Sunday, December 30, 2012

Memories In Memory of Bill Fox

A blast from the past -- Jeff Houck covering the one-day Hudson Valley New York City to Albany bike ride in memory of Bill Fox Middletown:

Biking With The Cold (And Hopefully Not A Cold)

It was 35 degrees at dawn and I'm guessing even a few degrees colder at Red Rocks but these two guys were at it on the bicycle on the Red Rocks Canyon scenic loop.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Signs of Life in the Vegas Arts District

So, Christmas morning I turned east into the Vegas valley and took a day off from the mts, canyons and foothills to document life along the arts district between downtown Vegas and The Strip.

The signs are self-explanatory.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday's Field Trip: Death Valley

Death Valley in California was Sunday's adventure -- serene beauty compared to Zion National Park, which is a spectacular, in-your-face geological wonderland. Some of my favorite photos from Death Valley.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Zion Natl Park -- Crazy Amazing Treasure

This morning I packed the road bicycle and the gear and headed for Utah. Zion National Park in south Utah, exactly. Not much to say that the photos couldn't tell you better.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Las Vegas Cyclery Has The Power

I enjoyed visiting the Las Vegas Cyclery for a business story on the bike shop's new 10,000-square-foot building that is a "net-zero" building; that is, it generates more power than what it consumes from the local power company.

Read all about it here:

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Gorgeous Bicycle Lane

My favorite bike lane in Vegas -- it's a separated bike lane on Desert Mountains Rd at Alta Drive.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Frosty Morning At Daybreak At Red Rocks Canyon

A cold front came through and the wind kicked in to the tune of 25 mph and the temps fell into the 30s. It was crystal clear, so I went to Red Rocks Canyon to see the first sun come up and enjoy the growing shadows.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Mountain Bike Doubleheader On Both Ends of the Vegas Valley

Today was a mountain bike doubleheader, cycling the mt bike in Red Rocks Canyon in the morning to see the snow in the mountains outside Vegas on the west side of the Las Vegas Valley.

Then it was a trip to McCullough Mountains next to Henderson on the east side of the Vegas Valley for a brand new mt bike trail, which is flat and wonderful to introduce newbie mt bikers to. I met my pal Ron Floth of the Regional Transportation Commission and his friend Keith for some mt biking climbing.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Mittster Hits The Rodeo

I've been fascinated with the role of sports since I've been a kid and I can't think of a more fascinating American sport than rodeo.

The rodeo events are based on stuff cowboys do on ranches and farms and the animals such as bulls and horses and calves play a big role in cowboy competitors winning tens of thousands of dollars at rodeos like the $6.125 million National Finals Rodeo unfolding for 10 days here in Las Vegas.

I was at the Thomas & Mack Arena where the UNLV basketball team usually plays for a Las Vegas Review-Journal business story related to the rodeo when I took some photos.

There was a dude name Trevor Brazile from Texas who is the Michael Jordan of the sport, a bareback rider named Kaycee Feild who sure spells his names in a most interesting manner and look who was in the house.

The Big Sweep -- Nice to See

On the way home on Nev Rt 159 from the Red Rocks scenic loop, it was wonderful to see a Nevada DOT truck with a sweeper cleaning the shoulder of the road. No flats so far in Nevada and that sweeper certainly helps.

This morning is also cloudy -- kind of a rare sight around these here Las Vegas parts. In fact, I actually felt a few raindrops coming home from my 30-mile bread-and-butter ride, which includes the 13-mile scenic loop in Red Rocks Canyon.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sam The Pharmacist Saves My Day

Thank you Sam the pharmacist who was also stuck at a police road block on Charleston Road at the end of the 13-mile loop early this morning.

I was on bike. Sam was in a car ready to do a run. And we were stuck behind a police roadblock from getting back to Red Rocks and Summerlin.

Sam gave me and my bicycle a lift home this morning.

Before that, I was greeted by some pleasant early-morning scenes along the 13-mile Red Rocks scenic loop.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Faked Me out

I thought it was a bicycle shop. It's really a high-end eyeglass store in a shopping area called Tivoli in Summerlin in west Vegas.

A Bike Commute Without Bike Lights

After a very early morning news assignment (, I bicycled home before the sun went below the horizon.

Las Vegas has tons of recreational cyclists but it doesn't have a big bicycle commuter culture like Portland or New York.

I followed the magic road -- Alta Drive -- from a mile from the Review-Journal office to very close to my immediate development. I probably ride Alta for a solid 10 miles.

Alta is wonderful, though all uphill to the Summerlin neighborhood in western Las Vegas.

It starts in a very working/middle class neighborhood and moves into the upper-middle class area as it heads west into Summerlin.

I take a cross street named Pavillion Center and head north to my place and enjoy the views of the mountains framed by palm trees.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The River Mountains Trail Outside Las Vegas -- Another Cycling Gem

Another side of the Las Vegas bicycling scene is the River Mountains Loop Trail, an undulating 35-mile continuous loop that connects the cities of Henderson and Boulder City, along with the spectacular foothills stretches near Lake Mead and Lake Las Vegas.

My Sunday morning tour guide was Ron Floth, who tries to get people bicycling and using non-car transportation for the Regional Transportation Commission for Southern Nevada.

Ron is an ardent bicyclist who rides a Scott road bike, equipped with rear carrying rack. He was instrumental in including the bicycle section in a downtown transit center in Las Vegas.

We met around 8:15 am today at a trailhead in Henderson, a suburban-style city outside Las Vegas and now the second biggest city in Nevada.

Ron is pure Mr. Enthusiasm, combining his love for bicycling and his salesmanship skills with the mission of building a transportation system with more bike lanes and multi-use trails in the southern Nevada area.

The River Mountains Trail offers a wonderfully diverse cycling experience, offering gorgeous views of Lake Las Vegas and Lake Mead along with the mini-canyons and desert terrain east of Las Vegas.

It's a challenging loop, with lots of rollers and a few steep grades, plus some fun stretches that include an old railroad right-of-way, a former lake shore road and even a drainage right-of-way that doubles as part of the recreational trail outside Boulder City (known as the city that built the Hoover Dam).

What impressed me was the regional cooperation between Henderson, Boulder City and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area to realize this regional trail. Ron said his RTC agency has a bulldog of a grant writer who helped acquire federal traffic congestion and air quality money to build the trail.

It's a stunning resource and another side of the Las Vegas scene you don't see in the movies, brochures or tourism billboards.

It's also another reason why Las Vegas is the unheralded bicycle gem of the West. It doesn't get any of the bicycle props of Portland, Seattle, Tucson, San Francisco or Denver. Yet, Las Vegas offers 280 miles of bike lanes and more miles are coming the upcoming year, Ron told me.

Here is a map of the River Mountains Trail:

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Quiet, Pleasant Commute To The Review-Journal

Well, last night it was all uphill. This morning, I could have practically coasted to work during my 12 miles. The residential neighborhood I live in has bike lanes that lead me to the magic road -- Alta, a wonderful east-west road with bike lanes that runs from downtown Las Vegas to the doorstep of a road that takes you to Red Rocks Canyon. Alta has bike lanes the whole way and bans commercial vehicles.

These are some of the views showing today's ride.