America's Most Beautiful Bicycle (Unicycle!) Ride, June 1, 2014

Jacquie and I have just registered for this event, which is a spectacular ride around Lake Tahoe, in California and Nevada. The loop around the lake is 72 miles, and there is a century option (100 miles; same price). We’re just doing the lake, which will be Jacquie’s longest ride to date.

You should join us! Last time I did this ride, it was in 2007 and there were about a dozen unicyclists, many of which did the full century. I was happy to make it around the lake (first time; second attempt). My favorite thing about this ride is that the participants are from all over the country (and world, no doubt), and their supporters can be seen all the way up the first half of the lake, so there are people offering support for at least the first 30 miles. Groups from different clubs or cities where helmet decorations to represent their homes. Cheese heads from Wisconsin, Motown 45 rpm records for Detroit, etc.

The base elevation for the ride is around 6200’. Everything not at that elevation is higher, as that’s the approximate lake level. There is about 4000’ of climbing on the route, and lots of beautiful scenery. Once you get past South Lake Tahoe (town), the road is closed off to traffic through Emerald Bay, for safety. Then it’s mostly winding 2-lane blacktop the rest of the way.

Registration is $115. Sounds steep, but it’s pretty nominal in relation to the effort required to do the ride on a unicycle, and to organize such an event. There are several rest stops with snacks, and a full lunch at the halfway point. The experience is well worth it. If we get a group together, we may get a bunch of rooms at one of the less-expensive motels near the start, to pool resources and start from there.

I’ll post some pictures later.

sounds like a great course, but only after the hordes have dispersed. Thanks for the idea for a great cycle trip destination. :wink:

72 miles is a bit intimidating to me. Maybe I could get in shape before then, but I don’t know. Looks really cool.

They spread the riders out pretty well, so in my two rides I never felt crowded at all, except maybe at the rest stops. The nice thing about the century option is that it’s an out-and-back from around mile 25 or so. The returning century riders give us a lot more company around the lake after most of the 72-milers have left us behind. :slight_smile:

Plenty of time between now and June!

Here are some pictures from 2006, my first attempt. I didn’t use my brake enough, and wore out my knee in under 30 miles. I ended up riding up the hills and walking down them! I made it about halfway around.

  1. At the start: John Foss, can’t remember, Beau and Nathan Hoover, Grace Fleming, Gary Kanauch (kick bike), Bruce Bundy, Geoff Faraghan. Robert Allen joined me later in the ride.
  2. The big climb, up the Emerald Bay. The first climb is the hardest one; after that they are all smaller or easier.
  3. Emerald Bay, and the road ahead on the other side.
  4. Taking a break at the top of the big climb. My trusty Coker Deluxe served me well, but I learned to use more brakes on the downhills for my next attempt.

I LOVE Lake Tahoe. But with a non-geared 26’’ and only a few months to train, I don’t think I’d enjoy the ride very much. If you guys find yourself in the Santa Cruz mountains after that trip, hit me up! :slight_smile:

2007 pix:

  1. Picnic lunch and Disc Golf the day before, with Ryan Woessner, Irene Genelin, Grace, Nathan, Tom Blackwood, Beau and Jacquie.
  2. 36ers ready to roll, dark and early. We set out just before sunrise.
  3. Start group: Grace, Beau, Ryan, Irene, Nathan, Scot Cooper, Tom Blackwood, Don Olsen, Corbin Dunn, Louise Lovelle, me. Other unicyclists were Mike from Aptos and Robert Allen. Bronson Silva did the 100 on a bike.
  4. Irene on the big climb. She did the 100 that day, along with about half of that group!
  5. Corbin Dunn, during the act of “saving my ass”. I had started the ride with a flat air seat! It took until mile 43 before we found the leak and got it patched. If he hadn’t worked it out, I would have stopped there.
  6. Louise on the big downhill from Spooner Summit. 4 lanes and fast there, but the traffic is light – and bike-friendly due to all the two-wheeled traffic! Louise, Corbin and I all finished together. It was each of our longest rides yet.

would ungeared 29ers be okay…
my friends and I have never done any long distance rides though.
I feel we’d be way too slow and the ride too tiring…3 of us newbies have 29ers, and smaller sizes…

another note, we have not transportation to get there…high schoolers with parents that don’t want us driving off the side of a mountain road. :slight_smile:

John this is a great thread. I’m glad you and Jacquie are doing it this year. We did that ride a number of times, including that great year in 2007 where a bunch of us joined the 100 club. I have kind of wanted to go back and do 100 again, faster, on the GUNI 36. I actually think that’s one of the easiest century rides around, and it’s super well supported and fun.

Not sure about this year. I also just got the mail from the Strawberry Fields guys about registering for that. Since that is closer we’ve done that one more times. But nothing beats the Tahoe Ride for scenery if it’s a good day.