I Want to Ride My Bicycle

Bike paths are your road to adventure up and down the Wood River Valley

Bike paths are your road to adventure up and down the Wood River Valley

While Sun Valley is rightfully famous worldwide for its winter recreation, the Wood River Valley is also biking Nirvana. From the 32 miles of converted Rails-to-Trails that stretch from the south valley way past Ketchum, to the hundreds of miles of continuous singletrack, to endless scenic road bike rides and downhill on Baldy, everyone here, from fat tire to skinny tire enthusiasts, loves to bike.

This passion for peddling was in evidence last weekend when temperatures soared into the 80s, trees flashed fresh greenery and everyone was out enjoying spring. Up and down the bike path that hugs the tranquil Big Wood River, bicycle riders were out in force. Seen on one small stretch of rolling, paved path between the mid-Valley and Sun Valley: tandem bikes, toddler trailers, training wheels, skinny wheels, matching Lycra and Cruisers.

Your bike awaits at Pete Lane's in Sun Valley

Your bike awaits at Pete Lane's in Sun Valley

In-town mountain bike trails are quickly drying out, offering great early season riding. And mountain biking is almost an obsession around here. The area has been dubbed ‘Mountain Bike Heaven’ for good reason. To celebrate everything our mountain town has to offer, the Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival rolls in for the third year from June 29 to July 7. This comprehensive event features everything from Enduro downhill courses to bike demos; from Pump Park parties to the Ketchum Criterium and, of course, the USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships. There is an event for every ability and age group.

Local legend, mountain bike endurance athlete Rebecca Rusch, is also hosting an event this summer. The sixth stop of the 2013 Gold Rusch Tour will feature Rebecca’s Private Idaho, a gravel Gran Fondo style event to be held August 31 to September 1. This promises to be a lung-busting, Wild West ride covering 100 miles.

One young enthusiast shows how it's done in Ketchum's Pump Park

One young enthusiast shows how it's done in Ketchum's Pump Park

For a different perspective from behind the handlebars, both Hailey and Ketchum have free Pump Tracks open to the public. These popular amenities let riders work on biking skills (from absolute beginner to advanced) and have a great time utilizing features on the dirt track like rollers and berms to ride with or without pedaling by pumping for momentum on track contours.

Storied Bald Mountain converts from ski Mecca to biking (and hiking) Mecca in the summer months. Shaded and wooded trails wend up the mountain, often through fields of wildflowers. Needless to say, the views are spectacular. Downhill is also wildly popular. Many choose to let the lifts carry them, and their bikes, to the summit before enjoying an adrenalin-saturated ride to the base. No matter if you’re going up, or coming down, be sure to take some time at 9,150 feet to soak up the 360-degree vista. It will make your heart race, too.

Trails on Baldy often go through fields of wildflowers

Trails on Baldy often wend through fields of wildflowers

When you’re ready to get going, be sure to stop by both locations of the retailer Pete Lane’s to gear up for a great ride. The Village outpost is already fully stocked with bikes of every size and purpose, available to rent. With more than 300 bikes from which to choose, as well as helmets, clothing and hydration systems, you will be equipped and on your way to a local trail in no time. At the end of June, Pete Lane’s at the base of River Run will open, offering full suspension and downhill bikes, eradicating all excuses not to give biking Baldy a try.

The Wood River Valley is a two-wheeling kind of town. It’s not a Sun Valley summer (or spring or fall for that matter) without seeing our spectacular scenery from a bike saddle.


Idyllic doesn't begin to describe peddling around, Sun Valley style

Idyllic doesn't begin to describe peddling around, Sun Valley style

Wine, wheels and history

Mr. & Mrs. Sun join Elissa on last week's Wheels & Wine Tour.

On my first trip back to London after moving out to Idaho, I took my husband on a bus tour. How silly, I thought to myself, being a  tourist in my own hometown. But that tour showed me a side of my city I had never seen before. It opened my eyes to just what an exceptional place I had grown up in. In a similar fashion, the Wheels & Wine Tour on offer at Sun Valley is a real eye-opener. Just as the bus tour was for my husband, this bike tour is a great orientation for any new visitor to Sun Valley, but it is also a perfect peek into the history and wide-variety of activities on offer here at the resort for anyone with an interest. So, whether you’re a longtime local, a Sun Valley sophomore or a first-time flyer, the Wheels & Wine Tour is a great pit-stop during your time in Sun Valley.

Don't worry, the wine comes after the bike ride!

Last Thursday, Mr. Sun and I ditched the little ones to head out on the tour and get a taste of Sun Valley history, as well as a decent look at a few bottles of Northwest wines (this was in fact the motivating factor for our outing, and an ideal carrot to dangle in front of any reluctant party.)

First off, a disclaimer, this is not a strenuous bike ride, no headers down Baldy here, it is all flat, gentle riding around the resort and along some of the paved bike path to take in the outer-lying reaches of Sun Valley.

