Over a century ago Californians could follow roads from the Pacific to the Sierras and find food, drink and accommodations. In 1895 a cyclist could find roads from the Bay Area to Sacramento or to Yosemite Valley. Today, cyclists in the Central Valley, Motherlode, and Sierras can patch together rides to these destinations.
Currently, there are over 1000 cyclists in regional bike clubs who ride in the Central Valley, Motherlode, and Sierras. Local and regional bike clubs include: Foothill Cycling Group, Erma’s Diner Cycling Group, Golden Chain Cyclists, Stockton Bike Club, Horizon Bike Club, M360, the San Joaquin Bike Coalition, Delta Velo Race Team, Central Valley Velo, Stanislaus County Bike Club, Bear Valley Bike Club, Alta Alpina, and Project HERO San Joaquin. In addition, an estimated 250 individual cyclists or small groups of friends ride and are not a member of a club.
Each year there are eleven bike events that bring over 4,000 cyclists to the Central Valley, Motherlode and Sierras: Peddling Paths to Independence, Party Pardee, Mr. Frogs Ride, Ride4Art, Lodi Tour de Vines, Sierra Century, Ebbett’s Pass Century, Moms Ride, Golden Hills, Almond Blosom Ride and popular Death Ride. And, finally each year over 1,000 Northern California Nevada Cycling Association Bike racers come to Milton or Cooperopolis to race bikes on Easter Weekend and in August.
It’s clear, the rural roads in the Central Valley, Foothils and Sierras are popular for recreational cycling. What’s unknown is the economic impact of encouraging cycling tourism.
The first week in April the Sacramento Bike and Hikers sponsor the Party Pardee, a one day bike event that occurs in Amador and Calaveras Counties. The ride is popular because of the scenic rolling hills surrounding the Tri Dam Lakes. This event has been held for 26 years and registers over 1,400 cyclists. Prior and after this bike event the 40 miles of roads near Valley Springs Tri Dam are visited by bicycle clubs, groups, and families. There are local businesses that cater to cyclists: Starbucks, Hawg Dogs, Ace Hardware, and Subway. Cyclists stop for a coffee, lunch, or buying a spare bike part. Local camp grounds near Valley Springs are Lake Comanche, Pardee and Hogan that cyclists stay the night before or after their ride.
“Promoting Safe Bicycle Travel Opportunities for Bicycle Tourism,” is a strategic collaboration of transportation agencies from five counties: Tuolumne, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Calaveras, and Alpine. The goal of the project is to improve public safety, increase active transportation, and promote economic development through a comprehensive plan to promote bicycle tourism that emphasizes safety improvements on state and local routes across county lines.
The Cycling Tourism Grant is funded by Cal Trans and the final project plan will identify bike routes for enhancing bicycle tourism, with an eye to improving travel conditions for all modes, and for residents’ travel needs as well as those of visitors.
Cal Bike is seeking input from cyclists, business owners, civic leaders, government officals, Bicycle related businesses, and local residents.
This link allows you to participate in shaping Cycling Tourism in the Central Valley, Foothills and Central Sierras.
Dr. Dave Ritchie has made his time honored lost of (mostly) Calaveras County road rides available via pdf. This is a scan–images are pasted below; the pdf file is available via download: Road Bike Rides Around Murphy’s California
This summer weekday rides are being planned in Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties. Experienced cyclists from the MLBC will lead rides along rural county roads exploring gold rush towns of the Motherlode.
Riding Groups of four are determined at start and during ride: Group 1 Club Pace Group and Group 2 Casual Pace Group.
Valley Springs Home Base
All rides will start and end in Valley Springs. Times change monthly. The core ride is Valley Springs Tri dam loop, with ride options for hills and distance. The Tuesday ride has a brief mid ride break option at the Buena Vista Store, Jackson Valley Road. There are three EBMUD porta potties available on Tri Dam Loop. All cycling skill levels invited to the Tuesday Ride Series and E Bikes Class 1 Ebike.
Exploring Motherlode Gold Rush Towns
Thursday Ride Series
Ride Leader, Rob Williams
Valley Springs to Cooperopolis
San Andreas to Angels Camp/Murphy’s
Valley Springs to Jackson/Butte Mountain
Valley Springs to SutterCreek
Valley Springs to Volano
Valley Springs to Ione
MokeHill to Mtn Ranch
Dorrington to Bear Valley
Bear Valley to Ebbetts Pass
Monday and Friday Ride Series
Ride Leaders, Nikki Grimes and Holly DaRold Acevedo
Clavey Road Climb
Groveland to Evergreen Lodge
Jamestown to Tuolumne City loop (34 miles, ~3200′ elevation gain)
Moccasin (almost) to Tuolumne City loop (40 miles)
Jamestown to Moccasin or Moccasin to Jamestown (30 miles)
Jamestown to Moccasin to Coulterville via New Priest Grade loop (or start in Moccasin in order to climb the Grade in cooler part of day). 55 miles, ~4900′ elevation gain)
Groveland to Greeley Hill to Coulterville to Groveland