WHAT'S THE DEAL?
Ride through a geological fault zone; learn about plate tectonics and desert flora while getting a workout.
WHERE'S IT AT?
From your Palm Springs hotel, head east about 60 kilometres to the San Andreas Fault zone and begin your ride in Little Box Canyon. Your guide from Big Wheel Tours (who will pick you up) will probably be 60-plus and Lance-Armstrong fit. The trails are equal parts rock and sand - there's little dirt in the desert - and expect to struggle on the sand. As your tires sink, it feels like riding a gym bike with someone cranking up the tension.
With your legs burning and your lungs sucking wind, your guide will effortlessly give a mini-geology lesson. What you're riding on is the junction of the Pacific and North American Plates; the movement is about three centimetres a year into the ocean. The canyon resembles decaying chimneys, and myriad crystals sparkle in its alluvium walls. Pedal up out of the chasm for views of the San Bernardino Mountains and the Salton Sea, California's largest lake, a blue ribbon glistening in the distance.
WHO'S IT FOR?
Geology buffs, mountain bikers or those wanting an escape from the golf courses and resorts of Palm Springs.
Special to The Globe and Mail
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