San Joaquin County is a bicycling mecca…dust off those bikes!

 

LSD ("long, slow distance") Rides take cyclists on rides from 12 to 30 miles, as this group explored in a recent ride through Lodi wine country!

Family members gather for the “second Saturday Family Ride”, staged monthly by the San Joaquin Bike Coalition.

Some of you realize that Stockton and San Joaquin County are a bicyclists dream! Our cities and county offer many cycling benefits; lovely weather almost year-round, few hills, a variety of safe and scenic routes to flex those leg muscles on and several clubs that cater to new and veteran cyclists!

Whether it is riding on quiet Lodi-Woodbridge roads through vineyards, biking through quaint tree-lined Stockton streets to the historic downtown waterfront, or cycling along Manteca’s paved biking trail that even offers a bridge that crosses the Stanislaus River into our neighboring county – cyclists rate San Joaquin County as a solid biking destination and one with even greater potential for the future.

The north end of the county offers tours of over 80 wineries to the west, east and north of Lodi – and downtown Lodi as well as old Woodbridge offer a host of places to stop for a beverage or for lunch along the way.  Many of Stockton’s rides are anchored by the University of Pacific campus, that is blessed with the Calaveras Bike Trail that runs east and west through the north side of the campus.  The quaint Miracle Mile is a marvelous place to peddle to on Stockton’s sunny weekends.  Manteca and Tracy also offer special bike trails, and offer a number of places to start, finish and take a biking break, mid-ride.

Some might wonder about safety of cycling on city streets.  A couple of tips: Always anticipate that drivers don’t see you – ride defensively.  Follow the laws, and ride with traffic, not on sidewalks or against traffic.  Wear the brightest colors you can find – day-glo yellow, red or orange.  Invest in a rear-view mirror – mine offers me a lot of peace, as I can see drivers approaching from the rear.  And, study city maps to determine the safest routes.  For Stockton, see the city’s web site, it offers a downloadable map that profiles current and planned bike trails and cycling routes.

Let’s take Stockton, my home town.  I originally got tips from the Stockton Bike Club as to how to ride north-south in the city; today the San Joaquin Bike Coalition offers monthly rides that tour both the city and the county (on the first Saturday each month is an LSD (“long, slow distance”) Ride, that offers short and longer (up to 30 miles) tours of varied portions of the county.  The organization also offers a shorter Family  Ride on the second Saturday, designed for families with kids and more novice riders – those without group-riding experience.  For details, go to the Bike Coalition’s Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/SanJoaquinbike.

A special event is coming soon; the  ‘San Joaquin Bike Fest’, on Saturday, September 27, 9 AM to 2 PM at University of Pacific (formerly the ‘Bike and Hike to End Hunger’)!  Here is your opportunity to tour both the Calaveras Bike Trail West and East routes, and a scenic and historic route to the downtown waterfront.  Join hundreds of families and singles for this fun, family tradition on Saturday, September 27 at the DeRosa Student Center, University of Pacific, 901 Presidents Drive, Stockton. 

Three scenic bicycle routes begin and end at the University, offering choices of routes from 6.5miles, 7.5 miles and 9.5 miles (link them all for a 25 mile ride).  A Kid’s Safety Village and short “activities course” will make a fun diversion for kids from 2 years and up, as well as novice riders!

Continuing this year: Music by ‘Pushers and Thieves’, good food, soft drinks to all participants (a beer garden, offering beer for purchase hosted by Stockton’s Abbey Trappist Pub) will make the Bike Festival event more festive, a true family tradition.  Come in “1980’s retro costumes” if you like, enjoy a display of classic 1980s and retro bikes, and enjoy the spectacle! 

Registration opens at 7 AM; rides begin at 9 and 9:30 AM and music, food and the beer garden will be ready for fun and lively action at 11 AM; the event concludes at 2:00 PM!

This annual event offers fun for entire family; these are scenic bike routes and tours – it is not a timed event.  Best of all, proceeds support the Emergency Food Bank’s nutrition programs and the educational programs of the San Joaquin Bicycle Coalition; so you help end hunger in Stockton & San Joaquin County, and, educate motorists and cyclists about safe bike travel! 

For more information on the Sept. 27 Bike Festival, go to www.sjbikefest.org; or register on-line at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/san-joaquin-bicycle-festival-2014-tickets-12315352551 or call (209) 969.3875 or (209) 464-7369 for more information.  For insight into the San Joaquin Bike Coalition and their monthly rides and activities, go to their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/SanJoaquinbike.  For info on the Stockton Bike Club, go to www.stocktonbikeclub.org.

Next Wednesday, find insight on touring north to Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier, WA, part of the fiery volcanic legacy of the Pacific Northwest.  For more inspiration on other travel destinations in California and the west, see my blog, http//blogs.esanjoaquin.com/valleytravel, or contact me at tviall@msn.com. 

Happy peddling, and enjoy your travels in the West!

 

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