The city of Tucson was recognized this month as the No. 23 best cycling city in the U.S., according to Bicycling magazine.
The rankings cited the Living Streets Alliance, a home-grown advocacy group aimed at improving Tucson's streets for cyclists.
Our neighbor to the north, Tempe, bested Tucson by just one spot, coming in at No. 22.
Scottsdale was also among the ranks coming in at No. 40.
Joey Iuliano, a graduate student with a focus in geography, said the UA campus is especially accommodating of cyclists.
“I would consider Tucson to be one of the most bike-friendly cities in the nation,” Iuliano said. “I love how comfortable I feel while riding my bike around campus because of how accessible the bike paths are.”
The city of Tucson has constructed hundreds of paved pathways, including the over 100-mile Loop shared-use path system, and over 500 miles of bike lanes to help cyclists feel more comfortable when biking around town.
Little joins the ranks of the roughly 1.7 percent of Tucsonans who commute by bike to work, school or elsewhere.
“I live 30 miles off campus, but I am able to commute on my bike all the way from my house to campus—this is a 68-mile round trip all together,” said Bryan Little, a UA mechanical engineering student.
There are also a plethora of cycling teams throughout the state of Arizona that provide cyclists with a competitive and social environment to exercise their hobby.
In Tucson, Iuliano and Sarah Posner, a cyclist and environmental studies and geography student at the UA, take pride in the nationally competitive UA Cycling Club.
“I love being a part of a team that is so passionate about riding," Posner said. "The team allows me to do what I love in such a friendly environment."
Cyclists can travel dozens, sometimes up to 100 miles, while riding in competitions or just for fun, according to Iuliano. The club and other community members regularly come together to make the 27-mile journey up Mount Lemmon, a 5,500-foot climb.
“Our team is very competitive—we have 65 members,” Iuliano said. “We compete in road cycling, cyclecross and mountain biking. It is a great opportunity to exercise and do what we love all at the same time.”
While the three Arizona cities are ranked in the top-50 for cycling, all of them dropped in the rankings from 2014, according to Bicycling.com.
Tucson dropped from No. 18, Scottsdale from No. 30 and Tempe from No. 17.
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