It may seem like an unlikely combination - history and bicycling - but South Lake Tahoe promoter Curtis Fong has made it work before and hopes to make it work again.
The Comstock Sierra Historical Tour will make its debut Aug. 10-12 and will cover a couple hundred miles of history-laced road between Virginia City and Markleeville.
The non-competitive ride is based at Mormon Station Park in Genoa, where, for an $85 fee, cyclists can pitch tents for overnight camping, eat catered meals and learn about the areas they will tour during Saturday and Sunday rides.
"We'd like to put a different twist on bike tours with this event," Fong said. "We want to educate people about the area from an historic angle."
On Saturday, riders will start their tour on the Pony Express Trail, riding northward to Carson City and east on Highway 50 through Moundhouse.
After a long climb to Virginia City, cyclists will descend Six-Mile Canyon, through Dayton and back to Carson City on the way to Genoa for a catered lunch and afternoon of relaxation. The evening will include historic presentations.
On Sunday, the route goes south from Genoa on the Pony Express Trail past Daggett Pass. In Woodfords Station, riders will pass the Pony Express Stop on the way to Markleeville.
The route includes visiting the remains of Silver Mountain City, winding back through Diamond Valley, home to Snowshoe Thompson.
For less ambitious riders, shorter rides are available for both days.
Fong, a longtime organizer of bicycling events throughout the Sierra Nevada, hopes the Comstock Sierra Historical Tour will replace the now-defunct Comstock Historic Century. That ride took cyclists from Carson City to Virginia City, down Geiger Grade and up the Mount Rose Highway. Turning south at Incline Village, riders then descended down Highway 50, taking a right on Highway 395 to Genoa. The ride ended with a backtrack to Carson City.
"Twelve years ago we started the Comstock Historic Century as training for the Death Ride (based in Markleeville)," Fong said. "Ten years later that whole area has grown up and we decided to put that event on hold last year for safety reasons."
The new ride may be an improvement, giving out-of-towners a first glimpse of the terrain that stretches from Douglas County to Alpine County. With Genoa as the ride's centerpiece, the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce and Visitor's Authority has taken up sponsorship.
"We're looking forward to this being a yearly event," said chamber executive director Suzanne Rosevold. "It's a first for this area, and Curtis Fong knows what he is doing."
The Nevada Commission on Tourism provided the Chamber with a grant of $2,500 to help support the event.
Riders will receive breakfast and lunch on Saturday and Sunday, as well as a T-shirt, water bottle, and support services, including food and beverages at rest stops.
Fong is known in skiing circles for his coverage of the Sierra Nevada in magazines and television media. All summer long, Fong has his plate full organizing local cycling events.
In May, The 'X' Ride" into the Twilight Zone, takes cyclists from Rachel on Nevada's Extraterrestrial Highway (Highway 375) to the famed "Area 51" mailbox. The following day, a mountain bike ride explores the security perimeter of "Area 51."
America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride in June takes riders around Lake Tahoe, raising funds for the Leukemia Society of America.
In mid-September, America's Loneliest Bike Tour, a five-day event, covers 420 miles from Lake Tahoe to Great Basin National Park.
The Tour Las Vegas - Ride of the Century is a one-day ride in October through the communities of Blue Diamond, Henderson-Green Valley, Boulder City and the shoreline of Lake Mead.
For information on the Comstock Sierra Historical Tour or any of the other rides, visit www.bikethewest.com or call Fong at 1-800-565-2704.
What: Comstock Sierra Historical Tour
Where: Virginia City to Markleeville
When: Aug. 10-12
More info: www.bikethewest.com or 1-800-565-2704.