Saturday, September 21, 2019

Finding My 100


It took a while to figure out a 100-mile bicycle route in the Las Vegas area.

But now I have it down -- it's a Summerlin to Hoover Dam/Arizona and back ride, following the same route home that I follow to this engineering marvel at the Nevada-Arizona border.





It's a bike ride fashioned to eliminate as many surface roads as possible and use as many paved bike trails as possible.

The truth is I witness how people operate motorized vehicles on our roads in the metro Las Vegas area and I fear the speeding, distracted driving and the incompetence to operate a car inperil my bicyclist safety. Plus, there's the general discomfort of having so many motorists nearly drive their cars into me, which has forced me to seek refuge on trails without the threat of motorists.

People who drive their cars and imperil my life will not keep me from bicycling, which comes as natural to me as breathing.

So I have pieced together a route that follows no less than four different paved trails -- the 215 Western beltway that I pick up at the 215 and Sahara for a ride to the trail end to Tropicana; then I'm back on the 215 trail way down at Warm Springs, and that trail becomes the Pacific Union railroad trail in Henderson, which hooks into the River Mountains Loop trail thanks to a bridge that spans 93 and ties the railroad trail into the River Mountains trail.

And I follow the River Mountains Loop toward the Lake Mead National Rec Area and onto Hoover Dam.




About half of the bicycle route is via trail.

A trail, however, doesn't guarantee your safety. The 215 trail through Henderson south of McCarren Airport has several dangerous crossings because of the design and engineering of the roads that are intersecting the trail at the 215 entrance and exit ramps.

The trailing crossings are dangerous. And crossing St. Rose Parkway is a joke via the 215 trail. There is no crossing. You are forced to bike a half-mile up the road to a traffic signal, cross St. Rose Parkway, and bike on a sidewalk against the flow of traffic with many motorists entering St. Rose from side parking lots and endangering you as you're on a sidewalk trying to reach the continuation of the 215 trail.

Heading home to Summerlin, the 215 trail heading north ends at Warm Springs and I follow Warm Springs across Las Vegas Boulevard and take it west to Valley View, where I turn right and pedal about three miles to Hacienda, where I turn left and head west.

Avoid Las Vegas Boulevard. If you don't take the lane on Las Vegas Boulevard, motorists will stay in their lane and come close to side-swiping you. I took the lane several times on previous rides on Las Vegas Boulevard and found that motorists drive their vehicles very close to me from behind, then darting around me.

But Valley View, which runs parallel to Las Vegas Boulevard is a wide road and quiet on a Saturday.

Plus I enjoyed this Cirque ad vehicle.


I follow Hacienda west to Durango, make a right turn and head north on Durango to Tropicana, where I turn left and bike a mile to the 215 western beltway trail just past the Tropicana entrance on 215. And I head home on the 215 trail in Summerlin.

Summerlin has homeless issues, too. Here's a makeshift tent on the 215 trail bridge spanning Town Center, a road in Summerlin.


It was hard to find a 100-mile ride I could enjoy from my home in Summerlin without driving somewhere else. Biking through Red Rock Canyon and turning right on Nevada State Route 160 to Potosi Mountain is a terrific bike ride but it's a hard climb and wouldn't result in a 100-mile ride with an out-and-back ride.

The Las Vegas area has some terrific rides -- the Red Rock Loop, Mount Charleston's Deer Creek Road and Valley of Fire. The city of Henderson is easily the best government at supporting bicycling with bike trails, while Clark County's government is a joke. City of Las Vegas is a mixed bag -- some OK safe roads to bike like Alta, but lots of other roads that are dangerous.

The Strip seems to have its own planning rules. Clark County should make the Strip safer and more accessible for bicyclists because it's a worker hub. But the county lets the hotel-casino owners call the shots -- ones that are not friendly to bicyclists.

I reached Hoover Dam around 10:30 a.m. and soaked up this feat of engineering. It's a wonder.






Friday, April 26, 2019

Wildflower Wonderland along Red Rock Loop -- Enjoy the High Desert Spring



Remember those freaky snowstorms and rain showers in February? Well. this week's blast of 90-degree weather has conspired with that wet February to release a stunning array of wildflowers along the Red Rock loop.

This morning I cycled the 12+plus mile strip of pavement in the foothills of the Spring Mountains and was intoxicated with the aroma of blossoming cliffside rose and Apache plume flowers that are here for a week-long stay in late April until the hot weather puts an end to their glorious blossoms.

 
The colors of the wildflowers were glorious. It's amazing how these spiky plants can give rise to such stunning colorful beauty in the high desert just outside the sprawling west Vegas suburb of  Summerlin.






Near Ice Box Canyon around Mile 6, there's a wall of cliffrose bushes that's providing an amazing floral aroma. It's down hill there, but I tap the brakes to slow down and smell nature.





No wonder Red Rock Canyon is facing so much more traffic along State Road 159. The word is out about beautiful that corridor is.


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Speeding, Impatient and Inattentive Motorists, Beware: LVMPD Is Pulling People Over Near New Ballpark On S. Pavilion Center Drive

I've turned into that grumpy old man in the neighborhood, yelling at speeding motorists endangering lives, drivers who turn in front of me while I stroll through a crosswalk and people who think racing to a red light to just sit and wait is more important than the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.

So Sunday when I was on my morning saunter along South Pavilion Center Drive in Summerlin, I thanked a Las Vegas Metro officer for pulling over a driver in front of the new Howard Hughes Corporation baseball park being built along the road and a roundabout. The ballyard opens in early April.


I wrote a recent story about pedestrian and bicyclist safety at the new $150 million minor league ballpark because I witnessed motorists who were speeding, inattentive and impatient along South Pavilion Center -- driving behavior that in my humble opinion will imperil the lives of people crossing the street to reach the ballpark and using the Pavilion Center Drive corridor.

You'll have to excuse if I am just a little agitated over motorist driving behavior. When an inattentive motorist slams his car into you from behind while you're bicycling and you survive thanks to the grace of God, you tend to get a little ticked off when you see people driving motorized vehicles in manners that could kill or maim someone. And yes, I have written a book about this.

Howard Hughes Corporation, which owns the ballpark and the newly re-branded Las Vegas Aviators Triple A team, said it will install pedestrian flashers so walkers can cross South Pavilion Center Drive. That's fine. But educating motorists to slow down and not speed through the roundabouts along South Pavilion Center Drive at the new ballpark would help too.

And then there's Metro traffic police on motorcycles who can stop motorists, too, to conduct their own form of behavior modification


After the distracted motorist slammed his car into me in Florida, I returned to Las Vegas in June 2017 to launch LVSportsBiz.com. But I kept my Bicycle Stories blog alive because in a previous life I quit journalism and was a full-time community bicycle rights and safety activist in the Tampa Bay market. I see Las Vegas could use a little help, too, to protect pedestrians and bicyclists from deadly motorists, so I'll be lending my voice to this issue.

You'll be hearing more from me.