From a car, Phoenix seems boring and drab with an infinite amount of strip malls, but cycling through Phoenix unlocks the finer parts of the city. Bike from Scottsdale to Phoenix or through the quasi-mystical Greenbelt and see the best that Phoenix has to offer with these trail guides.
Downtown to Downtown:
Route Details: Start at Downtown Scottsdale. Indian School and Scottsdale roads, north onto 68th street then immediately west onto Lafayette Boulevard, south on 44th Street, eest on Campbell Road, south on Central to Civic Space Park. Finish in downtown Phoenix.
Distance: ~15 miles
Downtown Scottsdale is known more for its fine dining and popular club scene, but on a bike it’s just as much fun. Take the ride during the day or at night when the lights are bright and everyone is out and headed for their favorite place to eat or drink. This ride instantly became a favorite. I pedaled down Indian School where everyone was clustered around but quickly found myself riding through Arcadia’s finest neighborhoods without a soul in sight. Lafayette Boulevard is speed hump free and has a bike lane, making this part of the ride very enjoyable as you can see some of the biggest houses in Phoenix with Camelback Mountain as a backdrop to the lovely scenery. Around the halfway mark, pass La Grande Orange on 40th Street and Campbell and grab a quick bite to eat or coffee or just keep pedaling toward downtown Phoenix. Enter the quiet world before downtown Phoenix where you have more riding options: take the canal or head straight for the Civic Space Park and enjoy the sun shining down on the city. The ride from Scottsdale to Phoenix is an easy and enjoyable ride that shows you the best that the Valley has to offer, not from a car, but from the saddle of a bike.
Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt:
Route Details: Start Tempe Town Lake.
Head North on Pedestrian Bridge, turn east. Pick up trail after the marina, and follow the trail all the way through the Greenbelt. Finish Camelback Park.
Distance: ~9 miles
Whether it’s hot or cold outside, this ride is still one of the best in the Valley. The ride begins with the loud lights and high buildings of Tempe as you cycle through the lake’s trails. But once you pass the marina and start to head north, the trail turns quiet and dark. The silence turns golden and the trail begins to seem sacred as you pedal alongside a gold course. After passing underneath a bridge and rising up near a lake, the trail truly begins. The silence is still there, but now you’re riding though a string of parks and lakes where cyclists seem to flock to as you pass riders by and by. The freshly watered grass gives a wonderful aroma and the path is specifically tailored for bikes, with dotted lines to separate the lanes. As you travel north through the greenbelt you’ll never cross a major street, with the use of bridges and tunnels to take you over each road so that you never have to stop riding because of pesty cars. There are different paths to take ensuring that you’ll have a different ride every time you go through the greenbelt.
Route Details: Start 3rd Avenue and Camelback Road. Then, head north on 3rd Avenue. After Northern, go west on Las Palmaritas Drive, south on 11th Ave, east on Northview. South on Central. Finish Central Avenue and Campbell Road.
Distance: ~10 miles
A much calmer ride than most, and apart of the Phoenix Sonoran Bikeway, heads through sleepy north Phoenix and the suburban sprawl neighborhoods that have no end. With very little traffic, this ride takes you farther and farther north. With the best weather on your side, you’ll never want to stop following the roads north. You can either head west on Las Palmaritas, which will take you to a park where you can stop and rest, or keep heading North on 3rd Avenue until its end at the Arizona Canal, where you could pick up the canal trail and continue your exploration of Phoenix. North Phoenix is unique in that it has a breezy California feel as you pass palm tree after palm tree and the beautiful homes behind them. The roads are good and there aren’t any hills to climb, so this is an easy ride.