Be Prepared


In case you hadn't noticed, Tucson lives in the desert. That means temperatures climbing into the 100s during a hot summer day. That's hot enough to.... well, let's just say it's hot.

Ride early. Beat the sun and ride in the cool pre-dawn day. Then it's only 80 degrees or so.

Cover up. Bare skin means energy spent cooling it. Wear a light-colored long-sleeved shirt. It will shade your skin, prevent burn, and cool you once it becomes soaked with sweat. Cotton is a great shade fabric in summer because it's slow to dry.

Take lots of water and drink it. Drink at least a liter of water per hour, whether you feel like it or not.



Expect temperatures in the 30s and 40s overnight warming into the 60s and 70s during the day.

Invest in technical wear. Cotton is a no-no. The last thing you want is sweat-soaked clothes to tap heat and chill your body. Polyester microfleece is worth the cost. It will keep you warm, wet or dry, and wicks moisture away from your skin.


Bike & People Parts

Having a few parts and supplies along can make the difference between an inconvenience and a walk back to your vehicle. Here's my standard kit.
  2 tubes
  tire pump, tire levers & patch kit
  electrical tape
  multi tool
  chain tool w/pins & links
  small adjustable wrench
  hex wrench set
  comb (for cholla extraction)
  clean bandanna
  emergency rations (e.g., Power Bars, Goo)


Expedition Mode

Day-long excursions on backcountry trails place extra demands on body and equipment.

Check and repair all equipment before you go

Pack map, compass, GPS and know how to use them. Backcountry trails are not the main thoroughfares you may be used to. Getting lost has a tendency to take the fun out of a ride.

Technical wear is a must. All base and insulating layers should wick and stay warm wet. You'll probably be riding in a wide range of temperatures, wind, shade, and sun. Pack a lightweight shell that sheds water and breathes.

Take lots of water and drink it. You're going to be gone a while. Springs may be available but don't count on it.

Pack plenty of high carb food. You burn several hundred calories an hour riding. If you don't keep fueled you'll run out, guaranteed.


A Note on Tubes

If you don't use Slime tubes or someone else's version of a self-sealing tube, start. Flats are a way of life and self-sealing tubes really make a difference. They may cost twice as much as standard rubber but last longer and are more trouble-free.


Updated June 2010