SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. - The large line of bikes in front of Sierra Ski and Cycle Works, waiting for their turn at a tune-up, is a reassuring sign that the season is changing. There, owner Gary Bell is swapping out skis for bike frames and tires, bindings for pedals, and hot waxes for lubricants.
It's the same at South Shore Bike, where it's taken Hec Hernandez and his employees a couple weeks to make the transition to the warm-weather sport from ski and snowboard gear. A lot of stores in Tahoe will make similar transitions.
The front of Bell's shop is jam-packed with bikes, as is the side of Hernandez's shop, with riders looking to get their bikes ready for an anticipated long season of riding.
"A few days of good weather and it hit hard," Bell said of the rush of bike services. "Getting winter washed off of them."
"It's been very, very busy down here," Hernandez said. "We get caught up and then slammed right back into it."
A smaller bike shop is Crow's Auto Care, located on Third Street, which services cars as well as bicycles. Eric Paterson, who works on both at Crow's, said that he's been riding Corral Loop for a couple weeks now. He also said that Power Line Loop Trail and Tahoe Mountain bike trail is thawed out.
"That little bit of rain we've been getting makes the trail super-smooth," Paterson said. "Right now is the ideal time to ride."
Crow's Auto Care was out at South Tahoe Earth Day at Bijou Community Park offering tune-ups. The shop, which has received recognition from the city as a green station, plans to offer recycled bike parts as they build their inventory.
"You can bring in a part and trade for something of equal value or get credit toward labor," Paterson said.
Before you head out on the trail though, all three were pretty unanimous on what needs to get done prior to pedaling.
"Main thing is just pre-season tune up," Paterson said. "It only takes us a day to get back to you."
Bell says to check the shocks, brakes, oil the chain, "and then go get it dirty again."
And if you need tires, Hernandez said South Shore Bike carries an assortment of them. "We're the Les Shwab of bike tires. We got every tire imaginable."
Crow's Auto Care is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on the weekends by appointment. Sierra Ski and Cycle Works is open daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. South Shore Bikes is open all week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. All three shops offer full service on bikes and sell parts and merchandise to varying degrees.