By Tim Hauserman
Road biking has become more popular then ever around Lake Tahoe over the past few years. With good reason, it’s an amazing place to ride. It’s May, so the roads and trails around Tahoe will soon fill up with road bikes trudging up Highway 267, rolling along the river on Highway 89, or doing the big spin around Lake Tahoe. With all those bikes back on the road, it’s a good time for a refresher on what drivers and riders need to do to if everyone is to arrive at their destination safe.
While you have just as much right as cars to be on the road, they are bigger then you, and sometimes their operators are not really paying attention as much as they should. Plan accordingly. Ride defensively.
Wear a helmet and bright clothing to increase your visibility.
Stay to the right as much as is safe and ride single file except when passing.
Follow the rules of the road: Yes, that does mean stopping at stop signs and lights.
If possible choose to ride roads that are less busy and with wider shoulders. A few suggestions: Tahoe City To Truckee (and on to Glenshire along the Legacy Trail), Blackwood Canyon, Boca to Stampede Reservoir, Donner Lake To Cisco Grove, Jackson Meadows Road, or throughout the Sierra Valley.
Be prepared to see riders and understand that you must give them three feet of space when passing. This might mean having to slow down and wait until there is room to pass.
Yes, bikes are allowed on the road, even if there is a bike trail next to the road. Riding on the bike trail (especially the one between Tahoe City and Squaw Valley) can be a challenge for more advanced riders as it is loaded with slow moving children who make sudden turns, less then fully trained dogs, and large groups of people who are not paying attention and take up the entire trail.
While they are instructed to ride as far to the right as is safe, the edge of the road is often potholed or covered with debris. Thus riders may have to ride further then the left then you, or they, would like.
Please, please, don’t text and drive. Between the time you look down at your phone and look back up, a bike might have appeared on the road in front of you.
I know this isn’t Tahoe. It’s the Mississippi River and I’m happy because I just finished the 450 mile ride across Iowa last July.