On October 1st, Nevada State Parks in cooperation with the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park Backcounrty Patrol, the Reno Wheelmen, and the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA) hosted a nationwide celebration known as Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day, supported by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA).
The event was held up at Lake Tahoe-Nevada State Park near Spooner Lake, and entrance to the park was free for participants. The staging area was near Flume Trail Bikes in the picnic area. A registration tent was set up where the kids checked in and got some bicycle goody bags, and there were a couple skills courses nearby in the trees so the kids could get some practice in before heading out on the trail.
We joined a group led by the Bike Patrol for a lap around Spooner Lake. Boys and girls of all ages took to the trail, a rolling loop that’s just over 2 miles with just the right amount of difficulty for beginners. Along the trail there are a few bridges, boardwalks, and rocks to test technical skills, and short climbs and descents to practice shifting. There were mountain bikes, BMX racing bikes with skinny pizza cutter tires, and even Walmart freestyle BMX bikes with pegs on the axles. It didn’t seem to matter what each kid was riding. They all tried hard and did great.
After the lap around Spooner Lake, we hit the skills course, doing a few laps through the slalom cones in the woods. We were still craving some more riding though, so we rode out to Spencer’s Cabin, an old cattleman’s cabin built in the 1920s. After some rest and play around the cabin, we had some fun downhill back to the parking area.
A big thanks goes out to all the groups that put on this event! I thought it was very worthwhile, and hopefully it introduced a few kids to the joys of mountain biking. The loop around the lake is great, and is interesting enough to do multiple laps. By utilizing the Spooner Lake trail and the road leading up to North Canyon, young mountain bikers can get some good riding in without having to do any extended climbing. The picnic area and other facilities at the parking area make a great family hangout as well.