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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everybody,

I am planning a 3-4 days bicycle tour in Arizona late February, maybe early march. I am coming from Boston and have never been in Arizona but it seems to me that Arizona is a good place for a tour at this time of the year (is it?). Actually I am pretty open about where to ride but here are some specs and thoughts:
Looks like flights to Phoenix are cheapest, so that's the point to start off. From there on I could take the greyhound take me to Flagstaff or Winslow. I have cross a bike or whatever that is called, you know - the one with the big wheels and no suspension - plus I will have some basic luggage with me so I will have to travel on paved roads, dirt roads or easy tracks. Thought I would travel about 200 miles all together and somehow I really started liking the idea of travelling through Navajo and Hopi country eventually ending up in Gallup. Does anyone here have experience with that - especially if it's possible to ride on those roads that are marked as Indian Routes on Google maps? If possible I also didn't want to carry a tent, sleeping bag and lots of food with me so I would need places to eat and stay overnight.
Anybody any experience or ideas on that? I am welcoming any tips and suggestions - even ideas for totally different tours.

Thank you,
Emil
 

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just 1 more
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All I can say is hope you like riding in the cold. (But it's a dry cold..)

Not where I'd go in Arizona in February.
 

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Salty Dog
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Emil, if you consider this kind of trip I would encourage you to plan on taking a tent, bag, and some provisions, just 'in case'. The highways you are talking about can certainly be ridden, however you likely won't find a lot of opportunity in some places for commercial lodging. You don't mention your riding skills and conditioning. I wouldn't consider such a ride unless I was considered an "A" rider and very good condition.

Early to mid March would probably be the better weather choice, if you can plan it that way. You may also want to consider riding south of Phoenix toward Tucson, toward Oracle and that area. As with everything else, however, there are opportunities for some danger. Maybe post and see if anyone local is wanting to make that kind of ride with you?

Just a thought or two...

Tommy
 

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it's going to be cold up north, if you want a challenging but doable ~ 200 mile ride i'd suggest starting in cottonwood or sedona (can take the shuttle from the phoenix airport, $50), heading up to flagstaff, then to the grand canyon and back. plenty of places to stay in sedona and flag, with hot meals and good beer. i have no experience riding on the res. so i can't comment on the availability of ammenities. my guess is that it's pretty sparsly populated. i'm sure either ride would be beautiful and fun. good luck... and if you're looking for someone to ride with one or two days i could probably ride up to flag from sedona with you.
 

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H.E.R
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X2 on the camping gear if your going to go through the reservation lands. Me being from from the Hopi land, there is not much, in trems of lodging and dining. There really is only the Hopi cultural center they have a restaurant and lodging. Then the next place heading east from there woulf be Keams Canyon. Then from there would be Burnside/Ganado, then Window Rock followed by Gallup.As far as the roads go many of them are rideable, however the shoulders are in certain areas ares are very narrow. As far as the dirt roads go some are rideable however some have ceratin sections where it gets very sandy. I ride my bike from Flagstaff to my village,everyonce in awhile youll see some folks riding through in the exact same fashion as you are planning to. If you need more answers just shoot me your questions and I gladly help you out. :thumbsup:
 

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Chunky Monkey
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Safety

Emil said:
Hello everybody,

I am planning a 3-4 days bicycle tour in Arizona late February, maybe early march. I am coming from Boston and have never been in Arizona but it seems to me that Arizona is a good place for a tour at this time of the year (is it?). Actually I am pretty open about where to ride but here are some specs and thoughts:
Looks like flights to Phoenix are cheapest, so that's the point to start off. From there on I could take the greyhound take me to Flagstaff or Winslow. I have cross a bike or whatever that is called, you know - the one with the big wheels and no suspension - plus I will have some basic luggage with me so I will have to travel on paved roads, dirt roads or easy tracks. Thought I would travel about 200 miles all together and somehow I really started liking the idea of travelling through Navajo and Hopi country eventually ending up in Gallup. Does anyone here have experience with that - especially if it's possible to ride on those roads that are marked as Indian Routes on Google maps? If possible I also didn't want to carry a tent, sleeping bag and lots of food with me so I would need places to eat and stay overnight.
Anybody any experience or ideas on that? I am welcoming any tips and suggestions - even ideas for totally different tours.

