BIK­ING

Yuma Sun - Visiting In Yuma - - NEWS -

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.

PRISON HILL

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.

SMUCKER PARK

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.

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