Desert Biking After Rainstorm

We are camping out in the desert in southwest Arizona. For the most part, the weather has been really nice except for a raging sand storm that passed through the area a few days ago, followed immediately by a torrential downpour. Everything was covered with dust from the sand storm, then covered with a thin layer of mud after the rain. We were out in the desert to the north and got chased closer to town by a wildfire. This spot, protected somewhat from the wind by some scrawny desert trees, was a better place to weather the sand storm and rain.

MTB camping in the southwest Arizona desert.

The nice thing about the rain is that it made all the loose desert sand rideable for mountain bikes. There are miles of ORV trails and roads that are sand traps for bicycles until it rains, then the relatively thin bicycle tires do not sink into the deep sand.

Sandy ORV road becomes rideable for bicycles after desert rain.

The day before, this road would have been completely impassible by bike, after a rain storm, it’s like riding on a cloud.

Rain makes all the difference for desert mountain biking.

There are miles of gravel/dirt roads along irrigation canals with roads that lead off into the desert.

Biking bikes on dirt roads along irrigation canals in southwest Arizona.

Water is everything in the desert. Only a short distance away from any source of water, the vegetation quickly turns into the harsh desert.

Dirt road leading off into the desert.

There’s plenty of regular old desert as well. This is the beginning of a local mountain range. Didn’t take long to be reminded that some sort of tire sealant is absolutely necessary. There are unlimited thorns in varying sizes, you’re going to hit them. Luckily, the local Walmart has Slime tubes for my old 26″ rims(they had 29″ as well), Presta or Schrader valves for $7.

Arizona desert near the foothills of a local mountain range.

Looks like a sustained stretch of windy weather coming up so kayak fishing is probably on hold. I’ve see local guys riding mountain bikes around to the local fishing spots, I may give that a try. Don’t want to get caught out in one of these sand storms.

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