Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Riding in Tucson

For the limited stay I have had here in Tucson, I thought I would share some things I learned about Tucson for those who are considering to go to Tucson to ride bikes.

Weather
The first week in Tucson was cold. It was about 35-45 degrees and we had to dress warm. However, the following weeks, it warmed up to mid 70s every day. The nights are cool but the days are nice and warm. Sometimes pretty windy.

Accommodation
Where to stay
I would suggest to stay downtown Tucson because you can ride in any direction and have a great ride. (see Routes). The downside of staying downtown is that you have to ride out of the city but bike trails and bike lanes on all roads make it not as bad as it might sound.
For group ride purposes, perfect stay would be close to university (Euclid and University). All rides start from the Starbucks at that corner.
Depending what kind of accommodation you are looking for, there are a lot of Tucsonans renting rooms, such as this site: http://www.aliciarides.com/RoomRental.html


Restaurants
La Salsa is across from the Starbucks where all the rides start and end. After a super long ride, I would suggest the El Champion burrito.

Beyond bread is beyond good. I suggest three pieces of cinnamon cake followed by the raspberry tart with carrot cake and a tuna melt.

Alibaba- Mediterranean restaurant on Speedway and Tucson Boulevard – great food and big portions.

Le buzz – CafĂ©, Catalina Highway and Tanque Verde, great sandwiches.

Bike

Bike stores
I was told the most popular bike store is Fairwheel downtown.

Group rides
Depending on the time of year, the start time of the following group rides changes. Call Fairwheel for more information.
Generally in the winter:
Tue: 7:30am at Starbucks (Euclid/University): Gates Pass/ Mc Cain Loop ~35mi
Wed: 7:30am at Starbucks: Mt. Lemmon Ride (length depending on how far you ride up Mt Lemmon)
Sat: 7:30am at Starbucks: Shootout ~ 65mi

Routes
You can ride in any direction from Tucson and get a great long ride! All of the rides I posted have sandwich places along the way. Here are a few rides:




104 mi Cody Loop/ Web Rd






87mi Sierrita Mountain Rd/ Three Points


109 mi -Greaterville/Box Canyon




112mi Sanoita Ride


What to bring
Some serious tires. The routes are not always super clean and the thorns of the cactus challenge even the most robust tires. Flats are common in Tucson.
Sun lotion.
Layered clothing. It could warm up 20-30 degrees between the start and the end of the ride.
Swimsuit: Either you meet the right local with a whirl pool or you can treat yourself to a spa in one of the many spas Tucson has to offer.


A few notes

Cars

Although there are a lot of cyclists around, car drivers are not always supportive of the bike community. However, the big advantage in Tucson is the plethora of bike lanes. Once out of the city, you can enjoy the open roads with little traffic.

For foreigners

There are some US border controls south of Tucson. I got stopped twice on the way back from the rides and asked if I am a US citizen. Options: Either practice your “yes” in the best American accent or bring ID with you.

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