Tucson’s Mount Lemmon is the best climbing ride in Arizona.
Road Biking Tucson, Arizona:
Come Discover the World’s Greatest Cycling Destination
CYCLING TUCSON, ARIZONA – The Tucson, Oro Valley, Green Valley and Southern Arizona area is indeed the greatest road biking destination in the world. With wide streets, clean air, impeccable desert beauty and year round biking, Tucson is where pros from all over the world come to train and even live. Tucson offers the best road bike rides, the best sightseeing and the best Arizona cycling vacation you can have.
More and more cyclists choose to retire to Tucson than any place in the USA. Of any area to start your vacation – or relocating – Oro Valley and Northwest Tucson is the choice area for road and mountain bikers. Oro Valley is blessed with the scenic Catalina Mountains and 80 miles of bike paths and lanes that connect to over 100 miles of shared use bike paths called The Tucson Loop.
“Whether you are a serious cyclist or just a casual biker, the Oro Valley area is like no other place for road biking in Arizona,” says Bart Johnson, retired engineer and volunteer for The Arizona Bicycle Association. “I retired to Oro Valley and I can never see leaving.”
Road biking in the Tucson/Oro Valley/Southern, Arizona is great. Be prepared. Tucson is well-known for goat heads, a form of cactus that causes many flats. We recommend Armadillo or Gatorskin tires. All of our bike rentals come with flat protected tires.
Arizona’s Best Hill Climb Rides
And there are few places in the world that offer more varied and challenging mountain climbs than Tucson. Mount Lemmon’s 26 mile climb at 4.3 percent average grade is one of the most popular cycling climbs in America. Just an hour away, Mount Graham, however, is the most difficult. A short drive away and pros love training at Green Valley’s Madera Canyon, Whipple Observatory, Kitt Peak and even Arizona’s greatest century ride – Amado to Sasabe, Arizona on the Mexican border!
Oro Valley and Tucson, Arizona –
Discover 180 Miles of Bike Paths and Lanes
Want to get away from traffic and enjoy our clean, dry air? Start anywhere on the Tucson Loop and bike over 100 miles! The Loop connects to beautiful Oro Valley and the Catalinas. From there, enjoy another 80 miles of bike paths and streets with wide bike lanes.
Grab your road bike or rent a bike from Tucson Bike Rentals and Tours. Or better yet, hire one of our personal tour guides to give you a custom half day bike tour, mixed with road biking instruction. Tours are a fun way to go on rides that only us locals know about! Get away from the city and discover an off-beat path and road bike Arizona like you are a local! Call us today at 520-338-8536.
- Cycling Tucson’s Shared Loop Bike Path (Connects to Oro Valley)
- Oro Valley’s Saddlebrooke Resort: Lots of Shoulder
Great Arizona Climbing Rides: From Mount Lemmon to Madera, Tucson is Best
- Mount Lemmon – Arizona’s Best Climbing Ride
- Mount Graham – Arizona’s Most Challenging Ride
- Whipple/Hopkins Observatory – 24 Kilometers, Brutal, Challenging, Scenic
- Kitt Peak – Tucson – Short, Steep, Intense
- Madera Canyon – Green Valley – Climb to 5200 feet
- Amado to Arivaca to Sasabe – 48 or 98 miles – Intense
- Box Canyon (Madera Canyon) Grab a mountain/cyclocross bike
Tucson’s Most Dangerous Routes: Cycling Rides We Do Not Like
- Old Sonoita Highway Ride – This is often a favorite of national bike tours who stroll into our town. You will ride white knuckled with no edge and many blind spots. Check out our video to learn why this is a accident lawyer’s dream ride.
- Gates Pass McCain Loop Bike Ride or better know as “The Tuesday Group Ride” – We recommend this for experienced riders only. For almost the entire ride, cyclists ride without an edge and face blind spots going up Gates Pass. We do like this ride as an early morning ride during non-tourist season.
- Oracle Road to Catalina – This is not so much a dangerous ride as it is annoying. Cyclists suffer lots of flats here. This is a crowded Oro Valley highway, but you get a lot of shoulder. Shards of steel and glass are prevalent. Oro Valley is the best place to ride in Tucson, but Oracle Road is a spot we avoid. Have your flat protection tires!
