Explore Your State Vol. 1 : Phoenix To Tucson Recap

Photos by Jeff Olsen (shot on film w/ 35mm Yashica T5d)
Words by Mehdi Farsi

On November 15th, 2014, members of the cycling community gathered before sunrise in the State Bicycle Co. Headquarters parking lot about to embark on a 120 mile bike ride from Phoenix to Tucson.  Many of the riders were riding stock-fixed gear bikes. MOST riders had never done a ride of this distance. The goal was to encourage people to get out of their comfort-zone and explore with friends.  This was the first of what will hopefully be a LONG series of rides.  Please enjoy a few of the sights:

Arizona sunrises are second to none. Paired with temperatures in the 60's, no one could complain about the weather.

Early AM fog

"HOLD YOUR LINES": Turning with 75 fixed-gear riders can be tricky

Rather than take a direct route to Tucson, we we cut through Florence. Florence has a prison. That's pretty much it.Wide Open Road

Cloud Porn

The four pre-planned stops were a sight for sore eyes. The long stretches of road seemed to go on forever and the group often split up. The rest stops were a good opportunity for us all to get back together.

The saguaro catcus is native to the Sonoran Desert. Saguaros have a relatively long lifespan. They may grow their first side arm any time from 75–100 years of age.

More desert beauty. Nice shot, Jeff!

Rolling into the State Bicycle Co. Tucson store location (hey! that's me in the LaFleur kit!)

Team ASU Cycling joined us. It was really great riding with them and they kept spirits high throughout the entire group!

Some more finishers vs. the Arizona Party Bike

People challenged themselves. Goals were exceeded. Limits were thrown out. New friends were made. After 8 hours on the bike, you form new bonds & friendships.

Everyone chowed down together. Some of the best tasting food of all time. Riders burned between 3500-7000 calories.

The tour bus arrived to take everyone home. Notably pictured here was our youngest rider (14 years old). Shortly after we got back home I received this email from his mother:

I have a feeling I'll be writing these notes more than a couple times.
His first real ride was courtesy of State - Hell Ride 2014. Making it up and cheering on those who came after him, well, that got him hooked. Weekly Loops, again courtesy of State, and he's loving that bike. Then he tells me he's going to do his first century...four months after he started riding...on a fixie..at 14 years old - Explore You State, Vol. 1.
Huge thanks to you all for, once again, giving him another first. I don't think it could have been a better experience for him. And a big shout out to Mehdi for helping him with his flat. As I said in July, whatever you're doing, you're doing it well. Thanks so much for letting him be a part of it.

We were blown-away that U.S. PRO NATIONAL CHAMPION, Eric Marcotte, joined us with teammate Travis McCabe. Riders on this trip ranged everywhere from these 2 pros to people riding in jean shorts. It didn't matter. Everyone was there for one reason: to have FUN! Eric and Travis are two humble and hard-working champions. We can't express enough gratitude for all they do for the Arizona cycling community. All around, some of the best dudes we know!

Admittedly, we blew it. We were supposed to watch Premium Rush on the bus but the DVD was left back at headquarters. That didn't seem to matter. Most people were pretty spent and used the bus ride to catch some z's.

All-in-all, this event couldn't have gone any better. Hopefully everyone had a great time and created more than a few memories while learning a little bit about themselves.

Special thanks to ASU Cycling, Eric Marcotte and Travis McCabe, and our volunteers / support staff: Thomas Keating, Michael Dziedzic, Gloria Howe, and Eric Ferguson.


Full photo set here: https://picasaweb.google.com/113064501775938155939/ExploreYourStateVol1PhoenixToTucson