Mt. Lemmon Ride and Bike Rental
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  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2015

    Mt. Lemmon Ride and Bike Rental


    My folks have gone full snowbird and own a place in Green Valley south of Tucson. We're wondering if it is feasible to ride Mt. Lemmon between late October and mid-April, with a preference for the early part of that.

    Ideally we'd head down in late October or early November when we are still clinging to our summer fitness. Getting fit for long climbs is not realistic for us until usually late May or early June.

    Is the weather typically conducive for riding this high without encountering sub-40 degree temperatures on top of Mt. Lemmon?

    We are also thinking about Kitts Peak, Mt. Graham and Madeira Canyon. Any other area rides you would recommend?

    Also since we are flying renting bikes is preferred, any recommendations?

    I definitely want to stop at the Cookie Cabin on Mt. Lemmon, any other food stops to recommend?


  2. #2
    Proud luddite
    Reputation: azpeterb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    The temps at the top of the mountain are generally about 20 degrees cooler than the temps in Tucson, so yesterday's high on Mt. Lemmon was 55 degrees....and that's about as warm as it's going to get up there from November-February. October and March will be warmer, and then in the summer months it's fantastic up there. But those are the high temps, which would be in the late afternoon. Any earlier in the day and it can be really cold, too cold for me but then I'm a thin-blooded desert rat. As long as there's no snow/ice, you'll be fine but be prepared for the 20-degree difference in temperature from the base of the mountain to the top. You might be dressed comfortably when you start the climb, only to freeze your kiester at the top.

    There are a couple restaurants up there, with one being in Ski Valley and another in Summerhaven....but from what I recall both places serve mediocre food that is overpriced. Whatever you do, don't stuff yourself if you eat up there because starting the "descent" out of Summerhaven actually involves a long, steep climb before the real descending begins, and I have heard stories of cyclist barfing up their lunches because they overate and then had to do that tough climb right away.

    I'm not too sure about rentals but I believe Fairwheel Bikes rents some, and they're a reputable shop. They are located by the UA campus near the football stadium.

    I hope this helps....

    EDIT: I checked Fairwheel Bike's website and they do indeed have rentals. Here's a link:

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Thanks for the info. It matches with what I could gather.

    Fairwheel looks like a good option for renting.

    We're looking at next year and are trying to decide between a March trip and a November around Thanksgiving trip. From a fitness standpoint November will be easier for us to pull off, we were able to ride Washington Pass at 5,000+ feet a month ago although the descent was pretty brisk. Of course this year has been a very dry autumn in the Pacific NW.

    The climbs down there look pretty cool, especially Mt. Lemmon. Kitts is pretty close to where my folks have a house, Graham is a bit farther so that might not be in the cards but there are other nice rides down there.

    We probably wouldn't eat a big meal on top, but those cookies at the Cookie Cabin sound enticing.

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    And be advised if your decending on the shadow side of the mtn, it is even colder in the late afternoon.

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