Randy Victory serves as CAzBike’s Northern Arizona Representative.
Chip & Karen Davis discussing bicycling with Randy
Known as “Ranger Randy,” Victory works at Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood. He often patrols the park on his bicycle, offering his own special brand of friendly assistance to the public. Born in San Francisco, he grew up near Dallas, Texas, not far from six-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong’s childhood home. After graduating from Redwood High School in Marin County, California –the birthplace of the mountain bike, Victory began cycling in the Rocky Mountains near Denver, logging 10,000 miles a year on his bike. In fact, he lived an entirely car-free lifestyle, handling everything from commuting to shopping, “Although I really don’t miss riding through the snow in sub-zero temperatures!”
Volunteerism comes naturally to Victory, who was a Boy Scout and later volunteered as a National Mountain Bike Patroller, a program sponsored by the International Mountain Bicycling Association. Besides trail building, he learned a lot about working with the public. “Volunteering really helped the Forest Service and the sense of fulfillment, accomplishment and service was phenomenal,” Victory says. “It also ended up leading to my current career!”
“Transportation is incredibly important to human beings. We even have a special symbol for people with mobility limitations. I’ve always believed that I should be able to freely choose my mode of transportation. If you look at our Federal budget, transportation is second only to defense. At the State level, transportation is the biggest budget item. According to the latest statistics, transportation costs for the average American household are second only to housing costs. So as you can see, we place a high regard on mobility. I’d like to help create a community where individuals actually have realistic choices about how to get to school, or work, or to the park – where they don’t just climb into a car because they’re afraid to get there any other way, or feel compelled to act as full-time chauffeurs to their kids because they feel the streets are unsafe,” Victory says.
Victory was the founder of the Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition, a bicycle advocacy group whose membership promotes “share the road” principles, education, and bicycle infrastructure integration on behalf of the local community. Learn more by logging on to the VVCC Web site, www.vvcc.us. The Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists asked him to serve on their board for a time, after Victory made three trips to the National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C. as part of the Arizona delegation. He also serves on the ADOT Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee and the Cottonwood Bicycle Advisory Committee. “We don’t accomplish anything without the people around us,” Victory emphasizes.
In the coming years Arizona will probably be a lot bigger, and one of Victory’s goals is to work toward creating complete streets – streets that address the needs of pedestrians, bikes, cars, commercial traffic, kids, people who have had DUI or other license trouble or for some reason can’t drive, the disabled and adults – not just adults in cars.
The biggest challenge for cycling is compensating for the past 50 years of no education or bad education, Victory believes. “Education is a big part of the answer to so many of the world’s problems, and cycling is no exception. We need to help non-cyclists understand that infrastructure improvements and bicycle facilities benefit the entire community, not just bicyclists, and the time to put these improvements in place is now, while the cost is still low. Retrofits can often be a burden to the taxpayer.”
Promoting the bicycle as a preferred mode of transportation, Victory advises, “Just do it! Riding a bike is patriotic! And, if you’re going to do it, remember cyclists fare best when they act and are treated as operators of vehicles. Some folks ride their bikes in a manner driven by fear. So, they ride illegally and unpredictably.” A League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor, Victory advises bicyclists not to do anything on bicycles that they wouldn’t do in cars, like riding on the sidewalk or against traffic.
There’s never a dull moment in Victory’s life. “After so many years acting as a full-time bicycle advocate, it’s nice to be able to branch out.” he says. He is still active as a cycling advocate, a National Mountain Bike Patrol Instructor, teaches beginner mountain bike classes, spends a fair amount of time riding & wrenching on bikes, and even gets to hang out at the local bike shop!
It’s not surprising that Victory’s favorite quote is Albert Einstein recalling conceptualizing the Theory of Relativity, “I thought of that while riding my bike.”