Should I move to Tucson???- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Should I move to Tucson???

    Trying to make this very important job relocation decision. One very big factor is the quality of life/outdoor activities, MTB TRAILS! I'm currently in MTB heaven in So Cal...year round riding and so many trails!

    How much true mountain riding (i.e., trees, canopy, non desert or at least high desert) is available? In the brutal summer months, is it possible to ride at daybreak for at least 2 hours before oven like temperatures?

    All input welcome - especially those with familiarity with both locales! Pls help.

  2. #2
    Jm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dodger
    Trying to make this very important job relocation decision. One very big factor is the quality of life/outdoor activities, MTB TRAILS! I'm currently in MTB heaven in So Cal...year round riding and so many trails!

    How much true mountain riding (i.e., trees, canopy, non desert or at least high desert) is available? In the brutal summer months, is it possible to ride at daybreak for at least 2 hours before oven like temperatures?

    All input welcome - especially those with familiarity with both locales! Pls help.
    Riding in the summer in Tuscon and Phoenix is usually done before the sun comes up, starting around 4am or so. Personally, I'd never choose to live down there, it's one thing to have days where it heats up to 90+ degrees and then cools down at night, it's another to have 120+ days where it cools down to 90 at night...
    I know in my heart that Ellsworth bikes are more durable by as much as double. AND they are all lighter...Tony Ellsworth

  3. #3
    Steep Hill
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    I am up in Scottsdale, but we're still talking apples to apples.

    I've ridden summer mornings for the last three summers without ever slowing down due to heat or draught. Night lights will be needed, but you will get used to that 'cool zone' of 5 - 8am. More precautions are necessary. Mt. Lemon is nearby which will provide you some relief.

    A move to Tuscon is going to be better MTB than 80% of the rest of the country, IMO. But probably not better than you have in front of you now. Go for it if this is a good career or personal opportunity, you'll still be riding! Besides, it is good to travel.

  4. #4
    Ouch, I am hot!
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    So. Cal - Tucson - Phoenix

    I lived in all three locations. The summers in Tucson and Phoenix are brutal, but two hour rides are very duable if you begin your ride early am (5:30 or so) or at night. Indeed, night riding in the summer is great. I get just as much riding time overall in summer as I do in winter, just different riding times. Also, the monsoon season is real in Arizona. There is never a lot of mud here in Phoenix, even right after it rains, but I would not want to get stuck in a monsoon out on a ride (extreme wind and lightning). One minute the sky is clear and then bam, you are in the middle of hell. One footnote, I do have an unusual fear of lightning. As far as my quality of riding life, it could not get better than here in Phoenix. Living two blocks from a large trail system (Trail 100) in the middle of the city beats just about anything and trumps the summer issues hands down. Winter weather here is in my opinion slightly better than S.Cal. No fog, very moderate (except early am) temps. and much less rain. It is easy and very very affordable to live near a trail system in Phoenix (Trail 100, South Mountain, McDowells) and all locations are within a relatively short drive from central Phoenix. I think Tucson is similar in terms of locations to ride and affordability of housing. In S. Cal, unless you live near a trail system, driving time will be much worse than either city in Arizona and of course housing is expensive (if these are issues for you). I just can't imagine a large trail system in the middle of the city with affordable housing just blocks away. In S. Cal (LA and San Diego,) my work commutes were double and I had to drive lots to most of the trails, often through brutal traffic

  5. #5
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    Any Mt Lemmon experience?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dirdir
    I lived in all three locations. The summers in Tucson and Phoenix are brutal, but two hour rides are very duable if you begin your ride early am (5:30 or so) or at night. Indeed, night riding in the summer is great. I get just as much riding time overall in summer as I do in winter, just different riding times. Also, the monsoon season is real in Arizona. There is never a lot of mud here in Phoenix, even right after it rains, but I would not want to get stuck in a monsoon out on a ride (extreme wind and lightning). One minute the sky is clear and then bam, you are in the middle of hell. One footnote, I do have an unusual fear of lightning. As far as my quality of riding life, it could not get better than here in Phoenix. Living two blocks from a large trail system (Trail 100) in the middle of the city beats just about anything and trumps the summer issues hands down. Winter weather here is in my opinion slightly better than S.Cal. No fog, very moderate (except early am) temps. and much less rain. It is easy and very very affordable to live near a trail system in Phoenix (Trail 100, South Mountain, McDowells) and all locations are within a relatively short drive from central Phoenix. I think Tucson is similar in terms of locations to ride and affordability of housing. In S. Cal, unless you live near a trail system, driving time will be much worse than either city in Arizona and of course housing is expensive (if these are issues for you). I just can't imagine a large trail system in the middle of the city with affordable housing just blocks away. In S. Cal (LA and San Diego,) my work commutes were double and I had to drive lots to most of the trails, often through brutal traffic
    Thanks guys...all good comments. Have any of you ridden Mt Lemmon trails? Is there much there...say over 20 miles and 4,000 ft worth of singletrack? I'm just spoiled (or wise)as my house currently backs to the National Forest so I don't have to contend with typical So Cal traffic issues.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by dodger
    Thanks guys...all good comments. Have any of you ridden Mt Lemmon trails? Is there much there...say over 20 miles and 4,000 ft worth of singletrack? I'm just spoiled (or wise)as my house currently backs to the National Forest so I don't have to contend with typical So Cal traffic issues.
    There was tons of excellent, world-class singletrack on Mt. Lemmon until the whole mountain went up in smoke last summer. And the summer before that. And probably next summer. :-(

    p.
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  7. #7
    Occidental Tourist
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    my .02

