Cycle: 10 Reasons to Love Cycling in Phoenix

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About a year ago, we kicked off a new column about all-things-bike-related and called it Cycle.

It all began with two basic reasons as to why Phoenix is an ideal haven for cyclists of all kinds. Today, it's impossible not to mention other reasons why we love spinning pedals in the Valley of the Sun.

Every rider in town has a laundry list of their own as to why they love to ride in Phoenix. Here are 10 reasons that keep us kitting up and heading out.

1. Indoor training is always optional - unlike the majority of the United States throughout the winter.

2. South Mountain. 

Cycle challenges anyone to find a better bike playground anywhere. National and Desert Classic Trails are world famous, attracting cyclists year-round, and nothing beats a screaming descent down Summit Road from the TV towers. The park earns bonus points for Silent Sundays and the almost-always-closed-to-cars San Juan Road.
Why isn't every bike shop configured like this one? The combination café/bike shop is a natural. Whether you're dropping the bike off for some quick repair work or need a pit stop while riding along the Arizona Canal Trail or around the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, this place is a great place to grab a bite or beverage, shop or jaw with the wrenches.

4. Maricopa County Regional Parks. 

With quality tracks at every corner of the valley, Maricopa County Parks department has the mountain biking community dialed in. McDowell Mountain, White Tanks, and Estrella Mountain Regional Parks each offer multiple competitive tracks while most other county regional parks welcome bikes on all trails.

5. The BOS Ride

Looking for a fast, weekly group road ride? This is the classic of Phoenix. Named for the old Bicycles of Scottsdale shop (no longer around), this 55-mile ride starts in Scottsdale at Shea Boulevard and Scottsdale Road every Saturday around 7 a.m. and heads up "to the towers" in Carefree, referring to the house with a bunch of microwave towers at the summit of the final hill.

6. Bike Saviours. 

There is nothing that truly captures the cycling aesthetic like a great bike co-op. The dark, greasy work benches, the sense of handing down bikes from one person to another, the community of riders coming together to share a love for gliding on two wheels. Bike Saviours is a great bike co-op.

7. All of the long stretches of uninterrupted pavement and canal banks. 

Sure, Phoenicians may struggle with the concept of "urban trails," but there are literally hundreds of miles of traffic-free bikeways from the Scottsdale Greenbelt to the Arizona Canal Path to Tempe Town Lake to the Western Canal Path. Just remember to share with the walkers, joggers and what-have-you.

8. The pros love it here. 

From mountain bikers to triathletes to Lance Armstrong, the best of the best flock to Phoenix area roads and trails to get in shape, sharpen skills, or just flat out race.

9. Bicycle Haus' jersey museum. 

Take a few minutes to look away from the Rapha, Assos and carbon that fill the floor of this Scottsdale candy store of a bike shop and gander upwards to the collection of vintage jerseys along the walls. It's our own mini-Ghisallo, minus the climb.

10. The grid will always get you home. 

Sometimes there's no better experience while riding than getting lost and discovering new parts of town. But in case you need to get back to where ever you started, the basic grid of roadways that makes up Phoenix's transportation landscape will get you back on track. GPS devices are convenient, but nothing is more reliable than an understanding of which roads go east/west, which ones go north/south, and which way the head of Camelback Mountain points.

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