Road biking: What’s new, where to go |

Road biking: What’s new, where to go

Josh Miller/Sierra SunOrganized bike rides are a great way to get exercise, meet people, or challenge yourself.

The following five routes in the Truckee area were suggested by Pacos Truckee Bike & Ski owner Paco Lindsay. Easy: Truckee River route. Ride south on state Route 89 to Squaw Valley and/or Tahoe city and back. This out and back ride follows Highway 89 to Squaw Valley Road (9 miles) with an ample shoulder to ride on and views of the Truckee River the entire way. At Squaw Valley Road, riders can either take the two-mile detour to the Village at Squaw for a pit stop, or continue on to the Truckee River Trail to Tahoe City. Out and back to Squaw Village will be approximately 22 miles with the round-trip to Tahoe City being approximately 28 miles. Intermediate: The Loop. From Truckee ride south on state Route 267 up and over Brockway Summit to Kings Beach (14.5 miles). This section of the ride is fairly challenging and will definitely get your heart pumping with over 1,000 feet of elevation gain. At Kings Beach, turn right on state Route 28 and ride to Tahoe City (9 miles). At Tahoe City, stop and take a break at one of the many restaurants overlooking Lake Tahoe, or continue north on state Route 89 along the Truckee River Trail to Squaw Valley and then on the shoulder of Highway 89 back to Truckee (14 miles). Total mileage for the loop will run approximately 38 miles. Intermediate: Pedal the reservoir roads. Cyclists wanting to get away from all the cars might want to consider the many options in and around Boca, Prosser and Stampede reservoirs. One of Pacos favorites starts at the site of the old Boca Brewery at the southern end of Boca Reservoir. Take Boca Road north until it turns into Stampede Dam Road and you hit until you get to Stampede Reservoir (5 miles) then ride back. Moderate hills and little shade make this ride tougher, but few cars travel this route and the pavement is in good condition. Difficult: Make loops in Tahoe Donner. If a challenging mix of hills, hills and more hills is what youre looking for, pick up a map of the Tahoe Donner subdivision and make up your own route. There are so many interconnecting roads in the subdivision that you could ride all summer and never do the same route twice. Paco recommends the climb up to the top of Skislope Way for those wanting to maximize their hill training. Difficult: Truckee to the top of Barker Pass and back. This long ride includes nice stretches along the Truckee river and Lake Tahoe and a challenging 2,000-foot climb up Barker Pass. From Truckee, head south on state Route 89 to Tahoe City (14 miles). At the Y stay right on Highway 89 and ride along the West Shore of Lake Tahoe until you come to Barker Pass Road (right before Homewood) on the right (4 miles). Ride up Barker Pass to the top. From there enjoy views of Lake Tahoe and the Desolation Wilderness to the south. From Truckee, this out-and-back ride should be about 55 miles.For more information on these rides or about cycling in the area, stop in to Pacos at 11200 Donner Pass Road in Truckee.

