When To Go Cycling And Traveling In Tucson, Arizona?
Tucson’s shoulder seasons offer best cycling and
traveling for less money!
TUCSON, ARIZONA – Tucson and Oro Valley, Arizona is indeed “The Biking Capital of The World”. With 350 plus days of sunshine, the Tucson and Oro Valley area offers fantastic, dry desert conditions that are fantastic for biking, hiking and for any of the fun things you want to do. Below is some GREAT advice on saving money, getting cheaper flights and hotels rooms as well as being able to score a good bike rental.
Biking in Oro Valley/Northwest Tucson – slightly cooler
Oro Valley, Arizona is 2600 plus feet and will often be a degree or two cooler than Tucson. Hey! Every degree counts! Even better, bikers can save five or six degrees by biking north to scenic Oracle, Arizona – home of the Mt. Lemmon Control Road (backside). Yes, you can earn yourself some degrees by locating yourself in Oro Valley. And we have more secrets below on how to save degrees with a short drive. Oro Valley is the most popular retirement destination in North America for cyclists looking to retire. The 130 plus mile, car-free Oro Valley, Tucson Loop is a big plus for bikers looking for a new place to live.
Oro Valley is America’s most popular retirement destination for cyclists.
Most popular time to travel and cycle
in Tucson and Oro Valley
February through April is considered Tucson’s “high season” for tourism and cycling in general. This time of year is the most predictable as average high temperatures range around 70 degrees (February) to 82 degrees (April) with up to two days of rain per month. This is when you will pay rack rate for your Airbnb and hotel rooms. This will be your most challenging times to get hotel and restaurant reservations as well as bicycle rentals. The parking lots at the top hiking trails are often flooded with tourists and sun seekers. From a cycling standpoint, the major bike tours such as Pac Tour and others all traffic through Oro Valley, Tucson and Southern Arizona. The yellow jackets rule during this time.
High season points for travel and cycling in Tucson
December 20 through January 5.
February 1 though April 30.
El Tour de Tucson weekend.
Tucson, Arizona – It’s just a dry heat – really!
Unlike our friends who come from humid cycling climates, Tucson is very dry and you can enjoy yourself in the outdoors very easily in the low to mid 90s. Depending on your threshold – and if you water up consistently – Tucson is very hospitable all the way from October through the end of May. Even on higher temperature days, you can get up a little early and enjoy cycling in the mid 70’s before it warms up. Anyone from high humidity areas such as Illinois will gladly take our high 80s and low 90’s with low humidity. These temperatures are wonderful for biking.
“If you are used to the midwestern high 80s heat and humidity, the dry, arid conditions of Arizona are are so easy to handle,” says Jon Westmore, bicycle mechanic for Tucson Bike Rentals. “You will bike longer and stronger here even in the 90s than you will back north.”
Yes, July and August can really suck!
Best time of year for cycling and travel in Tucson is on our shoulder seasons
Savvy cyclists and travelers get the most bang for their bucks by enjoying our off-peak/shoulder seasons. We highly recommend October and November as well as the month of May – especially through about May 20. October’s average high temperatures are in the mid 80’s and May rises to an average high of 91. French Quebec cyclists flood Tucson to get better value for their dollar, choosing to get up a bit earlier to enjoy the cooler temperatures during these times. This is smart as even a high of 91 in May with low humidity makes for a great day of biking. And the months of October and May means little chance of precipitation.
Mt. Lemmon Control Road is a mount biker’s
paradise just north of Oro Valley.
Big bonus to cycling in our shoulder seasons: really low traffic and minimal lines! The savviest travelers and bikers enjoy Arizona during our off-peak tourism travel months, save money with fewer tourism competition. The wide streets have less cyclists and you will feel like you are king of the road.
Other mid-year off peak times to traveled – Secrets to cycling savings in Tucson
December and January offers the most unpredictability for cyclists and travelers. Be prepared to dress warm as temperatures can drop to the 40s in the early mornings. There are savings to be had here. A great time to travel to dodge the lines is after Thanksgiving to about December 20. This is a very low traffic time and there are more deals to be had.
You will also find deals from January 6 or so until the end of the month. December and January are times where you want to carry some layers of clothing – especially when you are cycling our best climbing rides of Mt. Graham, Mt. Lemmon, Madera, Whipple Observatory, Kitt Peak etc.
Biking Tucson: Six degree cooler temperatures are just one hour a way!
Just an hour away from the middle of Tucson, bikers flock to Elgin, Sonoita and Patagonia, Arizona for awesome road, mountain and gravel biking. This is also known as “The Sky Islands Area” famous for the most drop dead gorgeous Arizona old west scenery. Even better is that cyclists will often see a six degree temperature drop. This area is also a good opportunity of there is any foul weather in Tucson. Elgin and Sonoita is a wine lovers paradise. There may be no better gravel/dirt road biking to be had in Arizona than Elgin/Sonoita and Patagonia. This place is a cyclists dream. Many old west Hollywood films have been filmed here.
Bisbee, Arizona is also an awesome place to visit and a cool place for gravel and uphill road biking that is often 10 to 15 degrees cooler than Tucson and just 2 hours away. Keep your Tucson cycling itinerary loose and just see how the weather goes.
For more information go to:
Biking in Tucson during some bad weather?
Great Tucson cycling alternatives!
Yes, even Tucson does get rain sometimes – just 12 inches a year which makes this the safest and best cycling/traveling opportunity in the country. If our weather is problematic on a particular day, be thinking of going 40 minutes south to GreenValley/Tubac, one hour south to Elgin/Sonoita and Patagonia. For those looking for road cycling climb rides, Green Valley’s Madera Canyon is an awesome climb that caps out at 5200 feet. Green Valley/Tubac offers rural road biking and mountain biking opportunities that are incredible. The famous Mt. Graham road climbing ride is 100 minutes or so north of Tucson in Safford and is a fantastic road cycling alternative. This is the number two hill climb ride as rated by The Arizona Bicycle Association at BikeArizona.org.
Discover the greatness of cycling in Southern Arizona. Travel and cycle here during the off-peak times and you will come back home with some gold left in your spandex.
For more information on alternative climbing rides go to:
Gravel and mountain biking in Patagonia, Arizona is killer!
San Manuel, Arizona – 3500 feet of elevation just 30 north of Oro Valley
For those interested in unreal Arizona gravel and road biking, there is opportunity for both road and gravel road biking in this scenic, rustic no-frills miner town. Gravel and mountain bikers love biking the South River Road all the way to Reddington Pass or Benson, Arizona. This is an ideal country gravel/dirt road loaded with beautiful saguaros, cactus and farms.
Road biking can be had on scenic, saguaro laden Veterans Memorial Boulevard. This road is ideal for a gravel bike as the shoulders are a little bumpy. For a great hill climb ride, take Webb Road that intersects with the Lemmon Control road and take it to Veterans Memorial Road then take a right. This is a great out and back and a rigorous ride. Webb road has no shoulder, but there is very little traffic in the mornings – especially on the weekends. The backdrop is priceless. The road is in excellent shape. This is a great road to combine with Oracle’s Cody Loop.
For more information on biking in Oro Valley and Tucson go to:
South River Road in San Manuel offers great dirt riding.
Webb road is a beautiful road leading into San Manuel
from base of Lemmon Control