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Circling The World On Two Wheels

July 29, 2013

Las Vegas has hosted the Interbike bicycle trade show for years, and every year thousands of cyclists descent on the city - some even bring bikes. For the first time in five years this year I decided to bring one with me so I didn't have to take cabs everywhere. I figure most years I spend somewhere near $200 getting around - it's $25 from the airport, $20 from any hotel to any other hotel on the strip, $30 to get to dinner the way the cabs go back and forth. So even though I was only staying a mile and a half from the convention center I made a point to ride as much as possible.

My first reaction to riding is Vegas was just how car centric the city is and how build around limo and taxi traffic. Even out on the east side in Henderson where I stayed the first two nights there were sections of roads without even sidewalks. Getting to the grocery store my first day in Vegas involved a 2 mile ride on a road aptly named Boulder Highway - even though it was only about a half mile from a real highway. Riding up the sidewalkless road I got stares as if I were riding a camel. Once I arrived at the grocery store the lack of any safe bike parking made the experience complete. I figured maybe it was just the store - so I rode all around the mini-mall looking for anything to lock my bike to. Nothing. No racks, no railing, nothing. So I guess that isn't exactly surprising given that the road leading to this shopping center (ok almost ALL shopping centers in Vegas) was four lanes wide.

None of the options offered any level of safety that would make cyclists feel good about riding and none of them are a real viable cycling solution. I realize that cyclists who ride into and out of the Strip or Downtown Vegas are definitely few and far between… but it's crazy to see just how car centric the city really is.I'm a pretty confident rider and riding The Strip at night was one of the craziest 2 miles of riding I've ever been on. Fun - yes. Dangerous - for sure. Unrideable - not quite.

Ironically this week was also when Andy Clarke from the League of American Bicyclists gave 11 new and 14 renewing Bicycle Friendly Communities awards.But out in Henderson some awesome separated bike lanes and paths are being build - so there are examples the city can look to.

I guess the one benefit of seeing this starting point is that future of cycling in Vegas can only get better… man it's definitely starting from the bottom. look forward to returning next year - I'll stay a bit away from the convention center again; and I'll bring my bike with me again. Hopefully there are small improvements I can report back.On the plus side Interbike always brings out some unique cycling with it… here's a couple videos from Cross Vegas and from the Circulus Race between J-Pow and TJ.

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