Cycling in the Reno area

I am considering moving to the Reno area and would like to hear from people that live there about options for both road and Mt Biking. At this point my main interest is in medium to fast group rides as well as interesting longer road routes. Probably no more racing for me at least not in the near future. Just looking at a map I am not seeing much without including some busy roads or riding through neighborhoods.

I am coming from the SF Bay Area and in particular ride the San Mateo Peninsula and around the Coast. We have a lot of rural rides with significant climbing options. Although cars are always around, it is possible plan routes that mostly traverse fairly quiet roads. I would like to find out about whether similar options exist close to Reno.

I have just started to pickup Mt Biking again so local trail ride options are of interest as well. I know Tahoe is not far but it would be nice to jump on my Mt Bike for a quick afternoon ride without having to involve a long car ride.

Any info or opinions on the available riding or actually just living in Reno would be welcome. Thanks!

Crickets…Crickets…Crickets…Crickets…Crickets…Crickets…Crickets…

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Hey @pmckenna,

Glad you’re thinking about moving to Reno!

I can give you a bit of insight on the riding around here. I’m mostly a mountain bike rider, but I have an idea of the major road loops as well.

Road:

  • Verdi Loop: This loop is relatively flat, 30ish miles but has some extensions you can do by riding around in the neighborhoods. If you have a gravel bike, you can extend this ride almost infinitely because gravel roads start in Verdi and branch off towards Truckee and off towards much smaller towns in the Sierras as well.
    • There is a “race ride” every day Saturday during the summer with some really fast riders. Starts near midtown and goes out to Verdi and back, with a couple of extra loops for good measure.
  • Red Rock Road: Out North of Reno there is a road called Red Rock Road that is rolling terrain with little traffic. Typically it is an out and back, but if you have a gravel bike, you can link it up into one big loop around Stead/Lemmon Valley. That’s my favorite way to ride it.
  • Geiger Grade: This is a very steady hill in South Reno that is great for Time Trial efforts and is a pretty serious climb. You can keep going down that road through Virginia City, and then onto Carson City and back to Reno for a 60-70 mile ride.
  • Wheelmen Races: There is a weekly race series put on by the Reno Wheelmen (and sponsored by TrainerRoad). Depending on the week, there will be a Criterium at Aircenter, a road race at Boca, a TT at Franktown, or a Hill Climb on Geiger. Check out their site for more details.
  • Mount Rose Highway: I don’t typically ride up this way due to the small shoulders and semi-regular traffic, but if you get out there in the early morning in the summer it’s not quite so bad.

Other than these main loops, there is not a ton of Road Riding. I grew up in Califonia and there is a lot more variety of options due to the level of development of suburbs and city roads in the area. Reno definitely has less road riding than I did growing up in the Roseville/Folsom/Auburn area.

Mountain Biking:
There is a LOT of good mountain biking in Reno.

  • Peavine: Northern Reno trail network. High desert riding with some XC stuff and some more technical stuff too.
  • Galena Creek: This trail network is in South Reno and has good loops like Dry Pond.
  • Truckee/North Lake: Lot of trails in the Truckee/North Lake area, and only 20-40 minutes from Reno

I recommend downloading the TrailForks app for your phone. It’s an app that shows you all the legal trails in a certain area so that you can plan out your ride and learn about the types of trails you’ll encounter.

I hope this helps!

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Thanks for the info Bryce! I think you confirmed my initial impressions about the road riding options. A bit of a disappointment given all the options I have now but then again my house payment is going to be cut in half!

I will look more into the mountain biking options you have suggested. I am coming back to that after a long hiatus anyway. Getting tired of bike/car conflicts….

Thanks!

Paul

Get a gravel bike and your options for amazing paved/gravel/single track mashups goes up 10,000%.

Easy to avoid cars. Stick in the earbuds and listen to a book or music. Things you can’t do on the busy road.

If you buy a home in a smart location it means you eliminate the need to pack up, drive, unload, ride, pack up, drive, unload for most of your weekends or evenings. So much nicer to just jump on the bike and go. If you can make it happen buying in the right location will easily double the amount of riding you get in.

All that time mountain bikers spend loading/unloading and driving to-and-fro is reclaimed as time-in-saddle. Why not just ride to the ride?

