Train for El Tour

El Tour is here for you!

The outdoors has not been cancelled! The Loop is not closed. Cycling and the scenery hasn’t been affected. Take advantage of it. But we want you to be smart when out there.  And be safe!

Your off-season training is perhaps the most important part of your preparation for cycling season. We at El Tour are here to help.  In collaboration with GABA and a number of independent cycling clubs and/or groups, we’ll be producing a calendar of group and/or training rides for you to join. Take advantage of the opportunity. There are plenty of beginning level (D) or just above beginning-level rides for you to become a better, more fit cyclist.

We will be updating this calendar weekly, so check back often. And, if you happen to ride can you take some pictures of the ride and send them to us at: to have them published!

Due to the most recent events involving COVID-19 – and its continued fluidity – we suggest you visit the site and/or reach out to the specific ride to see about the size of the group given the restrictions of crowd gathering. Be safe!

* Some classes/rides do require a fee. Be sure to click the link.

Group Date Time Category
Ajo Bike’s Recumbent Bike Ride  Wednesdays/ride is subject to cancel 10 a.m. C-D
Stretchie Ride, Homestretch Fridays 10  a.m. B-C-D
Michael Barr Hayduke Ride Saturdays 7:30 a.m. C-D
Zona Cycling Cancelled for three weeks 7:30 a.m. B-C-D
Speed of Fun Ride



8 a.m.-10 a.m. C-D
Tucson Ride for the Cure Rides have been suspended 8:30 a.m. A-B-C-D
Transit Cycles Love Dragoon Cancelled 5:30 p.m. D
Ride With PAAC cancelled 8 a.m. C-D
Nogales Bicycle Classic 16-May 8 a.m.
1st of Month, Mt. Lemmon (meet at LeBuzz Tanque Verde & Catalina Hwy) Rides have been postponed 8:30 a.m. B-C-D
Youth Earn a Bike Cancelled until further notice 4 p.m. ages 8-13


Categories A-B-C-D
A 20-plus mph
B-plus 18-20 mph
B  16-18 mph
C-plus 14-16 mph
C 12-14 mph
D  8-12 mph

Greater Arizona Bicycling Association (GABA) offers a variety of rides.  Visit for the current ride schedule, ride rating information and much more.  

Here are more Cycling Tips based on the League of American Bicyclists recommendations and experiences from our own events.  Learn more…

Bicycle Safety

Be the best cyclist you can be by taking a Bike Safety Class. If you live in Pima County, take the Traffic Skills 101 class (it’s free!). Class content is from the League of American Bicyclists and is taught by League Cycling Instructors. Visit for a schedule of free classes.  For those who live outside of Pima County, please visit the Coalition of Arizona Bicyclists for class information in other parts of the state.

Rules & Safety on the Road: : more...

  • Always stop at the Stop Signs and Red Traffic Lights
  • Always use hand signals and communicate your intentions
  • Drink before you are thirsty and eat before you are hungry
  • Carry identification
  • Do not ride more than 2 abreast
  • Always ride in the rightmost lane that serves your destination
  • Don’t be a distracted rider.  Leave the headphones home.

March 17, 2020

Tuesday’s Training Tips. El Tour, Enjoy the Ride!

For the next 10 weeks, El Tour de Tucson will feature a 10-part series on cycling and gearing up for El Tour in November.

This is Week 2.

It’ll be via an El Tour Blog called: Tuesday’s Training Tips. El Tour, Enjoy the Ride!

We’ll have local cycling experts/enthusiasts with blogging tips, cycling tips from various sources, and personal stories about cycling from riders as we prepare for the 38th El Tour de Tucson held on Nov. 21, 2020.

We hope you enjoy the information we provide.

We’re early in the cycling season in preparing for the 38th El Tour de Tucson set for Nov 21, 2020. But, hey, it’s always El Tour season here.

We also know given today’s climate with COVID19 there will be some concerns about training and being outside in groups while staying fit and healthy. Most importantly, we want you to be safe as you prepare for our great ride.

To help you get started or motivated, we’ve revisiting some cycling tips via to help the novice-to-immediate cyclist to get prepared for our ride in eight months.

* Identify Your Goal

Make it realistic given your lifestyle and life situation. Start slow and ramp things up as you begin to feel more comfortable in your ability to ride.

* Make a Plan

Every book has a beginning or an outline. Why shouldn’t your cycling strategy to be better at it.

Don’t be shy about seeking guidance from a coach or trusted advisor.

* Tell the World
Make your goal public:­ Write it, tweet it, share it with your family and friends. Hey, be proud of your accomplishments. We know it’s exciting.

* Track Your Progress
Keep a training journal. Gauge your progress. See what you need to do to improve. Only you know how fast or slow you should or want to go.