    There is plenty-o riding to be had on Lemmon (when i lved there we rode lemmon in the summer). You got Aspen Draw, Crystal Springs, La Meligrosa, Green Mtn, ect. Some may be closed fromt he fire but there is usually something. If it gets too hot take a trip to Flag and ride at night and ride int he early morning.
    This is just need to know information: Am i supposed to enjoy the irony or pity the sincerity?

  8. #8
    I bike, I brew
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    Tucson bias

    I've lived in Tucson all of my life, and also have tons of family in Phoenix, so I know it fairly well also. And, SD is one of my favorite vacation spots, so these will be the basis of my comments:

    Both Tucson and Phoenix have a great array of trails. It's hard to get into an argumnet over which is better int that regard. And proximity to "higher desert" is about the same - Phoenix you drive north a couple of hours and your're set. Tucson, you go south for an hour and equally the same.

    However, I believe Tucson does have some advantages: Less congested - and thus to get to suburban trails, there would be less driving time. Also, typiclally, the summer temperatures are as much as 10 degrees warmer in Phoenix. In the evenings, Phoenix rarely gets below 80 at night because of the head absorbsion in streets and buildings. Tucson cools down rather quickly once thesun hides - at least into the 70's. Either way, it's GREAT riding at night.

    I concur with the previous comment that you can still get an agressive riding schedule in. In either area, you will find some of the best singletrack opportunities anywhere. A full range of abilities. Plenty of good folks to ride with.

    To that end, I would recommend a visit to www.sdmb.org - this will give you a really good feel of the tails available in southern Arizona. I'm sure a search of Phoenix clubs may net similar information for up there.

    Good luck in your transition!

    Hank

  9. #9
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    Yes

    I spent 5 years in Tucson, there's plenty to ride and a lot of it is first rate, if you live on the North side of town the Catalina's offer tons of superb high desert and true mountain riding. As for summer riding, plenty of people can be found out on the trails at any time during the day, you don't have to ride exclusively at dawn or dusk you just need to be prepared for the heat. usually the temp doesn't get to bad before 8am and the sun comes up around 4:30 in the summer so there is plenty of early morning riding time.

    I've ridden in SoCal a little with my brother (he lives in Westchester), the riding in Tucson will defiantly be more technical than what you're use to.

    Phoenix is over an hour drive and offers some different trails to ride, but they are for the most part very similar to what you'll find in Tucson with 5 time as many people using them. There are a lot of areas in Southern Arizona that are easy to get to from Tucson but I'm not sure about the riding, maybe Paul could comment about places like Dragoon, Benson, Patagonia, Sierra Vista, Sonoita, Elgin, Green Valley, etc... These are mostly old mining towns which sometime offer great riding.

  10. #10
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    As a Tucson semi-native who actually didn't get into biking until after I moved to Phx, I think Tucson is a great town. You mentioned quality of life and outdoor activities. Tucson has both. I won't comment too much on the mt biking, since I've never biked there, but you are about 4 hours from Flagstaff, which has what you refer to as "true mountain riding." Also, Globe is about 90 minutes away, and Mt Lemmon, Oracle, etc. are near by. So, no, you're not stuck in a desert.

    However, the true gem of Tucson IMO is the quality of life and its culture. It's big enough to offer some "big city" amendities (malls, movies, etc), but small enough to make you feel like you're not being sufficated. The cost of living is I'm guessing a fraction of where you are now. If I had my druthers, I'd move back in a heart beat.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by crash test dummy
    There is plenty-o riding to be had on Lemmon (when i lved there we rode lemmon in the summer). You got Aspen Draw, Crystal Springs, La Meligrosa, Green Mtn, ect. Some may be closed fromt he fire but there is usually something. If it gets too hot take a trip to Flag and ride at night and ride int he early morning.
    Um...no. It's all gone, anything above about 4000'.

    p.

    Edit: Of course I'm only talking about the Mt. Lemmon trails. Plenty of non-Lemmon rides in, around, and near Tucson.
    Last edited by Paul B; 02-20-2004 at 07:12 PM.
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  12. #12
    caninus xerophilous
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    Um......perhaps.

    If you have viable employment opportunities in Tucson it definately merits serious consideration. Tucson is the home of some great and easily accessable trails and fine folks, same goes for Phoenix, just a bit different. Some would say Tucson is more laid back than Phoenix and some would say Tucson is just backwards.

    I recommend visiting sdmb.com and sambabike.org to get a REAL idea of what is availible in the Tucson area. Give NW Tucson a serious look as that is where trail access is the easiest and its possible to have trail access from your home. There are also many great rides within 1-3 hours of Tucson, see PaulB's book for some of them.

