TOP TEN BIKE RIDES IN CALIFORNIA

My favorite locations to ride a bike today and someday soon!

San Francisco Bay Bridge West Span Path

When the new Bay Bridge East Span opened in 2013, pedestrians and bicyclists fell in love with the 15-foot-wide shared-use pathway that stretched initially from Oakland to the iconic single tower and, since 2016, all the way to Yerba Buena Island.

BATA, Caltrans and a multidisciplinary team of engineers and consultants are currently studying whether we can eventually extend this path—enjoyed by thousands of residents and visitors every year —around the island and across the West Span of the bridge into downtown San Francisco.

In addition to providing a continuous bike/pedestrian route from Oakland to San Francisco, helping to ease commute traffic as people switch from cars to bicycles, the project also would improve access to the West Span for Caltrans maintenance crews, thereby reducing the need for lane closures on the historic bridge.

Davis Bike Loop

The Davis Bike Loop is an example of how including biking and walking into a city’s design can enhance the community. The approximately 12-mile route connects ten interconnecting parklands known as The Greenbelt in the college town of Davis. The path is suitable for walking, jogging or bicycling through the parks and quiet residential neighborhoods.

The route was designed to be safe and pleasant, but not fast, and easy enough to navigate that parents can send their kids across town for a music lesson on a safe, easy-to-follow route. It is suitable for casual bicyclists, who don’t mind going slow and yielding to pedestrians, young riders, old riders, and new riders. It is also great for experienced riders who want a slow, comfortable ride on a sunny day. It connects the town regions and creates a sense of community.

Sacramento, American River Bike and Johnny Cash Bike Trails

The Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail (or American River Bike Trail) is a 32-mile long paved multi-use pathway that runs between the confluence of the Sacramento River with the American River, just north of downtown Sacramento, California, and Beal’s Point at Folsom Lake, north of Folsom. Not only is it a major recreational destination that goes through oak forests and grasslands, but it’s an artery for commuter cyclists, helping reduce fossil fuel usage and air pollution. The trail is considered one of the longest paved purpose-built bike trails in the country.

Oakland Slow Streets

The best antidote to sitting at home worrying about the pandemic is to get outside and get some exercise. Slow Streets in Oakland turned neighborhood streets into safe zones for kids and adults to play while keeping safely socially distanced. They also served as crucial connections for essential workers to commute safely by bike. Californians rediscovered how joyful their neighborhoods could be once speeding cars were taken out of the equation. We suspect they will not want to go back to normal.

San Francisco, Market Street

The Better Market Street project in San Francisco’s business district, is an exciting vision of how repair and replacement of old infrastructure can lead to a renaissance of an area.

When the 2.2 mile-long project is complete, Market Street—San Francisco’s busiest pedestrian street, bicycle thoroughfare, and transit corridor—will be transformed. A renewed Market Street, designed for cyclists and pedestrians to be key users, will anchor neighborhoods, link public open spaces, and connect the city’s Civic Center with cultural, social, convention, tourism, and retail destinations, as well as Salesforce Transit Center, the regional transit hub. It will be a place to stop and spend time, meet friends, watch people while sitting in a café, or just stroll and take in the scene.

San Rafael Bridge

The bicycle and pedestrian path across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge opened on November 16, 2019, enabling cyclists and pedestrians to take in breathtaking views of San Francisco Bay while traveling on the upper deck of the bridge between Marin and Contra Costa counties. With the opening of the new six-mile path, the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge is now part of the San Francisco Bay Trail, connecting the Bay Trail between Contra Costa and Marin counties, and adding another link to the future 500-mile bicycle and hiking network benefits for residents in both counties.

Shasta Bike Depot and the Downtown Connector Loop Trail

Take a bike tour and experience how active transportation and clean mobility are being employed in a transformative way to build prosperity for all people in Redding and Shasta County. In recent years local agencies and community organizations have come together like never before with remarkable public-private-nonprofit collaboration. The scope of new projects is transformational, deliberately centered-in and serving low-income people in a designated Opportunity Zone. The coordinated investments include two of the state’s largest Sustainable Community grants with complimentary affordable housing, active transportation, transit, and urban greening improvements, funded by California Climate Investments.

