21 miles - Arizona Canal Trail, Arizona Falls, Casual Bike Ride With Phil Ladden - February 26, 2011
Biking In Metropolitan Phoenix With Phil Ladden
My friend Phil Ladden deserves a thorough introduction.
I've known Phil for over ten years, when we lived in nearby towns:
him in Colorado Springs, CO, myself in Manitou Springs, CO.
Three years ago, Phil played a helpful role as
I went through Arizona on my first cross-country tour.
First, when my bike was stolen while
locked in front of a CVS on 19th Avenue and Dunlap, Phil shuttled me to a motel and arranged transportation
so I could shop for and buy a new bike. Then two days later, as I was biking out of Phoenix with my new bike,
I had (for lack of a better term)
some crazy mechanical problems in the desert that had me
unable to ride and on the brink of quitting. Again, Phil was there.
He drive 90+ minues each way to rescue me.
Phil really wanted me to have a better experience in Phoenix, and this time, he biked with me.
Phil recently bought a beach cruiser bicycle,
and had taken up the hobby/sport of bicycling. On this day,
Phil met me at my hotel, and we started our ride on the much safer and bicycle-friendly Arizona Canal Trail.
Today's goal was to have a enjoyable and leisure ride with Phil,
and to set myself up well for departing from the eastern suburbs of Phoenix on Monday.
Also, notice that I took off the paniers on my bike. There was no need to carry extra clothing and unnecessary items
when they could sit in my hotel room.
Before you scroll down and view the pictures and commentary, let me say more about Phil.
For the past two years, Phil has done a "Phoenix Valley Walk" - a multi-day annual event he launched where he walks
approximately 60 miles across the entire Phoenix metropolitan area. Now that's impressive! Read more about it here:
Phoenix Valley Walk.
The trail dipped below 19th Avenue. On my 2008 ride,
I traveled south on 19th Avenue and stopped about one mile down, ate lunch and eventually had my bike stolen.
"If only you had known about this canal trail!" shouted Phil.
As we biked, Phil said I seemed more relaxed compared to 2008. I think he was right.
To use an analogy, this trip seemed like the birth of a second child. Of course, anything could go wrong,
but I already had experience from my "first child" in my 2008 ride.
This time, I kind of knew what to expect. I wasn't as nervous.
And I didn't think I'd be as surprised by things. It also helped that
my confidence was strong from six quality days of cycling under my belt, totaling 378 miles.
Onward we continued ...
... Phil and I biked at a casual pace. Phil could
only ride in the 7 to 9 miles per hour range, and so I had
to bike really slow to not coast far ahead of him.
I won't lie: It was kind of frustrating. Oh how I wanted
to pedal hard and rip into the trail with some mileage! Now I knew how an energetic dog feels that's
strapped to a short leash. I teased Phil about this. :)
At one point, we stopped to gaze at Piestewa Peak.
Phil pulled out his smart phone, captured this high quality
shot of me and sent the picture message to my cell phone. Thanks Phil! :)
At about ten miles, the trail led us into the Biltmore area of Phoenix.
This is a wealthier area with a golf course, some kind of resort and well-manicured lawns and shrubbery
Phil spotted this mirror and thought a self-portrait of us would be fun.
Not sure which mountain this is in Phoenix.
Also note the trail became hard-packed with dirt, which we rode on for five to seven miles.
This path is not fully developed, but it appears progress is being made.
So Phil and I were slowly working our way through Phoenix neighborhoods when
we approached Arizona Falls. A waterfall in Phoenix? Yes!
To this day, I am astonished over
how many Phoenix residents are unaware of this unique place. Here's the address:
5802 East Indian School Road in Phoenix.
We continued southeast toward Tempe. Nice shot of us! :)
The Canal Trail ended near Scotsdale Road in Tempe. We continued south and
passed Sun Devil Stadium on the right.
We biked for miles on Scotsdale Road, and we ended our ride at Southern Avenue in Tempe.
This spot put me in good shape to travel east toward Mesa and Apache Junction and out of the city.
We only biked 21 miles, but it was good enough. This riding day felt like a "rest day," or to use an analogy,
like a relaxed half-day of work on a Friday, when coming into the office was optional. :)
As we waited for Beth (Phil's friend) to pick us up, I noticed these
beautiful orange trees growing in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart. Can you believe that?
There are freakin' oranges growing like crazy in Phoenix! Amazing!
Lunch at Pei Wei Asian Diner
Beth, Phil and myself had lunch at Pei Wei Asian Diner. When Phil heard me ranting
about how I got to eat at a Panda Express in California, he insisted we eat at Pei Wei and
said he'd pay for me. I surely didn't argue with him.
I ordered your basic sweet & sour chicken with a crab wontons appetizer on the side.
Not bad at all! :)
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ADDENDUM: I invite you to read my book about my first trip in 2008.