Tucson has an incredible paved bikeway called the Loop, and we decided our New Year would start off best with a trip around its 54 miles! We broke up the route into 3 days, with fun stops to staycation at hometown hotels.
Of course, the weather changed to cold and windy the day we started, but still there isn’t much to complain about beyond some extra bundling. We parked the car at our dog’s kennel, and took off along the southern portion – beginning at Irvington and Harrison. The plan took us anti-clockwise along the less developed part of the route first.
The kids had a great time. We stopped often and snacked, took it slow when the wind was in our face, and went super fast through the underpasses! We packed lunch for this first day, and found a little park to eat. Highlights of the ride were going past the Rita ranch subdivision, seeing the huge solar array south of the base, and biking past the VA.
Avi needed a new seat, too. We got both kids nice bike shorts, but his seat was still just not designed for long distance pedalling. Luckily, we came past a bike shop along the way and Bryan got him hooked up.
Night found us at the Ramada, 20 miles down – our longest day. We were pleasantly tired, but ready for a fun evening. After a bit of a soak in the hot tub we easily took the trolley from right outside our hotel to downtown and on to the University area for some pizza.
The next day was an absolute highlight. Biking north along the west side of Tucson was super fun, and we eventually looped southward as well. We stopped along the Sweetwater Wetlands for a lovely geocaching afternoon, saw a coyote hunting near the cement quarry, and even got in some BMX.
This part of the loop is through a lot more shopping and residential areas, so we diverted briefly for lunch and stopped for the evening at the Homewood in St. Philips plaza. Again, a great hotel with a hot tub right off the trail! And, it was only a 14.5 mile bike ride…. plenty of time for all the extras.
Our final day began with the St. Philips plaza farmers market before heading out for the final 18 or so miles. The wind was at our back today, and its generally downhill along the Rillito River, so we made great time even stopping for a few more geocaches and lunch along the way!
Rolling into the parking lot gave us all a boost of pride. This trip was a fun and easy family-friendly bikepacking adventure. It gave Bryan the chance to test his new bikepacking gear, and we all enjoyed starting 2019 on the bike!