Arizona's longest-running and largest bicycle event, El Tour de Tucson is presented on the Saturday before Thanksgiving every year. "El Tour," as it's known locally, takes place within communities of Pima County and typically attracts more than 6,500 participants with rides for every ability, age and skill level. The main ride, a scenic 100-mile perimeter route, was established in 1983.
In 2019, the 37th El Tour de Tucson includes rides of 100-mile, 75-mile, 50-mile and 25-mile distances in addition to a fun ride, especially popular with kids, and the Indoor El Tour, open to stationary bike riders who tally minutes, not miles. All routes conclude in downtown Tucson. Go to PerimeterBicycling.com to register or to learn how you can ride for free by raising contributions for EasterSeals.
Whether you want to tour the town or pedal in place, you're bound to have fun when you join the next El Tour on Saturday, November 23, 2019.
The "El Tour season" kicks off in September at Loop the Loop, a free ride routed along The Loop, Tucson's car-free, multi-use urban path. Other El Tour season activities include training classes and practice rides led by experts, bike patrol certification classes, the El Tour Expo, and a pre-ride dedication dinner. Before and after El Tour, find out how to make the most of Tucson's cycling opportunities.
On ride day, participants and spectators are invited to the El Tour Downtown Fiesta, a party for participants and spectators staged near the main finish line in Downtown Tucson. If you drive here, there are plenty of parking garages nearby and close to the Tucson Sun Link Streetcar line, which connects four downtown dining-and-entertainment districts. Staying for the weekend? Check out these lists of area accommodations and official event host hotels.
Tucson Cycling Accolades
The popularity of El Tour has contributed to Tucson's consistently high rankings as a bicycle-friendly community. Here are a few accolades:
- •#5 of 10 cities ranked overall in America’s Best Places for Bikes, PlacesForBikes Rating System, May 2018.
- #23 of 50 best bike cities – Bicycling Magazine, September 2016
- #9 of most bikeable cities in USA - Walk Score, May 2015
- Top 10 cycling cities in U.S. – TravelChannel.com, May 2015
- #7 of most bike-friendly cities – BetterDoctor.com, March 2015
The Tucson area boasts more than 700 miles of paved bikeways, including dedicated streetside lanes and residential bike routes as well as The Loop, a 131-mile network of car-free, shared-use paths connecting communities within Pima County.