The Coachella Valley attracts bicycle enthusiasts for myriad reasons: ideal weather, easy terrain, stellar sightseeing, green attitude, great exercise, cycle-centric events such as Tour de Palm Springs, and a growing network of bike paths.
According to Blair Morgan, co-owner of the local rental outlet Bike Palm Springs, the most obvious draw for cyclists is the flat landscape.
“It is an easy ride, for the most part, wherever you go,” he says. “There are a lot of trails and bike lanes, and the cities are becoming more bike-friendly every year.”
The bike paths that snake throughout Palm Springs and beyond, taking you through star-studded neighborhoods or along verdant golf courses and bucolic washes, make riding in the desert a pleasure. The City of Palm Springs provides a map of bike paths that features six self-guided city tours. Explore residential areas and meander among midcentury architecture. Or if you’re feeling a little more ambitious, you can pedal your way along well-marked paths through Mesquite Golf and Country Club and Tahquitz Creek Golf Resort.
Maps are available from Bike Palm Springs, which also offers a fun map of the stars’ homes. There are also several websites, such as www.bikely.com and www.mapmyride.com, that outline well-traveled paths developed by other cyclists.
For the truly adventurous, local mountains provide ample opportunities for mountain biking along rugged trails and fire roads. The Funseekers! website,and www.palmdesertbikerentals.com, is an excellent source for off-road biking information. But no matter which you choose, the best bike path is the one you’re on at the time, Morgan asserts diplomatically.
“They’re all beautiful,” he says. “My favorite is the Coachella Valley Bikeway [see map at left]. It takes you through the golf courses and gets you off the streets. It’s wonderful.”
Blair Morgan and partner Rocky Wood opened their bike rental business in the fall of 2009, inspired by their blossoming love of biking and the lack of easy rental opportunities in Palm Springs.
“A friend of ours gave us a bike he wasn’t using and we started riding around town. We loved it so much, we wanted other people to be able to enjoy riding like we did,” Morgan recalls. “We also felt an obligation, coming from a big city where everyone drives, to try to create a more green-friendly culture in Palm Springs. Not only is biking an eco-friendly activity, but it is good for your body as well.”
In the short time they’ve been in business, they’ve had all kinds of people rent their bikes, Morgan says: Exercise-crazy folks who run and then rent a bike for cardio cross-training, golfers who play a round in the morning and come in for an afternoon bike ride to further experience the desert and explore another avenue of fitness, and visitors who want to pedal leisurely around town and take in the sights missed by driving.
“Also, bicycles are blind,” Morgan says. “They don’t see age, race, fitness levels, or gender. Riding is something that everyone and anyone can do, no matter who you are. It is also a great activity to bring friends and families together and share in a common activity.”