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  1. #1
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    AZ or NM for the best roady cycling options...

    I'll be moving from MI shortly and what I love about my area is that I have three directions I can leave from and do anywhere from 30 to 100 miles loops, with the roads friendly enough for road cycling (ie shoulders, not necessarily marked as bike lanes but wide enough such that drivers and cyclists aren't "fighting" for space). On top of that, drivers are generally very good with giving wide berths and there are a lot of cyclists in my area. I plan on moving to the southwest US, hopefully AZ/NM region. I'm just curious if anyone here has this same type of knowledge of riding in these states and could recommend some cities to look into.
    p.s. and for all you SS freaks out there...ya' know, some people want to go faster than what gravity allows when going downhill. I'm just sayin'....

    To bad carbon bikes don't have the same abilities as our carbon based bodies....namely, the ability to regenerate after an accident.

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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jabpn View Post
    I'm just curious if anyone here has this same type of knowledge of riding in these states and could recommend some cities to look into.
    If the only requirement is 30 to 100 mile loops, I'd say Edgewood, NM.

  3. #3
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    Go somewhere 2-4000 ft or it is going to be really hot in the summer or snow in the winter. I live in the sedona area, 90 miles from 1000 ft & 40 miles from 7500ft. If your looking for riding opportunities with biking acceptance, go to Oro Valley near tuscon.... nothing is better. But it is hot, but they have a mountain!
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    If the only requirement is 30 to 100 mile loops, I'd say Edgewood, NM.
    Excepting it’s kind of flat and ugly. This attitude is the result of living 6 mos, of the year in Santa Fe and doing a lot of road and mt. biking and it’s really beautiful up that way, just expensive as well.

    BUT, you can go south, east and north from the Edgewood area and lose track of the miles and might need somebody to like, drive to Colorado or Texas, to retrieve you. Not as many loop options though, mostly out and backs.

    Santa Fe is a lot prettier, has a colder winter that makes road riding problemat. Somewhere just east of the Sandias, maybe along Rt 14 is nice.

    Folks that I knew in SF would drive a bit south towards Albuquerque and ride on 50 degree days in winter.

    Bottom line on a lot of SW road riding is there’s not a huge boatload of local roads, so you ride the same stuff a lot. That’s just the nature of it’s not a hughly populated area.

    Maybe Prescott, AZ ?, not sure of summer temps though. It is a pretty area.

    One thought would be get a gravel bike, tons of dirt roads out west.
    Last edited by Steve B.; 07-21-2018 at 01:37 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
    Excepting it’s kind of flat and ugly.
    Guttierez Canyon flat and ugly? Not to mention Sandia Crest, Heartbreak Hill (east or west), S14, 217 (north or south), Turquoise Trail, etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
    Not as many loop options though, mostly out and backs.
    I think you need to look at a map. https://www.strava.com/heatmap#11.00....14615/hot/all
    Last edited by asgelle; 07-21-2018 at 01:49 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
    Guttierez Canyon flat and ugly? Not to mention Sandia Crest, Heartbreak Hill (east or west), S14, 217 (north or south), Turquoise Trail, etc.


    I think you need to look at a map. https://www.strava.com/heatmap#11.00....14615/hot/all
    I think my almost tongue-in-cheek response wasn’t seen as such.

    My thought was that heading into that area east of ABQ is less scenically interesting then the Rt 14 area, north and south of I40, which I recommended (“Somewhere just east of the Sandias, maybe along Rt 14 is nice.”). Ditto, SF. Beautiful area, but has a real winter at times.

    As well, the Strava heat map (yes I looked at it), likely shows many fewer road options then where the OP lives currently, as I stated due to just fewer paved roads. If you have a gravel capable bike, it’s kind of limitless and is what I would be riding.

