Outside with Charlie: Bike prep

By From page A6 | May 07, 2014


We know that the spring, summer, and autumn seasons in El Dorado County are truly wonderful, and provide for a long stretch of great outdoor weather.

We also know that during the winter months, skiing takes over. Or, the couch takes over.

Now it’s time to talk about getting your cycling self safely back on the bike in graduated steps.

If you start out a bit slow, you’ll hit your regular pace soon enough, and the injury quotient drops like a stone.

First thing to do is check your bike over and make sure everything that is supposed to be tight is tight. Double check your brakes.

When that’s done, and before you fling your leg over the bar, take a moment to do some gentle stretches.

Your first rides should be on a trail or path that is mostly gentle. Again, right in Placerville, either end of the El Dorado Trail is good.

The section of the trail that starts on Forni Road is more flat while the east section of the trail, that starts next to the Ivy House parking lot, is longer and has a couple of spots on it that will cause you to huff and puff a bit. There are also a couple of longer, more gentle climbs.

If you are on a skinny tired road bike, a good place to turn around is where the paved section ends. Mountain bikers can ride all the way to where the trail, the old narrow gage railroad bed that went to the Michigan California mill in Camino, stops right at Highway 50.

Head to Tahoe for your first rides, just because it’s beautiful and not crowded at this time of year. The paved trail that parallels the lake, from 13th Street till it dead ends at Spring Creek Road, is a flat, gorgeous, 6-mile round trip with a couple of gentle rollers on it.

You’ll also have the company of people who are walking it, getting their legs in shape for the hiking season.

After you’ve put in 20 miles or more on these types of mostly flat trails, you’re probably ready to hit some more vigorous rides.

The season from spring though the end of autumn is long, it is wonderful, and if you start out with some common sense, you’ll enjoy every day of it, riding your bike all the way. Get outside!

Charlie Ferris

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