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Loop around lake tahoe?(15 posts)

Loop around lake tahoe?msbendle
Mar 27, 2003 12:34 PM
Which way is best clockwise/counter

doable in April? without too much coldness?
Do the Flume trail instead.pmf1
Mar 27, 2003 1:16 PM
I tried to rent a road bike last time I was in Tahoe with hopes of riding around the lake. I ended up renting a mtn bike instead (it was impossible to find a road bike). There is a really nice trail to the top of the crater called the Flume trail. I'm not an avid mtn biker, but I found it to be an enjoyable and challenging ride.

Plus, the road around the lake is full of a lot of people who are driving and paying too much attention to the scenery and not enough to the road.
Mar 27, 2003 1:40 PM
I did the ride last summer. I'd recommend doing it clockwise as you'll be next to the lake for the entire route. Doing it counter-clockwise will put you two lanes of traffic from the overlooks.

Completing the ride in April might be possible depending upon weather. It's not unrealistic, but not 100% definite either. Keep on eye on the snow pack and weather channel.

I started on the north end near the outlet for the Trukee River. The ride is about 73 miles total. I did the ride on a Tuesday so traffic was not an issue. However there are quite a few road hazards. Mostly in Nevada there was lots of glass on the shoulder - many smashed beer bottles. I cut my tire pretty badly at one point and had to use a boot to repair it. Also on the section along US-50, storm drains cut completely across the shoulder and into the first lane of traffic. There seems to be a drain every 1/10 of a mile or so, and a large portion of the section is downhill (35+ mph plus). By the end I took to bunny hopping the drains as opposed to entering traffic. Be on the look out.

All in all it's a nice ride. Spend time at the scenic overlooks, because when you're on the bike there's not enough shoulder and too many obstacles to look at the scenery.
obstacles.. yes... and the tunnelInTheMiddle
Mar 27, 2003 2:05 PM
Yes.. those drainage grate things suck... bunny hopping is fine...

One other note to add... one downhill you will see a sign or a button or somethign you can push to make some lights flash to alert them to your pressence in an upcoming tunnel.... I actually slowed down and hit that button at about 15-20mph...and sure the lights flashed, that was fun...

but it turns out the tunnel is all of about 50 feet long or something, and visibility is fine... you are probably best off keeping your speed up, and just make sure the cars immediately behind you know you are there....

in other words, despite the signage and hype... it's basically a non-issue.
oh yeah, the tunnellaffeaux
Mar 27, 2003 4:06 PM
I came to a stop to hit the button, and regretted it. I was traveling at about 25 mph and would have been in the tunnel for a matter of seconds with no cars around me. However I stopped and spent much more time reaccelerating through the tunnel. In the future I'd ride through it without pausing (unless I was moving slowly on a fully loaded touring bike or something).
re: Loop around lake tahoe?InTheMiddle
Mar 27, 2003 2:01 PM
I had the same question about direction, until i was actually there. It became painfully obvious from the start that clockwise is the way to go if you actually want to see the lake without riding on the wrong side of the road.

It's a great ride, I enjoyed it. I did it in July and left at 6am or so, it was really cold in the morning... for April, I'd suggest leaving around 9-10am and make a nice day out of it... as long as it's sunny you should be warm enough. If it's cold in the morning, just wear an extra layer or two that you can peel off.

Oh yea.. I also started at the big 89/50 intersection in southshore .. seemed like a pretty good place to start in regard to the hills..etc... but of course your mileage may vary.
Did it last April....shawndoggy
Mar 27, 2003 2:27 PM
Cold at the start, warm by the end, but it REALLY depends on the weather. We could have a blizard after all. Generally though it's an off season around the Lake -- skiers are gone but it's still too cold for the summer crowd. So traffic is down and it's a good time to do the ride.

The loop is 72 miles. They do a supported ride the first Sunday in June ( here's a link to their elevation (starting in south tahoe):

I wouldn't recommend doing that ride as it's a leukemia society team in training event, where there are 4000 people on the road with no group riding skills all at the same time.

When we did it unsupported (that's when the pic was taken) we started at Incline Village NV. That gets the big climb out of the way first (oh yeah, assuming clockwise, which as noted is best since you are on the lake side of the road the whole way). The descent from that climb (junction with highway 50) does have the aforementioned big drainage grates. Your bunnyhopping skills will be honed in no time!

The views are killer and I'd recommend doing it with a friend or two just because it's a good experience to share.


