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Biking the Old Pueblo - August 2023

"When in doubt, add saguaros."

- Anonymous

As usual, Management at MILES PEDDLED (MP) will spare no expense in service to its LOYAL SUBSCRIBERS (LS). Accordingly, Management sent an exploratory team to Tucson, Arizona to check out the biking scene. The findings are the subject matter of this Month’s Edition of MP entitled “BIKING THE OLD PUEBLO”. Playlist suggestion: MY TUCSON by Holly Jebb.

Before we get to the subject matter of this Month’s Edition, Management has some pleasant announcements and a follow-up to past editions of MP. Past editions of MP can be accessed at where you can READ, RELAX AND REJOICE (another version of R,R&R).

First, the pleasant announcement. Thanks to the help of the CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD (COB), as well as others, the subscriber list to MP has grown by 30%. All of this through word of mouth with no CUSTOMER ACQUISITION COST (CAC). If MP continues along this trajectory, it will soon become SHARK TANK worthy. Playlist suggestion: CAN’T HOLD US by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

Now to the follow-up:

As all of the LS to MP will recall, in the juggernaut June/July Ed. of MP, Management outlined several wonderful places to camp with nearby excellent biking. As usual, the major publications, in this case RV MAGAZINE, are paying attention to this humble publication. Specifically, in the August 2023 edition, RV Magazine devoted an entire section to “Bikes and RVs.” While not as entertaining as the juggernaut June/July Edition of MP, it still did provide some useful information which Management will now share with its LS. Here are 3 of the trails mentioned in the aforesaid article:

· Empire State Trail, New York

The Empire State Trail (EST) runs from New York City to the Canadian border and is 750 miles in length. It is the longest multi-use trail in the Country. Most of the trail follows “Rails-Trails” routes but some of the trail does go on-road. Visit Playlist suggestion: EMPIRE STATE EXPRESS by Sun House.

· Moab, Utah

Moab is home to some of the best mountain biking trails in the world. There are trails for every skill level from the Mills Creek Parkway for the novice up to the Slick Rock Bike Trail for the expert mountain biker. Visit: Playlist suggestion: M.O.A.B. by Scotty K. featuring Jesse Shirts.

· Route of Hiawatha

In terms of scenery, the Route of Hiawatha (Hiawatha) which is located in Idaho and Montana is often referred to as the “crown jewel” of the Rails to Trails project. Hiawatha is a 15 mile trail with 10 train tunnels and 7 train trestles which provide views of the Bitterroot Mountains. Visit: Poem suggestion: THE SONG OF HIAWATHA by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Now to the trails!

In this Month’s Ed., Management will address the WHEN, WHERE and WHAT with respect to biking in Tucson.


September to May are the best months to bike in Tucson. Stay away from June, July and August where the average temperature is over 100°. Surprisingly, in the aforesaid months Tucson generally gets a good amount of rain. It is referred to as the “monsoon season.” Playlist suggestion: SET FIRE TO THE RAIN by Adele.


What equipment will you need when biking Tucson? Obviously, you will need a bike. If you cannot bring your own, then an excellent place from which to rent a bike is HMS BIKES located at 8225 North Courtney Page Way, Marana, Arizona, 85743. Telephone number: (520)989-0196. Email: Ask for the owner, Mike Swart who is a former insurance defense attorney from Chicago. Tell them Management at MP sent you over and Mike will take care of you with the perfect bike for your ride.

In addition, you must wear a helmet; make sure that you have a vessel for your hydration; wear sun protection on your eyes and skin; and last but not least bring the trusty bandana. Playlist suggestion: BLUE BANDANA by Jerrod Niemann.

· Now to the best part – WHERE:


· Trail:

The LOOP was the vision of CHUCK HUCKELBERRY who was a county administrator of Pima County for 48 years. The LOOP started out as an access path to the rivers that surrounded Tucson, but through Chuck’s vision became much more. The LOOP is now 155 miles of paved pathways that surround Tucson and extends into Marana and Oro Valley to the north. In this particular case, do not use the very enhanced DMAPS to obtain information about the LOOP, rather for an interactive map go to

The continuous ribbon of blacktop is almost uniformly flat and in excellent condition. There are six distinct sections that connect four separate communities (Tucson, South Tucson, Marana and Oro Valley).

