TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. — North Lake Tahoe might best be known as one of the nation’s premier ski destinations, but biking is gaining momentum as visitors than are exploring the area on two wheels.
The region’s biking enthusiasts range from accomplished riders on tricked-out road bikes, costing as much as a new car, to adrenaline junkies maneuvering the steeps via dirt tracks. A younger generation is also kicking it as kids learn balance and control while biking along the area’s paved bike paths.
If you want to be like Lance Armstrong, local residents recommend the Rainbow Bridge route along Old Highway 40 from Truckee to Cisco Grove. The ride gets its name from iconic Rainbow Bridge, which was built back in 1926. In addition to the 1,000-foot climb, the route offers spectacular views of Donner Lake.
The Flume Trail, named after an old water flume created in Tahoe’s heyday to provide lumber to Virginia City’s burgeoning silver mines, is a biker’s haven. It’s a challenging single track with twists and turns and provides Lake Tahoe and Sierra Nevada views. Flume Bike Trails offers guided tours of the trail, a shuttle service as well as bike rentals and nearby backcountry log cabins to bikers and hikers.
But let’s not forget the kids. Families are among the many visitors heading to North Lake Tahoe, and the region’s miles of car-free, paved bike trails makes it easy to enjoy a leisurely ride along the North and West shores.
One of the most popular rides for families is along the scenic Truckee River from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley, home of the 1960 Winter Olympics. The Olympic Rings at the entrance to Squaw Valley is a great photo opportunity and the nearby park has a play structure soccer field. A convenient lunch spot is River Ranch Lodge, right on the trail.
Another first-rate, car-free route for young families is along Incline Village’s paved trail that parallels Lakeshore Boulevard, a prominent street home to some of Lake Tahoe’s most luxurious lakefront properties.
For those who enjoy organized racing, cyclists will take to the road at the Tahoe Sierra Century ride Saturday, Sept. 22, a race starting and finishing in Squaw Valley, dedicated to raising funds for the music programs at North Tahoe Middle School and North Tahoe High School. The route has earned praise for its scenic races (30, 60 and 100-mile available), demanding hill climbs and full-support services.
Guided biking services are also many in North Lake Tahoe and give visitors a chance to experience the area’s many and varied trails with professional guides who are also well versed in Lake Tahoe’s history.
Tahoe Adventure Company, based in Tahoe Vista and Truckee, offers a new-guided tour called the Truckee Historical Bike Ride. The tour starts in downtown Truckee with stories of the Old West. Riders then head along the Truckee River and learn about the significance the railroad and river served in the development of the town. This ride is geared for all ages and abilities.
For more information about biking in North Lake Tahoe visit the North Lake Tahoe Visitors Bureaus’ website at www.GoTahoeNorth.com.