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Loving the Loop

Pima County’s 100-plus miles of paths are a bicyclist’s dream.

Weirdly, Tucson’s interconnected, nearly city-encompassing series of trails and paths for the non-motorized set started with a flood. The 1983 flood - hard to believe, we know, a flood in the desert, but it happened - demonstrated the need for reinforced riverbanks. Dry most of the time, but when it rains, sometimes, as they say, it pours. The walls alongside the Rillito, Pantano and Santa Cruz rivers were updated and at the same time, access roads were built along the banks to make maintenance easier. 

Weirdly, Tucson’s interconnected, nearly city-encompassing series of trails and paths for the non-motorized set started with a flood.

In a seemingly accidental win/win situation, inspiration struck and these paths were expanded to create a massive network of paths and while there’s still work to be done, there’s a section of the Loop on each side of town, largely connected with extremely minimal automobile interaction, and at some point, it’ll be one continuous loop (sorry) with 131 miles available from sunrise to sunset, seven days a week. Plus, there are offshoots of the Loop heading off to Oro Valley, Marana and San Xavier.

Besides the fact that it’s awesome to have a bunch of trails to ride without the drama of dealing with cars, there’s also a community aspect to the Loop. The Loop connects parks, BMX tracks, farmer’s markets and the city as a whole. Plus, on the Santa Cruz side at 3201 W. Diamond St., there’s the Loop Bicycle Shop, offering free coffee, a place to take a break and a full service bike shop located in a shipping container. Only in Tucson, apparently.

For more on the Loop, check out its web page or the Facebook page for frequent updates.

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