Local journalist and cycling advocate Alan Snel reflects on a life lived on two wheels

Alan Snel

For most folks, Las Vegas’ blazing summer leads to a natural pause in outdoor activity. It’s just too damn hot. But for journalist and bicycle aficionado Alan Snel, triple-digit temps just mean waking up earlier.

Snel’s morning routine has him leaving his Summerlin home at 5:30 a.m. and arriving at the Red Rock Canyon Scenic Drive just after 6 a.m. He bikes the 13-mile loop, which includes some gnarly hills, and he’s home by 8 a.m., ready to face the day.

Sound exhausting? Among other pedal-powered outings, Snel has twice traversed the United States, cycling solo from east to west. Over the past 40 years, he has gone on many other bicycle adventures, written about bicycling at various newspapers and even worked as a bicycle safety advocate.

Snel had long toyed with the idea of writing a book about his life of bicycling. But he was always too busy doing things like founding and running the local news website, with a mission of covering the “convergence of sports, business, stadiums and politics.”

But when COVID-19 ground the world to a halt, even this busy bee found some extra time on his hands. “Nothing like a virus pandemic to get my ass in gear and plow through a lifetime of crazy bicycle stories,” Snel writes in the introduction to Bicycle Man: Life of Journeys.

“I wanted to counter the mojo and the vibe of the pandemic with something that I could have some autonomy over,” Snel explains in a phone interview. “The writing of the book gave me control over my life again.”

Because Bicycle Man draws upon articles he has written over the course of his journalistic career, Snel was able to put the book together relatively quickly. He wrote the introduction in March and the epilogue in May. By June, Snel had self-published the book and was selling it to readers, working hard to market his creation.

Snel’s writing has a friendly, conversational style. It’s an easy read full of color photographs. The book’s modular aspect allows avid readers to plow from beginning to end, and casual ones to sample stand-alone stories. “I regard the book as a kind of buffet of bicycle stories,” Snel says. “If you have a particular interest in a type of bicycle story, you can pick and choose like a buffet.”

Bicycle Man is Snel’s second book. It follows his 2018 memoir, Long Road Back to Las Vegas: How Las Vegas and the Golden Knights Healed a Journalist’s Wounds, which chronicled Snel’s near-death experience of getting hit by a car while cycling in Florida.

If Long Road is a story of recovery, Bicycle Man feels more like a celebration. “Anyone who enjoys bicycling will love and adore the book,” Snel promises. “But it’s more than that. … The stories have a universal appeal to anyone who loves travel and adventure and discovering new things around our country.”

To purchase a copy, email Alan Snel at [email protected]

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