Shasta Bike Depot serves as a bike station, offers trail tourism activities and will soon offer Redding Bikeshare with a full fleet of electric bikes. The Depot is located adjacent to the Redding Transit Center, soon to be connected to the Sacramento Transit Center and beyond with clean, electric long-range buses. The Depot is on a protected urban trail loop that seeks to connect more than 68,000 people in and out of Downtown walking and biking. This part urban-trail, part river-trail is also the backbone of the Redding Cultural District, featuring a Calatrava-designed Sundial Bridge enticing visitors and residents to walk and bike over the Sacramento River.

The California Central Valley Bikeways Project

This project will facilitate a safe and equitable bike network system in California’s Central Valley. It will provide easy access to future high speed rail stations and further the goal of providing sustainable mobility throughout the state. Although it’s still in the planning stages, the promise to connect rural areas to urban transportation hubs is exciting..

San Diego Bike Share Program

Hopping on a bike in San Diego will get easier in 2021. In a multi-year agreement, Discover credit card company will sponsor program operator DecoBike in a program that will transform the city’s public bike share program. Expect a new mobile app, an enhanced membership fob, and, most important, more bikes!

“The actions we take today will make a big difference tomorrow,” said San Diego Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. “Discover’s support of the San Diego bike share program will enable improvements to the system and allow for its continued expansion. Increasing commuter bicycling opportunities is an important goal of our Climate Action Plan. Also, the concentration of bike share locations in the urban core will play an important part in the Downtown Mobility Plan, which will enhance bicycle safety and increase ridership.”

Napa Vine Trail

The Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition is a grass-roots nonprofit with a vision to build a walking/biking trail system to connect the entire Napa Valley–physically, artistically, and culturally. The goal is to build 47 safe and scenic miles of level, paved, family-friendly, dog-friendly, free-access Class I trail, stretching from the Vallejo Ferry to Calistoga.

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40 Years of Cycling the California Alps

In a normal year, thirteen bike events are held in Caltrans District 10, in the Central Valley, Motherlode and the Central Sierras. This year only one bike event was held before Shelter in Place.

Prior, to the 2020 Covid Pandemic the bike events held in Caltrans District 10 included, Mr. Frogs Ride, RideandWalk4Art, Party Pardee, Delta Century, Pedaling Paths to Independence, Mom’s Ride, Almond Blossom Century, Golden Hills, Ebbett’s Pass Century, Alta Alpina Challenge, Best Ride, the Death Ride and Tour delle Vigne.

Bike events support and encourage cycling tourism in the five Bike Valley to Sierra county partnerships. Bike events use local bike routes that become popular bike riding destinations before and after the event is held.

This summer, CalBike, the Motherlode Bicycle Coalition and Cycle California Magazine held three virtual meetings with Caltrans District 10 Bike Event Organizers to discuss rescheduling bike events post Covid 19. At the August meeting, USA Cycling presented a risk assessment tool, Covid 19, guidelines to design event protocols for rescheduling bike events.

The most prestigious bike event In Caltrans District 10 is the annual Death Ride. This ride is celebrating it’s 40th year and is scheduled for July 17, 2021.

The Death Ride started in 1978 when five cyclists decided to bike ride the California Alps in one day, with just the support of friends and family following along in a vehicle. The event quickly grew to worldwide recognition in the cycling community, and is a sought-after event for those looking for a serious challenge.Today, the ride still caters to the elite mountain cyclists, but also offers a range of challenge levels, from one pass to up to 5* mountain passes. The event is not only a sought-after cycling venue, it is the primary fundraiser of the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center, whose mission is to promote business prosperity, tourism marketing, and a healthy community for Alpine County and its neighbors.

https://californiaalpscycling.bike/category/deathride/

This year the Death Ride Director is Bike the West Director and Death Ride veteran Curtis Fong.

The Death Ride contributes important revenue to Alpine County. Additionally, cyclists visit Alpine County during summer, spring, and fall to cycle the California Alps. Strava bike riding data showed that Alpine County had over 3,000 cyclists ride 9,000 bike rides in 2020. Ninety six percent of the cyclists were visitors to Alpine County.

Bike events generate a large influx of cash in a short period of time. Bike event participants often stay before and after the bike events staying in local hotels, campgrounds, and rentals. Participants in the one-day America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride circling Lake Tahoe spend an average of 2.5 days and $641 per day.

