Route number- 27
Route name- Desert Mountain Tour
Distance (km)- 319
Climbing (ft)- 2600
Location- starts/ends in Mesa, AZ
Dates available- 09/01-05/31
Contact- Paul Layton
Date approved- 2004/11/09
Last reviewed- 2009/10/06
Description- View many of the desert mountains in central Arizona
Organizer's URL- http://randocommute.blogspot.com/
First off let me state that the Desert Mountain Tour was designed to be an easy first Double Century for the first timer. There is only around 2800 feet of climbing over the 200 miles and most of that is unnoticeable. There are a few gentle rises but nothing challenging. This loop connects several mountain ranges and cities together. No part of it is more than 15 miles from a store except for the section between Florence and Goldfield which is roughly 30 miles.
The section through Mesa, Tempe, and Phoenix is mostly bike lane and bike path routes with 2 highlights. That being the ride by Tempe Town Lake and also the journey around South mountain on the bike path. From the bikepath there is a section with narrow shoulder but the road is a country road without a lot of traffic so it is enjoyable. Turning south we soon get a wide shoulder and keep it all the way down to Stansfield.
From Stansfield to Casa Grand there are sections where the shoulder is a little rough, narrow, or both. I found myself using my rearview mirror a lot in order to ride the road surface between groups of cars passing. This section is not very long though and the shoulder is rideable at a slower pace nearly all the way.
Casa Grande to Eloy gives us very nice shoulders even to change flats on (but that is another story). The good shoulders continue through Casa Grande and then on Attaway road there is a 3 mile Straight section of country road with little shoulder but traffic is usually light. Heading back towards Florence we once again have a nice shoulder and keep it all the way to Apache Jct.. The side roads we take through Apache Jct. vary in shoulder width but they are very low traffic roads (residential) so that is not an issue. Heading back into mesa there is shoulder most of the way except for the first few miles.