Best Bike Riding

Rillito Linear Park

First Avenue at the Rillito

READERS' PICK: Family and recreational cyclists favor this meandering two-lane route because you can ride for miles (from Campbell Avenue to La Cholla Boulevard) without ever having to share the road with an automobile. You do have to share the path with pedestrians, dogs and rollerbladers of varying abilities, so this is not a racecourse. In addition to smooth, relatively debris free asphalt, several aesthetic enhancements like tile work, a pedestrian bridge artfully embedded with mechanical parts, fitness equipment, a mini-amphitheater of stone, and abundant vegetation and desert flowers give your brain plenty of distractions while your body gets a workout. For the truly self-punishing, the sandy riverbed itself is open game for off-road pedalers. Not surprisingly, there aren't nearly as many takers, promising a plenty of room for racing until your heart's content (a level of aerobic activity that, personally, would have somebody dialing 911 on our behalf). There is street access at every major crossroads, but the path itself veers into an underpass at each juncture.

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: At the other end of the spectrum, there's Mount Lemmon. This is not for the casual enthusiast, but rather the bicycling insane. Whether you're a cyclist or mountain biker, there's only one thing you can expect from this highest peak in the Santa Catalina mountains: straight up, straight down (for road racers); or straight down, straight up (for the BMX elite). Bring plenty of water, and a serious commitment to adrenaline addiction.

LOOSE CHANGE: Aviation Parkway Bike Path. This could be one of the best-kept secrets in town. Miles of smooth pavement, most of it walled off from traffic that goes all the way from the "Lost Barrio" downtown out past Davis-Monthan Air base. I don't think I've ever seen more than a handful of my fellow cyclists out there on any given morning. It's fun, it's clean and, best of all, it's nice and long. Get on your bike and ride!

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