Bicycling in your county and Sierra foothills; and take in the Sea Otter Classic!

Stockton Bike Club members crest Patterson Pass on recent ride.

Stockton Bike Club members at start of February’s Pedaling Paths to Independence ride.
LSD (long, slow distance) riders head north on Thornton Road.
Cross country cyclists in Ft. Ord National Monument backcountry, part of the Sea Otter Classic.
SJBC riders stop at Consumnes River Farms, Thornton, to sample olive oil.
Thousands of consumers course through the huge Sea Otter Classic trade fair.
Sea Otter Classic dual slalom course offers great spectator viewing.

Bike touring in your county and nearby foothills, and take in the Sea Otter Classic

With spring in full-bloom, residents of San Joaquin County are contemplating getting outside and hitting the road on their road or trail bikes. A host of options await cyclists, with many local rides each month, the huge Sea Otter Bike Classic coming mid-April to Laguna Seca Regional Park near Monterey and the Amgen Tour of California planning a Stockton visit in May. So, dust off those bikes, air up the tires and prepare to ride. Two local bike clubs offer a wealth of opportunities to ride locally or regionally, meet fellow cyclists and learn new cycling insights.

The Stockton Bike Club is a group of enthusiastic recreational cyclists. Most of club rides start in San Joaquin, Calaveras and Amador counties, where quiet roads through scenic country are the norm. The club has five scheduled club rides each week (plus holidays). Tuesday’s start in Lockeford, while Thursday begins in Wallace and is fairly hilly. Saturday’s ride tends to be hilly and challenging with longer options available for the mileage junkies, while Sunday’s ride is generally a flat to rolling route and starts closer to Stockton. And now that spring is here, the Club has a Wednesday ‘after work’ ride from Bear Creek High School.

You do not need to be a member of the club to join the rides. We welcome new riders, and unless you are a complete beginner you will probably be fine and have an enjoyable time. If you are looking for some new roads to ride and new folks to ride with, consider riding with (and joining) the Stockton Bicycle Club, stocktonbikeclub.org/ or Stockton Bicycle Club on Facebook. You’ll find the monthly Ride Zone newsletter, ride schedule and info about joining the Club.

The San Joaquin Bike Coalition offers its own selection of rides right in Stockton, offering over a dozen rides each month. Their LSD (Long, Slow, Distance) Ride continues under Matt Beckwith’s leadership, with a group gathering at Bear Creek High School the first Saturday each month, starting on McNabb Street, north edge of campus.

Four weekly rides, most led by Tyler Young (formerly of Performance Bikes) are offered. Saturday mornings the “Fun” group ride meets at 9:00 AM at Empresso Coffee in College Square on Pershing, and heads out for roughly a 13 mile jaunt through Stockton. This is a “no drop” ride, suitable for anyone looking to get involved with group riding.

On Sundays, the Intermediate/Advanced Roadie ride meets on McNabb Street at Bear Creek High School and heads out into the countryside. Route varies, but is typically a faster paced, 40+ mile group ride. For those with a need for speed, the Roadie Night Ride meets at Empresso every Tuesday at 6:30 PM, and averages 20 miles at a 17-19mph pace. Finally, a Wednesday Dirt Ride leaves at 3 PM from Empresso.

Popular monthly Full Moon Rides will also resume on April 20th, leaving from Janet Leigh Plaza in downtown at 6 PM. This ride is suitable for all ages, abilities, and bikes. May is National Bike Month, and SJBC presents the Best Ride Ever Ride on May 11th; the Amgen Tour’s return to Stockton on May 14th, and Stockton’s annual Bike to Work Day celebration is set for May 15th.

Details on each ride can be found on SJBC’s website, sjbike.org. Specific ride routes and details are shared weekly in our facebook group, facebook.com/groups/sjbikecoalition/. Stockton and the surrounding area are making progress at becoming more bicycle friendly. SJBC welcomes input, feedback, and volunteers to help with all of these efforts and rides and can be reached at sjbikecoalition@gmail.com.

The 29th annual Sea Otter Classic takes place April 11-14, 2019 at the Laguna Seca Recreation Area, Monterey, California. The four-day Sea Otter, a “Celebration of Cycling”, hosts nearly 9,000 professional and amateur athletes and 72,000 fans. Location is just a 2.5 hour drive from San Joaquin County, and presents cycling fans with a host of races to watch, demo bikes to try out and access to a huge trade fair offering new and proven goodies for cycling enthusiasts.

Nearly 1000 brands will be represented at the Sea Otter Classic, cycling’s largest consumer trade show. Companies travel from as far away as Europe, Australia, China, and South Africa to exhibit. Nearly 40 e-bike companies will be in attendance; over 800 demo bikes will be on hand for consumers to try out. Notes Sarah Timleck, Expo Sales and Marketing Director for the Sea Otter Classic, “Facility improvements by Monterey County allowed us to significantly increase our expo footprint; cyclists, campers, children, families and more come together to enjoy this four-day festival”. For more information, visit seaotterclassic.com or call (800) 218-8411.

And, mark your calendars to attend the Amgen Tour of California in Stockton, May 14th.

Read more from Tim’s travel blog, follow him on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter; or, email him at tviall@msn.com. Happy cycling in the west!

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