However, bike events bring their share of complications. Permitting from local counties is an issue, depending on the size of the event, the impact of the desired route, and the agencies involved. And now, with the Covid Pandemic public health department’s will be part of the permitting process.

All bike events raise funds for local charities and share proceeds with local nonprofit organizations.

RideandWalk4Art raises funds for public school arts education programs, the Delta Century proceeds support important Stockton Charities and the Death Ride in the past contributed $90,000.00 back into community businesses and nonprofits, including the Alpine County Fire Safe Council and Alpine County Fish & Game.

Bike Events Held in Caltrans District 10

Most bike event organizers have set dates for rescheduling in 2021, see bike event links below for updates.

Death Ride, https://deathride.com/

Mr. Frogs Ride, http://www.mrfrogswildride.org/

RideandWalk4Art, https://www.rideandwalk4art.com/

Party Pardee, https://www.active.com/ione-ca/cycling/party-pardee-2021

Delta Century, http://stocktonbikeclub.org/

Pedaling Paths to Independence, https://www.pedalingpaths.com/

Mom’s Ride, https://rideformom.com/

Almond Blossom Century, http://almondblossomtimedcentury.blogspot.com/

Golden Hills, https://stancobike.wildapricot.org/

Ebbett’s Pass Century, https://www.bvadventures.com/ebbetts-pass-century

Alta Alpina Challenge, https://www.altaalpina.org/challenge/

Tour delle Vine, https://www.tourdellevigne.com/

Best Ride, https://www.sjbike.org/events2/2018/5/12/the-best-ride-ever-ride-2018

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Cycling Tourism in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties

In 2018, Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties set out to make the Central Coast a premier national and international bicycle destination, attracting tourists, and improving the quality of life for residents. And, today a cycling tourist can go to https://cyclecalcoast.com and find suggested bike routes, accommodations, amenities, bike friendly businesses, local attractions and updated news about bike riding along the California Coast.

The goals established in 2018 by Santa Barbara and Ventura bike clubs, elected officials, transportation planners and officials helped make these counties a model for bike tourism.

  • Make Santa Barbara and Ventura counties premier bicycle tourism destinations and facilitate cycling along the California coast
  • Improve the safety, livability, and quality of life of our communities by improving the bicycling environment for local commuting and recreational uses
  • Convene a unique coalition of businesses, tourism, advocacy, and government organizations to improve bicycling in our area and communicate opportunities for bicycle-centered adventures
  • Develop a sustainable structure for cycleCalCoast to ensure long-term success

My wife and I have traveled to Santa Barbara several times to ride our bikes for a weekend mini vacation. I realize that Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties had a vision for creating a bike network of bike trails and lanes. It is a premier bike destination. And, we will return to ride the California Coast when it is safe to travel again.

Looking at the what made Cycle the California Coast successful will help our five county partners create Bike Valley to Sierra as a cycling destination. The first step is to identify a bike loop, or several bike route options.

This is the Cycle the California Coast Initial Bike Route that helped make this region a cycling destination.

https://cyclecalcoast.com/rides/the-grand-loop/

The partners in Bike Valley to Sierra are currently, looking at bike popular bike routes. The following are routes based on my cycling experience:

San Joaquin, Woodbridge to Thornton

Stanislaus, Modesto to Oakdale

Calaveras, Tri Dam Loop from Valley Springs

Tuolumne, Cherry Lake to Evergreen Lodge

Alpine, Markleeville to Ebbetts Pass

As Outreach Manager for the CalBike Cycling Tourism Study I contacted over fifty civic leaders, government officials, friendly bike business owners, bike club leaders and transportation planners about cycling tourism. One memorable conversation was with Kim MacFarlane, Tuolumne County Public Works,Tanya Allen and David Ruby, Tuolumne County Transportation Engineers. This phone call lasted 90 minutes! We talked about creating a bike riding network for all types of bicycle riding. We discussed bike lanes, routes to school, bike lanes for commuting to work or shopping. And, finally routes to link popular recreational bikes from downtown Sonora. In retrospect, I suspect this conversation was similar to the vision setting in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties.

Our vision for Bike Valley to Sierra begins with our conversations to make our region a premier cycling destination.

The Motherlode Bicycle Coalition

There are four bicycle coalition’s in Caltrans District 10: Bike Lodi, California Alps Cycling, San Joaquin Bike Coalition and the Modesto Bike Advisory. These bike advocacy organizations all have a common goal to promote safe, healthy and accessible bike riding.