The tour began in front of Pete Lane’s Mountain Sports in the Sun Valley Village with an introduction from Mark Blaubach, who was to be our guide. Mark developed the tour, which is in its second season. An impressive figure, Mark was clearly built for serious bike riding, so it’s a little comical to see him puttering gently around the resort on a town bike stocked with wine bottles and a checkered picnic basket.

Mark and his wife, Faye, who also works at Pete Lanes, found Sun Valley a few years ago, after they had quit their high-powered executive jobs and sold everything to travel around the country in an RV. They happened upon the Wood River Valley and quickly figured out a way to stay here all summer long.

Mark Blaubach gives a great tour on wheels.

Once assembled, our little group – Mr. Sun and myself, plus the delightful Elissa from California – then proceeded to the first stop on the tour, The Sun Valley Lodge.

I won’t go into all the history and anecdotes Mark shares on the hour-and-a-half trip, you’ll have to get out and experience it for yourself. Being something of a connoisseur of Sun Valley’s history (I’ve written a few articles on it, including this one on the building of the resort and this one on Count Felix Shaffgotsch, who discovered Sun Valley), I was familiar with most of his stories, but the revelation that the famous Sun Valley Lodge swans share their home with The Pioneer Piranhas was news to me. Apparently, the pond is chock full of what Mark describes as “the most obese rainbow trout in the world,” courtesy of their high-carb diet, which consists of copious amounts of leftover bread from The Konditorei Cafe. Mark demonstrated how they will eat straight out of your hand (the fish that is – don’t try this with the swans!). Lots of fun for the little ones.

Mr. Sun enjoying the leisurely wheels part of the tour

The tour also takes in the Opera House, Inn, ice rink, pavilion, White Clouds trails, club house, Trail Creek Cabin, gun club, Hemingway memorial, the world’s first chairlift and of course, Bald Mountain. At each stop Mark offers up tidbits of history as well as highlighting the different activities at the resort, a handy thing as, honestly, despite living here for 9 years I only discovered the Olympic pool and tennis courts this summer!

Following the obligatory snapshot in front of (a smoke-obscured) Baldy Mountain, which Mark dutifully posted to Pete Lanes’ Facebook page, we headed in to the Lodge’s Duchin Room to meet Paul Johnson, the resort’s assistant beverage director. Here we were greeted with a generous tasting of five Northwest wines from the resort’s cellars, accompanied by detailed tasting notes courtesy of the very knowledgable Paul.

All in all, a lovely afternoon’s activity.

Happy trails!

Mrs. Sun

Details: The tour is $29, including bike rental, and wine tasting. Head over the Pete Lanes’ Facebook page for pictures of previous tour groups. Wheels and Wine runs every Thursday at 4 p.m., throughout the summer, ending Labor Day. If you fancy something a little more low-key, the resort also offers a free hour-long, guided hike, leaving from Pete Lane’s every Friday at 10 a.m. This covers similar topics, such as local history and activities and places to go during your stay. Call 208.622.2279 or email rent@sunvalley.com for more details.



Cervélo’s éRide Demo Program is Coming to Sun Valley Resort!



Cervlo’s Ride Demo Program is Coming to Sun Valley Resort!

Pete Lane’s Bike Shop, July 23rd and 24th!

Free swag, snacks, and refreshments!

Have you ever dreamed of riding a pro-level road bike? Well, Cervlo’s  Ride is coming to Pete Lane’s Bike Shop in Sun Valley!

Ride provides the opportunity to ride the same racing bikes ridden by the Garmin-Cervlo team to stage wins and the yellow jersey in the Tour De France… and the same bike that won the 2011 Paris-Roubaix!

Ride fleet consists of:

The re-engineered 2011 R3
The Plush RS

Individual Test Rides:

Saturday July, 23 from 9am-5pm

Sunday July, 24 from 12pm-5pm

Cervlo Squadron:

Group ride Sunday, July 24th

Arrive no later than 9am, ride leaves at 9:30.

You Must RSVP your size by:

Clicking "eRide" at Cervlo.com

Emailing rent@sunvalley.com

Calling Pete lane’s at 208.622.2279

Already a proud Cervlo owner and want to tag along? Hop on your Cervlo and join the fun! No need to register, just show up.

Ride allows any cyclist to test ride the same bikes used by Team Garmin-Cervlo in a safe and fun environment.

This year’s Ride fleet will consist of our completely re-engineered 2011 R3 model. The original R3 set the standard for lightweight yet stiff, strong and comfortable frames and the latest iteration features BBright, which nearly doubles the frame’s already impressive bottom bracket stiffness.

There is no charge for Ride events. Participants should bring their own pedals, shoes and helmet, and will need to sign a release waiver and provide a photo ID & credit card.