Take the out and back to Truckee from Tahoe City to make it a century.
re: Loop around lake tahoe?Bike Bum
Mar 27, 2003 2:38 PM
I know it wasn't your question but the Flume Trail is a nice ride. If you start south end of the trail (Spooner Lake I believe) the first 4 miles is a climb, that is the hardest section and isn't to bad, if you're use to the altitude. When you reach the top and start on the trail that is where the old flume use to run (thus the name "Flume Trail"...) you'll see some of the prettiest views of the lake. Very stunning. This part is pretty flat and kind'a narrow (But almost wide enough to pass someone, Almost) for 8 miles. Boring, except the view.Then there's a sandy downhill to the old Bonanza/Ponderosa TV Show Set's parking lot......

I'd think the ride around the lake in April would maybe fairly cool. But the plus of riding it that time of year you would have lighter traffic...... If you rode it Counter-wise, the climb at the south west end of the lake would be a little easier, I think......Call Cyclepath, (a LBS in Tahoe) they could give you a head's up and better info than I can give
re: Loop around lake tahoe?Bike Bum
Mar 27, 2003 2:42 PM
Yea... Clockwise sounds better......forget my comment
I live 20 miles away--DO watch that weather.retro
Mar 27, 2003 3:34 PM
Things are beginning to warm up by April, and this has been a pretty mild winter, but the temperature often swings 40 or 50 degrees between 7 a.m. and midafternoon. A typical morning temp might be in the 30s, but 20s is easily possible. By lunchtime you could be cruising with your shirt off.
It can go the other way, too, from a fairly balmy morning to a blustery mid-40s day, and in the 20-odd years I've lived here, it's snowed at least once in every single month of the year (August snows are usually light...).
And I reinforce what everybody else has said about NO shoulder and STUPID traffic. A weekday would be better than a Saturday, if you can swing it.
I rode it on my mountainbike starting from the top of donnerSpecialized
Mar 27, 2003 7:56 PM
I forgot how long it took but I averaged around 19.5 mph. The ride was pretty smooth and only a couple of the hills require going out of your big ring (spooner pass? is long and hot). I rode it in August and rode counterclock wise. I was a bit scared of the traffic on the other side of the road. People driving clockwise tend to be looking over to their right at the lake below. Not realizing it, but when they look right, they start to veer right. Next thing you know, they end up on the edge and boom!
Having to look across the road didnt bother me much.
One of the benefits of riding counter clockwise is that you get to come down the switchbacks from Emerald Bay. That was a lot of fun. Really reminded me of Europe. If you ride starting from Tahoe city or truckee you can stop at the 7-eleven on north end of South Lake tahoe - a couple miles north of the casinos - to fill up on gatorade!
Im sure riding either direction would be just as enjoyable. A definite must-do ride.
Clockwise, check weather ...Tahoe Gator
Mar 28, 2003 7:36 AM
Definitely clockwise for best view. Start in South Lake if not too inconvenient (you'll ride sunny West Side first, since sun will be in East, then East side as sun is up or in West). Tunnel, grates, etc., are not issues whatsoever. Plenty of convenience stores, so bring a few bucks instead of weighing your bike down with food and water. Make sure you ride through the Incline Village route on the NE side, which runs closer to the lake (don't worry, it's obvious). If you want to make it a Century, do the out and back to Truckee as a spur off the loop. April could have sketchy weather. Check weather channel carefully and dress accordingly. Suggest rear flasher if not bright out since some sections have little shoulder. If the weather is not so hot, recommend some rides down in Nevada. Geiger Grade from Reno to Virginia City and looping through Carson City and Washoe Valley is nice (Greg Lemond used to train there). If you really want to test your climbing skills, do the Mt. Rose Highway between Reno and summit: 4,500 feet in 17 miles (or from Tahoe side, less ascent but still notable). Lastly, as good as the road riding is, and it is good, the mountain bike is world-class -- on par with Moab and Durango no problem. My advice is wait until summer and bring your mountain bike also/instead or rent one (you can rent a much better mountain bike than you can a road bike). The Flume Trail mentioned in another post has great views, but it is otherwise pretty tame. North Rim Trail from Kingsbury Grade is the best. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride if you like technical. Any LBS can assist. Just note that the snow does not reliably leave the trails until June. Have fun.
I don't know how anyone does that ride?Kristin
Mar 28, 2003 8:03 AM
I was up there last May and we drove around the lake. Some spots on that road are damn scary with 300 foot drop offs, no shoulder and no guard rails. Yet, we passed a bunch of cyclists on the craziest stretches of the road. I can't imagine riding it. Be safe!
have you ever mountain biked?laffeaux
Mar 28, 2003 11:31 AM
Drop offs and no guard rails are common place on a mountain bike. At least on a road bike you have a flat surface to ride on. That seems really safe to me.
Ummmmm, once. It hurt. nmKristin
Mar 28, 2003 11:43 AM