How we did it
We flew with American Airlines from Heathrow to Tucson via Los Angeles, which cost around £1,100. Assessing prices now, it could have been nearly half that had we booked further in advance. What was set in stone was American Airlines’ $150 e/w charge for a bicycle, although if your flights are fulfilled by British Airways (as our outward journey was) a bike bag is included in your luggage allowance.
We stayed in two quite marvellous hotels. If grand luxury is your thing, the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort and Spa (jwmarriottstarrpass.com) on the edge of the Saguaro National Park is hard to beat, with spectacular views, a golf course and a steady stream of talented musicians at various crucial drinking hours of the day. But if laidback chilling is more your vibe, the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort (loewsventanacanyon.com) is a classy example, with spacious rooms and a quite exceptional restaurant. Rooms from £160 and £120 respectively.
The warmest thanks to Mary Rittmann, director of travel at the Visit Tucson tourist board, who expertly planned every detail of our trip, right down to where we had our coffees (try the superb Exo Roast Co, exocoffee.com). Huge thanks also to Mary’s colleague, Dan Carraher, Ben Leitner from Sky Island Cycles (skyislandcycles. com), who took time off from his cycle-tour business to drive our photographer around, and Miguel Folch, a top rider, top guide and all-round top bloke.