    Note that if my wife told me “we are moving to Edgewood”, I think I’d be OK with it as about anyplace in NM is better then the NYC area I live in now.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by duriel View Post
    Go somewhere 2-4000 ft or it is going to be really hot in the summer or snow in the winter. I live in the sedona area, 90 miles from 1000 ft & 40 miles from 7500ft. If your looking for riding opportunities with biking acceptance, go to Oro Valley near tuscon.... nothing is better. But it is hot, but they have a mountain!
    or the Tanque Verde area nearby also in tucson. It's where I have a winter home. b but ... 8 months a year I could not ride there at all, due to heat. Mt Lemmon is 5min ride from my doorstep too, and I suppose one could drive half way up and climb in cooler temps. in the valley even in October I can only ride at like 7am due to heat

    road riding is super popular there in winter. but the mountain biking is much better than the road biking
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  8. #8
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    The heat and the terrain should be critical factors for your selection. The southern desert is hot but flat, like riding in a blow dryer. As you go north of Phoenix the elevation can change significantly and the mountains can be challenging. The heat is acceptable if you grow up there. Check out Tucson, Silver City, Camp Verde, Sedona, Nogales.

  9. #9
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    I live on the north end of Phoenix and I ride year around between 3 to 6 times a week. Road bike more in the summer since cooler with extra airflow from speed. 105F is easier at 16-23mph than 5 to 10. More mtn bike in the winter for the same reason. 20mph at 55F is darn cold and it gets to 32F in early mornings in winter. However I don't consider the road riding here great. Good enough to get some miles in, but mtn bike is top notch. I have 1hr 15min drive and I am 20 deg cooler, 2hr drive and Iam 25 deg cooler. I did a 9hr mtn bike ride this weekend and had to bring my vest and arm warmers and got cold. I was 2 hrs drive from my front door.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    I live on the north end of Phoenix and I ride year around between 3 to 6 times a week. Road bike more in the summer since cooler with extra airflow from speed. 105F is easier at 16-23mph than 5 to 10.
    105°F is also a crap-ton easier at <20% humidity, which is why I can ride year-round in Tucson AZ but there are 80°F days most everywhere on the eastern seaboard that are simply insufferable.

    Desert cycling FTW!

  11. #11
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    From having traveled a lot in the southwest, I'd say that there are fewer 'hotheads' in NM, which might make the roads a bit safer.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Time Toulouse View Post
    From having traveled a lot in the southwest, I'd say that there are fewer 'hotheads' in NM, which might make the roads a bit safer.
    Yeah, but a lot more meth heads!

    As others have said, Tucson is pretty awesome from Nov through about April, but brutally hot after that. Tons of good riding of all types (flat, rolling, climbing), at least 2-3 very good climbs (Mt. Lemmon, Kitt Peak, Madera Canyon) and even more pretty good climbs (Gates Pass, "A" Hill, Picture Rocks, Dove Mountain, Saguaro East). Very good bike culture and an amazing bike "path" system - really more like bike *roads*. Also lots of great food. If it wasn't so darned hot in summer, there's a good chance we'd retire there full time.
    Last edited by OldChipper; 07-24-2018 at 07:29 PM.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
    105°F is also a crap-ton easier at <20% humidity, which is why I can ride year-round in Tucson AZ but there are 80°F days most everywhere on the eastern seaboard that are simply insufferable.

    Desert cycling FTW!
    Agree 100% In reality, once you acclimate to the low humidity and high temperatures there are really only 6-8 weeks where riding is unpleasant. I usually only lose 10-15 days a year due to heat. Take a lot more fluids than you might elsewhere, salt tabs and you'll be fine. I don't mind riding when it's 105, not a bit. The breeze still cools you. During the monsoon with temps upwards of 110-112 with humidity of 30-70% are those days where it's tough to get a ride in after 9 am.

    Here's the thing, we get about 44 really good weeks a year. The other 8 are treated the same as winter would be in the colder areas. We stay inside on the trainer when it's too hot. But it's only 8 weeks.

    Then there are the roads. This area has put a ton of effort in the last two decades into having some great bike lanes all over town. Plus there is the "Loop" which is fully connected now and one can ride 140 miles without backtracking. Mt. Lemmon is a great ride almost year round, west of the Tucson mountains is stunningly beautiful, the national monument on the east side is great, tons of groups and activities, some pros train here in the winter, Sabino Canyon, Green Valley & Molino Canyon. It never gets dull riding here.

  14. #14
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    New Mexico is best. I am biased as I have always lived here fits your bill though in my opinion

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bronco71 View Post
    Agree 100% In reality, once you acclimate to the low humidity and high temperatures there are really only 6-8 weeks where riding is unpleasant. I usually only lose 10-15 days a year due to heat. Take a lot more fluids than you might elsewhere, salt tabs and you'll be fine. I don't mind riding when it's 105, not a bit. The breeze still cools you. During the monsoon with temps upwards of 110-112 with humidity of 30-70% are those days where it's tough to get a ride in after 9 am. I balked on riding yesterday here at 27C

    Here's the thing, we get about 44 really good weeks a year. The other 8 are treated the same as winter would be in the colder areas. We stay inside on the trainer when it's too hot. But it's only 8 weeks.

