Shuttle service takes people to their recreation destination |

Shuttle service takes people to their recreation destination

Sara Thompson / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Adam Jensen /Tahoe Daily TribuneJoe Santalla, the operator of South Shore Bikes new shuttle service, unloads a bike near Camp Richardson at Tahoe's South Shore.

Joe Santalla used to manage vacation home rentals, and he noticed many families driving multiple cars up to the South Shore.

And when a group of 10 people is staying at one place in town, it takes a few vehicles to move them all around, Santalla observed.

That’s what gave Santalla the idea for a shuttle service to get people from point A to point B and, at the same time, cut down on traffic and vehicle emissions and help preserve the environment.

Santalla has now teamed up with Hec Hernandez of South Shore Bikes to provide just this sort of service.

Last year Santalla approached Hernandez, owner of South Shore Bikes, to see if he was interested in starting a shuttle service.

“I asked Hec, ‘Dude, why is this van sitting in your parking lot?’ This is an opportunity we can’t miss out on,” Santalla said.

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Hernandez didn’t have time to start a shuttle because he was busy running the shop, but gave Santalla the go-ahead to pursue the idea.

The idea was put on hold until this summer. The van seats had been destroyed in the Angora fire and he needed to track down a new set.

Santalla didn’t realize it would take so long to replace the seats. He said he looked for six weeks until a set popped up in Placerville, and he drove down at 6:30 the next morning to buy them.

From that point, the shuttle service began to fall into place.

Part of the shuttle service’s mission is helping out the Lake Tahoe Basin, Santalla said.

“We are committed to doing our part in reducing traffic to some of Tahoe’s most beautiful, sensitive and scenic sites,” according to the mission statement.

If people want to be dropped off for kayaking, biking or hiking, the shuttle service can accommodate up to 15 passengers in the van, Santalla said. Some of the popular spots include Northstar-At-Tahoe, Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Echo Summit and the Flume Trail.

Another service offered is delivering supply packages to those traversing the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail, Santalla said. Hikers can’t carry all of their food along with them, so Santalla can meet up and save them time from coming into town.

“They can send me the box, or I can go shopping for them,” Santalla said.

Santalla also participated in a three-day training course to become a Tahoe Rim Trail guide.

South Shore Bikes also rents bikes for every activity, from beach cruisers to front- and full-suspension mountain bikes.

The shop has bikes in different sizes for children and adults. Santalla said they also provide bike trailers for smaller children to ride in.

One guided tour that the shuttle provides for all riding levels is the Camp Richardson historical tour, Santalla said. The shuttle employee guides bikers along the bike path, while stopping to show off some cool spots. Here are some some the sites bikers can stop at along the way:

Kiva Beach

The beach has a dog-friendly section and a sandy area that’s pet-free. Taylor Creek also runs through the beach.

Taylor Creek Stream Profile Chamber

The stream profile chamber was constructed in 1968 and features 12-foot floor-to-ceiling windows to view a diverted section of Taylor Creek. Murals on the walls show all the seasons at Taylor Creek, so viewers can see what’s happening during the season they’re visiting.

Tallac Historic Site

Many estates are at the historic site for visitors to wander through.

The Baldwin Estate was built in 1921, and was once the hideaway for Elias J. “Lucky” Baldwin’s granddaughter. The main building is now the Baldwin Museum and the Educational Center for the site. Exhibits include significance of the families and the Native American Washoe Tribe, and The Women of Tahoe, which features their contributions to the development of the basin.

The Pope Estate is the oldest and the largest estate at Tallac. It was built for the Lloyd Tevis and George Pope families in 1894. Many programs at the Pope Estate are led by costumed players who relate to the periods between 1900 and 1930.

The Tallac Resort was built in 1890 by demolished by Baldwin’s daughter in the late 1920’s. Visitors can still see the casino building foundation.

Valhalla was built in 1923 and is operated by the Tahoe Tallac Association. The main building presents art exhibits daily, and Barbara Wesson’s pottery is currently on display until July 10.

Camp Richardson

Bikers take the bike path through Camp Richardson, which has a marina, ice cream shop, and areas for hiking, waterplay, boat rentals and fishing.

The area also has The Beacon Bar & Grill on the water’s edge, and an historic hotel, lakefront cabins, 200 campsites and 100 RV sites.

Tuesdays through Thursdays

Echo Summit

Departs 8 a.m.

Spooner Lake and Flume Trail

Departs 10 a.m.


Emerald Bay sunset dinner

6 to 8 p.m.


Camp Richardson historical bike trip

1 to 3 p.m.

Fridays through Sundays

Spooner Lake and Flume Trail

Northstar-At-Tahoe Mountain Bike

8 a.m. departs South Lake Tahoe, 4:30 p.m. pick-up at Spooner Lake and 5 p.m. return.

All shuttles depart from the shop at 1056 Ski Run Blvd. Custom shuttles available, along with trips to Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Northstar, Flume Trail, Echo Summit, Emerald Bay, Camp Richardson and Tahoe Rim trailheads. For more information, call (530) 544-7433 or (530) 318-9294.