Desert dogs, gila monsters, chuckwallas and sidewinders were safely avoided by Jenn and Courtney on their desert bike tour outside Tucson. The PPP owners escaped the rains of Portland over the winter holidays for a needed break and some vitamin D uptake. They rented road bikes and laid rubber to the desert. Here’s a recap of their adventure.
Day 1: West of Tucson by Old Tucson Studios, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Saguaro West National Park over Gates Pass and McCain Loop. See Gates Pass – Marana River on MapMyRIDE
Day 2: Saguaro East Loop, Saguaro National Park (Rincon Mountains). Ranked as one of the 100 rides you should do before you die. “An 8 mile loop with one way traffic that is a blast to ride. The first half is rollers with a lot of down. It’s like a roller coaster. There is a good mile long climb in the middle, then more rollers. They charge a few bucks to get in. “ Sounds well worth it! See Saguaro East Loop on MapMyRIDE
The idea for the trip came at the recommendation of Michael McKisson, founder of Tucson Velo (“Covering Tucson’s cycling community” — Tucson’s version of BikePortland.org). The day trips looped through Saguaro East and Saguaro West over two days on a pair of “awesome roadbikes” rented at Fair Wheel Bikes near the University of Arizona (Jenn’s and Courtney’s alma mater). Reports of great service and generous pricing aimed at extended ride times are encouraging for those headed to the area for some glassless views of the desert splendor.
Keep an eye out for Fair Wheel Bikes as they will be opening a satellite store in Portland this March. The store in Portland will be a different animal altogether from their Tucson parent. It will be more like a museum or art gallery than a full-service bike shop. This will be interesting as they will rotate handmade bikes from different builders for little or no cost. Sales inquiries will be directed to the builders or to Fair Wheel’s website. Read more on BikePortland.org’s story, Unique custom bike shop/gallery to open in Portland. There is some good dialogue in the comments, including several from the shop’s general manager. My favorite: “I love the idea of industrial design being viewed as art…” Yum. Looking forward to visiting. Maybe Fair Wheel will be encouraged to display some sweet and innovative handmade cargo bikes. It’s on my list.