Tahoe biking: Rentals returning to Tahoe Cross Country this summer | SierraSun.com

Tahoe biking: Rentals returning to Tahoe Cross Country this summer

Tim Hauserman | Special to the Sun

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — Tahoe Adventure Company — which for years has led guided hiking, biking, kayaking and paddleboarding adventures around North Lake Tahoe — is bringing more fun opportunities to the north shore this summer.

The company is running a mountain biking concession this summer and fall out of the Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Area (Tahoe XC) facility in Tahoe City.

Four years ago, Kevin Murnane, then-manager of Tahoe XC, decided to expand the winter offerings of the center by opening up a mountain biking rental operation. Murnane ran it for two summers, but after his death in February 2015, operations out of Tahoe XC went dormant last year.

Recently, the Tahoe Cross Country board of directors entered into a sub-concessionaire agreement with Tahoe Adventure Company to bring rental bikes back to one of Tahoe's most popular trailheads.

The trails leading from Tahoe Cross Country are on Tahoe City PUD, Burton Creek State Park and National Forest land. In addition to the trails used in the winter for cross-country skiing, many miles of other trails are available to ride.

The network of options stretches all the way from Tahoe City to Northstar California and to Truckee, and it includes a big chunk of the Tahoe Rim Trail. The Tahoe XC trailhead is the easiest access to the network.

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BEGINNER AND INTERMEDIATE RIDING

Tahoe Adventure Company is owned by Kevin and Katie Hickey. After guiding throughout the west for other companies, Kevin decided to open his own outfitter guiding service 13 years ago so he could spend more time at Lake Tahoe.

His wife, Katie, is in charge of operations. In addition to leading tours throughout the region, TAC also has a paddleboarding and kayak concession in Tahoe Vista.

"I'm looking to pick up where Kevin Murnane left up," Kevin Hickey said. "I worked with Kevin pretty closely, while we did a lot of mountain bike tours out of the Tahoe XC trailhead. He was so wonderful to work with."

Hickey believes that having bike rentals available at the Tahoe XC trailhead is a great amenity for the community and visitors. For people to be able to rent bikes right at the trailhead and not have to ride up the hill from town is a tremendous advantage.

"Our goal is to help grow it. It is the only trailhead mountain biking operation geared toward beginner and intermediate level riders," said Hickey.

TAC will rent Specialized hard tail, full suspension and children's bikes. They will do some minor bike tune ups and repairs, sell drinks and energy bars, and provide mountain biking tours out of the facility. The location will also serve as a base of operations for some of their other guided tours.

YEAR-ROUND FUN

In addition to renting mountain bikes, TAC will run guided tours for all abilities. The tours include an experienced guide, who will provide running commentary on the natural and human history of the area. Tours include instruction and lunch.

"Our model is an adventure for every level of ability," said Hickey.

When Tahoe XC started running a bike program four years ago, the center changed its contract with the Tahoe City PUD from winter-only use to year-round fun.

"Kevin Hickey is a great guy," said Tahoe Cross Country Ski Education Association Board Chairman Jim Robins. "He will keep a presence there year round. We are very excited about it."

In addition to the rental concession with Tahoe Adventure Company, Tahoe XC's summer programs include the Tahoe Cross Country Devo and Comp Teams summer training program, and the highly successful Junior Mt. Bike program, which on its first day this season attracted 50 kids ready to ride.

Hickey expects his fleet of rental bikes to arrive in the next few days, with an anticipated opening date of June 4.

Tim Hauserman, a nearly lifelong resident of Tahoe City, is a freelance author and cross-country ski instructor. He may be reached at writeonrex@yahoo.com.

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Tahoe XC is located on land owned by the Tahoe City Public Utility District at 925 Country Club Drive, two miles north of Tahoe City in The Highlands. Visit tahoeadventurecompany.com or tahoexc.org to learn more.