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New bicycle advocacy group emerges

As the California Tahoe Conservancy gears up to construct bicycle trails and BMX organizers look for a new track location, a new bicycle advocacy group has emerged.

Tahoe Regional Advocates for Cycling is an organization created to unify all bicyclists, from commuters and mountain bikers to BMX riders and families.

“Our mission is to be advocates for cycling around the whole Tahoe region,” said Tom Wendell, a founder of the organization.



Last Tuesday the group held its first official meeting, which had representation from various organizations such as the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the California Tahoe Conservancy, the Nevada Department of Transportation, the South Lake Tahoe BMX Committee and the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association.

“There were some real resources for getting things done,” said Lauren Thomaselli, a BMX advocate.



Most of the representatives had similar ideas on what direction the group wanted to go, which include safety and etiquette for both bicyclist and the drivers they share the road with.

“It’s such a long time coming,” said Bob Kingman, a Conservancy representative. “It’s the perfect time for a bicycle advocacy group.”

The Conservancy is planning to begin construction of the 15th street bicycle trail in September. The project is slated for completion by Oct. 15, Kingman said. It will be the first of many bicycle trails available for Measure S maintenance funds, which was a requirement for the project.

Thomaselli, who organized the construction of the BMX track last year, is setting up some options for a new track. The former track location will be used for the 37,000 square-foot ice rink approved by Measure S and slated for construction in May.

Thomaselli has begun discussions with the South Lake Tahoe Unified School District and a private property owner to lease property for a track. She is also working with the South Tahoe Public Utility District to lease land near the proposed ball fields, approved by Measure S, and the South Lake Tahoe Recreation Center. Thomaselli hopes to make a permanent home for the BMX track near the ball fields, but it is unlikely that will happen by next season. The other two options, however, may provide a temporary solution.


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