How to ride across Tucson, part I.

Today’s ride is Westbound along the Broadway corridor, to points Northwest. The following expert guided trip is the result of many years of ‘figuring it out’ with Tucson’s East side streets. It starts West of Houghton. I do this ride four times a week.

The shoulder 'ends' at Ridgeside.

The shoulder 'ends' at Ridgeside.

There is no avoiding staying on Broadway for some miles and several major intersections.

Cut through this lot at Wilmot.

Cut through this lot at Wilmot.

Speeding along Broadway on my green light getter.

Speeding along Broadway on my green light getter.

Now cut through this parking lot just short of Wilmot, (avoiding the intersection and mall) and merge left into a left turn onto 5th. Pass the Alamo wash and take a right on Alamo, which is the third street, and then an immediate left on Baker, which becomes 4th. Both 4th and 3rd are great routes. 2nd is cut off W. of Swan.

This second half of the ride is where peace is found. I have passed from the roar into the soar. On the side streets one finds few cars and many open, empty streets. Timing the crossings of major intersections is a game of Frogger, but easy at level 1.

At Arcadia, you take a left to go to U of A and a right to go North of Speedway.

At Arcadia, you take a left to go to U of A and a right to go North of Speedway.

On this ride, I went north of Speedway, to Bellevue and then to Lee st. Here is a portrait of good old Lee st:

My friend, he said "Take Lee" and he's right.

My friend, he said "Take Lee" and he's right.

An empty street is a pretty street. There is much zigging and zagging to do. Bentley. Warren. Waverly:

Waverly features a row of palms and zeriscaped circles.

Waverly features a row of palms and zeriscaped circles.

Waverly runs into Campbell, and there’s a hard to see gap in the wall across the Ave. Find it, continue West.

This is a weekday afternoon, my friends. Empty streets. It should be clear why I love riding in Tucson.

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About littlejar

5 - Learned to ride in paved alley behind liquor store in Lowell. 16 - Road bike riding alone while peers do soccer practice. 18 - First new road bike bought with winnings from Project Graduation. 20 - Burlington VT. Nuff said. 22 - Joined the Air Force. 23 - Joined team Fair Wheel in Tucson - rode the Shootout. 24 - Rode El Tour in under five. 26 - Toured to Quebec City 28 - Toured Oklahoma to Vermont 30 - Found my dream bike - a 1989 58cm LaBan (#22) 32 - Experienced Minneapolis and saw BIKE CULTURE. 34 - Building my first bicycle frame, with a self made jig. USA

15 thoughts on “How to ride across Tucson, part I.

  1. Here’s something. Ride yo’ ass south down Freeman and continue on OST. Go west on Escalante, north on Houghton, and west on Golf Links.

    a. Less traffic, fewer lights on Golf Links and a bike lane almost all the way.

    b. The presence of a bike path along Barrazza-Aviation from D-M all the way to 4th Avenue.

    c. West of Alvernon, you can get off the bike path at many, many empty streets north and weave your way the residential neighborhood of your choosing.

    Do it once, and you’ll never take bike on Broadway again. Do it both ways. Only suckers and DUIs on 2-stroke beach cruisers ride on Broadway.

  2. …here ya go, littlejar…you n’ wendel oughta get together, go for a few midnight rides down by the border & look for strays…

    “Drug smugglers trying to get marijuana across the Arizona-Mexico border apparently are trying a new approach – a catapult.

    …”U.S. National Guard troops operating a remote video surveillance system at the Naco Border Patrol Station say they observed several people preparing a catapult and launching packages over the International Border fence last Friday evening.”

    …according to the rest of the story, http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/americas/pot-firing-catapult-found-at-us-mexico-border/article1884376/ that thing was capable of throwing 2 kilo bricks from mexico into their new home, the usa…

    …just sayin’…

  3. Headed down to moms in Scottsdale to ride next week..Fuck this suicide gray Seattle weather.

  4. I spent the whole morning digging out from a foot of snow.

    The sun, desert and roads in these pics are giving me a woody.

    Just saying…

    hey bgw. Tell them to catapult some of that shit my way. Still 2 more months of Winter to get thru.

  5. Wendel -

    Have ridden aviation bike path over 1000 times, in any and all hours of day and night. It was my commute for three years, to Swan base entrance. That is a diagonal and is great for someone going from downtown to Southeast, but not a photogenic route. I’m told my one way into town, along the Broadway zone, is 20 miles but I just won’t beleive it. It feels like 15. If I went down to Golf Links, I’d be going way south when I wants to go West. I have shit to do. I’m not going for 300 mile weeks when I have to carry dog food and everything else on my rig. But for you, in a few days or weeks I will do a Southeast to Nortward diagonal that I know by heart and haven’t done in a while. It involves only one block of Broadway, and is a lovely alternative to the diesel stink (and jet fuel fumes!) corridor that is Aviation – but there are a lot of memories on that broken up gray ribbon.

  6. Jimmy C – Ripping through the streets at night, or dusk when later in the warmer weeks, is damn near an entrancing experience. On a future post, I will feature alleys and I may have to wait until a little bloom gets on these trees.

  7. I figured LJ. But I’ll tell you as a fact that you ride less miles making the detour to Golf Links and riding that diagonal than staying due west on Broadway. I’ve checked it for my commute. Less mileage, less time.

    Photogenic qualities? Well, beauty is in the eye. I happen to love the post-apocalyptic industrial landscape of the rail yard, D-M approach zones, and shady warehouses of Aviation Parkway. Diesel and av gas get me going. But I’m a goddamn anti-social asshole. You shot pics of my neighborhood west of the U. I hate that neighborhood. So…to each his own.

    I stand by my comment on suckers and motorized beach cruiser ‘tards on Broadway. Bike salmon everywhere. They’re photogenic too, I suppose. Keep your head up out there, buddy.

  8. Geez am I the only guy who really appreciates those nice wide bus/bike lanes on Broadway? It’s Speedway and 22nd that are the death traps around here.

    I do appreciate the neighborhood wanderings though. I save Broadway for when I’m trying to get out of town.

  9. I’m a Broadway commuter. I play leap frog with the city bus morning and afternoon. I like the 3rd st bike path but if you adhere to the stop signs it’s too slow. I think my commute is 12 miles one way down Broadway. If that Idaho stop bill passes I’ll be on 3rd but with the UAPD cops taggin stop sign violators I’ll stick to Broadway

  10. Fuck third. Fuck the stupid ‘bicycle’ stop lights that are on four intersections in the whole city and all are on 3rd. I take side streets, fly through stops that are obviously clear, and cross Speedway when there is a gap, and they always correspond. There’s tactics and strategy to both avoid danger and aggravation. Avoid the U, avoid 3rd, and avoid fucking 4th ave especially at night. BTW – I’ve crashed 4 times in Tucson and three out of those four times was on Aviation bike path.