Second Bike Night in South Lake Tahoe highlights growing popularity
Bells chimed, spectators clapped and a mass of multicolored bicyclists launched from under an inflated Red Bull arch to kick off a second Bike Night at the Lake Tahoe Golf Course on Saturday, Aug. 15.
Blue relay rods lit the way for 97 riders who took to the three-mile course, some of them pedaling two laps over three different heats.
People on fat bikes, mountain bikes and cruisers, as well as those both young and older took part in the initial critical mass lap to get a sense of the course.
After that, each group had its part in assaulting a layer of obstacles from high grass to sand traps guided by little more than the relay lights and whatever illumination they had, including glow sticks, helmet lamps and an assortment of colored lights.
Bike Night, a collaboration between Tahoe Games, On Course Events and Lake Tahoe Golf Course, represents the latest effort to bring cycling events to the South Lake Tahoe area, according to Leslie Schultz with On Course Events.
“It’s very different for bicyclists and no one has done it here before,” Schultz said of the event.
She added that Lake Tahoe Golf Course has made available all 18 holes for the event in a bid to try different things.
“They want to do unique and different things, but they don’t want to impact the operations that are already working well,” Schultz said.
On Course Events designs the course, while Illuminator does course lighting.
Josh Martin, who participated in the men’s adults division (ages 35-49), appreciated the event for its unique attributes.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Martin said. “The course was well-lit for the most part, and it’s just a totally different experience.”
Martin called the sand trap about a third of the way through the most challenging part of the course.
“As the race [goes on], they get more rutted out,” Martin said. “Going down into them and getting out can be challenging.”
The Bike Night event adds to the steady expansion of bicycling events and momentum in South Lake Tahoe and the Lake Tahoe Basin as a whole, Schultz said.
Martin agreed with the growth in bicycling.
“It’s just really great to see the activity ramping up and people just biking all over town,” Martin said. “The fact that it’s growing in popularity is all evident in the events they do.”
The Meyers Mountain Bike Festival just celebrated its third year and its first as a permitted cycling event by the U.S. Forest Service.
Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association and the Tahoe Bicycle Coalition continue to develop projects like the Bijou Bike Park, while the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency works out its master bicycle plan for the entire Lake Tahoe region.
“We’re just adding to the energy that’s already there,” Schultz said. “People want to bike, so we might as well create events for them to do so.”