The Motherlode Bicycle Coalition represents Amador, Apline, Calaveras, Tuolumne and Mariposa Counties. Jack Becker, former Bakersfield Bike Coalition Executive Director is the MLBC Executive Director. The MLBC Board Members are Carl Baker, Nikki Grimes, Dwight Follen, Robert Leibold, Carolyn Ryder, and Holly Azevedo.

The Motherlode Bicycle Coalition is an educational project of the California Bicycle Coalition. https://www.calbike.org/

Our affiliation with CalBike includes advocating and promoting cycling tourism in our five Motherlode Counties. Our Board Members have suggested bike routes for Bike Valley to Sierra, participated in conversations with local civic leaders, business owners, and government officials about the economic benefits of promoting our region as a cycling destination.

The 2020 End of Year MLBC Newsletter is below and highlights our accomplishments and plans for 2021.


The bicycle coalition’s in Caltrans District 10 recently requested to meet with the newly appointed Deputy District Director for Planning, Marlon Regisford. We hope to form a partnership that insures that all Highway and Caltrans road improvements support safe bicycle travel.


https://bikelodi.weebly.com/

https://californiaalpscycling.bike/

https://www.sjbike.org/

http://www.stancog.org/bpac-committee.shtm

CalBike, Bike Davis, Chico Velo, Motherlode Bicycle Coalition and Sacramento Area Bike Advocates speaking with Congressman John Garamendi about The Invest In America Act, a Federal Transportation Infrastructure Plan, including making roads safe for all users pedestrians and bicyclist.

December 12, 2020

Dear Motherlode Bicycle Coalition Members,

Thanks for being a member!

We hope this newsletter finds you safe, outside, riding and healthy. The MLBC Board Members are optimistic about the new year. We are committed to making our roads safe for bike riding and being a public partner in all Caltrans District 10 and county public work road projects.

Our 2021 scheduled bike ride plans include Covid safety procedures in place and a continued commitment to exploring the Gold Rush Towns in the Motherlode.

The new year is looking better than March 2020 when all things bike related were cancelled: RideandWalk4Art, Monthly Pop Up bike rides in Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties and MLBC in person board meetings.

We did meet as a Board using Zoom to discuss advocacy actions that would support safe bike routes. Also, we shared our collective voice with Caltrans and county transportation agencies.

Active Transportation Plans were updated with your comments and suggestions.

We held our holiday party on Zoom which included a presentation from Youth Bike America. Our special guests included SFUSD Teacher Andy Padlo, a Senior Projects Teacher from the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts and three recent graduates: Emmet Forde, Dasha Yurkevich and Julian Jordan. They shared their Bike Ride Across America during the summer of 2020!

2020 Highlights

Provided comments to improve the Active Transportation Plans in Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties.

Provided comments to Caltrans District 10 SHOPP Improvements

Conducted summer Bike Event Director’s Meetings, co-sponsored by Cycle California Magazine, to plan bike events post Covid 19.

Submitted Caltrans and county road maintenance requests on Murphys Grade, Highway 4, and Highway 108.

Supported CalBike Cycling Tourism Study to improve and encourage recreational biking in the Motherlode. https://www.bikevalleytosierra.com/about

2021 Agenda

Advocate for the formation of a Caltrans District 10 Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

Reschedule Monthly Pop up Bike Rides led by MLBC Board Members featuring our favorite Gold Rush rides.

Organize youth bikes rodeos in the Motherlode.

Take an active role in supporting the California Bicycle Coalition 2021 Advocacy Agenda.

Come ride with us! Become a MLBC Member in 2021.

With your energy, experience, and membership, we can work together to:

● Build bicycle-friendly communities

● Break down barriers to cycling

● Improve air quality and public health

● Educate cyclists and motorists on Sharing the Road

● Promote bike rides and routes in the Motherlode

● Organize more bicycle events to promote cycling, increase public awareness, and have fun.

Safe riding in the California Foothills in 2021

Motherlode Bicycle Coalition Board Members

Rob Williams

Carl Baker

Jack Becker

Nikki Grimes

Robert Leibold

Dwight Follen

Carolyn Ryder

MLBC End of Year Newsletter

The Motherlode

December 15, 2020

Dear Motherlode Bicycle Coalition Members,

Thanks for being a member!

