You know that bike that is sitting in your garage with one low tire and a layer of dust on the seat? You should be riding it! I’m not saying you have to ditch your car and commute on two wheels every day. I’m not even implying that you need more exercise. I’m just talking about riding, for the enjoyment of pedaling, and to connect with some fantastic people.

Coeur d’Alene is a fairly healthy and active community. With two Ironman triathlons, the scenic North Idaho Centennial Trail, Silver Mountain’s extensive bike park, and a wealth of races and rides, there are plenty of opportunities to get out and pedal. For many of us who don’t compete in races or ride regularly, knowing where and how to start may be intimidating. And who enjoys riding alone all of the time? Community bike rides are a great place to get comfortable with your bike and meet people in the Lake City and surrounding areas.

Photo courtesy of Caleb Hiebert.

Photo courtesy of Caleb Hiebert.

Road Rides

Group road rides can range from “spirited” to “no-drop” and they’re typically monitored and hosted by long-time riders or trainers from local bike shops. Competitive rides are good for those training for a road race or looking to build endurance and skill. No-drop rides are designed to include all skill levels and promise to leave no rider behind, although road bikes are highly encouraged. These are perfect if you want to pedal with other riders and discover favorable routes around the area. Here are a few to choose from:

  • Saturday Morning Worlds at 8 a.m., hosted by Vertical Earth: Meet in the shop’s back parking lot. A challenging, established road ride at a spirited, competitive pace.
  • Tuesday Night No-Drop Road Rides at 5:30 p.m., hosted by Coeur d’Alene Bike Co.: Meet at the shop. Any level of rider can participate in the ride. No rider is left behind. Be prepared for beautiful scenery, friendly people, and good beer.

Mountain Bike Rides

Trail riding requires owning – or borrowing – a mountain bike and helmet. They aren’t for the timid, but they can be awfully fun. Although there are good trails on Coeur d’Alene Mountain, the most popular trails in the area are on Canfield Mountain. They offer a wide range of difficulty and are easily accessible from town, and groups from all the bike shops in Coeur d’Alene take to the trails every week.

  • Monday Night Group Trail Ride at 6:30 p.m., hosted by Two Wheeler Dealer: Meet at Nettleton Gulch parking lot. Relaxed pace.
  • Tuesday Night Rides at 6 p.m., hosted by Vertical Earth with Bicycle Sales & Service: Meet at the shop or at Nettleton Gulch parking lot at 6:30 p.m. Competitive pace.
  • Wednesday Night Bikes, Brews, and Burgers at 6 p.m., hosted by Coeur d’Alene Bike Co.: Meet at Nettleton Gulch parking lot. Relaxed pace. Followed by burgers and discounted pints at Slate Creek Brewing.
  • Thursday Night Rides at 6 p.m., hosted by Vertical Earth with Bicycle Sales & Service: Meet at the Nettleton Gulch parking lot at 6:30 p.m. Relaxed pace.
Photo courtesy of Caleb Hiebert.

Photo courtesy of Caleb Hiebert.

Just for the Love of It Rides

Some of us just aren’t into skidding down inclines or drafting a fellow road rider. We have cruisers or single speeds and like to hold conversations about the weather and crazy drivers while meandering down the street. There are rides for you – I mean us – too.

  • Lake City Flyers, “ride every so often” or monthly: Rides posted on Facebook page, often stop at breweries, ice cream shops, or other highly enjoyable food and drink establishments.
  • CDA Cruiser Ride, monthly rides: Rides posted on Facebook page, all bikes welcome, often stop at breweries, ice cream shops, or other highly enjoyable food and drink establishments.
  • Lake City Lunar Landers, monthly night rides every full moon: Rides posted on Facebook page, all bikes welcome, often stop at breweries and bars.
  • Socially Geared Coeur d’Alene Cycle Pub: No bike needed, perfect for pub crawling or a scenic bike tour, reservations required. Sociallygearedcda.com

Cycling Connects Communities

Regardless of your cycling preference, cycling connects communities. “Seeing more people riding motivates people,” says Alex Castagno from Coeur d’Alene Bike Co. “You see these groups of people and wonder, who are they, what are they doing, what’s the deal? It’s great to see cycling ramping up in the last few years in Coeur d’Alene.”

Jamie Lynn Morgan, who coordinates Lake City Flyers with her husband Tom, has her own take on group rides. “Bicycle riding helps connect people with their neighborhoods including the businesses within them. It gives people an opportunity to explore at a slower pace without the burden of having to find parking. We’re extremely fortunate to live in place that has so much to offer, and when we get out of our cars and onto our bikes, we can experience it in a whole new way.”

S. Michal Bennett is a freelance writer, poet, and blogger based in Coeur d’Alene. She wrote about U-pick farms in August. Read more of Michal’s writing at www.shortandtasty.blogspot.com.