Bicycle Tourism in California
“More than a century ago, cyclists could follow bike roads from the Bay Area, up to Sacramento, down to Los Angeles, or out to Yosemite, on trails rated “good, fair, poor, or very poor” and “level, rolling, hilly, or mountainous.” The California Map for Road Cyclers advises cyclists that if they want to ride down the coast, they’ll likely face P. H. conditions (poor and hilly), and if they’re headed to the mountains, a F.H. path can quickly turn into a P.M.” The Cyclers Guide Road Book, Author George W. Blum
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 ten 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 a spare bike part. Local camp grounds near Valley Springs are Lake Comanche, Pardee and Hogan that cyclists who stay the night before or after their ride.
The California Bicycle Coalition’s Caltrans Sustainable Communities Grant
“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 road 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.
The survey seeks information about supporting cycling tourism and will be used to study the economic value of supporting cycling tourism.
Cal Bike Cycling Tourism Survey
This link allows you to participate in shaping Cycling Tourism in the Central Valley, Foothills and Central Sierras.