Tucson Bike Tour – Pedaling Southern Arizona, past to present

Tucson bike tour begins downtown

 

Bikes ready for our Tucson bike tour

The forecast was dire. Thunderstorms were headed towards Tucson on the day of our planned bike tour. With a bit of juggling, Tucson Bike Tour guide, Jimmy Bultman, quickly switched gears and arranged for us to meet a few hours early. By the end of the ride, we were stuffed with new stories, pictures and made new friends. The sky burst open a few minutes after we rolled into tour headquarters. Lucky break!

Tucson bike tour begins

In the office courtyard, we met our chariots and adjusted each seat. A few minutes later we were going over the route of historical downtown Tucson.

Ride along in my short YouTube video:

Each of us had a basket or gear bag to store our cameras and a water bottle was attached to each frame. With a self-deprecating sense of humor, Jim gave us an outline and we were off. The city is fairly flat, so riding for hours was easy and I’m no jock.

Bikes ready for our Tucson bike tour

 

The Buffet Bar in the Iron Horse neighborhood of Tucson

The Buffet Bar in the Iron Horse neighborhood of Tucson

Central Tucson isn’t that large but encompasses several distinct neighborhoods. Each has its own personality and history. With showers threatening, we kept moving but still had time for questions as Jim shared his expertise and passion for the city. I made mental notes on which spots I wanted to return to – a good bike tour is like that. For one, The Buffet Bar and Crock Pot seemed like a great dive bar. It’s notorious as “The oldest bar in Tucson – since 1934!”

The Iron Horse that connected Tucson to the world.

The Iron Horse that connected Tucson to the world. Engine 1673 hauled a million miles of freight and appeared in the 1954 movie ‘Oklahoma.’

The El Jefe mural is new in Tucson. It honors one of the two, wild Jaguars left in the United States.

The ‘El Jefe’ mural is new in Tucson. It honors one of the two, wild Jaguars that remain in the United States. This one lives in the desert mountains outside of the city.

Just one of the colorful adobe houses in the Barrio Viego neighborhood.

Just one of the personalized adobe houses in the Barrio Viejo neighborhood.

The entry into Hotel Congress where outlaw Dillinger and gang were arrested. Today it hosts great food, reasonable room rates and music.

The entry of Hotel Congress where outlaw Dillinger and gang were arrested. Today, the hip interior hosts great food, reasonable room rates, and performances.

The Tucson Museum of Art

The Tucson Museum of Art

Soldier from Living History day in Tucson

Soldier from Living History day (once a month) in Tucson’s El Presidio de San Agustin

Tucson Barrio Viejo Mural on the former site of Lee Ho's store, the most important of the Chinese markets.

Detail of the Tucson Barrio Viejo Mural on the former site of Lee Ho’s store, which was one of the most important of the local Chinese markets.

Cathedral

Cathedral San Agustin

Posing at the doors of the Cathedral San Agustin

Congregants pose at the doors of the Cathedral San Agustin

We stopped our bikes at El Tiradito, a little shrine in memory of a ranch hand who was killed due to romantic involvement with his mother in law!

We stopped our bikes at El Tiradito, a little shrine in memory of a ranch hand who was killed due to a romantic involvement with his mother in law!

Tucson has a drive through liquor store. Handy for thirsty bicyclists! Our Tucson bike tour host treated us to little bottles of tequilla.

Tucson has a drive-through liquor store. Nice stop for thirsty bicyclists and our Tucson bike tour host treated us to little bottles of tequila!

Why a bike tour?

Tucson is laid out in the flat basin area above river plains. It makes for an easy bike ride that most anyone can manage. Another reason I’d recommend it is how simple it is to stop whenever you want. There’s no need to search for a parking place, get in and out of the car and traffic in Tucson is light enough to make a bike tour safe.

Tucson bike tour sign on the office door

My favorite destinations make me want to stay longer. Visiting Tucson is like that. One day I’ll return to attend one of the many celebrations, like Dillinger Days and the Jazz Festival. I’ll set up base camp in town then explore the outlying regions; go wine tasting in the prodigious vineyards, to see the old movie sets in Tombstone, hike through the Saguaro National Park and explore nearby Kartchner Caverns.

If you go on a Tucson Bike Tour:

Many thanks to Tucson Bike Tours, Visit Tucson and the luxurious Hacienda del Sol Guest Ranch for making the bike tour and adventure possible.

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