STATELINE, Nev. (AP) — The founder of the Lake Tahoe Bicycle Coalition has launched a new online bike guide — complete with maps, trail ratings, photos and descriptions of the routes around and above the alpine lake —that will be used in future efforts to promote tourism in the region.
Ty Polastri, who owns a public relations company and works as a ski instructor, said fall is one of the best times to ride in the Sierra because of cooler temperatures, less-crowded trails and brilliant autumn colors.
But for those new to the area or new to biking, finding the right trail can be a daunting proposition.
“If you don’t get hooked up with a local, you’re lost,” Polastri told the Tahoe Daily Tribune (http://tinyurl.com/nlbn89a).
That was the impetus for the new site, www.biketahoe.org, which went live earlier this month with joint funding from the Nevada Commission on Tourism, El Dorado County Cultural and Community Development and the City of South Lake Tahoe, California.
It includes about 70 of the area’s most popular rides divided into categories based both on the rider’s ability and type of bicycle.
“It’s like hooking up with your own bike concierge,” Polastri said. “It helps get a sense of what Tahoe’s about.”
For riders fearing their local secret favorites might now be public domain, fear not. He said some trails were intentionally left off the list, including a few for more-advanced experts as well as lesser-known routes.
Polastri’s original idea was to create a bike trail guide book, but the concept grew into a fully interactive, GPS-enabled guide. It’s the first step in a three-phase plan to continue to develop the site. Organizers are working on video guides and a mobile app they hope to add next year.
The plan is to make it a key part of a future marketing campaign promoting bike tourism in the Tahoe Basin, said Polastri, who owns ENTERSPORT, a lifestyle marketing and public relations company founded in 1984 in Marin County, California. He was a ski coach at Heavenly Mountain Resort at South Lake Tahoe from 2005-11, and currently supervises the resort’s Gondola Ski School.
“We’re blessed that our land managers are pro-bike,” Polastri said, stressing the value of biking as an economic resource for the future of the area. “We have way much more to offer, and we’re continuing to build.”
“I’d say this is an undiscovered Mecca,” he said. “We need to let people know about this.”