Bicyclists start across Nevada to promote safe riding |

Bicyclists start across Nevada to promote safe riding

Karl Horeis, Staff writer

Sunday’s rain didn’t stop “Safe Pedaling Across Nevada” riders from tackling their first 78 miles.

The seven-day tour, which follows Interstate 80 and ends in West Wendover on Saturday, was organized by the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety.

Look for riders in yellow, blue and white jerseys between Fernley and Lovelock today.

With snow falling on the hills, five riders and their support crew warmed up and dried out during a midday stop at a team member’s home near Seeliger Elementary School.

Sorting Clif Bars by a fire, SPAN leader Bruce Mackey was eager to get back on his bike. He is the state Office of Traffic Safety bicycle-pedestrian safety education officer.

“I feel great, and I’m ready to ride,” he said.

His wife, Linda Mackey, was almost as enthusiastic. Riding on the back of his tandem bike, she figured she could just coast..

Rider Eric Guevin is director of community education for REMSA and director of the Washoe County Safe Kids program.

“I’m the team anchor,” he joked. “Just look back and you’ll see me.”

Actually, his teammates explained, he’s the “sweeper” — a medic making sure no one falls behind.

The team consists of several certified cycling instructors for the Nevada Elementary School Safety program and the League of American Bicyclists. They’ll stop for safe-cycling school programs at Lovelock, Winnemucca, Battle Mountain, Elko and Wendover.

A trailer on the back of the support truck is full of safety books, helmets and other educational items, Bruce Mackey said.

The main message is “Obey the law and wear a helmet,” according to Mackey. There are too many tragic accidents involving children on bikes, he said.

“And the sad thing is, it’s preventable. Predictable and preventable,” said Guevin.

The team also includes representatives from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Transportation Research Center; the Secretary of State’s office; the Las Vegas Valley Bicycle Club and the Office of Child Nutrition and School Health.

Dean Gleason of the Secretary of State’s office calls himself the team’s spiritual adviser.

“When Bruce (Mackey) is on the side of the road crying, I give him spiritual advice,” he said.

“And a kick in the butt,” Mackey added.

The SPAN ride is funded by federal grant money.

“We’re bringing federal money back home, where it belongs,” said Mackey.