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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

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8 hours ago

There has been lots of consturction up on South Lake Road this summer... making it better for next year!!! ... See MoreSee Less

There has been lots of consturction up on South Lake Road this summer... making it better for next year!!!

2 days ago

We appreciate our local businesses as they are working to #KeepBishopSafe. The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Inyo County continue to climb, so we ask you to please do your part to keep our community safe as well!! Thank you. ❤️ ... See MoreSee Less

We appreciate our local businesses as they are working to #KeepBishopSafe. The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Inyo County continue to climb, so we ask you to please do your part to keep our community safe as well!! Thank you. ❤️

Comment on Facebook We appreciate our ...

Stay safe! I want to visit this fall!

I'm going to keep telling you Bishop just how much I miss you. 💜💜💜😷🐈

Maybe next summer I can come, and I will wear a mask if still needed. Love the High Sierras.

Great job

I'm GOING to visit this fall! I promise myself!

Where is the truck located?

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4 days ago

It’s official...WE LOVE THE FAIR, BUT WE LOVE YOU MORE.

Sad news to our friends and families and riders and destruction derby drivers: The Tri County Fair has officially been cancelled for 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic rages on..... Fortunately, it looks like we are planning a major comeback in 2021 and for many years to come.
... See MoreSee Less

It’s official...

Comment on Facebook WE LOVE THE FAIR, ...

Such a shame that people are losing what little they had to do. All the while the rich are going and traveling about on their yachts and lives. Only the poor are losing out.

Darn, I was thinking about going there for your fair since ours was cancelled here.😏

Ok, but it will be missed!

. Not in Bollings it is going on this week

Sad, but necessary..

This year sucks!!

It will be back bigger and better, than ever. Stay well. <3

It's the Dems again!

Do sorry,. next year.

What ! Ran out of jobs !

Me too.

A couple more months of stuff like this and there will be Prime real estate in Bishop selling cheap!

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1 week ago

Heading into the weekend dreaming of backcountry lakes... which is your favorite?
#DreamNowVisitLater #KeepBishopSafe
Thank you Instagram user @kimonlhi for this spectacular shot!!
... See MoreSee Less

Heading into the weekend dreaming of backcountry lakes... which is your favorite? 
#DreamNowVisitLater #KeepBishopSafe
Thank you Instagram user @kimonlhi for this spectacular shot!!

Comment on Facebook Heading into the ...

Would have guessed Split Mtn, but have only flown over these mountains twice.

Too many to choose, the higher and more remote the better

Saddle Bag Lake. ❤️

Blue lake! The best, at least I know of~!!!

I need a good-looking tour guide(male) to show me around on my next visit. 😉🐈😷

So beautiful. I miss being up there.

Mt. Aggasisz? I probably butchered that spelling.

Blue Lake

Blue lake❣

Sabrina

Dorothy Lake

Horton Lake

Dorothy and Mildred

Beautiful

I'm guessing the trail to Bishop Pass at Bishop Lakes. :)

Beautiful

Upper Lamarck

Beautiful

That’s beautiful.

Nice 👍

Ruwau Lake, Tyee Lakes, upper Lamark lake, Blue lake, & Little Lakes Valley.

Terra Rankin

Lake.

Johanna Atwell

Any part of Bishop is fine, I JUST WANT TO BE THERE TO ENJOY THIS BEAUTIFUL PLACE! 😀❤️😄💙

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1 week ago

Our friends at Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association welcome everyone to stop by for in-person visitor service plus a great selection of area maps, books and more. They do a great job of helping our guests recreate responsibly!Thanks ESIA for providing helpful information and advice to visitors on responsible recreation in our region! ... See MoreSee Less

Our friends at Eastern Sierra Interpretive Association welcome everyone to stop by for in-person visitor service plus a great selection of area maps, books and more.  They do a great job of helping our guests recreate responsibly!
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