Norma Jean Bowers leads group road rides every Tuesday morning at 8:30 a.m. from Wild Cherrys coffee shop. The rides are designed to allow folks to meet other road bike riders and learn many of the popular routes. Designed as a no-drop ride, the group does not race or set a race pace. Due to the distance, altitude and speed with which they ride, they are considered intermediate to advanced level rides.Riders should bring: Helmet, water, spare tubes, sunglasses, sunscreen, gloves, food and a pump.All rides will begin in Truckee promptly at 8:30 a.m. at Wild Cherrys. Be ready to depart, carpool or get on your bike at that time.Upcoming rides: June 29: Truckee to Cisco Grove, out and back. Approximately 40 miles with a very steep climb up old Highway 40 near Donner Lake. (Those who do not wish to do the climb can meet at the parking lot of Donner Ski Ranch on the summit, and be ready to ride at 9:30 a.m.) After the initial climb up Donner Summit, the ride takes you downhill for 17 miles. Riders then turn around at Cisco Grove and climb the rolling hills back. This is an advanced ride with the summit climb or an intermediate ride without. July 6: Jackson Meadows Road, out and back. Approximately 34 miles of rolling terrain on a relatively quiet road off Highway 89 north. July 13: Truckee to Tahoe City, out and back. Approximately 30 miles or rolling terrain and bike path. July 20: The Triangle or Sierraville Farm Loop. Riders will decide on the day of the ride whether to do the 42 mile triangle from Truckee to Tahoe City to Kings Beach and back to Truckee (a difficult intermediate level ride), or to do a loop through Sierraville farm country. The Sierraville loop is approximately 46 miles of relatively flat riding in the Sierra Valley with a carpool trip to get there. July 27: Tour DSki Area, out and back. Riders leave Truckee and ride to Squaw Valley and then continue to Tahoe City. Approximately 37 miles of rolling terrain. August 3: Jackson Meadows Road (details above). August 10: Truckee to Tahoe City (details above). August 17: Truckee to Blackwood Canyon, out and back. Approximately 40 miles with rolling terrain to Tahoe City and then continuing along the bike path to Blackwood Canyon by Lake Tahoe. August 31: Truckee to Tahoe City (details above). The last group ride for the season so plan to celebrate after the ride. For more information on challenging rides such as the Gold Lakes Loop, century rides and rides around Lake Tahoe, contact Norma Jean at (530) 583-1499.

Shimano came out with new Dura-Ace components for the serious racer who demands top-of-the-line performance and weight. Compact cranks from FSA allow cyclists a reasonable substitute for a triple crank for easier riding in the mountains. Designed for bicycles that dont have room for a triple crank, the FSA compact crank features a 50-34 gear ratio (compared to the typical 53-39 ratio) – guaranteed to make your climb up Donner Summit that much more fun. While not new, Paco said hes seeing a surge in the popularity of after-market wheel sets as an easy upgrade to an older bike. Upgrades to the materials used in making bike shorts should make for a more comfortable ride for all, from road warriors to the weekend rider. Chamois technology continues to improve as riders and apparel companies figure out what works best. Bicycle seats also continue to evolve and offer more comfort. Gender-specific seats offer anatomic cutouts specifically designed for men and women. Paco claims that the new Shimano Road Pedals have become very popular in a short period of time. Very dependable and reasonably light, these pedals are a nice upgrade from most other cycling pedals. Carbon fiber is continuing its popularity in all things biking with new carbon fiber cranks, handlebars, forks, seat posts, etc. becoming popular with those wishing to drop weight without losing strength. Prices for carbon fiber components are still pretty high, but for people willing to spend thousands on a bike, the extra couple hundred doesnt seem to matter that much.

Check for wear on: Tires – check for cracks or dryness on the sidewalls or cuts anywhere. Brake pads – be sure there is enough pad material left for safe operation. Bearings – both wheel and crank bearings will eventually wear out. If either doesnt turn smoothly it may be time to bring it in to a shop for a checkup.Replace: Tubes if tires are totally flat and/or leaking air.Check for: Headset – bounce front wheel on ground lightly and if there is any shaking in the headset it may need to be tightened. Bring the bike in to a shop if you dont know how to do this. Bolts on stem – make sure theyre tight enough. Brake levers – make sure they pull evenly and dont stick. Frayed derailleur/brake cables or cable housings – replace if necessary. Quick release levers – make sure wheels are secured to the frame. Wheels – make sure wheels are true and all spokes are in good shape.

Paco Lindsay came to town in 1974 and opened his first bike store here in 1979. The store has been at its current location since 1992.Paco grew the bike store the old-fashioned way slowly and patiently. In 1992 he added the cross country ski business in the wintertime and began year-round operations.Were seeing a trend in that the older, really fit bicyclists who have been mountain biking a lot are now getting back into road biking, Paco said of the recent surge in the sports popularity.The store, described as a labor of love by Paco, has always served as a place for people to gather and hangout with other cyclists and ask about good places to ride. Every Wednesday evening, serious riders (those with some fast group riding experience only please) gather at Pacos for a weekly ride that often attracts as many as 50 people.

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