We hope this newsletter finds you safe, outside, riding and healthy. The MLBC Board Members are optimistic about the new year. We are committed to making our roads safe for bike riding and being a public partner in all Caltrans District 10 and county public work road projects. 

Our 2021 scheduled bike ride plans include Covid safety procedures in place and a continued commitment to exploring the Gold Rush Towns in the Motherlode.

The new year is looking better than March 2020 when all things bike related were cancelled: RideandWalk4Art, Monthly Pop Up bike rides in Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties and MLBC in person board meetings. 

We did meet as a Board using Zoom to discuss advocacy actions that would support safe bike routes. Also, we shared our collective voice with Caltrans and county transportation agencies. 

Active Transportation Plans were updated with your comments and suggestions.

We held our holiday party on Zoom which included a presentation from Youth Bike America. Our special guests included SFUSD Teacher Andy Padlo, a Senior Projects Teacher from the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts and three recent graduates: Emmet Forde, Dasha Yurkevich and Julian Jordan. They shared their Bike Ride Across America during the summer of 2020!

2020 Highlights

Provided comments to improve the Active Transportation Plans in Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties.

Provided comments to Caltrans District 10 SHOPP Improvements 

Conducted summer Bike Event Director’s Meetings, co-sponsored by Cycle California Magazine, to plan bike events post Covid 19.

Submitted Caltrans and county road maintenance requests on Murphys Grade, Highway 4, and Highway 108.

Supported CalBike Cycling Tourism Study to improve and encourage recreational biking in the Motherlode.  https://www.bikevalleytosierra.com/about

2021 Agenda

Advocate for the formation of a Caltrans District 10 Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

Reschedule Monthly Pop up Bike Rides led by MLBC Board Members featuring our favorite Gold Rush rides.

Organize youth bikes rodeos in the Motherlode.

Take an active role in supporting the California Bicycle Coalition 2021 Advocacy Agenda.

Come ride with us! Become a MLBC Member in 2021

With your energy, experience, and membership, we can work together to:

● Build bicycle-friendly communities

● Break down barriers to cycling

● Improve air quality and public health

● Educate cyclists and motorists on Sharing the Road

● Promote bike rides and routes in the Motherlode

● Organize more bicycle events to promote cycling, increase public awareness, and have fun.

Safe riding in the California Foothills in 2021

Motherlode Bicycle Coalition Board Members 

Rob Williams

Carl Baker

Jack Becker

Nikki Grimes

Robert Leibold

Dwight Follen 

Carolyn Ryder

Exploring the Gold Country

Visit California Now Podcast

Much of California’s history is inextricably tied to the region that lies between the San Francisco Bay Area and the Sierra Foothills. Gold Country takes its name from the famous historical period that kicked off in 1848 with a Coloma carpenter’s discovery of gold flakes in the American River. Today, this thriving collection of river cities and towns offers visitors insight into the past as well as a delicious taste of the present.

On this episode of the California Now Podcast, host Soterios Johnson uncovers some of the best attractions Gold Country has to offer, starting with a quick history lesson from Sacramento City Historian Marcia Eymann. She talks about the thriving Native American communities of the pre-Gold Rush era, and continues on to discuss the Sacramento of today, a port city known as America’s Farm-to-Fork Capital.

Johnson next speaks with travel blogger Preethi Chandrasekhar to get a first-time visitor’s perspective of the region. Chandrasekhar immersed herself in Gold Country, visiting historic hotels, unique shopping destinations, and unforgettable outdoor spaces. Finally, Johnson connects with travel insider Nick Leonti, who offers up an impressive rundown of good eats—including craft beer and craft cider— that dot Sacramento and surrounding towns.

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/california-now-podcast/id1378693754?i=1000454259022

Motherlode Attractions and Restaurants
Murphys

Murphys Pour House

Newsome Harlow Wines

Ironstone Vineyards

Moon Alley

Calaveras Big Trees State Park

Sonora

Tuolumne County

Dragoon Gulch Trail

Columbia

Columbia Historic State Park

The Royal Olive Manor

Diamondback Grill

El Arroyo Cantina and Mexican Kitchen

Jamestown

The Service Station

National Hotel and Restaurant

Yosemite National Park

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