September 5, 2018
Van Sickle is an intermediate all down hill trail, dropping 1,687 feet in 3 miles. It has a nice speedy average grade (around 11%), and you won't need to mash your brakes the whole way down, but you will use them. Common for this South Lake Tahoe area, you'll encounter many fixed rocks/boulders, and common packed decomposed granite surface. The primary technical challenges are negotiating those fixed rocks and some sand. Sand is prevalent when it's been dry for a while, and washouts can take place, especially in a few switchbacks. There are a couple of short technical grades as steep as 20%, and a few drops that will encourage dropping your seat, or at least sliding off the back. The chance of pedal sticks are pretty good, and chain ring contact is possible. Lesser experienced riders will have fun negotiating lines, and advanced riders will have a blast hammering over the TTF's at speed along whatever line they manage to pick. Van Sickle is NOT a flow trail, so don't expect any berms or jumps other than some hops off of larger rocks if you pick those lines. It is a multi-use, two way trail, although it's very unlikely you'll encounter a bike rider going up. It is a popular hiking trail due to it's trail-head being in close proximity to the casino hotel end of town, so watch for, and yield to, hikers. Scenery and views are great, assuming you have time to take your attention off of the trail.