The Return of the Lake Tahoe Spectacular Weekend?

Long time members will recall that one of the annual events that the club put on was the Lake Tahoe Spectacular Weekend. This two-day event took place during the summer allowing for warm, sunny weather not only to enjoy cycling but also the lake itself. Members drove up Friday or early Saturday and spent two days of cycling in the Lake Tahoe area. We rented an odd house, “the Octagon” and cooked a group dinner Saturday evening.

The earliest versions of the weekend had riders drive half-way around the lake, park the cars, and then cycle back to the rental house; the second day we rode to the cars and then drove back, about 35 miles each way. This quickly evolved to riding around the lake in one day—70 miles—and then doing something else on Sunday, usually riding up Brockway Summit to Truckee and then back on Highway 89. Later when mountain biking became popular, some would instead do the Flume Trail.

The last time this trip was offered was around 2006. What killed the trip was the loss of “the Octagon”: it was taken off the rental market and there was now no easy way to house a large group inexpensively. The Octagon was an otherwise semi-decrepit ski house but it had one exemplary trait: it had a crapload of beds making a weekend at Lake Tahoe immensely affordable. There were four bedrooms that could sleep two couples each, a couple of bunk rooms that could accommodate four or so each, a hallway area with two beds (!), and then an upper seating area where at least a couple of folks could crash. It wasn’t uncommon to have more than 15 people attend; I recall at least one occasion when there were well more than 20.

A few years ago I attempted to rent the Octagon but was unable to get a response from the previous agent. About three years ago I accidently ran across it listed on VRBO. It had changed hands, had undergone a serious remodel and update, and of course was now a lot more expensive! But in its new incarnation it can still handle 12-16 people.

I ran the Tahoe Weekend at least once (and had even written a ‘how to’ document on how to organize the Weekend) but I no longer recall how much it cost back then. I think it was something on the order of $50-$75 per person for the entire weekend. That included two nights at the Octagon, breakfast Saturday and Sunday, a big Saturday dinner, and plenty of snacks.

To rent the Octagon for a weekend in August will now cost about $1,400 rather than $700 (= 2006 cost). On the immediate plus side is the much nicer digs as well as we no longer have to clean the place before we leave (we instead pay a cleaning fee). With a rough estimate of $35 per person for food and 14 participants, the average cost would be about $135 per person for the weekend. A quick perusal of motel costs in the Tahoe City area shows that one night alone would cost about that amount and of course no food would be included.

The room arrangement of the Octagon is such that filling every bed requires that we have exactly the right number of “couples” and singles. If not enough couples, then two people who don’t mind sharing a bed; if too many couples, then some who don’t mind sleeping separately for two nights. If there is ample interest, then we may be able to squeeze more people in to lower the cost but it will involve sleeping in the common areas (either the TV sitting area above the living room) or on the sofas in the living room. If there aren’t enough couples and someone doesn’t want a bedmate, a single supplement would be charged proportional to the house rental.

I would like to see the Lake Tahoe Weekend Spectacular done again and would like to get some feedback on the interest level and cost from members.

Here is my proposal:

Lake Tahoe Weekend Spectacular

August 17-19, 2018


  • Drive up Friday. For those who arrive early enough, go out to a group dinner near Tahoe City.
  • Saturday: ride around Lake Tahoe (70 miles), group dinner at the Octagon. Hang out at the Octagon; those inclined may go gambling, bar hopping, etc. in the evening
  • Sunday: ride to Truckee and return by Highway 89 (35 miles?? I can’t remember). Depart sometime in the afternoon.

Includes food for Saturday and Sunday breakfast, Saturday group dinner, and snacks.

Cost will depend on number of participants. If 10 people, then about $175 per person; if 14, then about $135; if more, then even lower.

If you want to view the Octagon, you can see it here.

I would like to get a reading on the interest for this trip. Would you be interested in participating under the conditions of this proposal? If not, what modifications would better fit your needs? Do you consider the price reasonable and affordable? Is this a good time for you to participate or would a different weekend be better?

Keep in mind that this is a general proposal and it can be modified. If you are interested in helping organize the weekend, let me know. Post your feedback either to the DSSF Yahoo! Group listserv or email me directly at

2 thoughts on “The Return of the Lake Tahoe Spectacular Weekend?

  1. Tony,

    30 years ago, a road trip to Lake Tahoe was probably fun and lighthearted. Today it is a Sisyphean journey.

    I can’t bear the thought of a 6-8 hour journey on the freeway with commuters, just to do 1.5 days of riding.

    The world has changed. We should be riding close to home, accessible by public transportation, on safe roads.

    End of story.

    David Sexton


    1. I won’t pretend to tell Spokers where they should ride—I suppose everyone’s moral calculus is different.

      Actually even 30 years ago going to Tahoe from SF could be excruciating. The Bay Bridge, the Eastshore, and I-80 until Folsom was pretty much packed on a Friday even if one left “early” (noonish). There is no doubt that heading out of the SF Bay Area on a weekend is rarely pain-free whether it be by car or plane. But I sincerely doubt it is much slower than it was in 2006, the last time the Lake Tahoe Spectacular was run. If one wants to ride beyond one’s usual denizen, that is the price one pays. For some the lure of the Sierras is strong enough. Lake Tahoe is close enough—closer than flying to the Dolomites or the Alps!—and provides beautiful scenery and riding to recharge you for your next work week.

      If driving daunts you, there are alternative modes. Amtrak will get you to Truckee direct for $59. Just take BART to Richmond and transfer to Amtrak. You’ll spend about the same time traveling—five hours on Amtrak—but you’ll be comfortably ensconced and not enduring the bumper-to-bumper I-80 dance while watching your blood pressure and cortisol rise. From the train you can partake of that adult beverage while enjoying the beautiful scenery from the observation car. It’s a short hop by bus and $2 from Truckee to Tahoe City. If you must go by car, don’t forget that carpooling eases the pain and bonus!—provides plenty of time for Girl Talk!


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