Monthly Archives: March 2024

Pictures of You

There are a few people in Tucson who show up at events and take photos because they love the sport and capturing these images for your viewing pleasure. I happen to be one and all my images go onto .

Kerry Whalen is another. Sometimes people think I am him because I wear the horns, but he is the “Goatographer”. Kerry focused for years on running, downtown Tucson, scenery and the music scene, but has been known to show up at cycling events. Check out his page at

Rusel Kurkbedin Takes images to the next level. I believe he was a Cat 1 racer and he knoows exactly where to be for the money shot. I find he takes or shares fewer images, but they are always top notch. He also shoots rodeo and horse races.

In Colorado I’ve had the joy of getting to see one of the best Cycling Photographers, Ryan Muncy. His portfolio spans decades and his images capture the essence of events. I’m always excited to see him at an event because I know that the will climb the cliff or get into a ravine to get the best angels. Check his work at

One thing is for certain. None of us are getting rich through photography( unless you consider getting to spend hours outside shooting images and more time procession photos “rich”, and it is nice when you buy an image. It helps pay for the next camera so we can continue to capture images of you.

Personally, I’m not as much of a fan of the race photographers who sit around and take the same image of everyone. All three of us move around and looking through an album of an event tells the story beyond just the participants. It’s the staff, volunteers, scenery, food, beer that make an event memorable.

Do you have a favorite photographer you follow? Let me know. I’d love to see their portfolio.

Tucson’s Must Do Rides for Visitors and Locals Alike

Every time I travel to a different place, I ask the locals, “If I only have time for one bicycle ride, what would you say is the ONE “must-do” local ride?”

This time of year, so many people are coming to Tucson, not only for El Tour de Tucson, in and of itself one of our must-do local events, but snowbirds and others looking to enjoy our amazing desert winters. If you were asked to recommend ONE ride only, what would you say?

When traveling, cyclists want to know which routes are the safest, the most challenging, the closest to where they are staying, the ones they can ride, and for some, the group rides.  The ONE “must-do” ride depends on the local’s and the visitor’s preferences.  Today, I offer my abbreviated guide to what I consider the “must-do” local rides – road, mountain, gravel, and group; more information on all of these and more can be found at


Sabino Canyon is my ONE “must-do” local ride.  This is my favorite because of the combination of the scenic desert, the possibility of riding next to flowing water, and no cars.  Here you are likely to see all of the locals – insects and reptiles, coatimundi, foxes, bobcats, hummingbirds, hawks, and so much more.  This ride features a 3.7 mile climb with 700 feet of elevation gain.

Mount Lemmon is THE Bucket List ride for cyclists from all over the world and many people visit Tucson just to tackle this 29 mile, 6,500 foot climb up an iconic sky island. On weekday mornings, it is not uncommon to enjoy the road mostly car free.  (While Mount Lemmon gets the most attention, I like Mt. Hopkins more – its mixture of dirt and paved roads, with constantly amazing views.  Kitt Peak and Mt. Graham are also must-do rides, well worth the extra drive to experience.)

Saguaro East is arguably the most scenic ride. While only 8.3 miles, it features endless rolling hills and one solid climb in the middle. On the “WHEEEEE” factor this is at the top of the list. Most of the route is one way, and this increases the safety of the ride. 

The LOOP is every cyclists’ dream. No cars, no mechanized vehicles, and over 150 miles of relatively flat pavement. No matter where you are staying, access to the LOOP is close. Each area is a little different, and each is awesome. There are countless restaurants, bars, markets, and art to be discovered. 

Exploring around downtown offers something for every cyclist – murals, breweries, coffee shops, barrios and architecture.  Even for noncyclists, visitors can grab a ToGo city bike. One warning about riding downtown, be extra careful when riding across the tracks. 


Every corner of Tucson has a trail system and the riding is off the charts! With so many skill levels, recommendations for the ONE “must-do” mountain bike ride is impossible. No matter the skill level, each offers a  unique beauty.