Thank you,
Emil
Emil,
Only to add one item. At this time (for the last two years) in northeastern Arizona's reservations there is a huge meth problem. Around the upper reservation lakes people are be robbed and their personal items being stolen. This has been around Heber, Show Low, Sunrise and Springerville areas. As for the far north reservations I have heard nothing. I have friends that live in the other areas. Odd, nothing in the news. Bad for tourism I guess. I like the other idea of heading toward Tucson, warmer, not so much wind, but not so much as in Native in Spiritualism.

Good luck,

John
 
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The meth problem is as bad as anywhere else in the west. I'm up there several times during the week and I never been hassled. Reviews like the last one are bad for tourism. If you go south you'll be warmer but will have to endure ICE (border patrol) and the silly a$$ minutemen.
 

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parenting for gnarness
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if you are serious about riding on the Res, be extremely careful wrt traffic and driver behavior - you see some crazy drivers on the Res and cars that are held together with bailing wire. It is unlikely you will find bike lanes, and generally speaking, a cyclist out there is an anomaly.
 

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Chunky Monkey
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Tourism

billiondollarmaybe said:
The meth problem is as bad as anywhere else in the west. I'm up there several times during the week and I never been hassled. Reviews like the last one are bad for tourism. If you go south you'll be warmer but will have to endure ICE (border patrol) and the silly a$$ minutemen.
BDM,

Not to start anything, it was just a warning to Emil. My position depends on tourism, however I would still warn someone to stay away from the res's in a camping, touring on a bike by your self situation. The buck is not that important. below are a few threads, the problem is MUCH worse than most of the west. I am up there along with other salespeople, bread delivery and so on. To make sure, this is not Indian bashing, we have already done enough harm....

Thx

John

http://www.ihs.gov/nonmedicalprogra... Tribal Solutions 2007(2)Heather Thompson.doc.

http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/az/press_releases/2008/2008-152(Meth Summit).pdf

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,199103,00.html

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-06-12-meth-reservations_x.htm
 

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Probably not the most enjoyable ride. Keep in mind, the landscape out there is monsterous. It gets tedious in a car traveling at 75mph. You could ride all day and barely change the view in some spots up there. Plus, you'll freeze balls.

Sounds boring, dangerous and unfun to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Hello and thank you for all the answers so far,

I am a little confused for now - Cold weather, boring ride, dangerous, no food and shelter....
on the other hand I was looking for some sort of solitude and cultural change. Maybe the right modifications to the ride will provide more. Will early to middle March make the weather nicer? Which places and roads offer more visual change interesting and is there any transportation available to get me a couple of miles further here and there?
Thank you crashdude for your hints
Anyway I haven't made up my mind yet. Maybe the Tucson area is better. But what's that thing with ICE and minutemen? Would they stop me all the time, point guns at me and ask nasty questions?
Just a word about my condition. It's not outstanding at all. But on the other hand - there don't seem to be too many elevations so about 60 miles a day shouldn't be too bad, should they?
 
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John,
Your a good person for trying to clear that up clearly and concisely. However, you must understand that I may seem a bit defensive about it because I am Navajo, I am from canyon DeChelly, I am not a speed freak and I don't steal...nor do I associate or know anyone who does.
Also, I don't know about the two news links, the media are known for being fear mongers and presenting natives in an unflattering light. We're villains, mascots, scapegoats, a combination of the three, but rarely human. Sure we have our bad apples, everyone does. But that shouldn't lead you to fear us. I honestly doubt FOX news has anything insightful to teach me about who I am or where I'm from. In fact I've spent the better half of my adult life trying to unlearn all that has been taught to me by media and whomever else that feels the need to perpetuate what can be an overwhelming barrage of stereotypes, expectations and irrational fears. I am none of that. I speak for myself and nobody else when I say...what you know does NOT define me.
If emil has his heart set on communing with the NDNs and the surreal landscape he should come and not be afraid. There is much to learn and see! There appears to be 2 natives on this thread that seem to be "friendlies" and are willing to help him out. He ought to take that into consideration as well.
To Emil: You're always welcome on my rez bro and if I can make time in the Mid/Late spring I would be happy to show you what my home and peeps are all about, not to spite circusubet but its because thats what I do. I'm a tour guide that visits reservations exclusively because to many (myself included)... to allay the myths and make a true connection is worth the buck. Plus, it has allowed me to scout MANY places that can be had on two wheels. That is all we are really here for right? I don't know about riding in Hopi land...I'm just a tourist there like you (Navajo too) but there is much potential around the area where my family is from. I will find the ultimate line someday...
Lastly, there is nothing to worry about down south as far as border patrol just be aware there are check points and they do have guns so just be aware.
Safe travels to all and me no smokum meth pipe dammit.
 

