The popular Viva Bike Vegas bicycle ride, which caps Interbike week every September in the Las Vegas Valley and attracted thousands of cyclists, has been canceled this year after losing money in 2013 and instead the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada will stage smaller community-focused bicycle rides.
The Viva ride was popular with Southern Nevada road cyclists and ranged from 17 miles to 104 miles, with the century ride taking in everything from the Strip to Red Rock Canyon. The bike ride also drew many cyclists from out of state. The entry cost was $85 to $150 depending on when cyclists signed up for the Viva ride.
The agency posted an item on Facebook on Jan. 28 to announce the cancellation.
“The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) would like to thank you for your generous support with our annual RTC Viva Bike Vegas event. With your help, we have been able to successfully organize an annual cycling event that attracted thousands of cyclists from all over the world to Southern Nevada.
“This year, the RTC has decided to forgo organizing a 2014 Viva Bike Vegas event and instead refocus our resources towards more ongoing support for community cycling activities and initiatives, including several smaller rides throughout the year.
“Again, many thanks to you for helping us promote safe cycling, a sense of community, and a healthy lifestyle.”
RTC spokeswoman Angela Castro said the 2013 event lost $117,000. The number of cyclists dropped from 2,351 in 2012 to 1,731 in 2013, while sponsorship revenue dropped, too, Castro said.The first Viva ride was in 2008.
“I don’t think people understand the cost of putting on an event of this caliber,” she said. “We can be more efficient and effective with smaller events.”
Castro said the agency is still committed to promoting bicycling in Southern Nevada.
That’s why RTC is discussing with the cities of Las Vegas and Henderson the idea of working with the cities on ride events, Castro said.
Bicyclists were disappointed at the news.
“I have participated in this event the last two years and found it to be a very enjoyable day and a great accomplishment for many of the local cyclists where these types of supported distance rides are few and far between. It was my first century ride in 2012,” said Jennifer Turchin, a cyclist who lives in Summerlin.
“I do think that some issues that arose in 2013 would need to be addressed for future events, such as the late notice on the corral placements based on each person’s estimated completion time, given at registration for the event, sometimes months earlier,” she said. “This caused confusion and anger among riders in the days leading up to the ride for those who planned to complete the ride together.”
The Las Vegas Valley Bicycle Club is discussing the possibility of turning its fall metric century bike ride of 62 miles into the 100-mile Viva ride, said Leanne Miller, president of the 100-membr club.
“It’s sad for cyclists when a big event that is known nationwide is stopped. It’s important to promote cycling in Las Vegas,” Miller said.
Contact Alan Snel at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-5273. Follow @bicyclemansnel on Twitter.