Go on a scavenger hunt through the woods, along the paths via bicycle. Join a group mountain bike ride for a guided tour of the routes available in the maze of trails that make up the Happy Jack Recreation Area. Challenge yourself on the annual hill climb — via bicycle — to see how far you can ascend before having to put a foot down to rest. Then top off the day by seeing how far you can toss a bicycle.
These are all activities being hosted as part of the annual Happy Jack Bike Bash from noon-5 p.m. today by Laramie’s Pedal House. All events take place out of the Happy Jack trailhead on Pole Mountain and are free to participants.
Dewey Gallegos, co-owner of the Pedal House, invites all cyclists or those who might want to try it for the first time to join in the festivities.
“It is a low key event with activities to suit all cyclist levels,” Gallegos said. “Our goal is to celebrate all things bicycles as a way to thank the Laramie cycling community.”
Those who don’t own a bike can take a spin on one of the demo bikes provided by Cannondale. Gallegos said they’ll also have some fat bikes — the beefy mountain bikes with the huge tires — for people to try out. Since the test rides are limited to 30 minutes, those wanting to take part in the scavenger hunt or hill climb need to bring their own bike.
Gallegos said the scavenger hunt, which typically takes a bit more than an hour to complete, is open to individuals or teams but teams must remain together and tackle each station together. Team size is unlimited, though, and the event is also suitable for families.
Gallegos said each team or individual will receive a map of the trails with a list of clues of items they must find. At each station a task must be completed. Gallegos assures all participants that none of the tasks involve performing athletic feats but, instead, are more of an intellectual nature. He didn’t elaborate for fear of ruining the surprise. Photographs need to be taken by competitors as proof they made it to each station so participants need to bring a camera or other device that can take photos.
The annual Hill Climb is for those seeking a more physical challenge. The course goes straight up what was once a ski run at the former Happy Jack Ski Area. The race involves going up the hill as far as possible without putting a foot down.
“Each competitor gets one shot at it,” Gallegos said. “I know of a few people who have made it to the top but that has never actually happened during the race. Maybe this will be the year someone makes it to the top.”
For those who want to ride the trails but aren’t so sure of where to go or who just like company when they pedal, a group ride will take off at 2 p.m. or so. Gallegos said it will be paced so that all participants can enjoy the ride and won’t feel like it’s a race. The goal is to provide more of a tour for those who aren’t familiar with the trails.
One of the highlights of the Bash is the bike toss. Gallegos said they supply the bike — an old beater past its actual pedaling utility. Each competitor tosses the same bike “no matter how broken it gets.”
Throwing a bicycle is not as easy as it sounds. A bicycle is a mechanical marvel that takes human power and enhances it, making transport a lot faster than being propelled simply via one’s two legs. But taking a bicycle and tossing it — on purpose — into the air is more difficult than it sounds.
The bike toss record of about 25 feet was set three years ago by then University of Wyoming wrestling team member Tanner Harms. Apparently, Harms was up running the trails for a wrestling team workout and was dared to enter the bike toss.
“We didn’t know the event was being held but it looked like a lot of fun,” Harms said after the even that year. “I was dared to see how far I could toss the bike so I grabbed it, threw it and ended up winning the event.”
Gallegos said he’s not surprised that that toss has yet to be beat.
“It’s ridiculously hard to throw a bike that far,” Gallegos said. “Most people don’t get even close to that distance but they sure have a good time giving it a try.
Amber Travsky earned master’s degrees in wildlife biology and exercise physiology from the University of Wyoming. She runs her own environmental consulting company, as well as a martial arts school. She authored “Mountain Biking Wyoming” and “Mountain Biking Jackson Hole,” both published by Falcon Books. She is the tour director and founder of the Tour de Wyoming bicycle tour, which crosses the state every July.