It looks like I will be working in Phoenix in a couple weeks. Looking at the maps, this is what I'm thinking.
The Sky Harbour (airport) is only ~12 miles from the hotel that I will probably be staying in. And the hotel is a 15 minute walk from the office. The contract is scheduled for 6 to 9 months (probably longer as most contracts tend to get extended).
So what I'm thinking is that I'd get a rental car for the first week or two while I get adjusted. But since I will be working most of the time and really won't need a rental car other than to come and go from the office or to step out for dinner - all of which is available within walking distance. I could save a TON of money if I didn't keep the car. Use the shuttle service to and from the airport. And simply buy a mountain bike to get around town for most of my stay. (you can do the calculus as to what a rental car costs for 5 months and what that number looks like in terms of a bike!)
I've never been to Phoenix before, but I understand that it is rather dry, so rain won't be much an issue. A couple panier bags would all be I need for anything that I may need to commute with. I would get a mountain bike as opposed to a commuter - as it would be of more use to me at the end of the contract.
And at the end of the contract, mailing the bike back home.
So I ask you...
Is there something that I'm over looking in this plan?
Can you recommend an LBS in the Phoenix area that would be get me onto a good bike AND would be willing to handle shipping it back home (I don't know the first thing about shipping a bicycle - actually, I'm a road rider and know nothing about mountain bikes either).
I haven't been to a lot of the metro phx bike shops, but all of them listed in this article have a good reputation.
Landis, Bicycle Haus, and Faster all have teams and promote the local races and whatnot. I've also heard great things about Slippery Pig, Rage and DNA.
The only thing, I'd warn you about is the heat in the summer, which makes it a little difficult to commute by bike...mostly in the aspect that if you're going any distance, you might be hot and sweaty when you get there. As long as you have a place to freshen up before a big meeting or whatever, you should be ok.
Every one I've talked to has mentioned the heat. I'm from PA/NJ so I'm used to heat with massive amounts of humidity. Like I said the walk from the hotel to the office is only ~15 minutes, so with luck, I can bike that in about half that time. I'm hoping the short duration and slight breeze of cycling will keep me cool for that very short trip.
Originally Posted by SpeshulEd
But I'll keep some deodorant in the office to be on the safe side (not sure what I will have in the office as far as a shower/locker room). I shave my head so I don't have to worry about bad hair... I should be able to fake it. :)
Today we are dealing with a blizzard, and I have places to go to soon... Oi Vey!!
Yeah, my commute is 15 miles each way, but I still do it in the summer. The morning is the best time to ride as thats when the temps are the coolest. When I get to work, I usually change my clothes and freshen up a bit in the bathroom. The ride home is hotter, but usually not too bad. I just take it easy and drink lots of water, then shower when I get home. If you're only a 15 minute walk from the office, you'll be fine.
And there's tons to do, riding wise, on the weekend. You won't be far from South Mountain, not to mention there's even decent single track within the city, plus canal MUPs and whatnot through the city as well. The buses have bike holders on the front and the light rail that runs downtown has bike storage on it as well. You should be good to go!
One option would be to buy a modest bike and then donate it to a non-profit when you are ready to go home.
Curbside Cycles is my favorite shop.
I am from the Midwest, used to heat and high humidity....the heat in Arizona is different. I am sure your thinking you all good. But you will see. Its like sticking your whole body in an oven. There is NO breeze lol. And cycling the "breeze" you create will just be hot air. Plus being on the blacktop...its even worse.
It can be done, but it wont be fun...even if its for a couple minutes.
Be sure to stay well-hydrated, wear light, reflective colors, and get some good sunglasses and sunblock.
Late to the game since you posted this several months ago. As others have said, heat is the worst enemy here. But preparing is the best measure you can have. As the months get warmer I start to load more stuff onto my bike. Panniers really help with this. I carry extra food, clothing and water, as well as towers to soak in water and spare clothes for when I get to work.
Some things I learned from riders here. When you get to work, freeze a towel in water for your shoulder area. Check yourself with your pace when it gets too hot so you don't push yourself too much. The sun is always heavy here, like being in an oven. But again, you've been here for several months by this point so I'm sure you know that. Buy one of those desert hiking and gardening hats at REI or another local hiking store that you can put on under your helmet that also provides cover with draping long accesories along the side of your head and neck. Maybe freeze that hat too, I do that.
Biking down here isn't as bad as people made it seem back on the east. I've been here for almost 3 years now and I definitely have a fondness for biking here, because most of the biking routes are in really low key spots. Avoid the major cross streets! Road riding on non bicycle lane paths here can induce a lot of "oh CRAP" moments. That's just my personal experience though.
When you leave phoenix, if you're thinking of parting with your bike, consider donating it to a non profit like the Rusty Spoke ! There are a bunch out here, but I've volunteered specifically with that one and they are really awesome.
I would suggest The Slippery Pig on central ave south Of Indian School road. You can take the lightrail to it from downtown Poenix. They are 100% full service and could probably handle shipping the bike for you later.
During the summer months be sure to load up on the electrolytes. When the monsoon season hits, you will sweat like crazy. I recommend riding later evenings, or early morning.
Don't know if you would like mountain bike tires on the very hot surfaces. I've found that certain tires seem to drag as if your brakes were rubbing, after they get very warm. Maybe someone has done tests with temperatures and rolling resistance. After trying many tires on my hybrid, I really like Schwalbe Marathon in 700x32.
I'm from Milwaukee originally so I know all about high humidity but truly the desert southwest heat is very different. The latitude and directness of the sun is immediately apparent. Too soon before dusk and too late after dawn it can be brutal.