Rental shops frustrated with bike trails |

Rental shops frustrated with bike trails

Sarah Gonser

Cycling around South Shore could mean taking your life in your hands, say some bike rental shop owners.

A few claim they only suggest routes that will lead riders as far away as possible from the city and the vicious drivers on U.S. Highway 50.

South Shore’s saving grace, they say, is the trail along State Route 89, in the vicinity of Camp Richardson – it’s literally the jewel of South Shore trails and provides a true Tahoe experience. As for the rest of the trails, well, don’t expect much, they say.

“The points from our shop to (State Route 89) are something the city should be ashamed of. There are trees down on the trails, mud and puddles,” said Doug Russell, manager of Don Cheepo’s Bike Rentals. “I feel bad sending people down there. If the city is really making a concerted effort to bring in tourism year after year, they need to focus on more than casinos and ski resorts.”

Gary Bell, owner of Sierra Ski & Cycle Works, who commutes to work on his bike, said he is “scared to death to ride on U.S. Highway 50,” but that the lack of bike trails through the city sometimes make it an inevitable route.

“There just aren’t enough actual trails. There are lanes but they’re covered with gravel and glass – really not conducive to riding a bike – especially the way people drive around here,” Bell said. “And the unfortunate thing about the trails themselves is they are designed to wind back and forth. If you’re trying to get somewhere that’s a real pain.”

As far as residents Donna Cudney and Jimmy “D” are concerned, biking through town is a dangerous, sometimes necessary and definitely complicated affair.

“It’s so chopped up, we don’t even have a trail through Tahoe,” said Cudney who was riding her bike Tuesday to avoid road construction along U.S. Highway 50. “It’s especially scary here with no trails because you not only have locals driving fast, but tourists who don’t really know where they’re going.”

West Shore bike trails, said Russell, are a shining example of what could be achieved at South Shore.

“It’s the best biking around, they’re always cleaning and grooming the trails. They do an amazing job,” he said. “There’s no question that South Shore is seriously lacking as far as bike trails are concerned.”

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