Top Tips for Road Cycling In and Around Mammoth Lakes
Cycling enthusiasts from all over the world are drawn to the beauty and near-perfect weather of the Eastern Sierra. Whether you’re looking for flat roads or steep hills, the area has something for all levels of cyclists, from beginner to pro. The high altitude is also a benefit. Athletes get a great aerobic advantage from training at these heights. The scenery doesn’t hurt either. “When you’re out there training, trying to get fit, and maybe suffering a bit, it helps to look up and just realize where you are,” says Eastside Velo President John Armstrong of the majestic mountain views.
Here are some top tips from Eastside Velo for cycling in one of the most stunning regions in the world.
Best spots for road cycling – beginner to expert
BEGINNER: Benton Crossing Road
Park your car at the Green Church or Whitmore Ball Park near the airport and being your ride from here. This is a nice, easy ride that starts with approximately 20 miles of flat roads through the high desert steppe before you get into some hills. It’s a quiet road in terms of traffic and Mono County has maintained it extremely well. This ride offers beautiful panoramic views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the White Mountains.
MODERATE: Mammoth Lakes Basin
Start in the town of Mammoth Lakes and go up the Lake Mary Bike Path. It’s a bit of a climb getting up into the Mammoth Lakes Basin, so just take it easy. Spin and take your time. Once you’re up in the basin, you can tour six alpine lakes surrounded by mountains along a couple of loops in the area. Then, when you’re ready to go back into town, experience a nice long, pleasant downhill ride back.
ADVANCED: Minaret Vista to Reds Meadow
This 2.5 to 3 hour ride fromMinaret Vista to Reds Meadow features 4,000 vertical feet of steep climbing. If you’re looking for a real workout, this is the ride for you.
Tips for all cyclists in Mammoth
- Be sure to acclimate. For personal safety, make sure you take the time to acclimate to the altitude. Start out on a flat ride. A great, easy ride is the bike path that winds around town. Limit your first ride to about 45 minutes and not much more.
- Hydrate thoroughly. This area is know for low humidity and high altitude, which requires vigilance when it comes to staying hydrated. Fill up your water bottles and sip away. As a rule of thumb, drink one water bottle per hour. It’s important to follow this rule. If you forget to start hydrating in the beginning of your ride, you can’t catch back up. You need to drink water even when it’s cold or cool in the morning.
- Wear the right clothes and gear. Wear a helmet and bright-colored clothing. A flashing light on the back of your bike is another great way to stay visible.
- Be predictable. Ride as far to the right as practical and safe for you. Avoid swerving and weaving. When riding with friends, please ride single file, respecting the traffic.
- Obey traffic rules. This includes stopping at stop signs and lights and signaling your turns and stopping. While traffic is generally friendly toward cyclists in Mammoth Lakes, make sure you’re playing your part, too.
Connect with other cyclists
Mammoth Lakes has an open and welcoming cyclist community. Feel free to reach out to Eastside Velo and connect with locals and other visiting cyclists on a friendly ride. Local bike shops also offer rides for all levels.
Don’t miss the High Sierra Fall Century and Gran Fondo. This 100 mile bike ride will challenge you as you winds through some of the most epic scenery in the Eastern Sierra. You’ll find food and hydration stations every 20 miles and a supportive community with lots of people to meet.