Meet your Merchant | Prepare to play at Donner Lake Bike and Board
Special to the Sun
What: Donner Lake Bike and Board
Location: 13406 Donner Pass Road
Serious cycling meets playful paddle boarding, and commuter bikes meet cruisers at Donner Lake Bike and Board.
Located in the big blue building on Donner Pass Road, next to the Yoga Co-op across from Donner Lake, the bike and board shop opened May 1 and has supplied stand up paddle boards and beach cruiser bikes. Owners Kathy Albers and Suzie Gilliam thought the shop would be a perfect addition to the Donner Lake community.
“Laying on the beach one day we decided we’d bring in paddleboard rentals and bike rentals,” Suzie said.
After her first experience on a stand up paddleboard on the Pacific Ocean in Hawaii, Suzie has loved the sport. And now that the season is in full swing, Kathy is starting to get on the board more and more as well.
“Being right across from the lake and seeing how people are out there enjoying the water,” Kathy said, “it was a way for us to be on the water too.” Donner Lake Bike and Board rents Wai SUP soft top paddleboards and Manhattan three- and six-speed cruisers.
Kathy is glad to be near the water, though isn’t at all new to the mountains. The shop owner came to Truckee from Colorado a few months ago.
The active woman said her previous experience owning a bike has helped her run the bike side of the Donner Lake Bike and Board. At the shop in Colorado Kathy built bikes, became familiar with each part and learned all of the terminology used in the bicycling world.
“Owning a bike shop in Leadville was helpful for me,” Kathy said. “It was great to get that previous knowledge before this.”
Coming to Truckee, Kathy said she was surprised to see more people didn’t commute via bicycle and hopes to promote a change in the coming years.
The shop owner calls the sport a “moving meditation” and hopes to have more bike events like ones she organized in Colorado, such as a snow race and a moonlight ride.
“I would love to see more of that fat tire bike stuff come here,” she said. “I think people would commute on those bikes throughout the whole year.”
Audrey Weidemeier, Donner Lake Bike and Board mechanic and avid bicyclist, has similar aspirations for the town she now calls home. The pig-tailed mechanic admires cities like Copenhagen where the streets are more crowded with bikes than with motor vehicles. With many years of experience working in bike advocacy, the Iowa-born bike lover came to Truckee passing through on a road trip — and decided to stay.
“The reason we love Truckee is because everyone is so active,” Audrey said.
With a firm belief that biking for transportation is as much fun as biking for recreation, Audrey hopes to see more locals using their bikes to get to work, or even just to get to the trailhead.
“Everybody does drive to bike, it’s a different culture,” she said. “But Truckee is small and there’s really good bike infrastructure.”
Audrey’s skin is tan and her red, white and blue nail polish is chipped from using Allen keys and spoke wrenches to repair the bikes that come in daily.
Donner Lake Bike and Board is open seven days a week and offers the option to rent or to buy paddleboards. Gently used bikes are on consignment and the shop sells apparel from Club Ride, as well as handmade jewelry, sunglasses and bike parts.
“People stop here and pick up a bar or two and maybe a tube,” Kathy said.
Many cyclists stop at Donner Lake Bike and Board before ascending Donner Pass for any last minute essentials. This Saturday and Sunday the shop will be host an open house. The community is invited to join the crew for a weekend of hula hooping, barbecuing and biking and boarding.
Jenny Luna is a local freelance reporter for the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.