Migratory birds make a stop in the glowing desert as northern latitudes chill and darken for the season. But they’re not the only ones flocking to Tucson to over-winter in the peaceful calm of the Sonoran Desert. Tucson has long caught the eye of roadies for early-season training, but it’s calling out to bicycle adventurers of all ilks. From mountain biking, gravel roads, and the quiet bliss of the waking desert on an overnight, southern Arizona is beckoning folks to explore!
We’re Arizona this week with a busy bucket-list! We’re catching up with the good folks at Transit Bikes with an adventure on the Black Canyon Trail and a Tucson edition of Stoked Spoke Adventure Series. If you’re in the area, give us a shout on instagram and come join us this Thursday for some inspiring route-sharing presentations from the local and semi-local (migratory) crowd.
Shop Visit with Transit Cycles
SI: Howdy! Wanna tell folks a bit about yourself?
TC: My name is Duncan. Grew up in a tiny town in Ohio. I like bikes a lot. I’ve spent the majority of my adult life working in shops and the bike industry. For the last 4+ years I’ve owned and operated Transit Cycles.
SI: What is Transit Cycles & what role does it fill in the community?
TC: When I first opened Transit we were laser focused on Townie and Cargo bikes. Over the course of the last few years as there has been a return to folks being interested in bike camping and “gravel” bikes we have begun to expand to cover those categories as well. I also wanted to have a shop that was comfortable for folks that hadn’t been able to find a “home” in bike shops in the past.
SI: Why did you decide to open up Transit Cycles? Tell us a little about the story that led you to this point.
TC: I’ve dreamt about having a bike shop since I was around 10 or 12 years old. Over the years what exactly that shop would be was always changing and for several years through my early 30’s I sort of settled on the idea that I wouldn’t ever fulfill the dream. About 8 years ago my family and I purchased our first cargo bike. At the time I hadn’t really been riding recreationally for some time and I had struggled to find much joy in riding that way. After we purchased the cargo bike (instead of adding a second car) I began riding a ton. Its amazing how quickly you can regain strength riding around on an 8 foot long 90 pound bike. I also spent a lot of time chatting with people about the cargo bike. People would stop us on the road to ask about where it came from and how they could get one locally. From this the idea of opening a very small (initially one person) operation that focused on cargo bikes and commuter bikes was born. Ultimately opening s Transit Cycles.
SI: What makes Tucson a great place to live and ride bikes?
TC: We have amazing weather, great infrastructure AND really great trails. We are also located in Southern Arizona which is home to a fantastic network of dirt roads and even more trails and a lot of well established bike packing routes too!
SI: What’s one thing in the bike world that you think is underrated?
TC: Thats a tough question…I think that its maybe a little too easy to miss that there are some really brilliant people working in and around the bike industry. Its too easy to get wrapped up in the new “thing” or frame material or wheel design and forget that there are people behind all of that.
SI: Do you have a favorite Swift product? What do you love about it?
TC: My absolute favorite product from Swift is the Paloma bar bag. Its a really really great size when you want a lighter fast setup but need to be able to carry extra snacks, layers and camera gear.
SI: What are you super stoked on right now?
TC: That my oldest kid is racing her bike both on and off road and learning out to push herself in new ways….watching her turn into a young adult is pretty awesome.
SI: What’s one ride or adventure that you think everyone should try to do in their lifetime? Where is it?
TC: Thats the hardest question to answer here…I have to admit that I’m not really that well traveled…that said I think everyone should figure out a trip that will push them well outside of their comfort zone. To expand, if you’ve spent your whole life living and traveling around the Northeast you absolutely should come visit the desert…there isn’t anything quiet like it and I think that the further away you are from a place the more striking and jaw dropping experiencing it for the first time can so often be. The internet makes it easier than ever to learn about things but getting out and experiencing them is so much more important and informative.
SI: Anything else we should know?
TC: I think that covers it. Thanks for reaching out!