Thursday, October 13, 2011

Le Tigre de Tucson

Le Tigre and I meet on the Rillito River Bike Path for some serious riding!

Old School Chum and Independently Wealthy local Tucson Boy and I arrange an early morning ride, Gentler Readers of This Blog. We will ride on the Rillito River Bike Path, and Le Tigre will guide me on the new connection where it meets the Santa Cruz Bike Path. I don't think its officially open yet but many of the Tucson Cyclist have been taking it for a weeks now. I'll use this trip to recon for Friday Night's Beer and Bikes event at Stef's house in the Mercado near Down Town.

Only just opened, I'm on Twin Peaks Rd--that's Panther Peak in the background in Continental Ranch--which is on the West side of Interstate 10.

I thought I'd ride down to a cafe where I could have a quick breakfast, then meet up with Le Tigre for our ride to Down Town via the Santa Cruz.

A bit of a chill this morning.

Twin Peaks take me pretty far pretty fast--but then I have to back-track a little to the cafe. From there, I can shoot down Thornydale, onto River Rd to La Cholla, where I'll see Le Tigre.

At the Cafe--had to fix a flat.

When I pulled into the Cafe, I discovered that I had a puncture, and the piece of wire was still stuck in the tire. I got my coffee and breakfast, and then warmed by the coffee I got the tube patched up. I gave myself plenty of time to head out this morning, so a flat--my first in a long time--was not a big deal. It just takes some time to get the tire up to 100 psi with my hand-pump. But I was good to go and now the Sun was warming me up and I felt strong. Back on familiar roads--River Rd, mes amis, a commute route of mine for years--I made good time to the bike path.

About River Rd and La Cholla, just on the bike path.

Construction is finally complete--this was being worked on for years--When Le Tigre and I head this way, it will be the first time for me--I'm pretty excited. Soon there will be a bike path all around the City of Tucson--awesome.

Le Tigre--

On our way on the new bike path!

Riding under Interstate 10.

You know I've read a lot about the Santa Cruz and Rillito Bike Paths connecting, but what most of the writers fail to do is actually tell you anything remotely relevant. Its just like they're re-hashing a poorly written press release. Years ago I called Matt Zoll, and some others at the River Parks/Bike Committee--asking about how far East I could ride on the bike path--if I could ride from say, Sabino Canyon area on dirt until I reached the paved part--Mr. Zoll and many of the other staff admitted that they actually didn't know.

So I needed Le Tigre to guide me. There were a few times the bike path branched off in different directions--Le Tigre told me not to got that way because it dead-ends. There needs to be a few signs to help people out for awhile--or even every few miles a sign with a map--not just of the bike trail but the streets that connect to it--just saying.

All new bike trail--heading South on the Santa Cruz.

Riding past the old Pecan Grove near the open pit mine.

I know where we are, but I'm not really sure where we are some of the time. That is the case on the Santa Cruz. Like the Pecan Grove and the Pit--you would drive past them every day on I-10 but really there seems to be a lot space between the Interstate and the Santa Cruz--and what I thought looked like Silverbell Rd just to the West. Le Tigre rides fast and I was trying to keep up, take a few pictures for you, and catch up on my friend's life these last six months since I've seen him!

"A" Mountain--or before 1919, Sentinel Peak.

When we arrive, or should I say, when we plop out on Congress Ave--we're just a few blocks from the Mercado and Stef's place. I suddenly know right where we are when we get off the bike path. We'll make a quick trip to the house.

Made it!

I may have to ride back home Friday Night after the party (hope I can get a ride) so I'm glad I got this far. I've ridden 32 miles from my house--then to meet Le Tigre--to get here. Friday I'll ride the path again, and I hope to make a grand entry for the party!

Down Town Tucson Streets.

Now we'll ride through the barrio, across the University of Arizona Campus, to Le Tigre's Casa--and I'll get some air, and extra water bottle to carry for my trip back home to Dog Mtn--and I'll clean up a little before I meet some old Desert San friends for a quick lunch.

Centro neighborhoods--these homes date from the early 1920s. This is the real Tucson, mes amis!

Le Tigre speaking the local dialect with a young woman--she's trying to find her way and Le Tigre helps out--he is the Prince of this City, mes amis!

Old Home from a historic barrio neighborhood that's still looking good!

Live, Love, Sing, Dance, and have Fun!

About to ride into our old Uof A haunts.

Thanks to Le Tigre, we got through the barrio without getting shot--just playing! There are some well known cyclist from Sonora, Mexico and the people who live in barrio respect them--and all cyclists. Not like the Old Gringos with their Buicks and entitlements, only coming to town when Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin start getting to cold for their blood.

Cafes and bicycles as we near the University Campus.

The Frog and Firkin--our favorite pub on University Ave, down by the Main Gate! I love this place dearly, mes amis...

Slow down Le Tigre!

Old Main, built 1881, University of Arizona Campus.

Student Union.

The Old Student Union was just about to be torn down when I arrived here to work in the University Archives in 1999. During most of my Graduate school days, the Mall and the Union were being renovated and rebuilt. Very nice now and glad I got to use it for awhile while I worked here.

The famous chemistry building on the Mall.

Bear Down Gym.

Bear Down, Arizona
Bear Down, Red and Blue
Go! Fight!
Go Fight Win!
Bear Down
(Actual Fight song of The University of Arizona Wild Cats)

Too Cool for School.

Now we're on Le Tigre's old commute route to work and to school. The Kid is fast! I'm trying to take pictures and he's rolling away from me! Actually its good we're on the move because he's keeping me on time for my date at the San.

Trying to keep up with Le Tigre.

Le Tigre is still fit and nimble--we make it through the busy campus like two flying arrows.

Through the old neighborhoods of the city.

A few miles winding our way to Le Tigre's place on a calm and cool Fall day in Tucson was the best for me, Gentle Readers of This Blog. The weather perfect--the blazing heat of the Summer has past, and days are mellow and sleepy-dream-like.

Le Tigre and I visit for a short while and I filled up my tires with air--got some cold water and a spare bottle from Le Tigre as I left his cozy adobe for what would be a long, hot climb to Dog Mtn.

I arrived for my lunch date with Desert San friends at a local spot we all enjoyed. Lunch was great and I was starved. Lots of laughs and catching up on who got sacked and who moved on, etc etc. Then we said our farewells.

Swan--my old commute! Still a challenging climb right out the door after work--always very hot no matter what time of year.

I'm doing okay climbing Swan up into the Foothills!

I rode my old Foothills commute route back home. The only thing different is that I'd get to ride up La Canada as its newly finished, instead of weaving my way through the neighborhoods of Oro Valley. It was hot, and late afternoon--this would end up being a 70 mile ride today for me.

The other side of the Ridge.

In the photo above, I've ridden from down by the Desert San, climbed Swan, traveled on Ina Rd that hugs the Ridge on the other side of the mountains--around the base there on the right, and now up La Canada through Oro Valley. Then I still have to climb to Dog Mtn!

Long day in the saddle.

Raleigh Super Grand Prix--my father bought me this bike at Vendebles Bike Shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma--my home town--in 1977 when I was in High School. The bike is still pretty much original save the Brooks and the rear wheel--still looks and feels brand new!

I put in some miles this week, mes amis, and I'm glad I had this sturdy bike to take me everywhere. I didn't rent a car--because to be honest money is tight now with rent here in Lawrence and still having a mortgage in Tucson.

I'm a cyclists, and a Tucson Cyclist. Many people would trade a lot more to have the weather and the roads and the time to ride like this. Thanks to Le Tigre for guiding me around the city, and thanks for stopping by my blog.

Cheers! Bruce

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