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Thanksgiving weekend is a wonderful time to start a winter road biking regimen. After the helpings of good food and time indoors with family and friends the first ride of the holidays will begin to work off the excess and exhilarate the body and mind.

Research has shown that aside from the obvious physical benefits there are numerous cognitive benefits to cycling. It can relieve anxiety, increase stress resistance, elevate your mood, and even drive out despair.

What’s more there’s no better place than Bishop to begin a routine of road riding or build upon your already good riding ‘habit’. Winter days are generally sunny and warm and our research shows that the scenic beauty, quiet roads, friendly community, and excellent amenities always lift the spirits.

There are many roads and numerous ways to link up rides to get in a quickie, go flat and far, or climb a hill and descend like the wind. The options are almost endless, but here are some local favorites that will keep you coming back for more.

Death Valley – Waucoba Road Hill Climb

An out and back, or rather up and down, ride of about 30 miles (15 up and 15 down) will take you through some of the most rugged and pristine landscape on the Eastside. The ride starts just north of Big Pine at the junction of US Highway 395 and State Route 168. You could tag on an extra 30 miles of highway from Bishop and back. Park near the visitor information display outside the Glacier View Campground.

Head east on SR 168 for 2.3 miles and turn right onto Death Valley Rd and here’s where the good fun starts. A sustained, but not too steep climb, of just over 13 miles runs in and alongside a broad wash. The high desert landscape has subtle changes of color, differing rock formations, steep-sided canyon walls and expansive views of the valley behind. Even on a calm day the wind can felt near the top of the grade and it’s often a good an indicator that, “you’re nearly there.”

Take a breather and turn around when you reach the Waucoba Saline Rd junction and get ready for an exhilarating, and possibly chilly, ride back down. Be prepared with layers of clothing and wind resistant gear that you can don for the down ride. You will need it!

Made it to Waucoba Saline Rd junction!

Made it to Waucoba Saline Rd junction!

Old Sherwin Grade

Ten miles west of Bishop is the Pine Creek Rd junction at US Highway 395. This is where the Old Sherwin Grade Rd starts. First it rolls out across Round Valley, crossing Pine Creek, then follows Lower Rock Creek up toward Paradise. Truly! Paradise – a beautiful settlement of homes on the rounded foothills at the head of the valley.

You’ll be well warmed up by this point to start a short, but steep climb through the village and then head onward and upward to Sherwin Summit. The road twists and turns on a broad open slope of sage and sand soon becoming treed with pinions and pines as you climb. Across the valley to the west the great wall of the Wheeler Crest is imposing at over 11,00ft.

About a half mile beyond the Swall Meadows Rd junction you will reach the Sherwin Summit with a birds eye view down into Lower Rock Creek Canyon. This the 10-mile mark from your starting point at Pine Creek Rd and a great place to turn around and begin the long coast down through Paradise and back to you car.

Or you can roll on down into Lower Rock Creek Canyon and follow the creek up to the junction with Highway 395. There you could one of three things:

  • turn around and head back the way you came,
  • ride down the 395 to Pine Creek Rd (the shoulder is wide and the views are tremendous), or
  • if you’ve staged a shuttle vehicle here or have a shuttle driver at your disposal, load up your bike, hop in the car and drive home.

The latter may seem to some like denying yourself the reward for the work, but I have friends and do know that some folks prefer the up to the down.

It’s all about what makes you happy!

Pleasant Valley – Round Valley Loop

Round Valley Rd

Quiet open roads through Round Valley

This is a ride that has a little of everything in just the right measure. It has uphills and downhills, sharp corners and sweeping bends. You’ll work hard enough to stay warm, but not so hard that you can’t lift your head and admire the awe inspiring views. It’s about 18.5 miles of quiet country lanes and a pleasant, car free ride along the shores of the Pleasant Valley Reservoir. There are a number of good points along the route where you can park a car safely to ride this loop. It really is a pleasant ride!

Perhaps begin the route at the Millpond Recreation Area, about 7 miles west of Bishop just off US Highway 395, on Sawmill Rd. There is plenty of parking and amenities include restrooms, picnic area, and a playground. It’s a perfect starting point especially if you’re with a group and not all are cyclists.

Other start/end points are at Pine Creek Rd junction with Highway 395, Gorge Rd & Old Sherwin Grade junction (just off Highway 395), or the Pleasant Valley Dam parking area.

Car-free ride along the shores of Pleasant Valley Reservoir

Car-free ride along the shores of Pleasant Valley Reservoir

East Line – Warm Springs Loop

This is an excellent loop of 14 miles that has minimal elevation gain and loss – just 550ft. Ride it at an easy cadence for a relaxing and energizing outing or push hard for an energetic workout.

There are a number of start and end points and you can go at it clockwise or counter-clockwise. Whatever you choose the views are marvelous as you roll across the river and ride along the base of the White Mountains.

Warm Springs Rd

Warm Springs Rd

Go Clubbing

Not night clubbing – but ride clubbing. Join or participate in group rides with Eastside Velo. The club began in 2001 and now boasts a membership of almost 300 riders. The club organizes and supports many annual events and frequent fun rides throughout the year. The big one of the year is the Mammoth Fall Century & Gran Fondo held in September every year. If you’re serious about riding and/or you plan to ride in this event, the roads around Bishop are the place to train – especially in winter.

