But they, along with other Truckee River bikers, are hitting the brakes around Larkin Circle near Greg Street.
The Tahoe-Pyramid bikeway project has built out 66 miles of bike path along the Truckee River. The organization’s eventual goal is to create a 116-mile trail along the river, connecting Pyramid Lake with Lake Tahoe.
However, it has run into a few obstacles moving as it tries to move east and connect Sparks with Wadsworth. The trail that winds from Verdi through Reno and to Sparks ends near Larkin Circle as it runs into private property.
“All the action (on that bike path) in the next two years is going to be in the Sparks sphere of influence,” said Janet Phillips, the president of the Tahoe-Pyramid bikeway project.
The City of Sparks extends less than a mile east past Larkin Circle. East from there, the land falls into the city’s sphere of influence and then it becomes Storey County’s land.
According to Sparks Parks and Recreation director Stan Sherer, the project has the department’s support, but not much else. Unless the land is annexed into the city of Sparks, Sherer said that the city does not play a role in the path’s eventual build-out.
In order to extend the path, the project would have to obtain approval from Storey County, Phillips said. According to Phillips, the county is concerned about easements near a local power plant. County representatives were unavailable as of press time.
The City of Sparks currently maintains the 7 miles of the Tahoe-Pyramid path the winds through Sparks. And, according to Sherer, the maintenance is not a significant expense.
“We would love to see the path built out,” said Mark, a local doctor who declined to give his last name. “You go through where it is now and you run into too many people.”
The couple said that throughout the four years that they have been using the path, they have affectionately christened one area as “Bum Bridge.”
The couple said that they were concerned for the safety of those who use the path, as they reported a high frequency of transient people in the area.
Several sources, including Phillips, confirmed that the area has a significant homeless population.
“The foot path is heavily used by the homeless,” Phillips said.
A manmade path that extends just past the bike trail’s end, not built by the bikeway project, leads to a small homeless camp. Piles of trash sat baking in the sunshine Monday.
“We just want to see it safe so everyone can enjoy it,” Debbie said.
Washoe County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Deputy Brooke Keast had no figures on crime frequency in the area and representatives from the Sparks Police Department did not respond to inquiries as of press time.
The last few miles of the bike path, before it ends near Larkin Circle, travel through the south end of Spark’s industrial area.
Moving west from Larkin Circle, the path winds through Rock Park. The park is currently under construction as the city hopes to create a white water attraction for Truckee River adventurers.
“We have finished the landscaping and now we have the play equipment to install and some fine tuning to do before it is done,” Sherer said.
The city is planning a grand opening for the nearly $1.5 million project on June 6. The details of that grand opening have not yet been solidified, Sherer said.
“It is very exciting for me,” Sherer said. “We have taken something and made it better for the community.”
Rock Park, which sits on Rock Boulevard near Greg Street, will be closed for construction until the June opening day.