The exploratory team especially enjoyed the 42 mile Santa Cruz River Park Trail (SCRPT) for its variety and history. This section of the trail runs from the town of Marana in the north to Tucson’s West Valencia Road in the southwest and follows the Santa Cruz Riverbed. When the riverbed is dry, look for the horses and riders galloping through the wash.

Another not-to-be-missed section is the 11 mile Cañada Del Oro River Park Trail (CORPT) which runs from the Santa Cruz River Park Trail on the northeast to Tangerine Road near Catalina State Park in Oro Valley.

No matter which section of the LOOP you choose to ride, around every turn there will be a view of the rugged mountains that surround Tucson. There are numerous places to get off the trail to hydrate and eat but please remember: You Cannot Make Everyone Happy. You Are Not A Taco.” Playlist suggestion: TACOS, ENCHILADAS AND BEANS by Doris Day.

· Bike:

Because the LOOP is paved, you can ride it with any bike including a road bike, hybrid, gravel, mountain, fatty or even an ebike.

· Playlist Suggestion:

LA BICICLETA (REMIX) by Carlos Vives and Shakira (featuring Maluma).


· Trail:

The TORTOLITA PRESERVE TRAIL (TPT) is located at 6250 West Moore Road, Marana, Arizona, 85658 and is approximately a half an hour north of downtown Tucson. Use Google maps or the more enhanced DMAPS which partnered with ALLTRAILS for a map of the TPT loop. Visit:

The TPT is rated as an easy mountain bike trail with rolling hills, but please be forewarned that there are some technical sections. Please also note that there are no restrooms or drinking fountains so come prepared.

Notwithstanding the lack of amenities, the TPT is well worth the ride. The trail lies within the Tortolita Preserve which is over 2,400 acres of beautiful native Sonoran Dessert. You will experience all types of desert flora and fauna.

On the flora side you will see saguaro and purple prickly pear cactus; ironwood trees; and, unfortunately, cholla cactus which cut like a knife. See the Gallery section of the digital version of MP which can be located at

On the fauna side, you will see deer; rabbits including jackrabbits the size of dogs; lizards; javelinas which look like wild boars but are not part of the pig family, but rather, are part of the peccary family which are generally found throughout Central and South America. In addition, since the Tortolita Preserve is on Dove Mountain you will see numerous types of doves. Playlist suggestion: EDGE OF SEVENTEEN by Stevie Nicks.

· Bike:

For this ride you will need either a mountain bike (hard-tail or full suspension); or, a fattie. HMS BIKES is located approximately 15 minutes to the west of the trailhead.

· Playlist Suggestion:

HOT TORTILLAS by The Tortilla Factory.


· Trail:

The SWEETWATER PRESERVE (SP) is located at 4001 North Tortilla Road in Tucson, Arizona, 85745. It is approximately a half an hour west of downtown Tucson.

The SP is an 880 acre preserve located in the eastern foothills of the Tucson Mountains. Volunteers have built 15 miles of trails in the preserve which have been ranked as the 4th best mountain biking trail system in the nation by The Sweetwater trail system has many trails rated from easy to advanced. MTB PROJECT has a very useful interactive map. This can be located at The trails are multi-use so keep an eye out for hikers and horses.

· Bike:

Once again, you will definitely need a mountain bike or a fattie. HMS Bikes is 20 minutes to the north of the trailhead.

· Playlist:

SWEETWATER BLUES by Eric Sardinas.

