For members of the Desert Bicycle Club, it’s all about the numbers.
More than 200 riders choose among 18 to 20, 45 to 50, or 55 to 60, but the numbers have nothing to do with age. They have to do with mileage. Hundreds of cyclists from the Greater Palm Springs area hit the road multiple times per week with mapped routes from the La Quinta Cove to Palm Springs bike trails.
Anyone from a beginner to an advanced cyclist can participate in multiple rides almost any day of the week.
Photo courtesy of Desert Bicycle Club
Cyclists can participate in a wide-range of rides from novice to more experienced treks.
From the 55-mile trek starting at the Palm Desert Civic Center on Saturday, to the weekday excursion of about 30 miles that starts on El Paseo, or other locations throughout Palm Desert, this group offers a full slate of rides for everyone.
San Francisco Bay Area native Rick Koscelnik joined the group when he moved to Palm Desert more than three years ago. He says guests are always welcome for a ride at any level.
“We have a beginner ride out of Palm Springs, but the big day is Saturday,” says Koscelnik, a club officer who rides several times per week. “Anyone interested can go to our website. Each ride explains skill level, distance, and speed, and that steers them toward a ride.”
“If you’re new to cycling, we don’t want you to feel intimidated because you know some of them are going pretty fast, so when we meet [most rides begin at Palm Desert Civic Center Park], Doug Winters, our president, talks about the rides, asks about guest riders and sometimes they start out with a small ride.”
Each ride is denoted by letter: C-level rides are geared to novice riders; B- and A-level rides are geared to more experienced cyclists averaging speeds of 20 to 22 mph and 23-25 mph, respectively. So participation isn’t about age, it’s about ability. People in their 30s ride alongside people in their 70s.
Photo courtesy of Allyson Koscelnik
Desert Bicycle Club members gather during a recent ride. The club hosts monthly socials.
Some of the advanced-level rides take groups up Highway 74 and the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Another begins in Old Town La Quinta, and travels about 50 miles at a speed of about 21 mph from Old Town to Palm Desert via Highway 111, up Portola Avenue to Mesa View Drive toward the Art Smith trailhead on Highway 74. The return travels through Rancho Mirage around Bob Hope Drive to Frank Sinatra Drive, winding back toward La Quinta for the finish.
The club enables healthful activity you can indulge for life, but also promotes friendship (monthly socials), and a sense of personal accomplishment.
The annual membership fee is $35 ($45 for family). Visit www.cycleclub.com for more information.
Koscelnik’s 4 Favorite Rides:
Tuesday Hill Circuit: This requires some advanced skills, but they are built by being with stronger riders here.
Thousand Palms: On Saturday, north of town get a good look at the valley at Washington Street, then ride to canyons down Dillon Road for another view of the valley.
Dead Presidents: This route along many streets named for past leaders is mostly flat and takes in La Quinta and the polo fields out past Trilogy and Lake Cahuilla.
Whitewater: You head northwest on Highway 111, then turn toward the fish hatchery near Mission Creek Preserve and Morongo Valley.
• Bring water, and a lot of it during the warmer months. Drink regularly.
• Dress in layers. Winter mornings are cool, but the day warms. In warm seasons, start early.
• Bring a map.
• Wear a helmet; it could save your life, or prevent serious injury. There are only two types of riders — those who have fallen, and those who will.
• Wear sunscreen.
• Bring a spare tube in case of tire puncture.
• Bring CO2 or a minipump
• Wear sunglasses.
— information courtesy of Desert Bicycle Club website
Patti Myers covers all sports from preps to pros and has been along the sidelines for more than 30 years, the first 20 in the middle of sports-crazed Boston. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org