Arizona Winter Ride / by Erin Wade

This was my view on my bike ride this morning.

It was the last day of our Arizona trip. We had a very nice time, both with friends and as our little family exploring the Tonto National Forest, Tonto National Monument and Roosevelt Dam.

We had a little time left to kill before our flight in the evening, and it seemed a shame to have come out west in the middle of winter without having taken the opportunity for a bike ride. A quick internet or Yelp search will show that there are a lot of shops in the Phoenix area that rent bikes of various sorts and kinds. I went with Arizona Outback Adventures. I initially picked them because they had road courses mapped out that started and ended at their shop - a major bonus since I'm not familiar with the area. And that was great, but I have to say that the service and the shop was just awesome! I was coming in with very little notice, and they accommodated me quickly and politely, included a helmet, a rubber band for my pants (I don't do the whole spandex bike clothes thing) and a couple bottles of water all as part of the rental.

The course mapped out was perfect: A 15 mile ride laid out following the bike lanes in Scottsdale. I asked about the traffic - many of the lanes were on 4-lane roadways. The folks at the shop assured me that Scottsdale is a "pretty bike friendly town". This was absolutely the case - all traffic treated me as if I was supposed to be on the road with them, with no horns, no angry passers-by. Probably my favorite example of this attitude was from the roadside maintenance crew. Two gentlemen were out there alongside the road, next to the bike lane, running weed whackers. Each of them stopped as I rode by to keep from hitting me with debris.

All that, and the view! I wouldn't move to Arizona just for the weather - I mostly enjoy winter in Illinois. But for that sort of biking environment... Well, that might be something to consider.

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