Cruisers are made more for fun than fitness. So they’re perfect for exploring downtown Phoenix’s bike-friendly historic neighborhoods, such as the Willo or Encanto-Palmcroft districts, where you’ll find lovingly restored homes—in architectural styles ranging from Mission Revival to Classic Bungalow—dating to the 1920s.
Or wind your way along the banks of the Salt River Project’s web of irrigation canals, where more than 100 miles of paved and packed-dirt paths crisscross Greater Phoenix, passing neighborhoods, urban parks and shopping and entertainment districts.
For those who like a reward at the end of a morning ride, try the beer brunch at O.H.S.O Eatery + Nanobrewery’s Arcadia locale, where bike racks, locks and tools for simple repairs attract riders from the nearby canal path. Or there’s downtown’s Phoenix Public Market Café, where breakfast is served until 3 p.m., and it’s never too early for a bourbon milk punch. You can also fill your bike’s basket with fresh goodies from the adjacent open-air farmers market, held Saturday mornings and Thursday evenings.
Before you rent a cruiser, check with your hotel to see if it has a bike program. Greater Phoenix properties such as The Clarendon Hotel and Spa, Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Phoenix, JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa, Bespoke Inn and The Saguaro all offer guests complimentary loans of bicycles.
Leisurely ride to brunch
Pack the trail mix, because Greater Phoenix is heaven for mountain biking. Between its parks and preserves, the metro area boasts hundreds of miles of mountain-bike-friendly trails that put you in the midst of the Sonoran Desert, often just minutes from urban centers. As you careen around switchbacks, keep your eyes peeled for saguaro and prickly pear cactuses, spring wildflowers and desert critters such as roadrunners, coyotes and javelinas.
In northeast Phoenix, parts of Phoenix Mountains Preserve offer lengthy, easy treks, such as the 10.7-mile Charles M. Christiansen Memorial Trail, which uses a series of tunnels to cross under a freeway and busy streets. Or try more challenging rides, such as the 4.8-mile Perl Charles Memorial Trail, which loops the backside of landmark Piestewa Peak.
At South Mountain Park, the National Trail follows 14.5 miles of the mountain’s ridgeline, offering great views of downtown Phoenix. For those who want to hone their skills, the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department has specially constructed competitive tracks (as well as general mountain biking trails) at Estrella Mountain, McDowell Mountain and White Tank Mountain regional parks.
Don’t own a mountain bike? No problem. The outfitters mentioned below offer rentals, guided tours and transportation to and from area hotels.
Moderate to difficult
Exploring the great outdoors
Where to Rent a Bike
REI Co-Op Experiences and Cactus Adventures
To explore the heart of the city sans car, check out Grid Bike Share. This program places 500 easy-to-ride, lime-green bikes at 50 “hubs” throughout central Phoenix. The project was launched in 2014 as a public-private partnership