A 20 Mile Bike Tour in the Palm Springs Desert: Crazy or Cool?
“If there’s one thing you have to do in Palm Springs, it’s Big Wheel Tours* Bike Tour,” my friend said.
There are a lot of reasons why people would pass on this adventure…
- It’s 20 miles long
- You have to bike it
- It’s in the desert, and deserts are hot
- You have to wake up early
Our guide Gary picked us up bright and early in a van at our hotel. Early mornings help avoid the hot desert heat in the summer. We drove to our starting point, a small, barely unused road. Before the highway beside it was built, this was the road travelers could take to get to Palm Springs. Today, it offers bikers a peaceful, uninterrupted cruise through the desert.
The ride starts out just as the sun has fully emerged from over the horizon. After gearing up with our helmets, we were off, riding through the oranges and tans of desolate, California Desert.
Despite the seemingly overwhelmingly high mile count of 20 miles on a bike, the ride is all downhill. No you can’t coast the entire way, but you don’t need to exert an uncomfortable amount of strength. But if you don’t bike regularly, your legs may be slightly sore the following day (which is why I’d recommend finding a great hotel with a pool in Palm Springs).
Trailing our bike group was our “chaser car”. It’s purpose? To alert cars coming from behind us to our group. But the truth of the matter is, our group encountered less than 10 vehicles on our roughly 2-hour trip.
Leaving the flatness of the desert behind us, we started to approach the canyon.
Our guide Gary followed us in the chaser car the entire way. Patiently stopping each time I had to take a picture.
Gary is an active member of the local bike club and was most proud of his efforts to have this sign constructed along the road.
You’re welcome to break as often as you need to. Big Wheel Tours provides complimentary bottled water and snacks (crackers & granola bars). But around the half-way mark, we received our lesson in geology and earthquakes, as the San Andreas Fault is just down the road.
We learned about plates (the rocky kind) and how they formed the surrounding landscape. Notice the layers in the rocks below…
See how level they are? Now compare that to the photo below.
Notice the angle in which the rocks go up. This was caused by the nearby plates pushing up against each other. Pretty wild stuff.
Leaving the canyons behind us, we ventured forth to the final leg of our tour, toward a town called Mecca. We rode past farm field of lemons, limes, grapes, peppers and more. It was such a diverse and scenic ride.
On the way back we stopped at a local date farm. Date palms litter the roads as farmers pick them to make all sorts of date recipes. The tour includes a date shake – vanilla ice cream swirled with bits of dates. While you’re waiting for your shake, you can sample a variety of dates.
After eating my way through Palm Springs, I really needed this bike tour to burn off all the calories I consumed.
As it turned out, biking 20 miles, in the desert was quite cool!
If you’d like to see more of my tour, you can view this YouTube video.
Where have been some of your favorite biking spots? Share by commenting.
I’ll see you out there…!
*Big Wheel Tours provided me with a complimentary tour.