By Lou Melini
Have you ever shuttled 2 cars up and down the canyons in order to ride the Wasatch Crest trail? What did it cost you in gas plus wear and tear on your vehicle? How much time did the shuttle take? Have you ever considered taking a professional bike shuttle? Get a ride up, ride your bike down and you are done!
In 2012 I purchased a $60 season pass for my #1 son Ben from Wasatch Crest Shuttle (www.wcshuttle.com/) in order to do a story about the mountain bike shuttle services. In addition he used Big Rack Shuttle (http://bigrackshuttle.webs.com/ or 801-882-rack) to go mountain biking. In total he used each service about 8 times. (A disclaimer: I know Andrew Duggins, the owner of Wasatch Crest Shuttle through my professional employment. No discounts or free services were provided to me, or my son who works at Millcreek Bicycles for this article.)
Cycling Utah: Ben, you work and go to school so when did you utilize the shuttles?
Ben Melini: I would take the early morning shuttle. The first Wasatch Crest shuttle leaves at 7 AM and Big Rack at 7:30. I would do a 90-minute ride down, shower, and then go to work by 10 AM. The departure times were perfect for me and both companies were very dependable. I never worried about being late for work. There are other scheduled shuttle times for both services.
C.U.: I bought you a season pass so how much did I save over day passes?
B.M.: Wasatch Crest is $12 per shuttle to the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon and Big Rack is $10. At this time Big Rack does not have a season pass.
C.U. How was your experience finding a spot on the shuttles? Did you have to make reservations?
B.M.: Reservations were very necessary. For Wasatch Crest Shuttles you should plan on making reservations several days in advance. Big Rack Shuttles was nice in that I could get a reservation with shorter notice. Call or go on-line for reservations.
C.U.: Where is the pick-up place?
B.M.: At the park and ride just north of Mill Creek Canyon. Wasatch Crest Shuttle also has a Mt. Dell pick-up to Jeremy Ranch.
C.U.: Did the bike shop make custom runs up the mountain? How did that work?
B.M. We did a few shop runs. We would hire the shuttles when we had a bunch of employees and customers that wanted to ride the Crest trail. We met Wasatch Crest at the standard pick up place that is very close to our shop. Big Rack would come to the shop and pick us up. These shuttles can be reserved at other times from the scheduled runs. I’ll always remember the time a drug representative took you and some of the doctors you work with on a custom shuttle trip. I was able to come along and beat you down the hill for the first time. I think I was 15 or 16 at the time.
C.U.: How was the service from each of the companies?
B.M.: Both companies gave great service. They were reliable and took very good care of my bike. Despite being nearly full, I never felt squeezed and uncomfortable riding up the canyon. The drivers were very courteous. As an added bonus, Big Rack always had a granola bar for the riders.
C.U.: So, was the season pass worth it?
B.M. Absolutely, thanks Dad. Do I get another one this year?