by Jeff Moser
On July 14th, I had the opportunity to guide a cycling photo shoot of Lake Tahoe for German magazine, RoadBike. They were doing a story on Lake Tahoe as a bicycle travel destination. When the Nevada Commission on Tourism presented me with the idea of being their tour guide, I hesitated for a moment. Although I love road bikes, I have more experience mountain biking. Then I thought to myself, I’ve led many friends up into the surrounding mountains, I like to take photos, and I’ve lived in the area my whole life, so why not me?
I arrived at the Mont Bleu Hotel Casino at Stateline, where I met up with magazine writer Felix Krakow and freelance photographer Björn Hänssler. Thankfully they were distracted by one of the many large bike sculptures erected for the Lake Tahoe Tour of California stage. As Felix was climbing up onto the giant bike for some silly photos, the nervousness melted away, and I knew it was going to be a fun day.
The east side of the Lake was still mostly in the morning shadows, so we loaded up the van, and headed around the south side of the lake to Emerald Bay. We didn’t ride from place to place, but we did get a fair amount of riding in at each location. We spent a lot of time riding uphill and bombing down the corners around Emerald Bay, each time Björn having us try something different.
After getting great shots at Emerald Bay, we drove north to the area around Kaspian Campground, just south of Tahoe City. The road and bike path come very close to the road here, and in the case of the bike path, just inches. Before hitting the bike path, we spent some time on a private dock. Björn wanted some shots of Felix and me relaxing and taking a break from our grueling trek around the lake, including soaking our tired bare feet in the water.
Next we got several shots on the bike path where it brushes the shore of the lake. Björn had Felix and me race up the path, and each time we were supposed to get closer together and further to the right. I was sure we were going to lock bars and go flying over the rock embankment, but we finally got it right!
It was approaching noon, and it was time to take a break. We were starving, but more importantly, the light wasn’t ideal for photography. We drove through Tahoe City, and Felix finally picked Rosie’s Cafe. His bike senses must have been tingling, because inside we found the restaurant decorated with all sorts of old bikes! At Rosie’s, Björn wanted to get photos of us enjoying some Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and eating large portions of American fare.
Björn and Felix were interested in visiting the Ponderosa Ranch, the movie set from the old TV series Bonanza. This surprised me, because the show officially ended in 1973, and the ranch has been closed as a tourist destination for so long that I almost forgot about it. We hiked down to the entrance, but were stopped when we got to the end of the parking lot. Cameras, double rows of fencing, and spiked gates surrounded the mock town. Whatever is left in there, they don’t want you looking at it.
We finished off our photo shoot with some pictures at Cave Rock. Thankfully Björn did not insistent Felix and I ride the tunnels. Instead we rode on the south side of the massive rock, using it as a backdrop. We finally loaded the van one last time and returned to the Mont Bleu where we parted ways.
In the end, I think we captured some great photos for the magazine that will really show off our beautiful area and encourage international cycling tourism. It was nice to meet Björn and Felix, and it’s my hope they come out again for some more riding. Maybe even a mountain bike tour of Lake Tahoe!