Best Bike Escape (2012)


Outside magazine recently named it the number-one bike town in America. Bicycling Magazine tabbed it number nine. The Old Pueblo may be regarded as Phoenix's little sibling in terms of Arizona's urban centers, but when it comes to cycling, Tucson has the Valley outclassed across the board. The fact that many pro cyclists and triathletes either live or train there in the off-season is proof positive that Tucson is among the very best cycling destinations in the United States, and it's a mere 90 minutes south of Phoenix. Tucson is home to two full-fledged hors categorie mountains (that's the hardest of the hard) in Mount Lemmon and Kitt Peak. The rolling landscape in and around the Tucson Mountains, including the always leg-straining Gates Pass, beckons roadies for miles of top-level riding.

For those craving the dirt, Starr Pass, Fantasy Island, and Bug Springs rank among the best mountain bike trails in the state. Throw in races such as El Tour de Tucson and 24 Hours in El Pueblo, not to mention one of the biggest and fastest group rides in the country in the Saturday Morning Shootout, and it's easy to see why cyclists such as Lance Armstrong, Greg Lemond, Clara Hughes, Tinker Juarez, and Chrissy Wellington have set up shop in Tucson over the years. Multitudes of spas and resorts make high-end off-the-bike recovery very easy, and the town is littered with good, healthy restaurants to keep the fuel levels optimized. Looking for a more official, organized bike retreat? Carmichael Training Systems, one of the leading cycling and endurance-sport coaching and training centers in the world, has an office at the base of the Catalina Mountains and offers an assortment of weeklong camps.


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