The Lemmon Drop offers an extreme day in the saddle. If you have pads, a face mask on your helmet, and mad skills, this is the ride for you. Rock drops! Technical sections!  Black diamond!  The Lemmon Drop takes you from the top of Mt. Lemmon to Rincon Valley.  Plan on a late dinner – this is an all day event!

Honeybee, in the foothills of the Tortolita Mountains, consists of various loops, totaling around 30 miles in length. The main Honeybee Trail has some of the smoothest, most flowy sections in the area. This trail connects to all the trails in the Tortolitas with monster climbs and amazing vistas.  Don’t miss Ridgeline!!  

Tucson Mountain Park offers a variety of trails that cater to different skill levels and preferences. 

Brown Mountain Loop is a moderate-level trail with a mix of rocky sections and smooth singletrack.  Explorer trail loop offers some technical sections.  Yetman trail is known for its mix of singletrack and wider paths.  All of the trails here are known for their scenic beauty and diverse terrain.  

50 Year Trail offers stunning views of of the Santa Catalina Mountains, in the shadow of Pusch Ridge. This area features lots of flat, fast, free flowing single track, with berms and a few rocky features.  If you are a bovine fan, then this is the trail you are most likely to share with cows.

No list is complete without the Arizona Trail. Running 800 miles from Mexico to Utah, the AZT cuts through the eastside of Tucson and over Mt. Lemmon.  With so much terrain, there is something for every skill level.  For the newer rider, heading south from the Gabe Z trailhead is a great option, and includes the Rattlesnake Mural.  Pistol Hill is Studded with Saguaro, this may be the most iconic mountain bike ride in the region.  


Gravel bikes are perfect for exploring the back roads of Southern Arizona.  Patagonia has become a national hub for the gravel scene.  Closer to Tucson, Redington Road offers challenging climbs and jeep trails.  From Oracle, heading up the backside of Mount Lemmon offers great climbs, changing biomes, and stunning views.  Both Patagonia and Oracle offer small town charm, great restaurants, and a slice of the real west.  


Tucson is home to one of the oldest shop rides in the nation.  Fairwheel Bike’s Shootout is a 50 mile, Saturday morning must-do.  There are two different rides; the fast ride is a real sufferfest.  The slower ride, dubbed the Old Man Shootout, still tests mental and physical ability. Many other local bike shops and social ride groups offer both road and mountain bike group rides.  If you are looking for additional rides, see my list at Most weeks there are special rides and events, as well as volunteer opportunities.

It’s nearly impossible to pick the ONE “must-do” local ride. While this list includes some of the best rides that cyclists will definitely talk about for the rest of their lives, picking just one is not possible. Which ride do you think is the “must-do” that I may have missed?

The Loop Expansion In Marana

The highly anticipated expansion of the Chuck Huckelberry Loop into North Marana has begun. This new segment of southern Arizona’s multi-use, non-mechanized trail system will connect the existing Loop trail north of Avra Valley Road into the Gladden Farms area. Borderland Construction Company, entrusted with this significant undertaking, began construction in February. 

Ed Seith said “I’ve lived in Gladden Farms for almost 11 years.  When I want to use The LOOP, which is often, it’s always a binary choice: Do I want to ride surface streets, including that horrible surface down the 1-10 Frontage Road to Avra Valley, where I can pick up the LOOP, or do I want to mount the hitch and load the bike and all my gear into my car and figure out where I’m going to park for four hours? Completing that last stage of the LOOP’s connection to Marana and Gladden Farms takes the guesswork out.  I can ride out of my driveway and have safe access to the entire city.”

Many do not realize that all loop-related projects are part of the Pima County Flood Control District, which aims to protect the community from flooding and ensure easier access for first responders in case of an emergency. Since 1978, the flood control district has installed more than 100 miles of bank protection and other infrastructure in Pima County, removing thousands of acres and tens of millions of dollars of property from federal and local floodplains. This essential work may not often make the news, but it plays a crucial role in safeguarding our community. Chuck Huckleberry once said, “You don’t hear much about the regional flood control district. If you did, it would be bad. Flood control is one of the government programs that rarely make the news, except when something goes wrong.”

