You can head off in any direction in or around Yuma on your bicycle.
You can stick to level ground, or you can tackle hills that will put your calves and your cardiovascular system to the test.
You can pedal along busy streets, or ride atop canal banks and river levees far removed from the hustle and bustle of rush hour traffic.You can bike through quiet residential streets.You can leave the city limits in a ride that will take you to the scenic desert landscapes surrounding Yuma.
Wherever you want to go, there’s nothing to stop or limit you other than your level of energy.
But before you climb onto the seat of your bike, a few common sense recommendations are in order:
• Wearing a helmet is highly recommended.
• Gloves are also a good idea. If the time ever comes when you find yourself falling off the seat of your bike and ending up flat on your back, you’ll be glad you were wearing gloves to keep the stickers,rocks or shards of glass out of your hands.
• Wear sunglasses, for the same reason you wear sunglasses when you’re driving. Also they’ll keep flying insects out of your eyes.
• Take a bottle of water or two to keep hydrated.You’ll need it even in the winter months.
• Don’t forget your cellphone. It will be indispensable, should you take a tumble and need to call for medical assistance, or get a flat tire miles from home.
Here are some local biking treks that will test your mettle in various degrees:
EAST MAIN CANAL,
8TH TO 20TH STREET
A comparatively easy and short ride is the bike path along the East Main Canal, which stretches uninterrupted from 8th to 20th Street. It’s paved with no inclines.
WEST ALONG THE COLORADO RIVER
To the north,the East Main Canal bike path extends to the West Wetlands Park. From there, you can go west on top of the levee to Joe Henry Park.Going west,you can stay on the levee and follow that to its intersection with 8th Street.
If you stay within the West Wetlands Park, you can enjoy a ride on a hard-packed surface and take in the scenery.
EAST ALONG THE RIVER
Following the levee east, you can go to the Yuma Crossing State History Park and on to the city’s Gateway Park, then the Ocean to Ocean Bridge. Across the bridge, old Highway 80 takes you to Picacho Road. Bearing right means climbing the hill past St.Thomas Mission. Another choice is to turn onto the levee road.An easier ride is to cruise down the hill past Paradise Casino to the intersection with Picacho Road.
If you choose not to cross the Ocean Bridge, you can follow a concrete path that will take you all the way to Pacific Avenue.
From downtown Yuma, take Giss Parkway east to the Yuma Territorial Prison.A ride up Prison Hill is a good workout for the cardiovascular system.
Located on Avenue A between 24th and 32nd Street, the city’s Smucker Park has a concrete track shared by walker, skateboarders and bicyclists alike.The park straddles the edge of the Yuma Mesa, meaning bike riders can coast down sharp declines, then pump their legs to climb steep hills.