Biking opportunities abound in backyard

Bicycle Outfitters Owner Ran Hanks holds a single-walled rim in his left hand and a double-walled rim in his right. For off-road riding, Hanks suggests the double rim.
AARON ROYSTER/Miner

Bicycle Outfitters Owner Ran Hanks holds a single-walled rim in his left hand and a double-walled rim in his right. For off-road riding, Hanks suggests the double rim. AARON ROYSTER/Miner

The Cerbat Foothills recreation area trail system may not be as well known as the Hualapai Mountain Park system, which is why it's a gem to the cycling community.

Ran Hanks, owner of Bicycle Outfitters, described riding on the Cook Canyon Loop Trails as immaculate.

The 8.1-mile trail on the 11,3000-acre recreation area was completed in 2005. The recreation area is located east and west of Highway 93 between Interstate 40 and Highway 68.

"It's beautiful," Hanks said. "I lived here for 11 years and didn't even know it existed. It's nice and quiet and pretty."

The multiuse trails accommodate hikers, joggers, equestrian riding and bicyclists. "It's a nice place to go walk, hike or ride," Hanks said.

Hanks said he felt the recreation area was more of a bicycle-friendly environment than Hualapai Mountain Park.

"My biggest concern is people riding on trails they aren't allowed to," Hanks said.

Hanks added he didn't want cyclists banned from riding in the Hualapai Mountains. He suggested anyone that is interested in riding in the park should consult with a park ranger ahead of time.

That isn't the only advice he has for riders. "If people are riding, I'd say one of the key elements is having water," Hanks added.

When considering riding off the road, Hanks advises putting some money into the bicycle.

Hanks said a bicycle with a solid frame and durable set of wheels usually costs around $250. He added that for off-road riding expect to spend $350.

The extra costs beef up the axle and generally come with double-walled rims for the extra damage it can sustain on a ride.

"Spending more money means you get lighter bikes," Hanks said.

Hanks said some bicycles sell for more than $5,000. He added most people spend between $350 and $400.

For the most part, most modern bicycles don't need too much maintenance, Hanks said. Checking the chains and tire pressure should be done frequently, though.

More thorough checks should be done if a bicycle has been sitting for a while without use, Hanks said. In the dry heat, the brakes can become brittle and ineffective. "A lot of times people confuse outdoor with you having to be on a mountain or trail," Hanks said.

Hanks said road biking is also outdoor riding. He added road biking is a more comfortable alternative to riding on trails. "As far as fitness goes, it's low impact and a nice activity to do outside," Hanks said.

Even during the summers in Kingman, road biking is a viable option, Hanks said. "Mornings around here are perfect," Hanks said. "At 5, 5:30 in the morning, the temperature is low and the air is still and you can feel it."

Hanks said most cyclists are very aware of their surroundings when they ride, especially on the roads. He added cyclists can reach speeds exceeding 25 mph. "Drivers should be aware that cyclists are on the road," Hanks said.

A tragic example of an incident where a driver wasn't aware of a cyclist on the road was the death of Dick Tomlin, a world-class triathlon athlete, in 2005. The former sports editor of the Miner was hit by a recreational vehicle from behind as he trained one early morning on Route 66.

The Dick Tomlin's Spirit of Triathlon is Nov. 10. It was created to form and develop a new juniors program throughout Arizona. More information about this year's triathlon is available at www.spiritoftriathlon.com. "It's a nice race that anyone can do," Hanks said. "It's a lot of fun."

With more than two decades in the bicycle business, Hanks said that business - including sales and repairs - is steady throughout the year. He added, though, that there is a definite spike in December. "I think cycling is something that all ages can enjoy. I think there is a bike for everyone."