I’ve been riding here in Reno-Tahoe for 31 years. Avid mountain biker. Grew up in Crested Butte so didn’t know any different. Got into road cycling via friends once I moved here but it never really clicked with me. Hated cars. So mostly stuck to MTB.

In 2006 I bought a Specialized Tri-cross bike that could take a 40mm tire for commuting. Wanted something I could cut across some dirt roads and trail and shave 15 minutes off my commute.

Shortly thereafter, my mountain bike, a brand new Yeti 575 at the time, blew up and I didn’t want to miss a group mountain bike ride with friends on the Flume Trail.

So I took my cross bike and discovered I was just as fast. Much faster on the climb. Only marginally slower on the descents. My mind was blown. And I never looked back. My Yeti just gathered dust.

There’s only like 4 trails I wouldn’t want to (or couldn’t) ride my cross/gravel bike on in Tahoe. Asides from that, it’s the one-bike quiver.

I have 3 wheelsets now. 32mm GP5000 TL for mostly paved, light gravel. 40mm for mostly gravel and single track. And just picked up a 650b 47mm for low-pressure muddy back country gnar.

My carbon gravel bike + 3 modest wheelsets cost less than what some here will blow on one nice road or MTB setup.

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Hello, I know this post is a year old but I just jumped on. My husband and I are thinking of relocating to Reno from the Bay Area. One of the previous post from someone named hypoxic, stated if you lived in the “smart location” you could eliminate the need to pack up your bike. Right now we just roll out our driveway when we want to ride and we are looking for a neighborhood in the Reno area where we can do the same! Can you suggest various neighborhoods? We are mostly road riders but also mountain bike, which I hear is pretty good in this neck of the woods.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Denise

Denise,
I’m not hypoxic but have been in the Reno/Tahoe area for 20+ years and grew up in the Bay Area.

I prefer the Southwest neighborhoods (zip codes 89509 & 89519) which has good character and is close to just about everything. One of the more desirable neighborhoods is Newlands Manor. I almost never put my road bike in the car and ride throughout the entire Truckee Meadows (think Reno/Sparks) and cover all of the areas mentioned by others. My mountain bike goes in the car during the summer for Galena, Tahoe, Downieville etc. otherwise I ride to Peavine from my door.
The Northwest (89523) will also get you close to many trails and good roads but has more hills. Most of the homes are newer and there is a range of prices and communities, depending on what you’re looking for. It also can be windy but the entire Eastern Sierra is windy, especially in the afternoon.
Galena (89511), is further from downtown but closer to Tahoe and Mount Rose ski resort (as in 20 minutes to the parking lot). It’s also close to Galena (aka Dry Pond) for mountain biking and Geiger, Pleasant Valley and Damonte Ranch for road biking.
Damonte Ranch (89521) is a large, newer development and I believe it is also where the TR offices are. Not my first choice but could be OK.
There are plenty of other neighborhoods but those are just a couple off the top of my head. I would avoid the North Valleys, Spanish Springs and most of Sparks unless you like urban sprawl. There are nice homes in those areas and there are definitely nice pockets but, again, not my preference.

I was raised in South Reno (graduated from Galena High School 4 years ago) and firmly believe that the riding in Reno and the surrounding area (Markleeville, a bit over an hour south has some of the best climbing in the world) is some of the best in the country. As far as neighborhoods go, anything on the south west end of town will be great for riding straight from your door. My area codes were 89511 and 89521, but there are tons of new homes and apartments being built all over that would serve you well!

Be careful of the Reno sheriff’s department. They are a rowdy bunch.

Thank you so much! This gives a great place to start my search. Maybe we will see you out on the road sometime soon!

Take care,
Denise

Thank you so much! I was leaning more towards the southwest side of town so this is good to know.

Take care,
Denise

Hi Hypoxic,

I know you wrote this post over a year ago but I wanted to follow up on it. You mentioned in your reply “smart locations” for riding. Would you care to share where these “smart locations” for riding are? My husband and I are planning on moving to Reno in the near future and are trying to decide what neighborhood to land in that will maximize our riding without having to put our bikes in the car.

Thx!
Denise

Denise, you might want to follow Jonathan/Pete on Strava as they have been doing outside workouts.

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Thank you!

southwest for sure. i am in the 89521 area code here. If you can afford it, anything off mt rose highway area is great too.

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