Lake Tahoe unveils new mountain biking guide website
BIKETAHOE.org" target="_blank">Head">BIKETAHOE.org by the numbers
Nearly 70 trail guides
248 miles of mountain biking
436 miles of road cycling
68 miles of cruiser rides
Beginner, intermediate and expert levels
Labor Day may have past, and most of the tourists are gone. But before you start thinking snow and doing your El Niño snow dance, you might want to take advantage of cooler temperatures for some quality mountain bike riding. Even if it’s still your first time.
“Fall riding is one of the best times of the year to ride here,” Ty Polastri, a longtime bike advocate and founder of the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition, said, describing less crowded trails, Indian summer weather and fall colors.
But for those new to the area or new to biking, finding the right trail can be a daunting proposition. Especially at Lake Tahoe, according to Polastri.
“If you don’t get hooked up with a local, you’re lost,” he said.
Enter http://www.biketahoe.org, Polastri’s brainchild. The site — jointly funded by the Nevada Commission on Tourism, El Dorado County Cultural and Community Development and the City of South Lake Tahoe — is a new, comprehensive online bike guide complete with maps, trail ratings, photos and descriptions.
“It’s like hooking up with your own bike concierge,” Polastri explained. “It helps get a sense of what Tahoe’s about.”
The site, which officially went live this month, includes close to 70 of the area’s most popular rides divided into categories for both type of bike and ability.
Polastri’s original idea was to create a guide book, but the concept grew into a fully interactive, GPS-enabled guide. It’s the first step in a three-phase plan to continue to develop the site. Organizers are working on video guides for the site to be added at a later date. There will also be a mobile app designed to streamline the site. Both the videos and the app are expected to be incorporated into the site next year.
Moving forward, the site will also be a key part in a marketing campaign promoting bike tourism in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
“I’d say this is an undiscovered Mecca,” Polastri said of the impetus for the project. “We need to let people know about this (area).”
For riders fearing their local secret favorites might now be public domain, fear not. He also added that some trails — including more advanced expert and lesser known routes — were intentionally left off the list.
While the site is currently funded by the aforementioned organizations, there will be opportunities for local sponsorships to help fund its continued maintenance.
“There’s a lot in the pipeline,” Polastri said, both of the site and the continued development of mountain biking in the region.
“We’re blessed that our land managers are pro-bike,” he added, stressing the value of biking as an economic resource for the future of the area. “We have way much more to offer, and we’re continuing to build.”
The new Bijou Bike Park and a number of other summer projects are among examples of what continues to be a growing biking destination.
More information is available at http://www.biketahoe.org.