Now for the Trivia/Quiz section. As noted, this Month’s Edition is entitled BIKING THE OLD PUEBLO. This begs the question as to how Tucson became labeled as “Old Pueblo.” According to DMANOPEDIA, the nicknamed developed over time. The story goes as follows:

The railroad first came to Tucson in 1880. Mayor Leatherwood was so proud of the accomplishment that he sent letters to the President of the United States and the Pope in which he stated “this ancient and honorable pueblo was founded by the Spaniards under the sanction of the church more than 3 centuries ago…”

The local reporters liked Tucson’s new catchy nickname and began referring to Tucson as “A. and H. Pueblo.”

About 40 years later, Tucson businessmen borrowed the southwest imagery and began to publicize Tucson as “The Old Pueblo.” The name has stuck ever since.

Below are 10 questions about Tucson. The answers will be in the postscript section.

1. The name “Tucson” is from the Indian word Ts-Iuk-Shan.” What is the meaning of the Indian word? Sand, mountain, cactus or fresh air.

2. Tucson is consistently rated one of the best cities for biking in the United States. Considering all types of biking (road, trail, and mountain biking) Tucson has how many miles of bike trails? 300, 500, 800 or 900?

3. Tucson is home to the largest non-motorized parade in the word. What is the name of the parade? American Quarter Horse Parade, Tucson Gemstone Parade, The I-Dream of Genie Barbara Eden Homecoming, or the Tucson Rodeo Parade.

4. Tucson is the sunniest city in the United States with how many days of sunshine per year? 300, 325, 335 or 350.

5. Tucson is home to more bird species than any other region on earth except this region? Gobi Desert, Congo Rain Forest, Amazon Rain Forest, or the Tongass National Forest.

6. Tucson is home to the University of Arizona. In what decade did the University of Arizona allow female students to study medicine? 1890, 1920, 1940 or 1960.

7. According to the American Lung Association, Tucson has the 3rd cleanest air of all cities nationwide. Two of the following are numbers 1 and 2. Grand Junction Colorado; Honolulu, Hawaii; St. George, Utah; or, Cheyenne Wyoming.

8. Tucson is the northernmost point on the globe where you can find this animal. Javelina, diamondback rattlesnake, jaguar or desert cat.

9. Tucson is in the middle of the World’s largest concentration of this type of cacti. Golden barrel cactus, prickly pear, saguaro or jumping cholla.

10. The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recently bestowed upon Tucson which of the following titles? City of Indian Heritage; Gemstone City of the World; City of Gastronomy; or, City of Mexican Tapestry.

TEASE TIME: In time for enjoying the Fall colors, if all goes well, MP will be sending an exploratory team to the northwest section of Michigan from Frankfort on the west to Suttons Bay on the north and Traverse City on the east, and they will report back with their findings regarding the biking and maybe even a little kayaking in this area. Playlist suggestion: ALL SUMMER LONG by Kid Rock. By the way, take a listen to the Kid Rock song and then switch over to WEREWOLVES OF LONDON by Warren Zevon. Plagiarism lawsuit? You be the rock-n-roll judge.

Time to go but please remember: “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” - Eleanor Roosevelt. And, as always, remember to R, R & R!


Answers to Trivia/Quiz Section:


Ts-Iuk-Shan is the O’odham Tribe’s word for a mountain where the base is darker than the top. This references Sentinel Mountain which is the “A” mountain on the western edge of Tucson.


All told, Tucson has over 800 miles of all-around biking.


The Tucson Rodeo Parade is the largest non-motorized parade in the word.


Tucson gets 350 days of sunshine per year.


The region with the most bird species in the word is the Amazon Rain Forest, Tucson, however, is a distant second.


The U of A allowed female students to study medicine in the 1890’s, long before it was common practice to do so.


The cities with the cleanest air in the United States, according to the American Lung Association are Honolulu and Cheyenne, Wyoming.


Tucson is the northernmost point on the globe where you can find a jaguar. The U of A photographed a male prowling through the Santa Rita Mountains as recently as October of 2021.


Tucson is smack-dab in the middle of the World’s largest concentration of saguaro cacti.


UNESCO recently named Tucson a “City of Gastronomy.” The City’s culinary heritage is a tapestry of Mexican and Native American traditions.

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