* Put in the Effort
Get out there and do the work, or take a rest when your plan calls for a recovery day. Stick to the plan and success will follow. You started this with a goal, now stick to it.

Trust the process and you’ll love yourself for it. Good luck and ride on! And, of course, be safe.


Tuesday’s Training Tips. El Tour, Enjoy the Ride!

For the next 10 weeks, El Tour de Tucson will feature a 10-part series on cycling and gearing up for El Tour in November.

It’ll be via an El Tour Blog called: Tuesday’s Training Tips. El Tour, Enjoy the Ride!

We’ll have local cycling experts/enthusiasts blogging tips, ideas and their personal stories about cycling as we prepare for the 38th El Tour de Tucson held on Nov. 21, 2020.

We hope you enjoy the information we provide.

By Bill Sarnack

Everyone starts as a beginner.

When I started cycling, I had an affordable bike with multiple gears. It was comfortable for a short ride and I wore tennis shoes, shorts, t-shirt and a helmet. My rides were short enough that I didn’t carry a water bottle, food or anything to help if I had a flat tire. I usually rode with a friend on streets with minimal traffic.

Bill Sarnack

I wasn’t knowledgeable regarding maintenance on the bike other than to put air in the tires.  Sound familiar?

As my enthusiasm for cycling grew, I began to ride more and for longer distances. And the lessons were many.

Here in Pima County there are a number of resources available to help beginners advance their knowledge of riding and basic bike mechanics.

BICAS offers affordable classes on basic mechanics and has tools and parts as well. Several local bike shops offer classes on basics. Another event for cyclists is the GABA swap meet on April 19, where you can buy anything from clothing, parts or even a bike.  It’s a great resource for the beginner.

When I ride now, I carry the following items in my seat bag, on my bike or on myself: water bottle (usually two), cell phone, snack bar, spare tube, tire levers, multi-tool, tire inflator and ID.  I always wear a helmet and sunscreen.

Have fun and be safe!

About the Author Bill Sarnack

Bill is a recently retired engineer and is the current co-director of El Tour Bike Patrol. He has lived in Tucson for 32 years and rode the El Tour VII 113-mile event. He has been riding Bike Patrol since 2002 and has ridden in 30 Perimeter Bicycling events.  He enjoys road biking, touring & mountain biking as well as woodworking, camping, hiking, whitewater rafting and travel. Bill supports GABA, El Grupo, BICAS & Homestretch Foundation.

By Jessica Cox

My 3-year-old niece in Colorado was telling me the other day about how she is now good at riding a bike. She is talking about a balance bike, which is a bike with no pedals and the rider moves along by striding. Her mom told me this is the new way young children learn how to ride bikes. Most kids move on to riding bicycles without training wheels because they learn to balance on a balance bike. It’s always amazing to hear of innovation and how it brings improvement to our ways of life.

Jessica Cox

This brings back childhood memories of when I first wanted to ride a bike. When you are a child, riding a bike is a rite of passage. At that time, both my siblings were riding bikes, but I wasn’t. My parents gave each of us a bike for Christmas, but we were still unsure of how it would work out for me. I remember seeing my pretty pink bike sitting there in front of the Christmas tree. My parents started to try and teach me with prosthetic arms on. As other kids did, I started with training wheels. I struggled significantly. The prosthetic arms were just too rigid and didn’t have the versatility to make minor adjustments which is necessary for riding a bike especially in the learning stage. It was so frustrating! I wanted to cry because the bike was so pretty, but I couldn’t ride it. I even threw a tantrum at the local park because I was so mad everyone around me was riding a bike and I couldn’t. It was just another one of the things that didn’t come easily for me, and I was angry at how unfair that was.

Eventually, I learned how to a ride an adult tricycle that my dad fixed up for me. Sometimes, you just need to be open to the possibilities available – instead of focusing on the barriers. It was so liberating to be able to ride with my peers.

As an adult, I researched a better and more stable method of riding—a recumbent bicycle! The design has the rider in a reclined position, the seat is much lower to the ground and the pedals are in front. It allows me to go faster with eight speeds instead of one. It is also much more aerodynamic. I’ve been riding alongside regular riders ever since.

Limitations will always come up on our journey to achieve our dreams, but sometimes you have to power through the obstacles. And, sometimes you must work your way around them. The most important thing is to never lose sight of the goal.

Keep moving!

About the author Jessica Cox

Born without arms, Jessica Cox is “fascinated by the way assumptions and perceived barriers prevent people from achieving their dreams. She has utilized dormant physical traits to adapt and use her feet the way people use their hands. In addition to being a cyclist, Jessica is best known for becoming the first armless pilot in aviation history. Her achievement earned her a Guinness World Record medal. She’s been featured on numerous television programs, including Ellen, Oprah Winfrey Network, CNN and CBS Evening News.