Bicycling Stockton and San Joaquin County miscellany

Matt Beckwith leads a group of LSD riders in Lodi wine country.

Matt Beckwith’s scenic South County ride, about 75 miles, +/-!

My Wednesday blog post, and feature in Thursday’s Record newspaper, offered a host of options on bike riding within San Joaquin County and Stockton.  I missed an offering by the iconic Matt Beckwith, who recently rode every inch of every street and byway in Stockton, logging over 1,100 miles from January to end of March.  Matt passed along his favorite rides:

“There are many great rides around town and the county that I love. One ride I have done more times than I can count is a ride from north Stockton out to the bike path at Weston Ranch and then back to north Stockton. Sure, Stockton is flat but I always try and push hard over Center Street Hill (and again on the way back on El Dorado Hill). The Weston Ranch bike path is just under 3 miles and it’s one of my favorites in town. From north Stockton, it’s a total of about 30 miles.

A few times each year I venture out on my favorite south county ride. From north Stockton, I ride out to French Camp and then head west on Mathews Road. I ride through Tracy and then out to South Kasson Road to the edge of San Joaquin County and then ride through Manteca on my way back to Stockton. This ride is 75-85 miles, depending on if I add a few extra roads, and is a great way to see parts of Tracy and Manteca that many people don’t see”.

Thanks, Matt, great comments!

And, still time to sign up for the Best Ride Ever, on May 9, at Lange Twins Winery in Lodi, choices of 25, 63 and 100 miles, great food, music, SAG support, cool shirt, and proceeds benefit the bike advocacy programs of the San Joaquin Bike Coalition.

And, in the previous article and blog, I inadvertently overlooked a leading local bike club, the Stockton Bike Club.  Each week this club offers a variety of local rides, and just this Sunday staged the Delta Century, which, each year, attracts hundreds of riders and allows the club to donate $7,000 or more to local charities.  You’ll find their web site, below.

My Record article elicited comments from Mr. X in Lodi, who writes:

“Hello Tim.  In response to your letter in this mornings Record, concerning riding a bike.  Even the pic in the paper is incorrect in that it shows people riding outside the white line and not in single file as per the California Vehicle Code.  The pic was taken on De Viers (sic) road which is very narrow and should not allow bikes, most dangerous to cars, bike riders, let alone large trucks that travel that road at harvest time. My main compliant (sic) is bikes are not paying for their share to use the road, as cars pay the lion’s share in the form of a gas tax to keep the road in proper shape for cars.  I myself have had discussions  with bike riders who will ride 2-3 abreast and will not comply with the rules of the road.

The safe cycling rules to live or die by made me laugh. Of all that are posted the most laughable is anyone riding a bike by law is required to stop at a stop sign.  I live on a busy street, at Elm and Lockeford there is a 3 way stop.  In all the years of walking my dogs at that intersection I have never observed anyone on a bike stop, as they continue to peddle through, cars are not much better.  Riding a bike has rules, however rules were ment to be broken and bike riders are excellent at breaking the rules.  Ride on a road that has a bike lane and the chances of reaching your destination improves 100%.   Though I do not agree, a good article for those who observe the rules”.  Regards, Mr. X  in Lodi.

My reply to Mr. X:

A couple additional comments to my earlier “thanks for reading” response:

Cyclists have the same right to ride on roads, as do cars – with the exception of most Interstates.

They’re not required to ride only in bike lanes, or only on roads with bike lanes, nor to the right of the white stripe on any given road.

The majority of our scenic bike options within the county are on roads without bike lanes. I ride them, frequently, myself. If there’s room I ride on the shoulder.  Often, there is no shoulder, or just inches to right of the white line.  I have a right to ride in the lane with traffic, just as does an auto or truck.  I do ride with a rearview mirror – and attempt to be very deferential to vehicles approaching from my rear.

A new state law requires passing motorists to give a rider a three foot margin; happily, most drivers already do that.

I took the picture on DeVries road – all those riders were riding single-file, with the exception of one who was passing on the left-hand side of the single file group. All of that was legal – and those riders maintained single-file riding during the 12 mile distance we rode that day.

Once again, thanks for reading! Tim V.

And, I should have added that bicycles predate the first autos by more than 100 years, and the first roads paved in the USA were paved for the benefit of bicycles!  Bikes add so little wear and tear to the roads that to claim bike riders (about 99% are auto owners and pay gasoline tax) don’t pay their fair share is ludicrous!

For more info: Amgen Tour of California, www.amgentourofcalifornia.com; Bike to Work Week events, www.valleybikecommute.com/the-2015-challenge.html; City of Stockton bike routes, http://www.stocktongov.com/files/BikewaysExistingMap.pdf; San Joaquin Bike Coalition, “like” their Facebook page and see their web site, www.sjbike.org; Stockton Bike Club, www.stocktonbikeclub.org.

Next week, highlights of a recent tour to Yosemite and Hetch Hetchy Valleys.  For other inspirational destinations in CA, see my Record blog: blogs.esanjoaquin.com/valleytravel!

Happy travels in the West!

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