Do you remember when you learned how to ride a bike? It was a new found freedom that you could travel farther than ever before. What used take an hour to walk; now you could get there in fifteen minutes or less. Well, that was 25 years ago.
If you’re not currently riding a bike with some regularity, my hopes are that this article will entice you to consider getting back on a bike to reconnect with the pleasure you once experienced in your youth. So, where to start? Do you want to ride on a paved or a dirt trail or maybe both? Do you want it for business (everyday use) or pleasure (occasional use)? Do you want all the bells and whistles or just the basics? Do you want to be able to upgrade parts in the future or just buy a new one when you grow out of the current one?
Now that I’ve open this can of worms, let me help you out. Nowadays, bicycles have evolved to become super machines. They have a wide array of shifting, brakes, seats, frames and tires. Also, different materials are used like steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber. There are bikes for racing or pleasure. Bikes can be purchased for on-road and off-road use or a hybrid that can accommodate both. With Boulder City being on the side of a hill, you might be concerned about struggling on those long up-hill climbs. Some of the newer gearing mechanism will surprise you. What you might think you’d struggle with on an uphill climb, may not impact you in the way you think it will. Although the basic design of a bicycle has not changed since the 1800’s, modern technology has made some great advances in cycling. Plus, there are now some amazing electric bikes.
Electric bikes, also known as e-bikes, come with a throttle assist. At the flick of a switch, you are moving along with no peddle power from the cyclist or power assist, which allows the cyclist to peddle the bike with the assistance of the electric motor component. You can also find e-bikes with both options. All e-bikes allow you to choose to peddle or the electric option.
My point is that there is not just one bike that fits everybody’s needs. Before you decide to buy a bike, visit a local bike shop. These shops have experienced cyclists who can give you a professional opinion about what will meet your needs. Also, what people don’t realize when they buy a bike is that it will need to be serviced occasionally. Especially after the first month, the chain, cables, brakes and gears need to be fine-tuned to run properly. This is usually a free service if you purchase a new bike. A larger department store will most likely not have experienced staff in the various different bikes, styles of riding and necessary adjustment needed. Trust me, I know this from experience. I have a friend who wanted to get into cycling, so to save money, he bought a bike online. Well, it had to be assembled and adjusted several times before it finally worked right. Of course, because he did not purchase the bike from the local bike shop, he was charged for the set up and adjustments. In the end, it was an inferior bike that cost him more money in the long run. So, before you go bargain hunting, consider the value in purchasing your bike at a Boulder City bike shop. Plus, when I enter a bike shop, I like it when the employee calls me by name and knows the best measures to address my cycling issues.
We have three bike shops in Boulder City, All Mountain Cyclery at 1404 Nevada Way, Red Mountain Green Cycle at 728 Canyon Road, and Loop Custom Cyclery at 1312 Nevada Highway. All three shops rent and sell a variety of bicycles. Both All Mountain Cyclery and Red Mountain Green Cycle sell and rent e-bikes. If you’re not quite ready to run out and purchase an e-bike, I highly recommend you rent one to make sure it’s a good choice for you. Also, something to consider is that it may make more sense to purchase a peddle power bike for riding in town and rent an e-bike for longer adventures as you may be surprised at how quickly you build stamina and increase your distance. Another option to consider is that Loop Customer Cyclery offers a women’s assisted ride. On this ride, the owner accompanies the women to address any cycling issues that may arise. This is great for the ladies to expand distance and build confidence.
Now the fun begins. You’ve found your perfect bike and you’re ready to go exploring. The Boulder City area has many opportunities for cycling. Please use the new bike lanes in town as they have been put in place to protect the cyclist. Choosing to ride on original Boulder City streets is a nice way to enjoy our charming community. Consider gathering the family and riding to the Community Gardens or Veterans Memorial Park for a picnic. Cycling around the Veterans Memorial Park Fish Ponds is a colorful experience at sunset as the sky is reflected in the water. Additionally, Veterans Memorial Park offers both paved and dirt roads to explore.
For those of you more adventurous types, Bootleg Canyon offers off-road mountain bike trails from beginners levels on the lower hills up to an expert range at the top of the mountain. The River Mountains Loop Trail offers over thirty miles of paved trails with landmarks that connect Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Boulder City and Henderson. Before taking a ride on this bike trail, I recommend that you visit the River Mountains Loop Trail website at www.rivermountainstrail.com to obtain a map and tips for a safe and enjoyable ride. To start your new experience with the River Mountains Trail, you may want to ride to Railroad Pass for a light breakfast. You may also want to consider riding down to Lake Mead for the Historic Railroad Tunnel Trail that now goes through to Hoover Dam. All this might sound a bit out of reach if you aren’t a seasoned cyclist. But wait, remember the e-bike. Most e-bikes have a range of over twenty miles.
Cycling is an excellent way to get around town, get exercise, save the environment, and see what this area has to offer. Regardless of the type of biking you partake in, please take the proper cycling precautions. As an avid and enthusiastic cyclist, I just can’t fit everything I would like to write about in it just one article. Look for future cycling articles in upcoming Boulder City publications. There are many other topics such as, where to ride, who I can ride with, what supplies are needed and what to expect while on your bike. Once you tune into the world of cycling, you’ll be amazed at how many cyclist are on and off the roads in the Boulder City area. Cycling is a great way to see the world. And like they say, once you learn to ride a bike, you never forget. So, get a bike and start riding again.