'10 C'Dale Tandem RT2. '07 Trek Tandem T2000, '10 Epic Marathon MTB, '12 Rocky Mountain Element 950 MTB, '95 C'dale R900, "04 Giant DS 2 '07 Kona Jake the Snake, '95 Nishiki Backroads
Mesa to Payson- Hwy 87
We've had the good fortune to spend this past week riding around the east side of Phoenix. One ride took us from Mesa to Fountain Hills on Hwy 87 and then returned via Shea,
I was impressed with the very wide shoulder on 87 from McDowell Road all the ways to Fountain Hills. We would now like to ride 87 all the way to Sunflower or Payson IF the wide shoulder continues the majority of the way to either city.
With all the high speed traffic on 87, I will not ride it without the shoulder.
Does anyone have first hand knowledge of the shoulder conditions beyond Fountain Hills?
I don't have first hand knowledge of the shoulder conditions, but, in case you haven't done it yet check google maps. They have their streetview coverage of that road, i only checked in a few sections but it looked like a decent shoulder but it has the rumble strips on it.
The Beeline (AZ 87) is good for riding about as far north as Bush Highway, the turnoff for Saguaro Lake. Once you get much beyond that it gets more narrow, the north/south lanes split. There's sometimes rockslides along the road too.
Not saying it can't be done, or isn't done, but I'd make sure the weather cooperates, go with plenty of sunlight, make sure you have a cell phone, water, etc.
Hey, I've taken the trip twice! It's a pretty difficult climb. Make sure when you go up, do it with carbon, cause aluminum is going to be punishing especially on the climbs around Mount Ord and the last haul from Rye into Payson. The return from Payson is brutal too, with the long climb from Mount Ord to Sunflower. There are only two water stops on your way from Fort McDowell Casino to Payson. There's a water tank in Sunflower, with drinkable water, but they have a sign saying it's only for car use, ie " I think to avoid lawsuits", then in Rye there is a store. That's all you'll find in your 80 mile trek from Mesa to Mount Everest! Be safe, and try to keep to the extreme right of the shoulder, because I've noticed pulled trailers tend to swing into the shoulder, especially on the turns. You don't want to be smacked by one of those 75 mile per hour moving cargos, or you'll probably be a goner.
Also, on the return from payson, take the same route you took climbing up, going against traffic, until you get to the base of the Rim in Rye. There's like no shoulder on your way back if you go with the direction of traffic and you'll need plenty of shoulder for the speedy descent. Hope this helps!