Saturday, December 22, 2018

Tucson Fever

Well, we've only finished the first of our eight weeks here in the Tucson area and Heather thinks she has found the perfect place to spend the winter... the desert climate of Tucson. She likes the warm dry days, cool nights, and light breezes of the desert... plus there are mountains, interesting cacti, and plenty of birds (we have Hummingbirds at our feeder all day long).

Heather had this epiphany as we began our ride today along the Julian Wash on "The Loop" hike and bike trail. As she made her case for why Tucson was an ideal place to be in the winter - I found myself in complete agreement. Plus there are so many great places to ride our bikes and other cool areas we have yet to explore. Lots of hiking to do in nearby parks that we plan to visit in the coming new year.

Today we did the complete circuit of "The Loop" - just over 53 miles for one lap. There was an abundance of cyclists on the trail today - so not everyone was holiday shopping.

Along the ride today we passed three cyclists on the trail - two on road bikes and one using a hand cycle. After we passed them they continued to follow us closely on the trail. We were very impressed by the strength of the young man on the hand cycle. We pulled into a park to take a break and have a snack and the three cyclists pulled in with us to stop.

The young man on the hand cycle asked me about my fat tired bike and I asked him about his hand cycle. I was surprised to find out that his hand cycle had electronic shifting! He had a triple crank where his hand turned the handles and that went to his front wheel where he had an 11-speed cassette. He said that the electronic shifting had made his cycling experience amazingly easier - I asked why? He said that traditional mechanical shifters on a hand cycle always require you to back-off after the shift to make sure you are in gear correctly and this always slowed his momentum. Now he can shift under full power and keep his momentum without losing any power and speed.

We were very impressed how fast he could move on his hand cycle powered only by his arms - very awesome!

It's sometimes hard to remember that it is December when the temps are in the 70's each day.  Now we understand why so many cyclists we know love the Tucson area in the winter - so much opportunity to enjoy the outdoors with beautiful scenery in ideal riding temperatures. Looking forward to the next seven weeks - I know it will go by fast.