Tucson is internationally recognized as a hotspot for off-season road biking. Why? There is no limit to the miles of cycling routes that wind around the city and through the surrounding regions of Southern Arizona. With its open roads, quirky southwest charm, remarkable spring weather (daytime temperatures typically in the 60s and 70s), and rolling hills covered in wildflowers, there’s no place a road cyclist would rather be when it’s too cold to ride at home.
Many visitors fill their schedules and look for the opportunity to do one or two long rides while in Tucson and Southern Arizona. However, once you see how beautiful this destination is, and how many incredible bike routes there are, you may want to ride shorter distances over more days to enjoy the region thoroughly.
Southern Arizona claims some of the most biologically diverse ecosystems in North America and a spring road bike trip is the perfect way to see them all. In about 100 miles of riding, you can pedal through forests of saguaro cacti to pine trees to grapevines. In the famous Saguaro National Park alone you will find a greater variety of plants and animals than most people are aware live in the entirety of Arizona. In a single day, you can enjoy the warm cactus-studded landscape of Tucson, hike among the pines on Mount Lemmon, and make your way to the rolling hills of Sonoita to enjoy a sunset in wine country.
The diversity of terrain provides options for both intermediate and advanced riders. The attractions of wine country, jagged mountain ranges, and rich history found in old western towns like Tombstone, AZ make a cycling journey through Southern Arizona both challenging and exciting. Tucson has made every effort to establish a strong cycling infrastructure with wide bike lanes, dedicated multi-use paths, and a community that supports the ethos of both bike commuters and recreational cyclists.
The idea of the “Wild West” has long been attracting visitors from around the world to Arizona. Tucson is a great launching point to explore the history of native tribes, Spanish explorers, and white ranchers who feature in many of Hollywood’s most famous western movies. However, it’s not all about Tombstone’s saloons and gold in the hills — there are incredible vineyards being cultivated in the same rolling hills where cattle has been ranched for generations. Some of our favorite cycling routes pass by wineries and provide the opportunity to stop in for a tasting to get to know the flavors of Arizona wine.
Whether planning your own trip to Southern Arizona or looking for an easy escape where all you have to do is ride, the cycling options and general interest of the area is undeniable. Spring is the perfect season to explore while the weather is warm but mild and your legs are itching to get back on the bike after waiting out winter.