Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Biking the Grand Canyon Rim #1

Last year a welcome addition to the Grand Canyon National Park activities opened--Bright Angel Bicycle Rentals ( . Cycling enthusiasts no longer have to lug their own bike to the Park in order to enjoy the sights and participate in their favorite past time. The Park is bike friendly and has additional trails planned for the future. 

Although we rode in the middle of May, the weather was still quite chilly and had snowed just two days earlier. We bundled up and went to the Visitor's Center where Bright Angel bikes is located. We were fitted and briefed on safety (don't brake with the front wheel only and don't run off a cliff).

The Park's being bike friendly with pedestrian/bike trails is more than important as the Park has over a million vistitors a year and can get quite crowded.
No matter where one goes or what season the scenery was awesome to us flatlanders.
Currently there are three recommended routes, and we chose to ride from the Visitor's Center to Hermit's Rest and back. The published distance is 21 miles, the way we went (we got a little lost) was probably 25 miles.
Canyon vistas began immediately upon entering Hermit Road. 
The biking trail to Hermit Road was nice, scenic, level. Hermit Road began its first 1/2 mile with a 6% grade to get one warmed up. Hermit Road is restricted to shuttle busses and the vehicles of the handicapped only, so traffic is kept to a minimum. 
Being on a bike, we did not have to be at a shuttle stop to pause and enjoy the views.
The line in the background is Bright Angel Trailhead which leads 12 miles into the canyon to the Colorado River for serious hikers. 

Even a hazy day can not mask the canyon's beauty.

Being on a bike gave us the flexibility to stop wherever we wanted.
Even the dead trees are picturesque at the Grand Canyon.
The tiny part of the hiking trail in the distance is also the mule ride trail to Phantom Ranch which not only has twelve miles of precipitous switchbacks but also crosses the river on a suspension bridge.

 It is nearly impossible to take a bad picture at the Grand Canyon.
 Two happy bikers.

 Christine at one of the shuttle bus stops.
 What would you expect from someone who has sky-dived out of a perfectly good plane? I am about as close to the edge as I want.
 The Colorado River below stays at about a 44 degree temp. the year round.
 Rain clouds would roll across the canyon throughout the day.
 The white water of the Colorado River (rated 1 to 10) is quite deceiving at this distance. It is part of the rapids that give the rafting thrill-seekers their money's worth. This one is rated 8.

Still smiling as we are only about half way on our journey to Hermit's Rest.


  1. It must have been really interesting. The pics looked very inviting.
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  2. That looks like a great vacation. I'd be holding onto the rails for dear life.

  3. Looks like you had a great time! How was it riding those bikes?? It looks like that might have been a little challenging at times.

  4. @Debbie. One could get spoiled on those bikes quickly. Broad seat, straight handle bars, and a sit-upright position. Seven gears but that was enough.

    We got back Tuesday so Wednesday we did the State Park ride. At first, my bike felt uncomfortable leaning forward but soon my focus was the wind and hills--

  5. @Edie. Only the shuttle bus stops had rails. When Christine would take the camera for a photo, I would remind her that one more step toward the edge couldn't help when one is shooting an object 2-12 miles away. She would go to the edge anyway. (Christine here: It's the perspective that's desirable)

  6. @Debbie. This is Chrsitine. The seats were comfortable, but I surely would have liked clipping in. My knees didn't like the one-way pounding.

  7. Absolutely fun. What a great adventure!

  8. thanks for the pics and info. Bright Angel bikes was not open last time I visited the canyon. We are going again this Nov. and I am excited to bike the Hermits rd.

  9. @Cynthia. Bring cool weather gear. We went unprepared and had to buy everything there. But after that it was a great experience. Hope you have as much fun as we did.

  10. Wow! The Grand Canyon is such a beauty to behold. the pictures had given a glimpse of such beauty, eh.

    Thanks for sharing,
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