A belated #WhereInTheWorld from Tucson, Arizona, where Peter and I spent a good chunk of April hanging out with our great friend Cayley and her amazing boyfriend and housemates. Tucson is one of the most friendly places I’ve been in a while, and Cayley, being one of the friendliest people in the universe, was kind enough to intro me to a bunch of her friends on weekend and night rides.
The cycling community there—whether you’re looking for some ultra-casual MTBers with beer in their Camelbaks or crazy serious roadies who just want to do repeats on Mount Lemmon—is just world-class. I can’t recommend this place enough, and it’s on my list to go back and spend some more time there. But if you’re going, a few recommendations for riding and hiking:
Saguaro National Park
You can only ride a small chunk of singletrack in here, but it’s a great road loop for intervals, and a cool park in general. (I just wrote a short piece about it for Lonely Planet!) But what I really like is, honestly, the idea of supporting our National Parks. I got grumpy paying admission when we went, but the more I thought about it, I realized I’m happy to contribute to keeping places like this alive.
Hike or mountain bike here. We went on the coolest night bike/hike with Cayley and a few friends (see: photo above) and it was simply amazing. Cactus everywhere. One note: Jon warned me halfway through to not step down the steps into the shadows at night, since that’s where snakes hang out. My stride increased about 300 percent at that point.
Who doesn’t want to ride up 9,000 meters in 20 or so miles? Mount Lemmon is one of the most bike-friendly places to ride in Tucson while being the most brutal. It’s hard, it’s long (heyoo) and it’s wicked fun and a great test of your abilities, whatever they may be. Do it fast, do it slow (2nd heyoo), it doesn’t matter. It’s a chill enough gradient that you’ll make it to the top, but hard enough that you’re never truly chilling out and spinning. Hit up Le Buzz, a great nearby cafe that’s ultra cycling-friendly, when you’re done.
I’m looking forward to getting back there at some point—LMK if there’s anything I *have to* check out when I do!