Where (and When) to Ride Your Bike in Tucson
The road is calling you to get on two wheels and explore the city
Tucson is a great place to go for a ride and our seemingly endless supply of sunshine means that you’ll almost certainly have nice dry roads to travel.
There’s a reason so many cars here are equipped with racks on their roofs or bumpers. It's the same reason the city ranks on many “best places to bike” lists. Tucson is a great place to ride, both leisurely and seriously, and the seemingly endless supply of sunshine means you’ll almost certainly have dry roads to travel. As a longtime mecca for bicyclists, the metro Tucson region supports its active pro-bicycling culture and maintains miles of car-free paths, bike lanes and trails. Here are some routes for a variety of skill levels. For more information on where to ride in the Tucson area, check out a map of local paths created by the Pima Association of Governments.
The Loop network of shared-use paths in metro Tucson connects the communities of Marana, Oro Valley, and South Tucson. The paved path has dozens of access points throught the metro area and people can walk or run and ride bikes, skates or horses for as much or as little of the 131-mile route as they like. No motorized vehicles are allowed. The car-free route provides access to parks, trailheads, bus and bike routes, restaurants, schools, shopping areas, and entertainment venues and is open from dawn to dusk. The Loop is the place for annual cycling events, including Loop The Loop, which in September kicks off El Tour de Tucson season, and Tour de Cookie in March.
At Epic Cafe on Fourth Avenue, there’s a great bike corral for your parking needs, but if you’d like to take a trip north from there, the Fourth Avenue/Fontana route takes riders to the Amphi neighborhood via a journey complete with public art, bike crossings and a great tour of Tucson houses.
It’s not really a “ride” per se, but Cyclovia Tucson is a love letter to a car-free existence in Tucson. It's a community event, held twice a year in different locations. City streets are closed so bicycles can ride along a car-free route. B, booths are manned, beer gardens are grown, and pedestrians and bicyclists get a space to themselves for a day. It’s just a lot of fun.
Definitely not for everyone, the ride up Catalina Highway is a workout for even world-class bicyclists. And don’t be surprised to see one (or a pack) of them fly by you a few miles outside of Le Buzz, the coffee shop on Tanque Verde that acts as a meetup space for the riding community. They might actually be heading out on the full 26-mile ride up to the top of Mt. Lemmon, gaining nearly 6,000 feet in elevation in the process. Again, it’s not for everyone, but it is a great gift to have this ride available and right outside of the city.
Saguaro National Park East
It doesn’t get much more beautiful than this ride, as majestic saguaros surround you on the paved scenic route through this national park. It’s only eight miles, but it does feature some rollers, a steady climb and an experience you won’t soon forget.