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  1. #1
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    Arizona here we come!

    We will be moving to the Phoenix AZ metro area within the next year and I'm looking for kind of a “lay of the land “ perspective. It appears from my cursory inspection that most of the cycling is on the east side, Scottsdale/Mesa or closer into Phoenix proper. We are retired and will be looking at Queen Creek/Florence (Merrill Ranch), Buckeye or Peoria, all south or on the west side. We currently live in the Sandhills area (Pinehurst) of North Carolina although we moved here a couple of years ago from Reno Nevada and are from Northern California, both the Bay Area and then north of Sacramento.

    I generally ride alone unless I make a riding buddy, but I'm not much of a shop or group rider. I do like the occasional organized/supported rides, although not as many centuries any more but certainly metrics. In spite of being 70, I still manage 5K+ miles a year.

    I'm looking for a sense of road cycling in the areas I mentioned, I like to ride out of my garage and put in 30 to 50 miles in a circuit. I don't mine throwing my bike in my car and driving to a start place but it would be great to avoid it as it cuts into riding time.

    Is there an area that has greater access to road riding...area that is safer that others?....I don't mind hills or climbing so elevations are unimportant. Anything I should know?, animals?, flats?..

    Any observations would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Is there an area that has greater access to road riding...area that is safer that others?
    Tucson.

    Kidding, there's lots of great riding all over the valley, personally, I would prefer northeast like Fountain Hills.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bronco71 View Post
    Tucson.
    That's what I was thinking. Then again, I'm biased - do my riding in NW Tucson (Oro Valley).

    OP, if you have some latitude in location, might wanna check it out.

  4. #4
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    There is riding on the northside that is pretty good and out west there is the farm area where you can ride, so I wouldn't limit your search to the east side. I think more of the younger riders ride out east, but there are plenty of other areas.
    I ride out on the west side regularly in the winter. Check out WestValleyCycle.net.
    There is the channel system, but a lot of that is a little older and kinda bumpy.
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  5. #5
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    Thanks for the input...I'm glad to hear that there are good rides to the west as it's likely that we'll probably locate there (Buckeye, Peoria, Verrano etc) or to the south (and east?) near Florence, so NW Tucson/Oro Valley is an option, although it seems as that I would have to travel to ride.
    It does apear that West in general offers more options and although I generally ride alone, it's good to know about the WestValleyCycle ride....

  6. #6
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    We ride out of McD's up north of Grand & Bell, and ride down to Verrado one day, to Estrailia (east of Buckeye) on day, & up north to Vistancia area on other days. Lake pleasant road goes north. There are some roads up north of LPR east to 17.

    Check out Strava heat maps!
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  7. #7
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    There are tons of roads and routes south and west of Buckeye. Nice rides out to Arlington, Gillespie Dam, Wickenburg, etc. Take plenty of water and pick a route plan stops around water and food sources as you can ride 30 or 40 miles without hitting a city or a store. Summer you need to be careful to keep hydrated you can also go north to Skull Valley and up to the Canyon have fun.

  8. #8
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    Speaking from my own experience of relocating across the country (upstate NY to Tucson AZ via Las Cruces NM), my advice is to spend some quality time in any/ all locales of interest. That's the only way you'll really know what's right for you an get a feel for the areas.

    At face value you and I do similar rides (solo, out my driveway I ride 1 1/2 hrs/ ~25 miles daily) but what I'd consider perfectly acceptable you may not. Example, OV can have a fair amount of traffic, but the views are superb, overall quality of life good and infrastructure (bike lanes) good. I'm ok with that.. you may not be.

  9. #9
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    If you like to bike, and are considering Tuscon vs Phoenix area...... Oro Valley will win, no question. But it is windy there, a little bit more than Phoenix. And you are 2 hours from Phoenix, there are no major cities otherwise.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by duriel View Post
    If you like to bike, and are considering Tuscon vs Phoenix area...... Oro Valley will win, no question. But it is windy there, a little bit more than Phoenix. And you are 2 hours from Phoenix, there are no major cities otherwise.
    I've lived in OV for a bit over 2 years now and have found it to be less windy than both upstate NY and Las Cruces NM. Never been to Phoenix, so can't comment.

