If you enjoy bicycling but it's not convenient to haul your pedal powered ride on vacation, the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park will soon offer an option: bicycle rentals. In addition to helping reduce traffic congestion, the bikes will have a major advantage over your car—they can take you places in the park where private vehicles aren't allowed.
The park has recently awarded a commercial use authorization (CUA) for the new rental operation, which will get underway on May 1 and run into the fall. The permittee, Bright Angel Bicycles, L.L.C., was selected through an "open and competitive process and extensive evaluation."
Under the CUA, Bright Angel Bicycles will rent a variety of bicycles to the public from a location at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. Their rentals include several sizes of men's and step-thru women's models, three-wheel adult bikes, and pull-behind child trailers so younger children can go along with the family. Rental rates include a helmet, safety vest and leg strap.
The rental facility will operate from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily beginning May 1; an exact ending date in the fall is yet to be announced.
According to a park spokesperson, visitors will be able to ride on portions of the park’s multi-use greenway trail system open to bicycles, on all park roads open to public vehicular traffic and on park roads open only to shuttle bus traffic, including the Hermit Road and the Yaki Point Road.
Once they rent a bike, visitors will have the several options. They can ride on self guided tours directly from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center location or utilize the park’s shuttle bus system, which can accommodate up to three bicycles per bus. Bright Angel Bicycles also plans to offer a shuttle for customers from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center to and from locations along the Hermit Road (formerly known as the West Rim Drive). That option will provide easy bicycle access to the historic road, including the portion of greenway along the rim from Monument Creek Vista to Hermits Rest. Bright Angel Bicycles also plans to offer guided bicycle tours.
You'll find a variety of maps of the park at this link to help you identify those locations.
“Biking is an excellent way for visitors to experience Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim. The bike friendly infrastructure along the newly reconstructed Hermit Road and associated greenway offer visitors a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the Grand Canyon by bicycle in an area that is free of private vehicle traffic. We look forward to working with Bright Angel Bicycles to provide this exciting new visitor service,” Superintendent Steve Martin stated.
The 2010 season will provide a test drive of sorts—the current CUA for bicycle rental operations will have a term of one year with an option to be extended for a second year. The National Park Service will utilize data collected from both the permittee and visitors during the term of this CUA to determine how bicycle rental operations in the park will be managed in the future.
The addition of a visitor bicycle rental operation on Grand Canyon’s South Rim was envisioned by the park’s 1995 General Management Plan and was included as part of the park’s 2008 South Rim Transportation Plan. The NPS prepared an Environmental Assessment for the South Rim Transportation Plan and a Finding of No Significant Impact was signed May 27, 2008. You'll find more information on that plan on the park website.
The website for Bright Angel Bicycles includes additional details, including information about rates and equipment, or you can phone them at 928-814-8704.