Stop in at Aerohead Cycles if you’re in need of a tune up, equipment, gear, or just to chat about cycling and where to ride. Also visit the Bishop Visitor Center at 690 N. Main St. for more information and maps of the area.

Remember that the weather is pretty unpredictable so be prepared with layers and wind- and waterproof clothing.

Ride Bishop!

Here are handy route guides for each of these rides.

death-valley-waucoba-rd

Death Valley Rd Climb

old-sherwin-grade

Old Sherwin Grade

Round Valley - Pleasant Valley Loop

Round Valley – Pleasant Valley Loop

East Line - Warm Springs Loop

East Line – Warm Springs Loop

Check out the Digital Bishop Visitor Guide!

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16 hours ago

Who's golfing today?? Do you know about this beautiful course we have right here in town? 18 holes open year-round!! More info about local golfing at www.bishopvisitor.com/activities/golf/
Photo: @weareinthistogether2010
#visitbishop
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Whos golfing today?? Do you know about this beautiful course we have right here in town? 18 holes open year-round!! More info about local golfing at https://www.bishopvisitor.com/activities/golf/
Photo: @weareinthistogether2010
#visitbishop

 

Comment on Facebook

Can’t wait for next Saturday’s Golf Fun Day!!

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2 days ago

Little Lake area: from sacred ceremonial site, to healing properties to electricity from steam, this area of southern Inyo County has quite a history.Just north of Little Lake in southern Inyo County, is the turnoff for the Coso Geothermal area. Partially on land now owned by the U.S. Navy, these hot springs have been used as a sacred ceremonial site by Native Americans for centuries. The first written accounts of the area talked about “thousands of hot mud springs of all consistencies and colors” and referred to the area as Hot Sulphur Springs. In 1895, William Grant took deed to the land and opened a health resort a few years later. Claims were made that the waters and mud could cure everything from venereal disease to constipation. The water and mud were sold at high prices while touting to provide “Volcanic Health and Beauty from Nature’s Great Laboratory.” At first, Coso Hot Springs Resort only drew local residents, but as traffic along El Camino Sierra increased and the highway improved, tourists from southern California and the San Francisco Bay area came to Coso to be cured. In 1943, the U.S. Navy took over the resort and most of the geothermal area as it expanded its China Lake Naval Ordnance Test Station and closed the area to the public. In cooperation with the Navy, the Coso geothermal area has been producing electricity from steam since the mid-1980s. Today, the facilities produce enough electricity to power approximately 135,000 homes in California on an average day. Tours of the area are occasionally available through the Maturango Museum in Ridgecrest, California. You can read more about Coso and other geothermal areas in the Eastern Sierra in Tales Along El Camino Sierra-book one. ... See MoreSee Less

Little Lake area: from sacred ceremonial site, to healing properties to electricity from steam, this area of southern Inyo County has quite a history.

 

Comment on Facebook

Still loving that book or books. Two volumes. So much interesting history from that part of our country.

will be there next week on a bike ride

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3 days ago

Does this make you happy?? If you see it, then you know you are are getting close to Bishop!!! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 #visitbishop ... See MoreSee Less

Does this make you happy?? If you see it, then you know you are are getting close to Bishop!!! 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼 #visitbishop

 

Comment on Facebook

I love this place

Happy.

I miss it badly. 😢

happy happy!!!!

Yes makes my heart beat faster the closer I get to June Lake loup❤️

Hope to get back up there soon 🥰

Every time I see it !!!

Yes!

Oh the eastern slope of the Sierra. Love it .

Yes

395 North! ❤❤❤

The Old Pittsberg Plate Glass Plant Water Tank.

YESSSS

yes, bc i know i’m almost home, and also there will be lots of cops once i hit this 😂

That would make my heart Open and fly!!!!

Its a valley with water. So you need to plant trees to make tourists feeling more comfortable.

For me it’s when I see Bradys

Next week

Janet I. Sandoval

Sarah Mumford Thinking of you Thelma!

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3 days ago

Plenty of fish in Bishop Creek Canyon this summer!

Parchers Resort & South Lake Landing
Woo hoo!!! Last night’s Desert Springs Trout Farm delivery of Oregon rainbows courtesy of Southern California Edison....both the Parchers Resort folks and our friends at Lake Sabrina topped off each of the 800lb tanks with extra fish averaging 4.80lbs. Still have a few cabins left for this weekend so come and get ‘em!!! . . #easternsierrafishing #trophytrout #southlakebishop #bishopcreek #fishbishop #southlakebishop #parchersresort #lakesabrina
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Comment on Facebook

Wow, it's the fish truck. <3

Wow that looks like some big fish!

Judith Demarah - Big fish!

Tyler Ray Norman

Jon J. Nolan

a lot of them are backwards - like they were trying to swim upstream in the current - cool!

Aj Luick

John Willis Hinrichs

Jon Jacobsen there is plenty of fish out there.

Hannah Moncada show Josh

Matthew Cleary Pee Shooters

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4 days ago

Inyo County is participating in the 2019 California State Fair in Sacramento. Drop by the Inyo exhibit now through July 28th - located in the California Building. Be sure to say "Hi" to Bishop City Council Member Laura Smith, Greg Smith and all of the wonderful volunteers that represent our region. ... See MoreSee Less

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