    As to proximity to other larger cities, I'd agree that Tucson is pretty much stand alone in that regard. But air quality is better here than Phoenix.

    All this (to me) just points up the importance of researching/ spending time in areas of interest and deciding based on one's priorities.

  11. #11
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    I have been looking at OV. I'm not ready to move yet, but I think that will be my next move. I'm up in Cottonwood, the temps are very similar to OV, 10dF less in winter but we have yr round riding. Except we don't have the MUT/road with bike lanes that OV has.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by duriel View Post
    I have been looking at OV. I'm not ready to move yet, but I think that will be my next move. I'm up in Cottonwood, the temps are very similar to OV, 10dF less in winter but we have yr round riding. Except we don't have the MUT/road with bike lanes that OV has.
    I'm not familiar with Cottonwood, but just Googled it. Looks nice. Elevation is 1K higher than OV and about 30K less people.

    That's really my only complaint with OV. Now that I'm here, I want them to stop developing.

    Our winter runs ~ mid-December to mid-February with 'cold' highs around 50 degrees. Similar to you, year 'round riding.

    If you end up here check out El Tour de Tucson. Draws about 6K riders.

  13. #13
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    With regards to Oro Valley, I agree that it's a phenomenal place to be based out of as a rider. Plus, it's only going to get better. Tangerine road will be completed down to Twin Peaks this year, Ina Road next year, LaCholla starts next year and it will finish the following year. We'll have unobstructed excellent bike lanes to the west and south. This, in addition to the thousands of miles of good bike lanes we already have.

    And don't forget Mt. Lemmon. This is a world class climb and it's right here in town.

  14. #14
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    I kinda not a fan of Oro valley roads. we looked at homes there but ended up buying a home at the foot of Mt Lemmon, tanque Verde area. Lots of quiet roads there, and we're on Lemmon in 10 min on the bike. though I try to spend more time in mtn bike than road bike there

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by PJ352 View Post
    I've lived in OV for a bit over 2 years now and have found it to be less windy than both upstate NY and Las Cruces NM. Never been to Phoenix, so can't comment.

    As to proximity to other larger cities, I'd agree that Tucson is pretty much stand alone in that regard. But air quality is better here than Phoenix.

    All this (to me) just points up the importance of researching/ spending time in areas of interest and deciding based on one's priorities.
    Best part of riding in Oro Valley: Rancho Vistoso! Nice roads, wide bike lane, relatively light traffic and a mix of hills the entire way. Just watch out for the old dudes in their golf carts driving in the bike lane...they're worse scofflaws than most cyclists!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by duriel View Post
    I have been looking at OV. I'm not ready to move yet, but I think that will be my next move. I'm up in Cottonwood, the temps are very similar to OV, 10dF less in winter but we have yr round riding. Except we don't have the MUT/road with bike lanes that OV has.
    Moved out here in June (from Western PA) and have not regretted it. Great cycling community and the Tucson area is fairly bicycle friendly.

    It has been a bunch of years since I lived in Phoenix, but I almost put the bike away for good when I did move up there after living in Tucson. If you can get to the smaller communities outside of the major Phoenix metro area, the bicycling is good, but getting there can be a hassle. As for urban riding in Phoenix, be careful! I had a lot of stuff thrown at me while riding solo, commuting along "accepted" bike routes. On the other hand, the off road trails in the middle of the city (Dreamy Draw?) were a nice surprise and car traffic free. Hopefully they've been maintained and are still accessible.

    In any case, Good Cycling to you!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by azpeterb View Post
    Best part of riding in Oro Valley: Rancho Vistoso! Nice roads, wide bike lane, relatively light traffic and a mix of hills the entire way. Just watch out for the old dudes in their golf carts driving in the bike lane...they're worse scofflaws than most cyclists!
    AMEN!!

    We are also close to the Loop Trail which is almost like a bicycle highway system linking Oro Valley to the Tucson area while avoiding motor vehicle traffic.

    Damn! Maybe we should not make it sound so attractive. Too many people move in and there goes the beauty

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