Biking Through the Desert

With beautiful year-round sunny weather and a gently rolling desert landscape, those who love to bike can peddle their way through all nine communities of the Greater Palm Springs Oasis with ease.  Dozens of miles of bike paths—many off-street, some shared with joggers and golf carts—provide riders with a healthy way to exercise, sightsee, and lower their carbon footprint while running errands or visiting friends.

I don’t bike nearly as much as I’d like to, and have been known to use all kinds of excuses—like having to carry a laptop or fabric and wall samples, or just sheer laziness.  But when I do get to cycle, I love how it helps me control my weight, reduce the risks of disease (especially my heart), and maintain healthy bones, joints, and muscles.  Plus it just plain old feels good.

Biking in any urban setting means that some common sense rules have to be followed.  There’s a lot of craziness in this world, so we must remember to ride defensively, always with the traffic, and to obey all traffic signs and signals.  Of course, never go out without a helmet.  (They make such a wide range of colors and styles these days that you’re sure to find a chic one that matches your every outfit!)  It should go without saying, but paying attention to the weather is de rigueur.  Beware of cycling in the heat of the day, especially in the summer.  Carry water, wear sunscreen, and stop to rest in the shade if you get tired, lightheaded, or overheated.  www.cvcta.org

There are plenty of bike stores—including a very cool one in Rancho Mirage called Velo Bum Elite Cyclery  www.velobum.com—that sell and rent bikes.  If you happen to be in Palm Springs and looking for a retro activity, check out Bike Palm Springs, which rents very cool, midcentury modern-style Townie bikes and tandems.  www.bikepsrentals.com  And for those interested in group events, check out the Tour de Palm Springs, held in February of each year.  This well-attended Palm Springs Valley institution offers planned rides as short as a few blocks and as long as a tour of the cities of the valley.  Every biker is sure to be challenged!  www.tourdepalmsprings.com