Monday, May 28, 2012

Bike and Hike: Sic Transit Gloria Mundi

Bike rack, good for holding pack, sign good for locking up bike

I bike often, but haven't been walking or hiking much, so I need to get some miles into my two feet to prep for some longer summer hikes coming up. With this crazy beautiful weather we're having (65 degrees early this morning?? In Phoenix in late May?? Crazy), I decided to combine the biking with the hiking, and ride to the trail. It's not a long distance, nor is this trail very difficult, although one can turn any ride, and any hike, into a workout depending on pace. With the uphill ride to the trail, I pushed it, and also made the hike a workout by keeping my heart rate up.

I did this ride to trail 8A and hike before, and posted about it here. The theory I developed on today's hike is that the reason women outlive men, as evidenced by average life expectancy, is that women hike this trail 8A as a workout in much greater numbers than males. Giving the handful of males I saw on the trail the secret man sign (head nod, mumble "hey") felt like an acknowledgement of our shared inferior lifespans, while being humbled by all the females out there flaunting their longer lifespans while outnumbering male hikers three to one. 

Maybe the males are doing other trails, Piestewa Peak, Camelback, or rock climbing. The guys sprinting up Camelback in 20 minutes would scoff at 8A, I'm certain. But I'm in this for the long haul, not like some nitro-burning funny car drag racing time trial trail runner, but rather more like a long distance cyclist, hitting a pace, maintaining it, hanging out with the longer-lived gender. Although a bike-to-hike up Camelback may be next...

Rock veins, along the trail

I want to do something like this every day. Maybe not taking the time to bike+hike, but some form of exercise that gets my heart rate up, and outdoors, in the real, physical world. Commuting by bicycle is the minimum version. Doing this changes everything, and not doing it leaves me feeling blah. Note to self: when feeling blah, get on bike and ride to a trail where there are big chunks of white quartz with complex black veins running through.

Trying out the very light hiking shoes, the ventilation was nice, anyway

Saguaro blossoms

Bee visiting saguaro blossoms


Camelback Mountain, possible next bike-to-hike

All glory, including bike-to-hike type, is fleeting. But what a great way to clear the mind and get the heart rate into the target zone. 


  1. I noticed that small bike rack at 32nd St. & Lincoln last time I hiked from there. I'm also pleased that the recently announced plans for expanded parking at Echo Canyon will include prominent bike racks.

    1. Echo Canyon definitely needs prominent bike racks, but it seems like no amount of new car parking would be enough, given the traffic around there at certain popular times. Climbers, having driven their SUVs 20 miles to get to the trail, complain about the hazy air pollution hanging over the city that is so evident from the top. Hmmm.

    2. I agree completely. I would have preferred to see a charge for parking at Echo Canyon in order to encourage car pooling, arrival by bus or bike, or discovery of underutilized hiking trails elsewhere in the metro area -- some of them closer to the homes of many hikers who converge on Camelback and Piestewa. Of course, despite commuting via bike and light rail during the week, I occasionally drive 20 miles in our crossover SUV on weekends to explore and blog about underutilized hiking trails, so I can't claim perfect consistency or environmental virtue here.

    3. At 9000 sq. miles, which is only just slight smaller than the entire country of the Netherlands (16,000 sq miles), but with about one one-umpteenth the biking infrastructure, I hold no one with less esteem for having to drive to a trail here. The distances are great, the obstacles formidable. But for those looking for that Better Workout, riding to the hike (or ride) is one approach.

  2. Yet another awesome tip for something to check out here in Phoenix. The first time I hiked Camelback I biked from my house (10mi) and was surprised at the difficulty (as I was ignoring the city web page that warns of being surprised by the difficulty). After biking back to my house I was mostly dead for the rest of my Saturday.

    1. Camelback and Piestewa can remind you of a gym sometimes with all the people doing a workout and timing themselves to the top, repeatedly. Which is cool if you want a workout, but 8A and the trails over the hill are quieter and usually much less crowded.


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