Prickly Pedal Mountain Bike Race Will Showcase Maricopa Trail, Clog North Phoenix Area Roadways

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

More than 300 mountain bike riders are expected to converge in the North Valley on Saturday for the inaugural Prickly Pedal race, an event designed to highlight the new Maricopa Trail.

Bicyclists will bounce mostly on single- and double-track dirt trails during the 45-mile race but also cross several roadways in New River, Cave Creek, and near Lake Pleasant. Motorists should watch out for signs in the area marking the race, county officials say, and prepare for reduced speed limits and occasional stops. The race starts at 8:30 a.m. at Lake Pleasant Regional Park and finishes in Cave Creek at Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area. 

Maricopa County Supervisor Andy Kunasek, who represents District Three, has pushed for a trail intended to connect the 10 county parks around the Phoenix area for most of his 18 years in office. The Maricopa Trail now runs about 213 miles but will be 310 miles when it's finished next year. It runs under Interstate 17, connects city park trails, power-line roads, canal paths, desert arroyos, and existing county trails, and can be accessed at many different points. The goal is to have as little riding on asphalt or concrete as possible and have as few road crossings as possible for the trail's full length.

The county has spent at least $7 million in the past 10 years to buy up state land, acquire rights for the use of certain sections and improve the trail system, says Kunasek, a Republican.

"I really want people to use it," he says. He came up with the idea for the trail after traveling in Germany years ago and noticing the country's robust trail systems. He believes the public will embrace the Maricopa Trail in the future and that having better public recreational options — especially for kids — decreases crime and other ills.

He also pushed for the race, which has been in the works for nearly two years. More than 200 people had signed up at this writing, and the race probably will reach its goal of of 300 riders, he says.

The event features a five-mile Fun Ride, after-party, and award ceremonies in Cave Creek from 3 to 6 p.m. with Nate Nathan and the MacDaddy-o’s BandHickman's Egg Ranch will supply a free breakfast to riders and volunteers. District Four County Supervisor Clint Hickman owns the farm with brothers Glenn and Billy. The cost is $90 per rider, with the funds going to support the Maricopa Trail + Park Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps fund, develop, and maintain the Maricopa Trail.

"Come on out and have burrito," Kunasek says. He'll be riding in the Fun Ride and talking to participants.

The bike race will be difficult, clearly. According to the website:

"The race features numerous short, steep, rocky climbs and descents…some of which will require you to dismount and hike. This is not a race for the inexperienced – finish times for most racers is estimated at 4-5 hours. Be prepared for a long day in the saddle. This is a mountain bike race. Racers who have not passed Cave Creek Regional Park by 2 pm will be asked to leave the course and return to the finish line."

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.