Carson City group cycles to promote health, exposure
Appeal Staff Writer
As the mercury crept toward 50 mid-morning Sunday, Gardnerville Rick Kane took off his bike helmet for the third time in as many minutes and removed a layer – a fleece which he’d temporarily put over his windbreaker.
“You gotta get it just right with the layering,” said the competitive weightlifter, dressing for the ensuing 16-mile bike ride starting from the parking lot of the Bowers Mansion in Washoe Valley. “You start out, you get pretty hot, because you’re working; then, it can start to get a little cold.
“There’s kind of an art to it.”
Indeed, on what one rider called the “first day of spring,” the snowcapped Sierra loomed in the backdrop as the generous weekend sun set the stage for what organizer Kelly Clark called, “our biggest and best ride so far this season.”
Clark helped found Muscle Powered, a community group dedicated to making Carson City “a better community for bicycling and walking through advocacy, education and promotion of bike-and-pedestrian-friendly roadways, development and redevelopment.”
Sunday’s ride is a weekly “ritual” organizers of the 10-year-old grant-funded organization started two years ago.
“(Co-founder) Anne (Macquarie) and I decided to do a couple rides for people who wanted to get back into shape,” Clark said. “We finished the (series) of rides and the participants said ‘we want to go more.’
“You could tell a difference had been made – so we kept going.”
Clark said the Sunday rides continue through the winter months – a wet January and recent storms to close out February made this winter an “exceptionally hard one” for riders.
But, adjusting her gloves and tugging her neoprene sleeves, she gestured toward Washoe Lake across Highway 395 and smiled: “Days like today are what we wait for.”
“Absolutely, it’s just beautiful,” chimed Maria Pearson, a Minden resident of 20 years who joined the Muscle Powered group ride for the first time Sunday. “I just live for days like today. How can you not want to be out here, in the sun? I just can’t wait to get on my bike and see the beauty that is Northern Nevada.”
Clark said the weekend rides are “not too strenuous” and she encourages novices to attend and start riding.
“We’re appreciative that not everyone wants to push and push,” she said. “But they need some of the basics: a bike, a spare (tire), a helmet and, especially, water.”
Clark said the group stops routinely on its rides to regroup and take a water break.
“I guess we’re not hard-core in that sense,” she said. “But we’ve got young (riders) and old. We’ve got all (skill) levels and we’re just out to promote this area as one that is cyclist- and pedestrian-friendly.”
As cyclist Kane, who said he’s an avid rider on the weekends especially around Genoa, adjusted the straps on his gloves and bent down to check his tire pressure, the lure of the “mostly flat” ride to come around Washoe Lake was almost too much.
“I just want to get out there now,” he said. “This is something anyone can do – I’m just lucky enough to be doing it.”
• Contact reporter Andrew Pridgen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219.
If you Go
What: Muscle Powered weekly bike ride
When: 10:30 a.m. every Sunday
Where: Location TBA. The March schedule is available at http://www.musclepowered.org; click on ‘events’
Coming up: The group, a 10-year-old organization promoting a bike- and pedestrian-friendly Carson City is currently training for the 2008 Chico, Calif., Wildflower Ride. Riders can choose between distances of 30, 60, 65 and 100 miles at the Chico race.