Question For Those Of You That Live In The Desert


New Member
Jun 11, 2015
To what extent would you do to get in your riding? I work a night shift 3pm-11pm. So my choices are ride after work, wake up really early to hit the trails, or ride in the heat of the day. I live in Tucson so the heat is no joke. What would you choose?
I don't live in that type of climate anymore, but I used to. Depending on the type of work you do I would suggest going at night after work. If your job involves much physical labor you may not be up to it though. There a number of good lighting and safety options available for riding at night so I would make sure I have the right gear.
As a former Tucsonan, I think you're in tough shape there. Riding early will be the coolest, but realistically, you need to be done riding by ~10am to not die. Given an 11pm shift end, starting a ride at 6-7am doesn't seem healthy or realistic.

Riding around midnight is certainly doable, but the safety of it is debatable. If you scouted a good route, you could probably get a quick lap in without too much risk.

Can you take a short evening "lunch" ride? There's always the bike trainer option to get through the heat of the summer, and riding when you first wake up during the worst of the summer.
Kind of timely- we hit over 100 degrees today in southern Nevada , and I was out until noon. Not the best, I had a mild case of heat exhaustion.

I work nights, too. 4pm-midnight on 2 nights, 5pm-1am on 3. I have to cut back on my rides a lot, getting up early a couple days a week. I'm limited to maybe an hour, hour and a half, and cruise rather than hammer it. A nap before work sometimes helps make up for the early rise.

You don't want to be out much after 10 am. Keep an eye on weather reports, or get a weather app, there are occasional cooler days, and your evenings off you might go out at dusk. I use a camelback when it's really hot even though it's against "The Rules" for a road bike, lol. There is a group here that goes out at 4 a.m, wish I could stay up that late, but after work I'm dead on my feet. If I ever had the energy to try riding right after, I have enough lights and blinkies to see the road and make the bike visible. I saw video of night trail riding, they used helmet lights as well as handlebar lights, maybe for you that would be an option. The heat of the day, I believe is not a good idea.
I ride earlier and earlier as the summer approaches, but Allstott you do not have much choice with your work shift. My best guess would be to ride before your shift in a well lighted seldom used road area. Maybe your subdivision, could be lightly used pavement you know you know well to avoid the dangers of inebriated drivers, poor pavement you do not know intimately, and the daylight heat.

Was going to ride 28 miles this morning to M-Casino & back, but it is 7: am and I have just washed my face, not had coffee, so will skip today and ride early 4:30 am tomorrow. I enjoy the year round riding I can accomplish here in Vegas, but dislike the sunshine on my skin, it seems to burn with an intensity it did not have in previous years. Was in Oregon last week we had the Sun one day and it was also intense.
I would just get some lights and ride after work. The daytime heat and sun just sucks the life out of you. Once the summer heat starts to kick in, in So Cal...I'm putting on the lights and riding at night.

I've been taking trips to Vegas in January to ride Red Rock. It was about 50 degrees during the daytime when we ride. I really envy the people that get to ride that place on a regular basis.

I can't imagine riding anywhere in the southwest deserts during the summer months.
I think it's going to depend on when you feel best riding. Some people do best with working out before work, others still have energy after. Also, lights or no lights, I don't really enjoy trying to mountain bike in the dark. Road in the dark I'll deal with, mountain bike in the dark meh. Your shift makes it really tough though. I remember even vacationing in Moab, we couldn't do any riding during the heat of the day, and I can't imagine Moab would be as hot as Tuscan (though I wasn't acclimated to it either).
Our place is not a desert but the heat gives it a semblance of a desert. The ideal time for riding here during summer time is right before sunrise when the temperature is not so warm otherwise you will just perspire and easily get tired. But during the winter time when it is cool, you can ride anytime provided there is not much traffic on the road since admittedly you can add to the traffic.
I use to live in the Mojave Desert of California for 14 years, while I didn't have work hours like you do I would still recommend that you ride after work, or wait till you wake up and go then. Problem with some people riding at night is they can't fall asleep for 2 to 3 hours after they get done, if you're wanting to go to bed before 1am then I would probably go after you get up, you can be up and ready to ride by 9am and the day is still relatively cool compared to what it will become like after 11am. But if you're the kind of person who doesn't go to bed till say 3 or 4 am and gets up at 10 or 11am then ride at night after work.