Top 5 places to ride your bike in Phoenix

When you think of bike-friendly cities, Phoenix might not come to mind, but that's slowly but surely changing. Here's a look at the five best places to ride your two-wheeler here in the Valley of the Sun.

Phoenix Sonoran Bikeway
From South Mountain all the way north to the Carefree Highway, the Phoenix Sonoran Bikeway snakes its way through the majority of Phoenix's most legendary neighborhoods, including the Roosevelt Arts District, The Willow Neighborhood and The Melrose District. Suitable for newcomers and regular cyclists alike, there's plenty to do during the ride. With award winning restaurants, antique shops and beautiful architecture everywhere you look its easy to spend multiple weekends exploring this trail.

Roosevelt District
The site of legendary events like First Friday and the annual Roosevelt Row Chili Pepper Festival, The Roosevelt Arts District is home to some of the quirkiest, least-talked-about gems in the Phoenix metro area. Buildings and alleys are home to a regularly changing stabled of breathtaking murals and Roosevelt itself is populated with galleries, hipster-friendly restaurants and even a small park. Fifth Street, the neighborhood's commerce area, is home to a head shop, a bookshop, a coffee bar and an ice cream parlor. Street musicians perform most nights and crowds are diverse; ie: college students, local professionals and artist types.

Grand Avenue
Home to some of the best-known art galleries in Phoenix, this well-known avenue is perfect for touring on two wheels. Hungry travelers are required to make a pit stop at the Grand Avenue Pizza Company and dine on one of their specialty pies. A small theater hosts local performances,, intimate art galleries display the work of local artists throughout and community events allow community members to meet face-to-face and collaborate with one another.

Central Avenue
The wide side walks and bike-friendly lanes on Central Avenue make it ideal for a bicycle cruise. Scenery is varied and includes shopping centers, office buildings and art installations, all parallel to the light rail which means easy access if you end up being tired. The Phoenix Art Museum and The Heard Museum are both directly on Central allowing bikers to get a taste of culture and decrease their carbon footprint at the same time.

Garfield District
This old fashioned neighborhood is rich with history and within biking distance to major venues like Chase Field and the Phoenix Convention Center. The Welcome Diner is a standout establishment, and the local park, community members and historic vibe can't be beat. One of the best locations to go cruising on a warm spring day.

Chad Birt has lived in Phoenix for 9 years. He's a freelance writer, bike rider and bookworm.