Mount the saddle of your trusty steed and #RideTucson
Sun. Clear skies. Open trails. This is what Tucson offers 300 days of the year, which makes it the perfect place to hop on a bike and take in the history and beauty that surrounds the Old Pueblo. Whether you’re a seasoned biking veteran who enjoys a challenge or someone who relishes a calming cruise around town, Tucson provides a scene that’s sure to please the adventurous spirit of every cyclist.
Fan of rocky routes with a fun and easy descent? There’s a trail for that. How about a run that will test your limits and really put your glutes to work? There’s a trail for that, too. Tucson is framed by five mountain ranges, each filled with roads and trails for every type of ride and expertise.
Mountain biking at Fantasy Island
Photo credit: Justin Haugen
If you want to feel some dirt under your wheels, Redington Road is a perfect two-track to hit. Nestled between the Santa Catalina and Rincon Mountains, this dusty road gives you the opportunity to build the difficulty of your own gravel biking challenge. Take on the big climb that reaches up to 1,000 feet if you’re looking to burn some major calories. Reward yourself with a fun descent, and don’t forget to nab those Instagram-worthy shots.
In the mood for a desert roller coaster ride? Fantasy Island on Tucson’s southeast end is for you. No, there’s no crazy resort nearby serving quirky drinks in a coconut, but you will find the perfect place to get acquainted with desert mountain biking. It’s a fast and easy ride with lots to see along the way. If you’re traveling with more experienced riders, Fantasy Island also offers some tricky sections for a nice dare.
Serious riders want serious thrills, and if you’re looking to work up a real appetite, one of the most challenging is the ride up Mt. Lemmon. It’s a favorite training ground for professional road riders and mountain bikers alike. For roadies, it provides a 26-mile paved ride up to the highest peak in the Santa Catalina Mountains at 9,157 feet with a fast and curvy descent similar to riding a mountain stage in the Tour de France. This ride lets you experience both the desert landscape and the crisp feel of the mountain’s green forest. That’s right. Tucson has a mountain forest.
For mountain bikers, Mt. Lemmon also offers some of Arizona’s best and most tested trails, such as the Aspen Draw, Incinerator Ridge, Green Mountain, and Bug Springs. Consider setting up a shuttle or guide service from Homegrown MTB to help you conquer the trails of your choice.
Road riding on The Loop
Photo credit: Courtesy of Pima County / Randy Metcalf
If sightseeing is your thing, then taking to the streets on a bike is the way to go. Tucsonans are no strangers to sharing the road with fellow riders, so don’t be afraid to bring your commuter along for a cruise downtown. You can also take a spin on a bright yellow rental bike just like the locals do thanks to Tugo, a bike share consisting of more than 330 bikes and 36 stations around town.
There’s no better way to get to know the Tucson community than by getting involved. Not a fan of riding solo? Take part in organized group bicycling events, which are held often by organizations like Tucson’s own Greater Arizona Bicycling Association (GABA).
Worrying about cars on the road can be a concern for some riders, but, luckily, we’ve created a solution for that problem in The Loop. Cyclists can ride car-free on a paved multi-use trail for more than 130 miles with the only concern being where to stop for a quick break and maybe to catch a little bird watching. It also connects riders to restaurants, shopping, and 30 parks and facilities. Like double dutch, you can jump in when and where you’d like. Find your opening and begin your journey around town.
It’s always sunny in Tucson, Arizona, so be sure to slather on the sunscreen and drink plenty of water. Go full-suspension for mountain rides and prep your bike with thicker casing tires for the tough desert landscape, and be prepared for possible encounters with prickly plants like the teddy-bear and jumping cholla, and goat-head thorns. Pack the sealant! Always wear a helmet and please be considerate of fellow riders both on trails and on the road. A wise person once said, “Sharing is caring.” But most importantly, just remember to have fun and ride Tucson your way.