Most people do not think of Flagstaff, Arizona as being a cycling mecca, but Campfire Cycling’s hometown is full of cycling enthusiasm! Flagstaff has a tendency to “fly under the radar” when it comes to it’s cycling scene, but there is a lot going on in and around this city of around 60,000 people. This unique alpine city of 7000 ft elevation is at the base of the highest mountain range in Arizona (Humphrey’s Peak = 12,633 feet!) and it is surrounded by national forest. It’s cycling “scene” includes commuting by bike, mountain biking, road riding, a large selection of bike shops, bike frame builders, and in general a great group of avid cyclists.
The City of Flagstaff has made a lot of improvements over the last 10 years to make the city much more bike friendly. They have added new urban trails, bike lanes, and even a bike bridge over a busy 4 lane street. The urban trail system is a network of paved and gravel paths that are generally removed from streets and run through local neighborhoods. They provide a safe and quiet way to commute around town. In addition, most of the new streets being constructed have large bike lanes for safer riding on the streets. The annual bike to work week organized by Flagstaff Biking, is a large event that the City has rallied behind to encourage more bike commuting.
The mountain biking around Flagstaff is not too shabby! With national forest surrounding the town and an ever expanding network of trails to ride with very comfortable summer time temperatures, the mountain biking experience is a lot of fun. During the winter months many mountain bikers from Flagstaff head to the warmer desert climate of Sedona. Sedona is a 45 minute drive from Flagstaff and offers a nice network of trails that surround the town. Take a look at my photos of trail riding around Flagstaff and Sedona.
The road riding around Flagstaff is pretty good but there are a limited number of places to ride. There is usually a Saturday morning group ride that consists of racers and recreational riders who ride the Lake Mary and Mormon Lake circuit for training/fun. The road riding is generally through the large scenic Ponderosa Pine forest that surrounds Flagstaff. For a small city Flagstaff has a fairly large bicycle industry. The notable bike shops are AZ Bikes, Absolute Bikes, Single Track Bikes, Cosmic Cycles and the soon to open Revolution Bicycles. In addition there are two custom frame builders in town by the names of Coconino Cycles and Sendero Cycles. Steve Garro is a local mountain bike legend who specializes in custom fillet brazed steel frames (they are a work of art!) at Coconino Cycles. Joe Murray is a national mountain bike hall of famer and long time bicycle designer and he is the head honcho designer/fabricator at Sendero Cycles. And of course there is the Campfire Cycling home of Bike Trailer Shop and Bike Bag Shop! Last but not least is the cool community of cyclists in Flagstaff. There are so many friendly riders of all types of riding.
Whether commuting through town, throwing down the hammer on a great piece of singletrack or enjoying a nice summer road ride, most fellow riders take the time to say “Hi!”, if not stop and chat about how great it is to be out riding. There are a lot of loose nit social groups that get together for a ride and then there is the highly organized Flagstaff Biking group that is involved in promoting bicycle advocacy in Northern Arizona as well as trail building and maintenance. When all that is put together it is no wonder that BikeShopHub thrives in this cycling focused high altitude environment. Flagstaff may not be large in population but it is huge when it comes to cycling enthusiasm!
What do you think? Have you been to Flagstaff before or would you like to visit? Do you live in a place that has similar cycling enthusiasm? We would like to hear from you. Let us know in the comment box below. Happy trails!
About the author:
Pete Prebus has lived in Flagstaff since 1997 and is the mountain biker at MountainBikeRiding.com. See the website for more about him and mountain bike riding and maintenance tips.