    Then there are the roads. This area has put a ton of effort in the last two decades into having some great bike lanes all over town. Plus there is the "Loop" which is fully connected now and one can ride 140 miles without backtracking. Mt. Lemmon is a great ride almost year round, west of the Tucson mountains is stunningly beautiful, the national monument on the east side is great, tons of groups and activities, some pros train here in the winter, Sabino Canyon, Green Valley & Molino Canyon. It never gets dull riding here.
    while I ride in Tucson in winter and like it, I find it amazing that a human body could acclimatize as much as some of you claim. I can't really stand riding there from March till early November. Just the sunshine combined with 90F+ temps is too much for me, miserable. Heck the TourdeTucson in Nov last year was a few degrees above my comfort zone at 27C (79F?)

    and yet I see some people with long pants and jackets - and face masks (!) - on in Tucson when it is a balmy 20C (65F?) lol. wha?

    the amazing adaptabilty of human physiology astounds me. I remember training at -10C some years back east.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    20mph at 55°F is darn cold.
    or perfect for me.

    anything over 75°f for me is "darn hot."
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Winn View Post
    New Mexico is best. I am biased as I have always lived here fits your bill though in my opinion
    Excepting all the life changes for which I'm grateful, principally my partner and my kids, I have regretted leaving ABQ in 1997 every single day and pine away for it. I cycled very sparingly while I was there but now as an increasingly active cyclist (though still pretty n00b) I fantasize daily--without hyperbole--about cycling in New Mexico.

    My current wishlist is to shack up in Quemado and ride through Pie Town and to Socorro. Just yesterday I regaled my partner with my hope to train for riding from here in humid, bland Ohio to Quemado next summer. Which is frankly ridiculous but dreamy all the same.

    Which is to say: I'm not sure there's anywhere in NM or AZ that isn't​ good for cycling, though YMMV and such.

  18. #18
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    I've lived in Tucson since 1994 and agree with some of the other folks on this thread that it's a great bicycling town. But I have to be honest and warn you that our roads are in horrible shape....cracks, potholes, rough pavement, crumbling shoulders. It's a big deal here and while everyone gripes about it, nobody wants to spend the money to fix it. So yes, there is a vast network of bike lanes but many of them are downright hazardous due to the poor surface conditions. On many of our roads you'd be better off riding an MTB rather than a road bike. Here's a recent article that ranks Tucson's roads as the 5th worst in the nation:

    https://arizonadailyindependent.com/...-in-country-2/

    Having said that, a cyclist can certainly pick and choose their routes, and use the bike lanes on roads that aren't as awful as some of the others. I mostly ride in the Oro Valley area north of Tucson proper, and the road surfaces there are excellent.

    Just wanted to paint a complete picture of bicycling in Tucson for you.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by BCSaltchucker View Post
    while I ride in Tucson in winter and like it, I find it amazing that a human body could acclimatize as much as some of you claim.
    I lived there for 3 years and did not get used to the heat so I'm not sure how long I should wait
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  20. #20
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    It's not just the heat. There's also the total lack of shade, so you're always baking in the scorching sun. At least back east you can find lots of well shaded tree-lined roads to offset the humidity.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by azpeterb View Post
    I've lived in Tucson since 1994 and agree with some of the other folks on this thread that it's a great bicycling town. But I have to be honest and warn you that our roads are in horrible shape....cracks, potholes, rough pavement, crumbling shoulders. It's a big deal here and while everyone gripes about it, nobody wants to spend the money to fix it. u.
    crazy thing is, I own a home in Tucson and the tax rate is more than 4x what my tax rate is here in Victoria BC (per home value), yet the roads in Vic are absolutely pristine and TUcson would be suitable for 40mm 650B tires lol.

    though it's only specific roads that are bad. Snyder rd right near my home being the worst. Mt Lemmon which ajoins Snyder is very well kept, pristine. Solider trail i sbad, but harrison is pristine. I guess they are working at it piece meal
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