Get the new year off to a fun start on your bike! The weather is perfect, the bike lanes and trails are plentiful, and there are several group rides happening in the first week of 2012.
January 1: Sweetwater Ride, 11:00 a.m.
This mountain bike ride, organized by the Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists, will start at with socializing at 10:45 a.m. and “feet in pedals” at 11:00 a.m. It will be a medium-paced ride of about one and a half hours in the Sweetwater Preserve. Directions: Take Ruthrauff Rd. west of I-10 where it then turns to El Camino del Cerro. Approx 1 mile west of I-10 you will cross Silverbell Rd. Keep going west about another 1.8 miles until you come to Tortolita Rd., and turn left (south). Go about 1 mile until the road dead ends, and find the trailhead. You might be invited to the SDMB holiday party that follows at 1 p.m. at Flowing Wells Park. Party info at: http://www.sdmb.org .
January 3: Tuesday Night Community Bike Ride, 8:30 p.m.
The Tuesday Night Community Bike Ride is a slow ride with a different route every Tuesday. Riders begin assembling around 8:30 p.m. and usually depart by 9:00 p.m. The ride finishes by 10:00 p.m. All types of bikes and all types of riders are welcome! Meet at the flag pole on the University of Arizona campus.
January 4: Gabe Zimmerman Davidson Canyon Trailhead Dedication, 2:00 p.m.
This isn’t a ride, but check out the great new trailhead gateway and bike racks designed by mountain biker and metal artist Lee Blackwell. The trailhead is for hikers, mountain bikers, horseback riders and all other non-motorized trail users. The event is organized by the Arizona Trail Association, Pima County Regional Flood Control District,and Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation. The trailhead is located on Marsh Station Road approximately 3 miles east of I-10 Exit 281 (Sonoita Highway, SR 83). After exiting, turn left to cross over I-10, then right and right onto Marsh Station. Parking at the trailhead dedication site will be limited; please follow directions to overflow parking. Shuttles will provide transportation to the dedication site.
January 4: Sweetwater Night Ride, 6:00 p.m.
Southern Arizona Mountain Bike Association hosts this weekly mountain bike ride that starts at the Sweetwater trailhead 4000 N. Tortolita Rd. Lights are required, come experience trail riding in a totally new way! For more info, click on the SAMBA Meetup Page.
January 5: Starr Pass Night Ride, 6:00 p.m.
Southern Arizona Mountain Bike Association hosts this weekly mountain bike ride that starts at the Richard E. Genser Starr Pass Trailhead, 1298 S. Clearwell Road. Lights are required for this 1.5 to 2 hour ride. Tucson Mountain Park has some of the best riding in Tucson. Typically the ride heads up to the four-way trail intersection, out to the Starr Pass, around the backside to Yetman wash, and back to the start. Options along the way are Cat Mountain, Robles, John Krein out and back, or Stone House. For more info, click on the SAMBA Meetup Page.
January 7: Shootout, 7:30 a.m.
This is one of the fastest training rides in the west, starting at the UA Main Gate at 7:30 a.m. and heading south to Green Valley and back on a 60-mile loop. The pace starts at a warm-up pace, then takes off after the last traffic light. Watch for pro cyclists and triathletes who are training in Tucson this winter. Saguaro Velo has a great description of this ride here. There is also a slower version of the ride, called the “Old Man Shootout” that starts at 6:30-7:00 a.m.
January 7, Arizona Trail Jamboree, 10:00 a.m.
This fund-raising mountain bike ride for the Arizona Trail has ride and shuttle options. Meet at Pistol Hill Trailhead, just north of Old Spanish Highway, where the Arizona Trail intersects this dirt road. Sign up for the ride at http://topofusion.com/jamboree.php. Then sign up for the 10:00 a.m. shuttle (8:00 a.m./40 mile shuttle is full) that will drive you and your bike south to the start of the 25 mile ride. Or, start riding south anytime, and meet up with the groups heading north. This section of the Arizona Trail is moderate with a very few technical challenges. Enjoy easy riding and great scenery of the Rincon Mountains, La Cienega, and the Santa Rita Mountain foothills.
January 8, Casa Grande Mountain, 10:00 a.m.
Hit the highway on this SAMBA ride to check out some new single track. It’s an intermediate ride with some technical climbs, Maps of the trails are available here. Meet at Himmel Park at 10:00 AM or at the SE corner of I-10 and Tangerine at 10:30 a.m. to carpool. For more info, click on the SAMBA Meetup Page.