Pedaling, puffing for a cause | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Pedaling, puffing for a cause

Susan Wood, Tribune staff writer

Jim Grant/Tahoe Daily TribuneCyclist Katharine Miller of Meyers waits in the Horizon parking lot with fellow riders before Tuesday's ride to Meyers.

Aside from the road debris, potholes, flaggers and cigarette ashes flicked out of windows — South Lake Tahoe cyclists have rolled out a more civilized, fun version of Critical Mass to raise awareness for more bike lanes here.

The assembled gesture of two-wheeled anarchy — known to stall, snarl and stop traffic on San Francisco streets — has featured thousands of cyclists dominating the roads in metropolitan cities.

But on the South Shore, the aim has a specific, more tame spin on Tuesday nights. Organizers are responding to the delay of the Highway 50 bike lane project that Caltrans has said it can’t complete until 2007.

“That’s not acceptable is our stance on it. Bike lanes are safer for drivers and safer for bikers,” said organizer Jennifer Gurecki, who leads an informal social activist group called Pantyline Productions.

“The plan is for us to stay together, ride at a moderate pace, ride in single file and not get arrested,” Gurecki yelled out to the group of 22 people corralled at the Horizon Resort & Casino Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.

She said she understands motorists’ disdain for the act of civil disobedience. That’s one reason why the organizers decided to ride alongside the road.

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“I don’t think it helps (our cause) if we make people angry,” she said.

Erik Swanson, who won a T-shirt for best display, clicked on the portable stereo strapped to his bike rack. The group let out a whoop and pulled out of the casino’s back parking lot while serenaded by Loverboy’s “Working for a Living.”

The 11-mile route started at Stateline and ended at Divided Sky in Meyers.

“I don’t ride Highway 50 that much, but I think bike lanes are important,” Tony Rabinowitz said, adding he came out for “a chance for a bike ride.”

He donned a sign on his back that read: “$ for skating rink, $ for softball fields, $ for bike lanes?”

Rabinowitz, who splits his time between his road and mountain bikes, is a member of the Tahoe Area Mountain Bike Association.

The Montgomery Estates man clipped out of his pedals to join in supporting the changing of Gurecki’s flat tire in front of the Travelodge. She guessed the culprit was glass. A 10-minute pit stop got her on the road again, thanks to the tools and camaraderie of the riders.

“Pretty cool, huh. I like the camaraderie,” said Tom Wendell of the Tahoe Regional Advocates for Cycling, another local cycling club.

There were times the ride resembled more of a party than a ride.

Swanson whizzed through the pack with David Lee Roth’s “Just a Gigolo” and Michael Jackson’s “I’m Bad” blaring from the speakers.

As the group rounded the “Y,” Wendell blew on what he referred to as a training whistle to alert pedestrians and riders going the wrong way that a train of cyclists was on a mission.

“No blood or broken bones. It was a good, honest ride,” Mike Laznibat said, as the group pulled into the Divided Sky parking lot.

The group plans to meet the last Tuesday of every month — same time, same place. Accessories and bicycles not provided.

— Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at swood@tahoedailytribune.com

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