Preparing for a Lake Tahoe Mountain Bike Ride
If you’ve ever opened a mountain biking magazine, chances are you’ve seen photos of the trails around Lake Tahoe; they are some of the most challenging, awe-inspiring rides a mountain biker will ever encounter. But it pays to be prepared.
First, pick your trail from one of the myriad available. If you need help choosing, Lake Tahoe’s bike shops are a great resource for information from those who know, and ride, these trails every year. Depending on the time of year, bike shops can also give you current trail conditions; snow can hang around a mighty long time, so don’t be surprised.
If you’ve never ridden the trail before, make sure you are clear about the distance and difficulty you will encounter. You don’t want to find yourself in the middle of a trail, miles from the trailhead, and run out of steam. If you’re riding alone, always let someone know what trail you are riding, what time you plan to be out there and when you plan to return. People get lost five miles from civilization; don’t be one of them.
Next, give your bike the once over to make sure it’s in good working order. Make sure brakes and gears all work smoothly; check tires and fill if needed. How’s your helmet? Don’t have one? Then get off that bike; Lake Tahoe granite and pine trees are not forgiving. Finally, check your pack for the following items:
- Spare tube
- Pump or quick-fill canisters
- Patch kit
- Basic bike tools, like Allen wrenches and tire levers
- Bug spray
- High-energy snacks
- Lots of water
- Some type of first-aid kit
- Cell phone
- A waterproof layer
Probably the three things you can’t have enough of? Water, bug spray and sunscreen. A camera of course is optional, but after all, this is Lake Tahoe … part of why you’re here is the view, so capture it!