By Tim Hauserman
About ten years ago I participated in America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride, joining several thousand others who started riding in the early morning chill in South Lake Tahoe and made their way the 72 miles around Lake Tahoe back to where they began. Since that time, I’ve alternated between standing along the road and cheering them on for their remarkable accomplishment and swearing at myself for being stupid enough to be out in my car at the same time they were.
For locals and visitors alike, America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride (and a number of other athletic events that use our roads as a stage) can be a challenge. While single file riding is recommended, there is a wide disparity in riding ability, so the faster riders spend their day passing a stream of slower bikers. This makes for a cluster, where you will often see the riders two and three abreast, and some seriously slow driving for cars who must wait for their chance to pass the throng.
For the participants, however, this ride is an amazing opportunity. To ride around this breathtaking lake and experience it’s full grandeur (which you really appreciate when you have to ride All The Way Around It) is truly crossing a major item off the bucket list for many. It’s a longer distance then many of the riders have ever done in their lives. A challenge which gives a feeling of profound satisfaction for those who complete the journey. And without a large group to ride with, and the organized effort taking care of logistics and support, a majority of these people would never put in the effort to do the ride around the lake on their own.
So, if you are driver who are driven to distraction by the masses of bikers who are blocking your path: breathe deep. Try to appreciate the effort they are making, and perhaps the best thing to do is just pull over at a beautiful spot overlooking the lake and while enjoying the view give them a shout out and a cheer. They are just here doing what you are doing, appreciating the beauty of this breathtaking place.