THE California Alps comprise the chunk of the Sierra Nevada from Mammoth to So. Lake Tahoe, at least that’s what I remember reading early on in our “tenure” here in Markleeville. However, in my Google search just today I found instead at least two (2) articles that pinpoint it more specifically to our headquarters here in Alpine County.
ELIZABETH Zach, of Sacramento Magazine wrote this in March of 2018:
But the so-called California Alps, which border stunning Hope Valley south of Lake Tahoe, are just as stupendous, and you won’t break the bank getting there, either. With just two people per square mile, and with 96 percent of the land set aside for public use, Alpine County has bragging rights to secluded lakes, killer peaks, grassy valleys and hiking amid steep canyons and through lush forests.
THAT’S definitely true, that “secluded lakes, killer peaks, etc.” part. What Ms. Zach neglects to mention though, is the world-class riding to be had amidst these dramatic settings.
That’s me next to one of those secluded lakes (Kinney Reservoir) which was still frozen over, as you can see, in the spring of 2020.
ALPINE County earned its moniker, per Wikipedia, “due to its resemblance to the Swiss Alps.” Let’s keep in mind though, that the Washoe People were here thousands of years before white settlers did that naming.
WHILE “Cycling” is our last name, we’re not just about road cycling. We’re about anything bike related, and as you may have noticed from of our previous posts, we’re also about hiking, birding, snowshoeing and more.
FOR the purposes of this post then I’ll focus primarly on our stomping grounds in and around Markleeville, yet in my mind the following suggestions translate well to other communities, other non-profits (and “profits” if you will) and other sports, too.
Numero Uno – Advocate and Represent
BE a part of the community. Represent bike riders and bike riding. Respect nature and your neighbors. Our mission speaks to our mission yet if I may be so bold, these principles apply worldwide.
- Spread the gospel of cycling (all types of cycling).
- Advocate for cycling and the outdoors.
- Help the communities in which we live, work and ride.
- Kick ass on the bike. Let me clarify…I’m talking riding with passion while honoring the sport of cycling, not riding like a knucklehead, breaking the law or being an aggressive a’hole.
- Have fun off the bike. Yeah, have fun on the bike, too.
- Provide helpful, timely and valuable information about where to ride, eat, sleep and adventure.
- Be kind, compassionate and environmentally friendly. ALWAYS.
Numero Dos – Support Local/Area Infrastructure
SPEND your money at local establishments (that ol’ shop local) when you’re in the area. Stop by that general store – sadly, ours is still closed due to repairs and re-stocking problems because of the Tamarack Fire and pandemic related supply chain issues, but should open soon – eat at that local pub or sandwich shop or grab an espresso at the local cafe.
We “own” and clean a three-mile stretch of Highway 89 between Turtle Rock Park and Camp Markleeville, and have for several years now.
Coincidentally, Alta Alpina Cycling Club “owns” one of the other sections on the highway, right next to ours.
How about you? Do you participate in local clean-ups, Earth Days and the like? If so, big kudos. If you don’t, or haven’t yet, please consider doing so!
Numero Tres – Join Local Cycling Clubs or Coalitions
MOTHERLODE Bicycle Coalition is one such option. Alta Alpina, link above, is another. We too, have a membership component. Dues/fees are usually very low (ours are only $40.00 annually) and those ducats help support not only the the club or organization, but also the communities around them. Most of the dues money we collect goes to the Alpine County Friends of the Library, Friends of Hope Valley, Alpine Watershed Group and others. Cycling clubs, at least those that I’m familiar with, as you may have guessed, aren’t in it for the dinero. We’re certainly not. It’s much more about “the mission.”
Numero Quatro – Partake In Local Rides
WEEKLY rides, memorial rides, organized rides; you name it. The Deathride, Mr. Frogs Wild Ride, The Mammoth Gran Fondo and America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride are some examples of BIG, organized rides. Big Daddy’s in Gardnerville, NV, a major supporter of bike riding in and around the area, has a weekly ride. Alta Alpina also hosts regular rides.
HERE at California Alps Cycling we have yet to start any sort of regular ride. No doubt we need to, and it’s on my list. Stay tuned. I’m thinking I’ll get my act together this spring.
ARE there local rides that you can participate in; not just by riding, but by volunteering, perhaps? And if you already do partake of local pedaling, consider bringing snacks or coffee to your next ride. Maybe donate some socks, or neck-thingys, or what have you.
YOU don’t have to be on the bike to give back to biking.
Numero Cinco – Buy From Clubs and Non-Profits
including ours! Admittedly, I’ve had a hard time moving my merch and based on what I’ve seen and heard from other organizations, I’m not the only one. The profit-margin on tees, jerseys, bibs and the like is low and pricing sometimes reflects that (a little higher than non-branded stuff) and so I think that scares some people off.
WE didn’t do our kits and tees to make money; it was/is about brand recognition and area awareness/advocacy. I started CAC for that reason: to make people aware of the beauty, diversity and all around great riding in the area. I’m definitely not in it for the money. Still, my accountant regulary reminds me that I don’t need to take a loss every year either. So far, however, that’s been my modus operandi. No profit here.
Maybe after I retire from that day job I can fulfill my BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) of making money by riding, perhaps by providing tours and such.
IN the meantime, if you have some disposable income, we’d love it if you’d give us some. It’s a win-win.
WE can continue to give back to our alpine community and you can get some cool gear.
THERE’S a link to our online store in our menu above or you can just click here and head right on in!
So There You Have It
FIVE (5) suggestions as to how to give back to the places where you live, work and ride.
Comment on this post with your thoughts, and if you are already doing something towards this end, tell us and we’ll send you a tee!
It’s a write-off you know. 😉