Las Vegas – Hoover Dam.
In February 2016 we had the opportunity to spend a week in Las Vegas with my daughter and her family from Southern California. We flew to Las Vegas while my daughter and family drove up by car, approximate 450km. During our Christmas vacation in Oceanside my son-in-law, Don, had told me Las Vegas had really nice bike routes and he offered to bring his extra bike along so he and I could explore the desert and surrounding area by bike.
While we were there, the weather turned out to be perfect for biking, a nice 18˚C, meaning no aching bones. After I arrived and walked down the strip the first time and saw all the traffic, I wondered how would I manage riding my bike in this melee of cars. Like Vancouver, Las Vegas has marked bikeways, but it was important that I let everyone know I was on the road, too, so when riding, I took a more dominant position on the road by staying closer to the middle rather than riding close to the curb and avoided being hidden behind cars.
I biked the Las Vegas Strip from South Outlet Stores to the North Outlet Stores and even further, more than once. By taking a more visible position on the road, closer to the middle, I never felt that I was a pushover or that I didn’t belong. And this carried over as I cycled through other parts of the city. One thing I did notice, however, was lots of bikers riding on the sidewalk, so when I had the chance, I asked a policeman. After introducing myself as Canadian, which always softens people up, I asked if it was ok in Las Vegas to bike on the sidewalk. With a smile he replied “No, but sometimes we have to look the other way. Stay alert on your bike and have a nice holiday”. I thanked the officer and wished him a good shift.
One of my main goals, while in Las Vegas was to ride toHoover Dam. So one day Don and I set out with our bikes. We got an early start while Marlies, my daughter and the grandkids planned to leave later in the day and meet us there with the car. Don and I started by biking along Flamingo Road to Boulder Highway after which we followed the bike trail all the way to the start of Historic Railroad Hiking Trail. Along the route we followed, the ditches used to catch the runoff water sometimes doubled as the bike trail. The biking along Flamingo Road and Boulder Highway was easy riding as the bike trail was about 8’-10’ wide.
As closer we came to Boulder City, though, the trail got steeper and steeper and I had to slow down or even push my bike up the hill. Don, however, just kept on going up the hill and then waited for me further along. In other words he got nice long breaks while mine were a bit shorter.
Historic Railroad Hiking trail Riding thru the dessert was really enjoyable. The temperature 16˚C, the bike path was paved, the sun was shining and I had no aching bones. For the last 10 km or so we traveled along a gravel road that was well packed but the last kilometer turned out to be a pretty steep downhill stretch. After that we were back on the highway and then we rolled into the Hoover Dam where Marlies was waiting for us, while my daughter, Tanya, and the grandkids were taking a tour of the inside of the dam. We had a good meal at the dam, planed our next trip to the the Red Rock Canyon and then we all drove home together by car and slept very well from all the accomplishments of the day.