Tahoe road wisdom
Nevada Appeal News Service
TRUCKEE, Calif. – Along Lake Tahoe’s undulating coastline and tucked firmly between a ring of mountains, rests the tahoe roadway. Unlike some roads with wide ribbons of asphalt or urban grids of interconnected paths, the Tahoe road is as unconventional as it is epic and requires cyclists to prepare for the unexpected.
Paco Lindsay knows this better than most, the white haired cycling veteran is owner of Paco’s Bike Shop in Truckee and knows the roadways with a sense of feeling only years on a bike can bring.
“I’m kind of a big believer cyclists have a big right to the road but they also have to obey the rules of the road the same way as automobiles,” Lindsay said standing in the doorway of his store office.
Craning his head upward, Lindsay eyes carry a sense of urgency as he rolls off his do’s and don’ts for visiting roadies hoping to see Tahoe by bike.
For those who consider themselves novices to the spoke and pedal world, families looking for an easy day ride or couples wanting a simple bike ride along the shore, Lindsay recommends sticking to Tahoe’s tapestry of class 1 bike paths, paths designed specifically for recreationalists and that are separated from car traffic.
For seasoned riders or riders falling beyond the periphery of “beginner,” Lindsay described Tahoe as quite a different beast: Speeding cars, narrow roadways, pot holes and lake gazing motorists are all infamous Tahoe hazards to the Truckee native.
However, Lindsay said, with a little moxy and simple wisdom riders can avoid the pitfalls and enjoy the region’s bevy of scenic vistas, trademark topography and mountain summits.
“Clothing wise, have bright bike clothing and make sure to carry one of those blinking red lights you can attach to the bike.”
Lindsay said this is for the unexpectedly long rides pushing dusk and to avoid possible collisions with sight seeing motorists cutting sharp corners. For the same reason, Lindsay said groups should always ride single file along the roadway and when making a turn, always try to connect eyes with motorists before riding in front of them.
In addition to the basic reminders such as bringing extra water, inspecting your bike before use and wearing a descent helmet.
Lindsay also wanted to give a special tip for riders wanting to ride Lake Tahoe’s 72-mile oval, it’s a tip Lindsay said most newcomers often overlook and one that can save cyclist a lot of headache in the steeps.
“Make sure you ride the lake clockwise,” Lindsay said. “Conventional wisdom says if they’re not looking at you they might clip you.”
He explained by riding the lake in a clockwise direction you keep yourself in the view of sightseeing motorists.
“Your awareness on a bike has to be very high,” Lindsay said.