Las Vegas is an interesting place, but the surrounding countryside is worth exploring. Yesterday, our group ventured about a half hour away from the Strip, out to the Nevada version of Red Rock Canyon — it seems like there’s one of those in just about every western state — for a bike tour with Allison and John, the fine folks at redEbike.
First, a word about the basics of the tour. Allison and John really make it easy. Allison picked us up at our hotel and drove us out to the Canyon, John gave us a careful but quick training session on the bikes, and on the tour itself Allison led our pack and John followed to make sure that we stayed together. As a result, there are no issues with getting lost or taking a wrong turn.
Second, you don’t need to be a cycling stud to do this tour. The redEbike tours use electric bikes, so you won’t need to be huffing and puffing up the inclines. The bikes have a quiet motor that is triggered by either moving the pedals or a thumb toggle switch on the handlebars, with four speed options. So long as you know how to ride a bike (and we all know that once you’ve mastered that skill, you never really forget it), you can operate the bikes and enjoy the ride. After a little training spin around the parking lot to get the hang of changing the speed setting, we were all ready to go. On the tour itself, I used the pedals rather than the thumb toggle in order to preserve a modicum of self-respect and feel like I’d gotten a decent amount of exercise.
Third, the tour itself is terrific. You follow a 16-mile track through Red Rock Canyon that takes about four hours. You very comfortably share a two-lane road with cars on what is predominantly a one-way loop, going up 1100 feet — that’s where those nifty motors come in handy — and then down again. The 16 miles are divided into bite-sized, three or four mile chunks with stops that allow you to goggle at the surroundings, walk around, and even get a miniature nature tour about how you can use the plants to survive a zombie apocalypse. (There are bathrooms at several of the stops, too.)
The scenery is absolutely stunning. The first stop is a red rock expanse that is used by hikers and rock climbers, pictured above, to show you conclusively that you aren’t in the Midwest anymore, and the rest of the scenery is equally striking. Add in the fresh air, the desert plant life, the feel of sunshine on your back and the wind in your hair, and a few S curves and occasional straightaways where you can let the bike do its thing, and you’ve got a great alternative to neon, smoky casinos, and huge crowds.
Is there any downside to this great little excursion? Well, you must don a bicycle helmet and simply accept that, for the entire ride, you’ll look like a hopeless nerd — because that’s what bicycle helmets are designed to do.
Thanks to Allison, John, and redEbike for a wonderful, truly memorable experience for our group. If you are out in Vegas and looking for for a break from the norm, I give it five stars. You can learn more about the redEbike electric bike tours here.