Niner Bikes and Yuri Hauswald: Gravel Riding in the Patagonia, Arizona Desert

Niner athlete and Cyclist’s Menu camp guide Yuri Hauswald has been spending more and more time on his RLT 9 RDO in the arid desert of southern Arizona. With gravel- and grub-hungry riders arriving from around the country, Yuri’s desert retreat takes on special significance this year.

“This one time, at The Cyclist’s Menu gravel camp,” he says, “I touched the border at an old ghost town and pedaled remote gravel roads that Pancho Villa used when he came up from Mexico to steal cattle from the original San Rafael Cattle Company. While we did see a lot of Border Patrol agents patrolling the vast, desert expanse, there were no outlaws, unless, of course you include our gang of gravel campers on their carbon, steel, and titanium gravel bikes, thundering across the vast network of borderland roads.”

Patagonia, Arizona sits at 4,044 ft. in the south-central part of the state. It was originally a mining town and supply center for the region in the 1890’s, and is one of three towns left in Arizona that still has an active Marshall’s Department for law enforcement. 

Located sixty miles southeast of Tucson, the town is part of Arizona’s unique Sky Island ranges, and lies at the intersection of the Rocky Mountains, the Sierra Madre, the Sonoran Desert, the Chihuahuan Desert, the Great Plains, and the Neo Tropics. 

Today there’s a unique mixture of the cattle rancher and wild west past with a growing artist/miner/birder/gravel cycling community. When asked what drew he and wife Heidi to this remote region of Arizona seven years ago, chef Zander Ault says, “One of my favorite aspects of Patagonia is the community’s connection to the landscape here. Whether someone ventures out into the woods or mountains or not; the energy and beauty that is expressed through the natural wonders is immense, it’s overwhelming at times. It is this effect that is felt while riding, while simply being here. You leave a more centered human.” 

Video: Justin Balog

Rider: Yuri Hauswald

Bike: Niner Bikes RLT 9 RDO

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