Cycle: Go for a Nooner

A few miles can provide a perfect lunchtime escape from the office, such as this run into Papago Park from downtown Tempe.
A few miles can provide a perfect lunchtime escape from the office, such as this run into Papago Park from downtown Tempe.
photo by Jason Franz

All too often the hardest decisions of the work day come down how to spend the lunch hour. The same old sandwich or burger joint or is it a sushi kind of day? Salad? burrito? 

Break the trend by using the lunch hour for an easy, enjoyable spin while fall and winter are in full swing. 


Here are five quick and easy rides around major office centers across the Valley.

A quick 30 to 45 ride around will get the blood and endorphins flowing for an energized afternoon and give you a chance to escape the shackles of the desk. But each of these rides can and should be done at a relaxing pace without changing into bike gear.

An added bonus to lunch rides is you need to have a bike at work. But if the commute from home is just a bit too far, load the bike in the trunk and have it ready to roll when the lunch whistle blows.

Downtown Phoenix

Get out of the cluster of semi high and mid-rises, and take in the sights of the State Capital, sports arenas, ASU Downtown Campus and Roosevelt Row. Start anywhere around Fist Avenue and Washington Street and head west to Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza. 


After circling in front of the state legislature chambers and the copper dome, head back toward Downtown along Jefferson to the sports arenas. Meander past the Science Center, Convention Center and St. Mary's Basilica to First Street and head north to Roosevelt Street, turning back downtown on First Avenue, making for a five mile loop.

Biltmore

The cluster of banking, investment, law, development and tech companies around 24th Street and Camelback Road are teeming with workers looking to wander the roads that their windows look down upon. Get a group together and head for the Biltmore Estates for a counter-clockwise loop around the golf course before linking into the Arizona Canal path (catch it at the north base of the Wrigley mansion). 


There is a short pass over some loose gravel after crossing the bridge to the north side of the canal before hooking back onto the paved path that runs under 24th and out to Maryland Avenue. Turn around there for a 6.5 mile loop.

Downtown Tempe/ASU

ASU is not the only employer in Tempe with US Airways, KPMG and many other high profile employers filling offices along Rio Solado. Take advantage of the beautiful new bikeways that roll through Papago Park and across Tempe Town Lake. Kicking off from Downtown Tempe on Mill Avenue, take Mill across the lake and cut across the brand new Tempe Crosscut Canal Path to the center of Papago Park, following the path north to McDowell Road. 


Double back to Hallman Park over to 68th Street and take it down to the lake marina. Hop onto the lake path heading west to the new pedestrian bridge that runs over the dam and then head back through the park to downtown Tempe, completing an 8 mile lap.

Scottsdale Airpark

The Airpark is packed with industrial centers and a labyrinth of roads that tend to dead end more than lead anywhere interesting. But the McDowell Mountains loom to the east begging to be viewed and enjoyed. Get to the northwest side of the airport and ride the Greenway Hayden Loop north across Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard to the Scottsdale Sports Complex. Turn right onto Princess Drive to Perimeter Drive. 

Hang a right and make a clockwise loop down Perimeter to Hartford Drive/83rd Street, crossing Princess, coming back to Perimeter to Princess. Turn right back onto Princess and follow it across Hayden through the Princess Resort before doubling back to Hayden and returning to the airpark for seven miles.

Chandler

Even with the recession, tech companies are setting up shop in the southwest section of Chandler around Price Road and Queen Creek Road. The likes of PayPal, Intel, Orbital and Amkor have affixed their logos to complexes in this edge region. 


In the center of this new development sits Ocotillo Golf Course, which is encircled by Jacaranda Parkway. Follow Jacaranda off of Market Place for a nice four mile loop. For a little more, or to link to PayPal or Amkor, take Dobson or Price north.

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