Whether you're drying out from New Years' Eve libations or getting those resolutions kicked off right out of the gate, there's no better way to ring in 2012 than on the bike. Starting the year spinning along a favorite route is never a bad way to go, but riding with more, be it a crawl with friends or a sprint with competitors, can be merrier.
Here are four New Years group rides that are, or quickly are becoming, annual traditions for the Valley's pedaling-obsessed. And if you're looking for something to do on New Years' Eve, don't forget about the 2011 Tour de Lights - this could be the last night to take it all in.
Slowride 2012 - Hosted and lead by the good folks at Trailhead Bike Café, this ultra-slow ride now is in its fifth year. The crawl will stop at an assortment of Central Phoenix establishments like The Garage, Rosie McCaffrey's, Feeney's and Moto. The ride heads out from the Trailside shop at noon (remember to coffee-up in the shop's café before wheels out) with anticipation of circling back to the shop sometime before Jan. 2.
23nd Annual New Year's Day Bike and Hike - Without a doubt, the longest running New Years ride in town, this group heads out from Usery Mountain Regional Park in Mesa at 10 a.m. and heads down Usery Pass to Saguaro Lake before turning back and making the five-mile climb back up the pass. Organized by the WatukeeWheelers chapter of the Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club, the ride is followed by hikes through the park and a pot luck lunch at noon. The park charges $6 admission per car or $2 per bike.
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New Years Revolution - This organized ride that starts and finishes in Goodyear is no mamby-pamby spin around town. With route distances of 100, 65 and 55 miles, this ride is only for the hearty and/or well-rested. There is a registration fee of $75 per rider with proceeds and additional donations going to the Hess Cancer Foundation. All riders have to be on the road by 9 a.m. departing from Goodyear Community Park.
Kokopedalli No-drop Ride - Looking to get that brand new road rig out on the road but not quite in hammer-condition or feeling super secure about riding with well-oiled peloton? Hook in with this easy rolling crew, again supported by the Phoenix Metro Bicycle Club, as they spin a quick 20-30 mile ride from Chaparral Park in Scottsdale at a casual 10-15 mph pace. The ride starts at 10 a.m.