Tucson, AZ

Tucson Named A "Bicycling Paradise"

Greyson F

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Go for a ride in TucsonPatrick Hendry/Unsplash

Whether you’re an avid bicyclist who loves to get out as often as possible, or you’re someone who likes to take a leisure bike ride from time to time, you likely know how excellent of a town Tucson is for riding your bike. Well, that has not gone unnoticed to outsiders. In fact, according to Travel Awaits, Tucson is a true “bicycle paradise.”

In an article titled, “5 Reasons Why Tucson, Arizona is a Bicycling Paradise,” author and bicycle lover Cindy Barks goes into detail as to what makes Tucson one of the best cities in the entire country for riding a bike. 

The article didn’t simply focus on the numerous bike paths and bike lanes throughout the city. Instead, it focuses on the variety of biking surfaces available in Tucson and surrounding areas. This means a bicyclist who loves city biking, there is more than enough smooth roadway for them to enjoy. And then for those individuals who would rather get off the beaten path and take to the trails, Tucson is one of the best off-road biking cities anywhere. There are dozens of bike trails surrounding the city, and yet all are close enough for a short drive. Even Mt. Lemmon offers up numerous biking opportunities (not to mention exceptional views). 

While there are both lovers and haters of the bus/bike lane that runs along Broadway, Speedway, and a number of other busy streets in town, many of the best bike riding takes place away from the smog of traffic. The Santa Cruz River Park Trail provides ample bike riding experiences as the entire 42-mile loop will take a rider through numerous public parks (the Rillito River Park Trail is 22 miles and offers some fantastic sites as well). It’s an especially beautiful bike ride early in the morning, as the wildlife is still active in the marsh. A brisk bike ride can demonstrate the assortment of animals living in Tucson, ranging anywhere from coyotes to snakes absorbing heat from the path (although most stick to the dirt by nearby shrubs in order to stay clear of the constant foot traffic). During monsoon season as the river trail fills, more animals can be seen throughout the day as well. 

If you are at least close to downtown, you don’t even need to have your own bicycle. There are a number of bike rental pick-up and drop-off locations around downtown and 4th Avenue if you find yourself in the neighborhood and want to go for a ride. Other bike shops will also rent out bicycles by the hour or day, which makes it perfect for visitors looking to take to the trails but are not able to bring their own bicycle. 

Lastly, one of the reasons Tucson is seen as a bicycling paradise is, as you might assume, the weather. It is possible to ride your bike for nearly the entire year. During monsoon season it can get a bit tricky, as some spots on the trail might flood (and you don’t want to be caught outside on your bicycle when the pouring rain starts). Likewise, there will be some days you simply can’t get on your bike during the summer, because the combination of the summer temps and the heat radiating up from the pavement make it too hot. Outside of an early morning ride, you might need to keep the bicycle in the garage for those few weeks of high summer heat. But, outside of that, few other destinations within the United States are able to provide the kind of opportunities to bike lovers as the city of Tucson, Arizona can. 

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