobby tires fetching a third of their normal price. Stories, and lies, of ultimate trail experiences came even cheaper.

Brad Nutting figured he’d finally found his life’s work. Alongside a row of basement-priced full-suspension rides and campus specials, the Ajo Bikes tech guy espoused the benefits of custom-machined frame parts.

After a couple decades working construction and a stint in architecture school, Nutting said he’s happiest around bikes.

“It’s a cool little niche,” Nutting said. “You’re not going to get rich, but you’ll be a happy idiot.”

Others flouted their rejection of a car-intensive commuter lifestyle.

Jacob Winnes, a 24-year-old screen printer, summed that up best with his fresh-made T-shirt that boasted, “I’d rather spend $4/gallon on beer.”

Though he didn’t end up purchasing anything besides a couple hot dogs, the collection of cycling gear represented Winnes’ outlook on the automobile’s future.

“The cost of insurance, gas, wiper blades — just look at how many people are moving out of the suburbs,” Winnes said. “This is the car lot of the future.”

True enough, the stereotypical sleazy car salesmen would’ve been run out with hemp pitchforks from El Swap. But most of the best deals changed hands early, as the event kicked off around 6 a.m. with early birds scoring aluminum worms.

Many of those buys came not from dealers, but scab-inclined folks who’d decided to clean out their garages and take advantage of the event’s lack of registration fees.

James Mitchell, Kim Gilchrist and Aaron Potter left Phoenix at 3:30 a.m. to secure prime real estate. By mid-morning, the trio sat under a shade canopy, freed of two spare bikes while hawking their glut of chain rings and miscellanea.

Most of Mitchell’s gear reflected his habit for mountain biking’s madman-take-all subgenre of down-hilling, where gravity always prevails.

“My endurance these days is about eight minutes,” Mitchell joked.

The swap lasted till noon, though, when folding tables began landing in backseats and truck beds. A gangster-clad duo — one quite rotund, the other thin as a spoke — strolled past a kid sitting Indian-style on the pavement, whose cell phone sounded a continuous recorded loop: “Bike for sale.”

“Man I ain’t never even seen so many bikes,” the larger one offered. His buddy nodded deeply.

While the pair’s thousand-bike strong awe came free, it seemed the only thing not for sale was another few months of noontime 70-degree riding weather.

Around Tucson, that’s a bundle package, available only with a plane ticket.

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)


Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions


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