I love this time of year. Soon there will be a turkey on the table surrounded with sweet potatoes layered with those tiny marshmallows browned to perfection; mashed potatoes whipped, but not so much as to remove all the chunks of potato; gravy made from turkey drippings; and, as is tradition in our house, an Italian dish—usually apple sausage and butternut squash pasta. This year my brother and sisters will be joining us for dinner—the first time that has happened in too many years. It will be nice to see them for such a joyous occasion and I can’t wait.
About the time we get the plates cleaned and leftovers made, my wife will be ready to decorate the house for the merriest of all holidays. The village will come out, wreaths will be placed, mistletoe will be positioned in just the right spot, and stockings will be hung by the chimney, as one would expect, with care. This year I even expect to light up the house on the outside (I have to make an attempt, feeble as it may be, to keep up with my neighbor).
With all of this hustle and bustle, it’s easy to neglect my trusty steed waiting patiently in the garage to be let loose on the trails. This is the time of year where there is so much going on that it’s easy to make a case for being just too busy to ride. But fear not, when the turkey settles in and all you want to do is sleep, there is something you can do to make sure you get out and ride—join a group. There are several bicycle groups around the valley and which one to join depends on which side of the valley you live on, where you like to ride, and what type of riding you do.
Joining a group is great for several reasons. First, you get to meet new people that all have at least one thing in common, and who knows what else you might find you both enjoy. New friends are always fun and new friends who like to ride are even more fun. Second, you get to learn trails that you didn’t know before. If you’re not one who likes to explore new trails all by your lonesome, then group riding is definitely for you. Third, and probably most important, once you’ve committed to a group ride, you’re more likely to go on that ride than you would if you were just riding by yourself. Think about it, when it’s just you, that justification comes so easily. “Oh, I’m too busy,” or “Oh, it’s so early, I’ll go a little bit later in the day,” then later in the day never comes. But, when people are waiting for you, when you’ve made a commitment to other people to ride, you are less likely to make an excuse and more likely to actually ride. To help you out, I’ve listed some of the groups that ride in the valley, as well as some of the best websites that will connect you with a group.
Biking Las Vegas: Cycling forum where you can find information and maps of trails in and around Las Vegas. There is also a calendar of events including bike rides of the local clubs and bike shops; bikinglasvegas.com
Green Valley Cyclists: Road bike riding club based in Henderson but includes Las Vegas www.greenvalleycyclists.org
Las Vegas Valley Bicycle Club: Road bike riding club based in Las Vegas www.lasvegasbikeclub.org
Mountain Bike Las Vegas: Mountain bike riding club; www.meetup.com
Southern Nevada Mountain Bike Association: Mountain bike group rides in and around Las Vegas; www.snmba.net
Green Valley Ridez: Not an official riding club, but a good source for riding with a group http://gvridez.com/
Paul W. Papa is a bike enthusiast and the author of Best Bike Rides Las Vegas and Mountain Biking Las Vegas and Southern Nevada.
When not out on the trails, he can be found at www.paulwpapa.com.