Open Streets, Cycling in Tucson

BICASPost by Sarah Buss, MPH ’15 – Family and Child Health, Global Health track

There is powerful biking momentum in Tucson. When moving to Tucson, I was excited to see articles proclaiming that, “Tucson is an awesome town for biking!” Having just moved from a small town in Vermont where everything is too far away to comfortably bike to, I planned to embrace the Tucson bike culture. Don’t get me wrong – although I am writing about bicycling, I am not an extreme cyclist by any means. For me, bicycling is a means of transportation.

My days spent biking as a mode of transportation started during my Peace Corps Service in Ghana. Pedaling with a warm breeze in my hair was better than the slow, deliberate process of walking to market along a dusty road with the hot sun beating down on me. By pedaling I would get to my destination much quicker, which meant less time being baked by the equatorial sun.

Upon arriving in Tucson I was excited to find such a strong biking community here. For the same reason that I biked in Ghana, avoiding the intense sun, I bought a vintage Schwinn off of Craigslist and began my graduate journey in Tucson on two wheels. Before pursuing my MPH, I had never given much thought to how greatly our population’s health can bIMG_7084e improved through increased access to alternative modes of transportation. An individual’s decision to walk to school or bike to work is not merely based on an individual’s motivation, but by their built environment. There is a strong connection with our built environment and our community’s health.

This connection led me to an internship with Living Streets Alliance, a passionate non-profit organization that hosts Cyclovia (see info about their next event below) and works to make our daily lives more enjoyable through their advocacy and support for biking, walking, and public transportation. Along with Living Streets Alliance there are many organizations in Tucson that love bicycling & supporting other modes of transportation, BICAS and El Tour de Tucson to name just a few.

If you are a more avid biker, sign up for El Tour de Tucson and support our very own professor, Dr. “Duke” Duncan’s organization ARSOBO (Arizona – Sonora – Border), which works to bring low-cost prosthetics to people limited by amputations in Mexico.

This year, ARSOBO was selected by to be a beneficiary of the 2014 El Tour de Tucson, which draws in 9,000 cyclists to the non-profit biking event. Dr. Duncan says this potential financial support from El Tour is much needed for ARSOBO. To lead the way in mobilizing El Tour funding allocations to ARSOBO, Dr. Duncan has picked up a bike and started training for the November 22nd bike event.

This is an exciting time for alternative mode of transportation in Tucson, with the arrival of the streetcar, lots of bike lanes, and the potential for a bicycle-sharing project. In support of active transportation, check out some of the upcoming bike-related events happening in Tucson!


Attend the next Cyclovia!
April 19th 2015
For more information on the event:
To volunteer at the next Cyclovia:

BICAS (Bicycle Inter-Community Art and Salvage)
19th Annual Art Auction
December 5th and 6th
Hundreds of bicycle inspired pieces of artwork

El Tour de Tucson
Saturday November 22nd



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