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Jul 28, 2011 9:21 AM

2 Wheelin' in Tucson: The Loop is making progress

TUCSON - Many 2 wheelers know how wonderful our river path system is for bike riding. Now, the County is working to make it even better!

The Loop project is a plan to connect all the river paths to create a complete 55 mile loop around Tucson. The system will be for cyclists, pedestrians, equestrians, etc...

Recently, the first major connection of the project has been made. Cyclists can now ride seamlessly from the Rillito River Path to the Santa Cruz River Path.

Paul Goff, a local cyclist, says he loves the fact he can ride longer than before.

"This is great. I've been waiting on it for ten years," Goff said.

However, he's not alone. Local rider, Mike Dolan, is also enjoying the new addition.

"I love it because it opens up the path here to the whole west and north west side," Dolan said.

If you're looking for the connection, you'll find it just west of I-10 at Sunset. It's a small piece of pavement, but it makes a big difference!

Mark Flint, an avid cyclist who also helps build and maintain trails, says it's just another way Tucson is taking care of their cycling community.

"It's just bumped up the fun factor of riding in Tucson and it was already pretty high," he said.

Additionally, it opens up more options for sightseeing as well.

"You can go downtown, down to the Bike Church, connect to the Barraza- Aviation path, and make a loop that way," Flint continued.

Since the path is also away from traffic, it's a great location for families, kids, and riders that are just learning how to 2 wheel.

Nanette Slusser, the Assistant County Administrator for Public Policy, says the Loop is also a potential way to bring more revenue to the area.

"Economic development reports show that bike paths are a big draw. There's a huge bicycling community, and the weather is so great that we anticipate the bike paths being a huge draw," Slusser said.

When the 55 mile path is complete, Slusser also added that the County, along with other agencies such as the Tucson Visitors Bureau, are going to add extra amenities to enhance the loop.

Amenities such as "bikes for rent at the hotels that are near the loop. Signage to help people find out where to eat or get their bicycles fixed, and different entertainment spots that are off the loop," Slusser said.

To see a complete map of the loop, check out :

http://www.pima.gov/nrpr/parks/urban_loop/theloopmap.htm

To see the recent USA Today article about Tucson's Rillito River Path, check out: http://travel.usatoday.com/destinations/10great/story/2011/07/10-great-places-for-city-cycling/49584724/1?csp=tf

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