I seem to have become my own “Tale of two cities.” I’ve got one foot forever in Sacramento, and the other in San Francisco. Being a man of two cities, I have an interesting perspective on the cycling in both of them. I’m continually comparing and contrasting them both. I keep coming back to on inescapable conclusion: Sacramento is an awesome cycling town.
Sacramento was treated to some fantastic pro racing as the modified stage 2 course of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California offered 3 circuits around the state capitol building. A breakaway of 4 riders struggled to stay ahead of the peloton, but were caught before rolling onto the streets of California’s capitol city, where huge crowds waited despite the threat of poor weather.
In response to anticipated weather conditions, officials have moved the start of stage 2 of the 2011 mgen Tour of California to Nevada City, CA. The start time has also been delayed to 12:15 Pacific Time. This essentially moves the start along the original route to the location and time it was expected to pass the new start location, thus allowing the rest of the 61 miles to follow the originally planned route.
The route was expected to leave Squaw Valley and pass over Donner Pass. However, the threat of more winter-like conditions again raised concerns for the safety of riders, spectators and crew, prompting this change.
If you are planning on attending the finish of Stage 2 of the Amgen Tour of California. Sacramento can be tricky it park in and negotiate on a good weekend day. Throw in all of the traffic for a major cycling event and you’re likely to find yourself walking miles even if you do drive downtown. However, Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA) are helping to solve this problem for you.
According to an Examiner.com article, Sacramento is ready to start adding more painted bike lanes to downtown Sacramento streets over the next 18 months.
The plans aim to create an environment downtown which resembles the bike-friendly portions of midtown, where cycling is popular and bikeways are more common.
This seems in line with what appears to be a growing trend of bike-friendliness throughout the region.
Two Sacramento City Council members – Steve Cohn and Jay Schenirer – are working with local SABA members to look into closing streets select streets to motor vehicle traffic in May, according to a Sacramento Bee report. The idea is called a Ciclovia, and most definitely is not new. The idea is to create a corridor in a city where cars are prohibited, opening up the space to cyclists, street vendors, pedestrians, etc. The target month of May also coincides with May is Bike Month.
Oakland has enjoyed some apparent success with their Oaklavia:
Email requests for comment to both Jay Schenirer and Steve Cohn have gone unanswered at the time of this writing.
The goal is a velodrome – a smooth surfaced track with banked corners used for bicycle racing. Unlike outdoor road or stage bicycle races – more commonly known in mainstream America – track races are much friendlier to spectators. In road or stage races, the setting is outdoors and you can’t see the riders until they pass by your vantage point. In some race formats – like the Tour de France – that happens exactly once.
In contrast, track racing takes place in a stadium-like environment, where spectators can watch all of the action as it unfolds.
The venue worked well, providing food and drink for the adults, along with a comfortable location for the many children that also came out with their parents. The races saw brother pitted against brother, and even a national track champion was in attendance.
Parked out front of the coffee shop this afternoon I noticed not one but three Sacramento Police Department bicycles. All were different makes and models, but all were mountain bikes. The three officers had stopped for a cup of coffee. Apparently (but not surprisingly) officers on bicycles are much healthier than their car-bound brethren. There was not a doughnut in a single one of their hands – even a stereotypical one.
All of them were similiarly equipped – with lights and a siren on the handlebars.