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Thread: Riding Tucson's Loop Trail

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    Default Riding Tucson's Loop Trail

    I was down in Tucson over the holidays, took a breakaway bike with me on the flight down. This year the weather was perfect! Sunny, beautiful clear air, lows in the 30s-40s and daytime highs in the 60s-70s. Pima County has completed the last ling in the loop trail around Tucson with a total something like 54 continuous miles of dedicated bike paths, almost all of it paved, but with lots of nice dirt alternates. The trail mostly follows a system of washes that converge at Tucson - Pantano Was, Rillito Was, Julin Wash and the Santa Cruz "river." There aRE a few stretches of trail that run on streets or along them, especially in South Iucson around the VA hospital.

    Riding Tucson the 52-mile loop.

    44 error: File not found



    tu_1.jpgtu_2.jpg

    tu_3.jpgtu_4.jpg These were in some kind of memorial display along the Pantano Wash section

    tu_5.jpg

    This is a trail you can ride in a single day easily. I goofed around a lot and took two days. There are some stretches of no water ... if you go in summer take plenty of H2O.

    jn


    "Thursday"
     

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    Default Re: Riding Tucson's Loop Trail

    A few more pictures ...tu_6.jpgtu_7.jpg

    And here we are at Fantasy Island - about 160 acres of desert singletrack with weird trail markers, like rotting stuffed bunnies impaled on cactus for the "Bunny Trail"

    tu_8.jpgtu_9.jpgtu_10.jpg

    Nice place to stop for a chat. There is water available at a C-store nearby the south entrance to the park.

    jn
     

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    Default Re: Riding Tucson's Loop Trail

    More pictures!

    tu_11.jpg A little more of the Fantasy island trails, mostly rideable with a touring bike.


    tu_13.jpg

    tu_12.jpg


    tu_14.jpg I did see quite a bit of wildlife, including well-fed, bold coyotes.

    jn
     

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    Default Re: Riding Tucson's Loop Trail

    Then the trail cuts through south Tucson. Sometimes you have to navigate by guess ..

    tu_19.jpgtu_20.jpg

    And then you get into some nice parks, with artwork

    tu_21.jpgtu_22.jpgtu_23.jpg

    This is about the end of the Julian Wash segment. Food and water here!

    jn
     

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    Default Re: Riding Tucson's Loop Trail

    Onward toward Santa Cruz Wash!

    tu_25.jpgtu_24.jpgtu_26.jpg

    More tile mosaic, this time on a retaining wall
    TU_27.jpg

    And then St Mary's is a good way to get off the loop, under the freeway and into old town ..

    TU_28.jpg


    jn
     

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    Default Re: Riding Tucson's Loop Trail

    There used to be white bicycles all over Tucson. Most of them have been taken down, and there are fewer new ones. May because Tucson has gotten safer for cycling? There are designated bike streets all over town now ...

    meanwhile down in Old Tucson there is this shrine to all the cyclists who have been killed.


    TU_29.jpg

    jn
     

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    Default Re: Riding Tucson's Loop Trail

    Your making me homesick!! (I'm originally from Tucson) Seriously though... appreciate the pics!

    Just been stuck in Macau for a few months now on a work project. Definitely no riding here. :(
     

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    Default Re: Riding Tucson's Loop Trail

    Quote Originally Posted by duende View Post
    Your making me homesick!! (I'm originally from Tucson) Seriously though... appreciate the pics!

    Just been stuck in Macau for a few months now on a work project. Definitely no riding here. :(
    Duende,

    If you have a long weekend, take your bike to Chiang Mai. Lots of flights in & out and plenty of good riding. Even more riding if you have a week or two.

    jn
     

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    Default Re: Riding Tucson's Loop Trail

    Great write up J.N.

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    Default Re: Riding Tucson's Loop Trail

    We got a nice map of this loop at Fairwheel - it says 120 miles total, though some of those miles are on out-and-back sections from the north and south ends of the loop proper. We used the western section along the Santa Cruz river as part of our Gates Pass loop, and it was a great relief to get away from the interminable monster truck traffic of that area.
    Jorn Ake
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    Default Re: Riding Tucson's Loop Trail

    This is a great writeup, especially for those of us in the grip of winter.

    Thanks.
     

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    Default Re: Riding Tucson's Loop Trail

    Hey thanks for the tip! Will definitely check it out!
     

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    Default Re: Riding Tucson's Loop Trail

    Time to wrap it up! Afterthoughts on riding Tucson

    I’ve been riding Tucson over the holidays for a number of years now because our son lives there. We can go down, hang with him and enjoy time off from winter. We sometimes find a cheap short-term rental or else crash on his floor. Some years the weather is lovely, some years it is cold, cloudy or even rainy. You never know what you’re gonna get.

    Way the city is laid out is mostly a one-mile square grid of high-speed arterial streets, with neighborhood streets running inside the big blocks. You CAN ride the arterials, and I do it myself, but it’s not much fun. In the last few years the city has marked bike lanes on most arterials – they can be anywhere from two feet wide on up. With nothing between you and 50-mile-an-hour traffic.

    The city has also marked bike routes on the interior streets. Traffic is a lot slower and wayfinding is mostly pretty good, although it helps to stay alert for the painted bike street marks on the pavement. Sometimes the marks disappear and you have to guess which way next. It’s not exactly bicycle-friendly but it’s way safer and easier than Phoenix.

    Tucson lies in a flat valley surrounded by razor-sharp mountain ranges. If you stay in the valley you won’t have to do much climbing. If you want to climb, you can do five or six thousand feet riding up Mt. Lemmon, or the other surrounding hills/mountains.

    The Arizona Trail goes through, you can pick it up at Oracle north of town or Rincon Valley southeast. It goes all the way to Utah. The Arizona Trail Association - Working to protect and maintain the Arizona National Scenic Trail.

    Beer and coffee

    Lots of both. Tucson IPA is a mixed bag. Dragoon is pretty good and on-tap all over. It tends toward hoppy/bitter. Tap and Bottle on Sixth Ave. down by the University has hundreds of brands in bottle and about 20 on-tap. Coffee houses are plentiful enough you don’t have to go to Starbucks. The Bookman’s bookstores are great for browsing or sitting out a rainy day.

    Restrooms

    Can be scarce. Ditto unlocked porta-potties. There are small parks all over town and a lot of them have restrooms. Also Tucson is dissected by a number of small washes that the streets have to cross.. they are usually dense with mesquite or palo verde. You can duck into one of those and do your business without attracting attention.

    Food

    Mexican is the thing here. The Latino/a population is large and well established, and do they ever like eating out! Eat local. There are places on the south side that serve an excellent menudo … you don’t even have to think about eating at Chili’s or Taco Bell.

    Camping

    You can pretty easily camp in the wild, especially along the Tucson Loop. There is a lot of space, covering vegetation, and soft sand in the washes. There are homeless but they are mostly concentrated near downtown and along Santa Cruz Wash. I wouldn’t hesitate to camp, but would not leave a tent up during the day. There are more structured options available.
     

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    Default Re: Riding Tucson's Loop Trail

    And I almost forgot WATER! Two things - always carry some, even in winter. There are a couple 10+ mile stretches with no water. The other thing is, when there IS water, there can be a LOT of it. Flash floods - when the rains are on, don't camp in a wash and don't ride into a flooded wash.


    Good luck!

    jn
     

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