on July 14, 2007
We had high hopes when we set out to rent bikes in Homewood of biking to Emerald Bay. Alongside the road from Tahoe City we’d seen a beautiful bike track that we wrongly assumed wound its way around most of the lake. As it turned out, the track stops short just south of Homewood but we were lucky that the rental staff at West Shore Sports put us on the right path. Just after the bike trail ends, the winding road takes a sudden dip towards the bay which would have involved a long, steep and painful ride back up.We were outfitted with two bikes, helmets and one carrier basket for the cost of around $20 per person for a half-day rental, which wasn’t too unreasonable although it obviously pays to bring your own if you can. Abandoning the road south, we headed north towards Tahoe City and to the path that follows the Truckee River to Squaw Valley. The first stretch from Homewood to Tahoe City is a very gentle and flat ride and would be near perfect for beginners and families if it weren’t for the fact that the bike trail has to cross the main road on more than a few occasions. Signs instruct cyclists to dismount and wait for cars to allow them to pass but it’s a fairly narrow and winding road, making it tricky to see oncoming traffic (and difficult for them to see you too). It’s also very easy to get up some speed on the bike paths, which is a bit hazardous not just because of the road stops but also because the trail is open to pedestrians and twists around trees and in front of driveways as it snakes up and around the lake.Between Homewood and Tahoe City the path sporadically runs alongside the lake where, on a clear day, there are spectacular views of the water and the mountains on the opposite side. In Tahoe Pines you get what I believe is a distant side view of the Corleone house featured in the Godfather films. Other homes along the route are equally as impressive, many with their own private beach or dock. As you get closer to Tahoe City, the path crosses over allowing you to freewheel through the forest before joining up with the route west along the Truckee River.We rode down part of the River and stopped for a break under a tree to watch the river rafters float by. The bike trail follows the same path down the river towards the River Ranch Restaurant. The staff at West Shore Sports had estimated that leaving their shop at 12pm we’d be able to bike to Squaw Valley and back by 5pm when the shop closed but having followed the same route by raft only the day before, we decided to be less adventurous and turned back towards Homewood, stopping off for lunch at Rosie’s café in Tahoe City.
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