    Don't fret the heat too much, some folks get used to it and ride regardless of the temps. Hell some folks in Arizona are afraid to ride in the rain.

    Louis

  13. #13
    wheeeee!!!
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    I thought I heard you were back in town.

    I heard a rumor you were in the old pueblo.
    Welcome back Louis

  14. #14
    Drugstore Trailrider
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    You've gotten lots of good feedback...

    Quote Originally Posted by dodger
    Trying to make this very important job relocation decision. One very big factor is the quality of life/outdoor activities, MTB TRAILS! I'm currently in MTB heaven in So Cal...year round riding and so many trails!

    How much true mountain riding (i.e., trees, canopy, non desert or at least high desert) is available? In the brutal summer months, is it possible to ride at daybreak for at least 2 hours before oven like temperatures?

    All input welcome - especially those with familiarity with both locales! Pls help.
    I have been in Tucson for 26 years and agree that the heat simply calls for certain adjustments. Since Arizona doesn't use Daylight Savings Time we get that extra hour in the cooler morning, so I usually start riding by 5AM, and even by 8AM it is still generally pleasant.

    I was living in central Tucson, and it gave easy access to Redington Pass, Starr Pass, Fantasy Island, and was only an hour away from woods and water at Gardner Canyon/Kentucky Camp to the south. There are, or used to be many trails on Mt. Lemmon that would be accessible from central or east Tucson, but fires the last two years have burned the majority of the Catalinas and I don't know how many trails are still open.

    I am now out the northwest side of Tucson, near 50-Year Trail, and I find a great variety of riding within a 10 to 30 minute drive.

    From northwest Tucson many of the popular Phoenix/Maricopa County rides are only a 2 hour drive, and many are well worth the effort, but personally I find plenty enough challenge in the Tucson area to highly recommmend it.
    Body Armor--Don't Leave Home Without It!

  15. #15
    mr. wonderful
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    true mountain riding!!?

    dodger, you've got your horse blinders on a little tight my friend. or maybe we're all delusional here. . .all the while thinking we were really mountain biking here in the desert.

    i would suggest you don't come. the temperature rarely drops below 120 in the summers. between the rocks and the cactus, expect 3-5 flats per ride. plus, it's like a moonscape here; the desert is really ugly, dried up, and barren.

    seriously. . .check it out; it's not that far for an extended weekend trip. having come from oregon and having visited many places with true mountain riding (i.e. trees and all that mountain stuff) i would not trade riding in arizona for any of it.

  16. #16
    Skinny legged XC geek
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    A little clarification

    Quote Originally Posted by dodger
    Trying to make this very important job relocation decision. One very big factor is the quality of life/outdoor activities, MTB TRAILS! I'm currently in MTB heaven in So Cal...year round riding and so many trails!

    How much true mountain riding (i.e., trees, canopy, non desert or at least high desert) is available? In the brutal summer months, is it possible to ride at daybreak for at least 2 hours before oven like temperatures?

    All input welcome - especially those with familiarity with both locales! Pls help.
    "Summer" has its own seasons within. June is far drier than July, August and early September. Hence, early morning daylight rides and evening night rides are quite pleasant. In July and August, and over Labor Day weekend, Phoenix riders will do VERY early rides or night rides in the heat, but this is when Flagstaff is at its best, a bit over 2 hrs away to the trailheads, leading to many long day trips or casual mtb/car camping sorties.

    I spent summer weekends in Prescott for many years; not as cool as Flagstaff, but a great town and rish with trails that would take A LOT of riding to fully explore. Prescott is half an hour closer to Phoenix than Flag.

    What we really enjoy in and around Phoenix is variety, good trails can be found within 2 hrs or less in every compass direction.

  17. #17
    caninus xerophilous
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    Mt. Lemmon info.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul B
    Um...no. It's all gone, anything above about 4000'.

    p.

    Edit: Of course I'm only talking about the Mt. Lemmon trails. Plenty of non-Lemmon rides in, around, and near Tucson.

    Some of its still there.

    http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coronado/scr...sites_1203.pdf


    Butterfly/Crystal Spring is open and in an early recovery state from the 2002 Bullock fire, a friend said the trail is rough, difficult to follow and overgrown.

    Green Mountain is still open and should be in good shape, having been lightly burned in the Bullock fire it fared well in the 2003 Aspen fire. It can be combined with Molino Basin and Milagrosa for some serious endrophin producing riding.

    As soon as the snow allows for riding Green Mountain I'll be hitting it!

    Oracle Ridge is also open and is on my short list of to do >4000 ft rides.


    Louis
    Last edited by SunDog; 02-25-2004 at 03:21 PM. Reason: Oracle Ridge.

  18. #18
    HowtoOverthrowtheSystem
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    Wow...keep it coming

    I'll have to look hard at Tucson when I leave Italy in summer of 05. If I can't get back to Colorado that just might be my second choice. Davis-Monthan AFB is the one in Tucson isn't it?

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