Last week I visited downtown Phoenix for an entire week, but only had a limited amount of time to explore, really when I had an afternoon off for 2 days that week. I absolutely loved the local people, something about the southwest culture that has such a great vibe and atmosphere around city spots.
Monday afternoon I decided to spend my free afternoon exploring the city. So I spent a little time researching some areas, signed up for a bike share program, it's called Grid (I signed up for the $15/mo since it includes 60 mins/day free, rather than $7/hr -- best if you're going to use it more than 2 times). However, I probably spent more time looking for the nearest location where the bikes were (literally were 2 blocks from my hotel, but I walked about 5). Luckily I signed up online, because there's no way to pay at the stations, you just punch in a code on the back of the bike, which unlocks a locking bar, and that's when I pulled it away from the pole and slid the lock back in... which you're not supposed to do, it locked the back wheel and ended my ride... so I ended up standing there trying to hold up a heavy bike in the middle of the sidewalk and punch in my number to unlock it again. That's when I saw two holes to slide the lock bar on the side while riding, rather than inserting through the bike (hope that's not too confusing).
After getting on the bike, I rode probably 8 blocks, instead of 5, took a few wrong turns and then parked at the 2nd nearest location to a bike shop cafe; The Velo Bike Shop/Bicycle Nomad Cafe and hung out in the bike shop a bit, then moved over to the coffee area where I talked to the owner, Keith. For those who don't know, I dream of opening a bike shop cafe one day (preferably in Europe near the coast somewhere). So I talked to Keith for quite some time, learned his story and background and then grabbed a few promotional photos for him and one of him too.
I spent the rest of my time there, then walked back to my hotel. Along the way I found a tease to the heat that Phoenix gets as summer was starting to show it's signs. Walking in the sunlight was HOT! But once I got in the shade it felt beautiful... I love climates with no humidity, you can escape the heat fast if needed. I even sat outside on a shaded porch during the week, midday there and it felt amazing, was more comfortable there than inside the restaurant.
It wasn't until Saturday that I had my next opportunity to venture out, and a group of colleagues and I decided to head 20 minutes south to South Mountain Park and hike up a trail, thankfully it was another day that the temperature only rose to 78F (25C) -- which feels great in dry climates. Once getting to the top, the breeze was keeping us cool from the sun beating down on us, and we found an edge to sit upon and look over the city and metro area, while just relaxing and talking amongst each other.
When it was time to leave I looked back at how great of a spot just that little downtown area was, next time I hope to adventure out to the surrounding neighborhoods (if I ever get to visit there again). But the people were super friendly, the locals had many great suggestions for spots and places to check out, as you know I love local restaurants, cafes and popular hang out spots. We even saw Deon Cole live at a stand-up comedy show, met a French couple who I hope to see when I visit Italy at the end of the year, and again found a new connection for a potential bike shop cafe, maybe I can start one up in Atlanta too.
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