I like this route, especially after a long day of work, and I don’t feel like climbing hills and punishing myself some more. It’s a great ride to just relax, unwind and enjoy the view of Red Rock Canyon and away from the bustling city. It’s a perfect route for those wanting to try road biking in a safer environment.
The road is two-way, and there are still many cars that drive by, but the bike lane on the shoulder is very wide and very clean and smooth if you feel like staying on the further right. The traffic, both cars and cyclists, is much busier on the weekends, especially in the morning. I always park at the Albertsons shopping center lot off W Charleston Blvd and Desert Foothills Dr. It is much safer to park there and easy access to the freeway when I want to head home. There is Dunkin Donuts if I want to grab a quick snack before the ride, and John Cutter if I want some burgers and beers after the ride. There is also a Pizza joint and Chinese food joint in the same shopping center area. Don’t forget to bring your debit card or some cash when you ride.
From the starting point (Albertsons) to the Overlook Parking is a gradual 700ft gain 7-mile climb. There are restrooms at the Overlook Parking, and also a multi-tool and floor pump stand for your bike just in case you need a quick repair. Then descend 5.5 miles to Blue Diamond. Make a right at Castalia St to get to the small town. Reward yourself with an iced cold drink or ice cream from the Village Market General Store. Or if you want to grab a bite and some beers, head over to Cottonwood Station next door. Head back the same way you came from; gradual 5.5-mile climb then finishes off with 7 miles downhill. All in all, it’s an excellent 2-hour 25-mile ride with 1,350 ft elevation gain.
-Randy Barcena PEARL iZUMi Crew
Riding has its rewards. Cheers.