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Best Bet For Perennial Water
Best Day Hike
Best Deal On A Summer Cooler
Best Dog Run
Best Equipment Rentals
Best Leisurely Stroll
Best Mountain-Bike Trail
Best Place To Watch A Sunset
Best Public Landscaping
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Best Ransomed Landscape
Best Road-Bike Route
Best Urban Garden
Best Urban Hike
Best Vanishing Riparian Area
Best Way To "Waste-Water"
Best Weekend Adventure

Best Road-Bike Route

Mountain Avenue

READERS' PICK: Used to be that Mountain Avenue was just about the only thoroughfare with a dedicated bike lane to separate the cyclists from the sycophants. But as the City of Tucson has ever more gingerly embraced the concept of having a "Bicycle-Friendly Community," more white painted lines have emerged on more segments of asphalt citywide. Still, Mountain Avenue between the UA campus and Limberlost Road remains one of the few north-south routes on which cyclists (particularly commuters) can enjoy a relatively smooth ride. The stretch between Speedway and Grant Road is particularly well-groomed (aside from the occasional delta of grit and broken glass). North of that, the asphalt gets a little cracked and chunky, and north of Fort Lowell Road it narrows to two lanes. At Roger, it opens back up with the sprawling meadow of the UA College of Agriculture's bovine and equine center. From there, it's just a short hop over to the Rillito River Park (see below).

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: The Rillito River Park is a paved, two-lane paseo that meanders along the course of the dry riverbed, stretching six to eight miles between Campbell Avenue and Oracle Road. Though a multi-use path, the early-morning hours see far fewer pedestrians, joggers, roller-bladers and dog-walkers than the evening hours do. With its maturing mesquite groves, funky metal bridges, flowering desert shrubs, outdoor amphitheater, and even a public restroom that's more interesting than most of what passes for architecture in this city , it's a relaxing and picturesque recreational ride any time of the year.

CLUE IN: Okay, so maybe saying it's the "best" is overstating the case a bit; but certainly one of the least-utilized urban routes to spring up in recent years is the Aviation Parkway Bike Path, which originates at the cul-de-sac at the end of Park Avenue, south of Broadway. The path offers a smooth, fast ride over two lanes of asphalt and concrete. Vegetation is filling in nicely on either side, and adolescent mesquites even shade part of the route. Through concrete tunnel-bridges, a quiet residential street, and a brief, harrowing stretch of traffic and industry between the stop lights at Country Club Road and Alvernon Way (this is the turkey filter for the faint-hearted), the trail unexpectedly jumps over Alvernon and into a wider, quieter desert-landscaped terrain. We've never followed it to the end, but one assumes you could ride all the way to Davis-Monthan, if you had the time and inclination. Best of all, you'll hardly see another soul.

Case History

1997 Winner: Mountain Avenue

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