A cycling revolution | TahoeDailyTribune.com

A cycling revolution

Susan Wood
Dan Thrift / Tahoe Daily Tribune / A cyclist crosses the Taylor Creek bridge.

From the big screen to a big role in global social change – Ty Polastri and other enthusiasts want to begin a bike revolution in South Lake Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition, which has evolved from 20 members to 65 this year, also intends to bring a festival to Lake Tahoe Community College this month. It features a cycling documentary and an adventure sports film. They’re called “Selling the Revolution” and “Roam,” respectively.

The 4-minute documentary is a short that follows two Roseville men inspired to ride the Xtracycle. As a glimpse into the mind of one featured rider, his answering machine identifies his place as: “Home of the free radical.”

“The reason we picked this one is it provides a conversation about the value and role of cycling as an alternative mode of transportation,” Polastri said.

The 45-minute adventure sports film brings a festival of cinematography to the big screen with riders traveling around the globe performing the latest thrilling feats. It looks like something out of the Banff Mountain Film Festival or Tahoe’s own Adventure Film Festival.

A collaboration with the Incline Village-based Tahoe/Reno International Film Festival prompted Polastri to use the films as a means of creating awareness against air pollution and traffic congestion.

The coalition will add to that level of awareness with the newly printed Lake Tahoe Bicycle Trail Map, created through a $2,500 grant by the city to help with the efforts.

Polastri’s growing Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition also plans to apply with the local government to the League of American Bicyclists next week for a designation as a bike-friendly community. Among the 60 cities, Davis, Boulder, Colo. and Corvalis, Ore., have been honored in a classification judged on adequate law enforcement, engineering, education, promotion and infrastructure.

The decision is expected to be determined in September for the coalition which formed in February when the Tahoe Region Advocates of Cycling (TRAC) dissolved. Other cycling groups have come and gone including the Sierra Cycling Club. The largest, Alta Alpina Cycling Club, has been around for 22 years. Much of the rides and club membership have gravitated toward Carson Valley.

Tahoe’s cycling community has come a long way since its early beginnings. Longtime cyclist Curtis Fong – who annually organizes America’s Most Beautiful Ride in June and Tour de Tahoe in September – remembered the days Thursday of informal, grass roots gatherings of a core group of long distance called “country comfort rides.”

The “Virginia City Beer Ride” staged in the early 1980s cost $10 but involved a whole lot of incentive. Kegs sat at the top of Spooner Summit, Bodines bar in the Carson Valley and Virginia City. The first 20 people up the hill were rewarded with 20 shots of Tequila. Luckily, Fong said no one crashed as a result of the drinking.

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