Magazine article Sunset

Grand Canyon to the Border ... a 500-Mile Bike Adventure

Magazine article Sunset

Grand Canyon to the Border ... a 500-Mile Bike Adventure

Article excerpt

Few states can rival Arizona for natural beauty and diversity of terrain. That's why the Greater Arizona Bicycle Association (GABA) has devised a "Grand Canyon to Mexic Almost Across Arizona Bicycle Tour."

Beginning at the Grand Canyon and generally following state highways, the 500-mile bike ride to the Mexico border at Nogales offers some spectacular scenery combined with the local color of small-town Arizona. Taking you from alpine lakes and woods to saguaro-filled deserts, past ranchlands and Indian ruins, and through small logging and mining towns, the route will rarely be boring.

April and October normally have the best weather balance for both the alpine and low-desert parts of the ride. You can can cycle part or all of the route this month on your own, or sign up now for a guided ride in October. That month each year, GABA sponsors two guided rides complete with a sag wagon to carry all your gear; see page 98 for details. Last fall, the youngest to complete the trip was a 2-year-old Phoenix boy who rode a trailer behind a tandem powered by his dad and 10-year-old brother. The ride's oldest finisher was 76. Many of the participants have never been on an overnight ride before. "But we haven't had anyone unable to complete this ride because it was too tough," says GABA's Rich Corbett, the man who originally dreamed up the trip. The ride is taxing, but within the range of the dedicated recreational cyclist: if you can complete a century ride (100 miles), you should have no problem.

Still, only experienced bicyclists should consider tacking the entire route alone. Inexperienced riders might want to select one- or two-day segments. A right-on-target guidebook

You could probably make do with a good highway map. But a detailed guide to this route eliminates most of the unknowns. Try Grand Canyon to Mexico Bicycle Route, by Ed and Lori Stiles (Breakaway Press, 3324 E. First St., Tucson 85716, 1983; $3.50 postpaid).

Sized to fit in a bike pack, this 35-page booklet gives day-by-day maps, scenery descriptions, and even elevation diagrams. It points out which areas are difficult or hazardous for inexperienced riders, suggests possible side trips, and gives crosstown routes through Flagstaff and Tucson. You also get good advice on what to bring along. Bus options

Going on your own will require some planning. Options include providing your own sag wagon.

Or you could consider using bus transportation for yourself and your bike; ticket holders may ship a bicycle, which must be boxed, plus one other piece of luggage at no extra charge. …

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