Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Yearlong Story Of Bicycle Love For 2015

2015 was an amazing year for the Bicycle Stories blog. Drum roll please, for Bicycle Stories' Top 10 bike themes and stories this year.

1. Pugsley's Fat Tires Hit the Road -- and Dirt and Snow

I ride the Surly Pugsley single-speed steel fattie everywhere -- downtown Las Vegas, Mount Charleston, Red Rock's scenic drive and even boring suburban Summerlin.

Day or night.

And remember, you are never too old to ride a Pugsley.

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2. Land of Lincoln County

Less than two hours north of Las Vegas is Lincoln County, a sprawling county of quiet two-lane roads, state parks and great bicycling country. I enjoyed a 100-mile bike ride put on by the state park system in October and I highly recommend it.

Thank you Kevin Turchin -- the famed "Turchinator" of Summerlin -- for telling me about this wide when we biked a week earlier on State Road 159 in Red Rock Canyon. It lived up to Kevin's billing. And great work by Dawn Andone of Nevada State Parks for working with her crew on this great park-to-park bike ride.
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3. Motorists Killing Bicyclists in Las Vegas Valley

Regrettably, there were too many solemn memorial bike rides, stories about bicyclists being killed by motorists and memorial services to remember cyclists who lost their lives on the roads of the Las Vegas region. I asked, "Where is the outrage?"

At least nine bicyclists lost their lives in metro Las Vegas in 2015. Heartbreaking.

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4. "Refund?!"

Breaking Away is an iconic 1979 bicycle movie that inspired millions of people to ride a bicycle and was celebrated at Interbike in September when the trade show organizers brought together three of the four "Cutters."

It was a personal thrill to meet Dennis Christopher (Dave Stoller), Dennis Quaid (Mike) and Jackie Earle Haley (Moocher).

The trio reunited at an Interbike awards dinner -- and the crowd went wild.

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5.  The Mighty Pacific

In early January, I had the chance to bike Big Sur and will never forget the sloping Pacific Coast Highway running up and down along the oceanfront mountains south of Monterey.

The January weather was pleasant for my 12-day trip up and down the California coast.

The start of the trip began with this guy in Ventura. Kevin Cannon.

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6. Tour of California and the Chairmen's Ride in LA

I caught up with North America's premier professional race -- the Tour of California -- in May. Los Angeles-based Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) puts on this road race, which attracts more than a half-dozen pro racing teams that will go on to the Tour de France.

The Big Bear stage had to be moved to the Six Flags amusement park because of snow, which allowed fun shots of racers cycling in the shadows of big roller coasters and between toll booths.

On the morning of the final stage, AEG held the Chairmen's Ride, a bicycle ride from its headquarters at LA Live in downtown to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Perhaps you will recognize the tall guy bicycling -- that's famed 7-foot basketball star Bill Walton.

And the day before, I had a wonderful reunion with great friends Vic and Rachael, along with their precious daughter Lucia, in Santa Monica.

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7, Bill Lasher and Ride 2 Recovery

In July, I had the honor of reporting about Bill Lasher, a Las Vegas business owner who makes handmade full-suspension trikes for wounded warriors so they can bike off-road. Here's my story on Bill.

Then in November, the Ride 2 Recovery road ride came to Las Vegas, and the veterans who lost arms and legs in war were biking with local cyclists on the Strip and in Summerlin. I joined the ride and wrote this report on a very moving event.

For me, this was the most powerful scene of the ride -- seeing a cyclist push another cyclist push another cyclist up a hill on Alexander Road.

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8 . These Guys -- the Pedaling Yentas

These are my boys -- Scott, Anthony, Kevin and Ben, We chit-chat while pedaling, thus the Yenta Rides we do together.

Our Sunday morning rides take us to the Red Rock Loop, where we talk about everything from New York experiences to politics to ailments to music. They're wonderful friends -- and it's great to share that friendship on a bicycle.

And how can I forget Jared and his Wednesday morning rides.

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9. Zion and Big Bear

Two stunning out-of-state bicycle rides took place at Zion National Park in southwest Utah and the Tour of Big Bear in California outside Los Angeles.

I wrote a travel story for the Review-Journal on Zion in May. The theme was bicycling Zion, which bans cars from a main road in the national park during most of the months.

For more about bicycling southern Utah and Jared Fisher's amazing Escape Adventures tour company, read this.

Then, there was the gorgeous mountain landscape of Big Bear, where I met bike ride organizer Craig Smith and saw the scenic course that Craig arranges for the Tour of Big Bear. It's a four-hour car ride to mountainous pedaling joy in Big Bear.

10. The BeFly

She's a beautiful woman who feels her joy for life when sharing her love for bicycling by leading beach cruiser bike tours in a city named Lakeland between Orlando and Tampa in Florida. Beth Geohagan is like no other bicyclist I know, a standup-while-pedaling, helmet-spurning, take-the-lane-always, never-wearing-Lycra chica who started a bike tour business called BeFly Bike Tours.

Beth is following her bicycle dreams and I was lucky enough to have my bicycle life intersect the BeFly. In 2014, she pedaled a hefty single-speed bike from Summerlin to the Red Rock scenic drive visitors center and then a heavy hybrid bicycle around the steep scenic drive. Beth humored me by agreeing to wear a helmet on the steep-hilled course of the scenic drive in Red Rock Canyon.

Beth's life is a bicycle life, and she discusses BeFly Bike Tours and how she uses it to connect people with her city.

Beth traveled to Las Vegas, where we biked everywhere, from the Strip to the railroad tunnel trail overlooking Lake Mead to Red Rock Canyon last year.

I was dumb enough to let Beth slip away for a time, and now I hope our bicycle lives will connect once again.

Stay tuned for a beautiful bicycle life that I hope we may share in 2016.

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And Plus 1 -- Pugsy

Thank you Malanda Schmitz for this beautiful portrait of cycling Pugsy. In loving memory of dog lover Harriet Snel.

1 comment:

John Elliss said...

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