According to Jim Conroy, the Town of Marana Parks & Recreation Director, the realization of this project is the culmination of years of dedicated efforts by the Town of Marana and Pima County staff. Their unwavering commitment to creating this crucial flood protection measure and the resulting regional trail connection paved the way for this momentous development. The collaboration between local government agencies involved in this project exemplifies their shared vision for the betterment of the entire community.

The significance of this effort cannot be overstated. It is a major stride forward in expanding recreational opportunities, promoting a healthier lifestyle, and ensuring the safety of residents and visitors alike. This significant project has been made possible through funding from the Town of Marana Capital Improvement Program (CIP) with the support of the Pima County Flood Control District (PCFCD).

Personally, I use my bike for work on a daily basis.  My goal this year is to drive less miles than I ride and the only reason I’ll get in the car is if I have to pick someone up I can’t fit on my bike.   As a realtor, anytime I’m servicing one of my listings or meeting a buyer, I typically get there by bike.  Even though I am comfortable riding on the road, getting up to Marana and dealing with all of the semis, heavy equipment, and cement trucks north of Avra Valley Road has not been ideal.  It really is incredible how connected the city is for bikes as I can get from my house near Sabino Canyon to Marana and only deal with one stop light”. 

The construction is scheduled for completion in early Fall 2024. When the new section is opened there will be 33 miles of contiguous trail along the Santa Cruz River, from Irvington Road to Sanders Road Northwest of Gladden Farms in Marana. 

Kevin Craig commented “For some friends of ours, completion of the LOOP connection was THE deciding factor for buying a second home in Gladden Farms.”

To access the new section, riders will exit the Loop on the west bank of the Santa Cruz on Avra Valley Road. They will then cross the Avra Valley Bridge, which features a dedicated bike lane on the south side to accommodate two-way bike traffic. The bridge has a concrete wall to ensure the safety of riders in the bike lane, protecting them from vehicles. After crossing the bridge, riders will then loop under, and proceed northwest on the east bank of the Santa Cruz, passing the CalPortland Cement Plant into North Marana.

Reed Burns said “I ride from Saguaro Bloom to Picacho Peak and BLM camping area for bikepacking.  This will make my routes a lot safer! It looks like it will also make it easier to ride to the CAP trail instead of having to drive my bike to the trailhead.”

The Chuck Huckelberry Loop has long been cherished by outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers in southern Arizona. Its existing trail system, renowned for its scenic beauty and accessibility, has attracted countless individuals seeking to engage in various recreational activities such as walking, running, cycling, and rollerblading. This additional new segment will provide the 30,000 residents of North Marana with direct access to the extensive trail network, enabling them to explore the diverse landscapes and natural wonders of the region.

The economic and social impact of this expansion cannot be underestimated. By connecting the Gladden Farms area to the Chuck Huckelberry Loop, local businesses and services in North Marana should experience increased patronage from trail users, further boosting the area’s economic vitality. Additionally, the expansion offers opportunities for community engagement, fostering a sense of belonging and pride among the residents.

Wendi Lucas remarked  “Living on the south east side of Tucson, in Vail, the LOOP provides me with a safe, care-free route to my clients in the Foothills and Downtown.  It will be exciting to be able to go even further to Gladden Farms.  I will be able to do a century through our amazing landscape without needing to worry constantly about cars.  The LOOP is a true gem for recreational cyclists, commuters, and visitors to our region.”

The Chuck Huckelberry Loop expansion aligns with the broader vision of promoting sustainable transportation and active lifestyles. By providing safe and accessible trails, this project encourages alternative modes of transportation and reduces reliance on motor vehicles, thereby contributing to the reduction of carbon. With something for everyone, I encourage you to find the time to explore the expansion when it opens and everything already in place!