America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride celebrates 25th anniversary
Northbound State Route 89 will be closed east of Emerald Bay from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, June 5, for America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride. Only registered participants will be allowed through the closure.
If the popularity of America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride reveals one thing, it’s that riding a bike around Lake Tahoe has widespread allure.
The annual 72-mile ride celebrates 25 years in 2016. More than 3,300 amateur riders will take to the roadways around Lake Tahoe for a clockwise loop on Sunday, June 5. The event also includes a 100-mile option featuring an out-and-back segment to and from Truckee. The sold-out ride starts at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Lake Tahoe early Sunday morning, with the first riders departing at 6 a.m. The casino will also host the finish line of the ride.
America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride began in 1992 and was limited to 500 participants at the time. The ride grew out of the Alta Alpina Comstock Century ride — which included the East Shore of Lake Tahoe, Carson City and Virginia City — as well as informal rides the Alta Alpina Cycling Club would take as a matter of fun, said Bike the West’s Curtis Fong.
“Riding around the lake is just something the club would do,” according to the ride organizer.
“We’re blessed that we’ve been able to make that work and blessed that people want to keep coming back to ride around Lake Tahoe,” he added.
This year’s ride also marks the 20th year America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride has partnered with Team in Training, the flagship fundraising program for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which pairs endurance sports training programs with fundraising efforts for blood cancer research.
In the past two decades, 24,360 America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride cyclists have raised $94 million through Team in Training, Fong said.
“This will be one of the most scenic and inspiring rides,” according to Team in Training. “Spectacular scenery, mountain air and great food, all fully supported by ride organizers, will make this ride a must for any recreational bicyclist.”
Motorists should plan extra time for getting to destinations around the lake Sunday, Fong cautioned. Northbound State Route 89 will be closed east of Emerald Bay from 6:30-8:30 a.m. Sunday, June 5, for the ride. Only registered participants will be allowed through the closure.
“What that delay accomplishes is giving these riders as much time as possible on the climb,” Fong said.
While America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride is sold out, the ride has also inspired the Tour de Tahoe, which celebrates its 13th year in September. Registration is currently open for the fall ride around the lake.
“I just knew that it’s a natural attraction for people to ride around Lake Tahoe,” Fong said.
“We knew if we built a bike ride around Lake Tahoe they would come.”
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