“There’s the sense of freedom, of independence. You’re outdoors, getting low-impact exercise, with a little element of added speed. The human and machine together. It’s just the coolest thing all around, in my opinion.”
Evan Trubee’s got it right: There simply isn’t any hipper way to get a workout, soak up sun, and sightsee around the city streets and desert landscapes of Greater Palm Springs than by bicycling.
Trubee’s passion for peddling informs more than just his own life. It also defines the vibe at his company, Big Wheel Tours, which this year marked two decades in the Coachella Valley.
Stop by Big Wheel Tours’ recently opened Palm Springs space on South Palm Canyon Drive and you’re likely to be amazed at what the good old bicycle has become these days.
“They’re just — wow,” says Trubee. “Everything about them is enormously improved. The materials, the craftsmanship. They take you faster, farther, and so much smoother.”
Some of them even give a boost to your own leg-power: “e-assist” bicycles, introduced by Big Wheel Tours several months ago, are the latest advancement in two-wheeled tech. You have to peddle in order to draw on the extra juice — the machine’s still a bike, not a motor-scooter. But the supportive assist, according to Trubee, can do something more than just help a weary rider up a steep hill.
PHOTOGRAPH BY GETTY IMAGES
“In a mixed group, such as grandparents and grandkids,” he explains, “they can all now ride together — the e-assist feature evens everything out. The e-bikes are so much fun!”
Think you might like to rent and ride? Your first move should be to check out the Big Wheel Tours website. There you’ll find the basics on everything Trubee and his crew offer.
Here’s a preview:
If you’re keeping things simple and just want to rent a bike and venture off on your own, rates range from $12 an hour for a KHS TC100 comfort mountain bike or Benno Upright 7 street cruiser to $295 for a week with one of the elite electric bikes.
Big Wheel Tours offers a range of opportunities to see the sights through the eyes of an experienced crew of guides, all of whom display passionate and knowledgeable enthusiasm for everything that makes the desert environs unique. These guide-led options include an Indian Canyons Bike-and-Hike tour, as well as customized private rides. Itinerary and duration of these private tours are worked out by you and Big Wheel Tours. Trubee describes them as “totally open-ended rides. Basically, we go until the group has had enough.” Prices for, say, a four-to-six-hour guided mountain bike tour for your group range from $125 to $250 per person, depending on the group’s size. (So if you’re your group, expect to pay the extra.)
If you like the idea of a guided tour, but, really, enough with the peddling already, Big Wheel Tours offers tours by Jeep or SUV. The twice-a-day Joshua Tree National Park Jeep Adventure is the popular choice at $169 a head.
After you’ve scouted the website, make sure to call to announce your interest. This will give Trubee, or Palm Springs native Ali Snowden (she’s in charge of that Palm Springs location), the chance to start the process of matching rider with appropriate ride — “one size does not fit all,” is Snowden’s creed — and touring package. And just in case you decide to save all your energy for the cycling itself, Big Wheel Tours will even deliver your chosen machine right to your hotel or time-share.
PHOTOGRAPH BY GETTY IMAGES
Additionally, if your sense of adventure is balanced by a tendency to worry that if something can go wrong it will, know that Big Wheel Tours doesn’t leave you unsupported. In addition to the helmet, maps, and route advice, and the fix-a-flat gear that’s tucked in a pouch underneath your bike’s seat, the Big Wheel Tour phone number is your lifeline if you are out and about but can’t, for whatever reason, ride another inch.
Big Wheel Tours
1590 S. Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs
42160 State St., Palm Desert
Also offering rent-and-ride in the desert cities:
Funseekers/Palm Desert Bike & Moped
73-865 Highway 111
Old Town Peddler
51351 Avenida Bermudas, Suite 2
BIKE Palm Springs Rentals
195 S. Indian Canyon Drive
Pedego Palm Springs
62950 20th Ave.