- El Tour de Tucson Bike Route – This is an aaaaawesome ride DURING the spectacular El Tour de Tucson event when the roads are all closed. However, this route puts cyclists in the path of too much city traffic. There are much better century rides to be had in Tucson. Ride the Amado to Arivaca to Sasabe century ride and really, really enjoy an intense climb and a fun ride to the Mexican border. There is great coffee in Arivaca as well as Arizona’s oldest bar. The burgers are killer. Also, Arivaca is a great place to meet, well, interesting people.
- Marsh Station Road Bike Ride – Tucson/Vail – Avoid this. This road has not been maintained in years and has glaring potholes. It is a great place to lose your fillings, though.
Tucson, Arizona Road Cycling Routes “At a Glance”
- Saguaro National Park East – East Tucson, Arizona – This is a “must do” Tucson gem. This Tucson national park offers a 9.5 mile loop ride with plenty of climbing and thrills. The great pavement will make you feel like you are riding on a race track. This is perhaps the greatest pure Tucson sightseeing ride in all of Tucson. When you finish this ride, consider adding more miles, road biking the Colossal Cave Pistol Hill bike ride.
- Cody Loop – Oracle, Arizona
- Colossal Cave Pistol Hill Bike Ride – Park at Saguaro National Park East and ride to Colossal Cave.
- El Tour de Tucson Bike Route – Really, only do this during the event.
- Gates Pass McCain Loop Bike Ride or better know as “The Tuesday Group Ride” – Tucson, Arizona – Fun, Scenic, challenging and intense. There is little edge throughout most of this ride.
- Gates Pass ~ McCain Loop Road Bike Ride – Tucson, Arizona – Fun, Scenic, challenging and intense. There is little edge throughout most of this ride.
- Kitt Peak Road Bike Ride – Tucson, Arizona – Wow! One of Arizona’s top five road biking climb rides.
- Madera Canyon Bike Ride – Tucson, Arizona – One of Arizona’s top four climbing rides. Start at La Posada Java on Continental in Green Valley and bike 12 miles to the top – 5200 feet. Enjoy a 14 percent climb on the final stretch.
- Marsh Station Road Bike Ride – Tucson, Arizona – Too many people get themselves in trouble with this service road ride – poorly maintained and too many potholes. Scenery is cool.
- Mount Graham Hill Climb – Safford, Arizona – Just an hour from Tucson, this is the most challenging and difficult road bike climb ride in Arizona and one of the top challenging rides in the USA.
- Old Sonoita Highway Ride – Tucson, Arizona – Short, peaceful ride. DO NOT take highway 83 to Sonoita.
- Pantano River Park Tucson, Arizona – Awesome place for beginners and casual cyclists.
- Picture Rocks Bike Ride – Tucson, AZ – Scenic and pretty, this is a great ride to do early morning. Cyclists do not get much of an edge on this route.
- Sabino Canyon Biking – Tucson, AZ – Steep, short, FUN, scenic. You can only road bike this at certain times. This is one of Tucson’s best sighteeing and “things to do” adventures.
- Saddlebrooke Bike Ride – Tucson, Arizona – This is a favorite of casual bikers and beginners who want wide shoulders and peaceful riding. Many of our clients start/stay in Oro Valley and bike north to Saddlebrooke.
- Saguaro National Park Biking – Tucson, Arizona – This connects to Gates Pass and Picture Rockes. This is an incredibly scenic ride with plenty of climbing. There is no edge here. We recommend this ride, starting very early.
- Shootout Group Bike Ride – Tucson, Arizona – This is a group ride for serious amatures and professionals.
- The Loop – River Bike Path – The Tucson Loop offers over 100 miles of incredible shared use bike path. The Loop is one of the many hallmarks that make Tucson, Arizona the greatest cycling destination on earth.
- Tucson to Sonoita Bike Ride – Tucson, Arizona – Don’t do this. National cycling tour companies foolishly send their clients out on this death ride.