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I won't admit to have spent a lot of time on the reservation lands, but I've logged thousands of car miles up there and my father visits his friends on the Hopi land several times a year. He's transplanted himself up there to some extent and I've enjoyed hearing about his experiences. I will say, it isn't the type of place you "tour" like you would other areas. You don't just roll into some of those small communities and say, "hey...show me what ya got."f It isn't that you aren't welcome, but then again, there's no obligation to entertain you, and I'd bet you'd feel a little weird just showing up. I do. You should.

As for the danger, I think that has more to do with traffic than anything. Those roads are long strait and bikes are not so common. I really try not to drive on the reservations at night for example. In some stretches, you can't go more than two miles between crosses on the road where someone met their demise. Plus, I'm not kidding when I say boring....for a bike tour. There are only a handful of roads up there and most are not real exciting on a bike. Camping off the road isn't real exotic either. You'll be plopping your tent in the dirt.

I think the high plateau is really cool in many ways. I just don't think it's an ideal spot for a bike tour. Far from it. And you don't need big climbs when you have 35mph winds. How do you think those rocks got shaped? Big wind, my friend, especially in the spring.

Great area for a motorcycle tour or even just a road trip.
 

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plasma donor
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The res isn't the ideal place to ride without either support or fully self-sufficient. I would strongly suggest a supported tour, at least for your first time.
 

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Salty Dog
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A very interesting dialogue, at the least. I'm impressed with the thoughts shared by those who actually live and learn on the land of the Navajo and Hopi. I drive through the reservations several times yearly but have never given a thought to riding a bike of any kind or description through there, however it can be beautiful country when seen up close.

I certainly wouldn't discourage anyone for giving this a shot, but I think being prepared is absolute.

As far as the meth issue goes, I see these abuses every place and where there is meth there is crime. I've also been treated very well by the NDNs wherever I've gone on or off reservation. I would love to have my 'silver spoon' 19 year old son live for a month on the reservation, just for the experience of what live for others is like.

So, if you're really interested in doing the ride give serious consideration to finding someone to ride with and be prepared to fend for yourselves along the way.
 

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In the rear with the beer
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The adventure cycling association has maps for a Grand Canyon connector. It runs from Utah, along the north rim, then down to Tempe/Phoenix. I was going to do it 2 years ago, but my riding buddy decided to get married instead and lost his cohones. The map for this route, i think, gives tips on where to stay, etc. The whole thing is 500+ miles, but you can't pick portions to do. Given the weather, I'd agree with the suggestions to go a little further south. Flag to Sedona to Prescott or something like that. Regardless the Adventure Cycling Assoc website may have some good info...
 

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The riding in and around Flagstaff is really nice in March and April. Great for the longer rides that you are looking at. There is ~25 inches of snow in Flag now and could still be on the ground (like last year) in Feb. I agree with others, stay South or wait it out. Enjoy!
Dan
 

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tour guide

Emil,

There is an out of print book written by Dennis Coello titled "bicycle touring Arizona". He has suggested touring loops for pretty much the entire state along with real world suggestions on equipment, weather, lodging, and ammenities. It is a bit dated (was published in 1985) but would be a great starting point for you.

As far as touring on the Navajo/Hopi res, the main thing to get your head around will be the distances involved and the fact that there can be very little in the way of facilities between towns. Be prepared for anything as far as weather is concerned. I once traveled between Monument valley and Tuba city in an open top jeep and got stuck in a lovely dust storm.

However, in spite of everyone's warnings, be prepared for some beautiful country.
 

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Chunky Monkey
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Az.

Emil,

No matter where you go in Arizona it will be beautiful, But I am biased. If you plan on being in the Phoenix area give a call, I will pm you my number.

BDM,

Please check your pm's. It would be great to ride with you but I can't afford to stack it going downhill. Come to think of it, you would clean my clock on your downhill rigs and me on a cross country bike..I'm old and slow.

Thx,

John
 
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