Mooching around Flagstaff with ma

Family post alert!

So, my riding days are over, for a couple of weeks at least, while my mum visits from England. She’ll be joined by my dad, an avid enthusiast of American frontier history. Together, we’re setting off on a short road tour around Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. In a Toyota Prius, hopefully (-;

The more time I spend in Flagstaff, the more I like it. There’s a vibrant bike community and a laid back, liberal air. North of the Arizona’s parched dry deserts, it also boasts a stunning setting, surrounded as it is by swathes of ponderosa pines intermingled with aspens, below the mighty 12633ft Humprey’s Peak. Best of all, you can ride straight out of town onto the trails, so none of that ‘driving to go for a bike ride’ scenario.

Josh’s BikeTrailerShop is based here too, as are two custom framebuilders, Coconico and Sendero. It’s definitely up there in my top three cities in the US, along with Missoula, Montana, and Silver City, New Mexico.

M(o)m getting friendly with the locals.


I've always loved murals. and Flagstaff isn't short on them.


Weird but wonderful flamingo display in a random back yard.


With halloween round the corner, each one was suitably dressed up to share in the festivities.


A veritable riot of fall colours.


Classic old Ford. Love the baby blue finish.


This one too. One in every household, so it seemed.


Don't they say it was the truck that built America?


More street mooching... We're both happy to potter round the streets and sit in Macy's cafe, a wonderful hangout, rather than tick off the list of tourist sites.


Flagstaff has retained its fair share of old Americana details, with its railway line bisecting town and weather faded placards dotting the streets. In the 1890s, this was one of the busiest railways corridors in the US.


Josh had kindly offered to lend us a tandem. We have yet to take him on this, but we did rent a car (yes, a Toyota Prius) to drive up into the hills for a hike around the Snowbowl. Incidentally, these cars are impressively economical. I reckon we drove more than 120 miles for just over $6, with no pollution in town.


The six and a half mile road makes a great climb, and roadies were out in full force. This is near where I camped while riding the AZT, which skirts below the Snowbowl.


Whispering aspens.


And south, via a series of precarious switchbacks, to the deserts of low lying Sedona, just 30 miles away. It was a bare knuckled drive. With mum at the wheel - I mislaid my license - it was almost as exhausting as riding. For both of us.


Well worth the trip though, with its slabs of redrock, mesas, and cacti. To keep me from going stir crazy, I've dusted off my trail running shoes, which will help supplement our more sedate walks. I'll have to return one day on two wheels, as there's some great mountain biking there too.



Photographic footnote:

This is the first post in a year or more that the pictures are not from the lovely little Lumix GF1. My mother brought the Nikon D300 I used before I investing in the Micro 4/3rds system, as I have some bike mag work to do here. I’d forgotten what a massive camera it is. While I’ve missed having a wide angle and my 50mm 1.8 (the lenses used for the pictures above), I’ve definitely not missed the weight. I think the camera and a prime lens weighs more than my complete GF1 setup…

8 thoughts on “Mooching around Flagstaff with ma

  1. Kelly Donlan

    these pictures are fantastic and really show a lovely flagstaff in the fall. snowbowl and all those aspens are just the best. i am so glad you like it there. look up and seek out jersey pizza co., kinda on the outskirts of town. you won’t be sorry. happy riding!

  2. Tam

    Awesome pics! Area looks so beautiful, just how I imagined! And, mum looks pretty cool, doesn’t she? Looking forward to hearing all your news on your return mum, and missing you lots cass!
    Tam xx

  3. holly

    are you like gonna run ahead while mum potters on behind??
    or you could just run alongside the truck and chat through the window.
    hmm. careful not to overtake…

  4. Simon

    Hey Cass…love the mural with the Tim Burton style portraits. Gorgeous pictures and must be lovely to see Mama Gilbert. Noah is packing on the pounds…thinking of commissioning his first bike from Rob soon a la Sacha’s trike!

    Have fun…looking forward to catching up soon.

  5. Matt K

    If you haven’t seen enough red rock (and purple, pink, orange etc) and juniper, you’ll see plenty more in southern Utah. If you get a chance, check out Highway 12 between Boulder and Escalante, an incredibly beautiful stretch (by bike or car!).
    Hope the time off is treating you well.


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