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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Sacramento: Cycle City?

Image of bicyclist in SacramentoFrom the Sacramento Bee, 08.12.07:

Cycle City?
Sacramento streets gearing up for cruisers and commuters

Is it possible that sprawling, car-oriented Sacramento is becoming a bicycling town? A larger version of Davis?

Health writer and dedicated Sacramento cyclist Peter Jacobsen thinks so. To make his case, he points to a key "indicator species," the female cyclist. Their numbers on the road, he argues, are a direct measure of the perceived safety of cycling and its likelihood to catch on with the general population.

Using this test, one can make the case that Sacramento is on the verge of becoming a cycling town, with midtown as its incubator. Cycling by both sexes is much in evidence in midtown, and it has a decidedly retro, back-to-the-future look...

How will we know when Sacramento has joined the ranks of bike-friendly towns such as Corvallis? Well, for starters, when getting from one place to another by bicycle is no longer a kind of connect-the-dots puzzle, when those hardy two-wheeled commuters at your office stop talking about the "safest" routes to work, and when, as in Corvallis, you don't have to stop and think about the "safest" route to your local pizza place or coffee house. When you get there, you'll find lots of other parked bikes; and on the way, you'll see lots of people pedaling on the streets. (Read more.)
As a Sacramentan (since February), I can affirm that Sacramento is a great bicycling community. Truly underappreciated. (Sacramento suffers from a troubling excess of humility.) The U.S. Census cited by Holt showed that Sacramento has the same rate of cycling as San Francisco (1.8 percent, subject to debate.)

In addition to great streets in the older core area (Downtown, Midtown, East Sac), Sacramento has arguably the country's premier cycling facility, the scenic 30-odd mile Class I American River Bike Trail.

Image: Web capture.
Visit: Paul Dorn's Bike Commuting Tips


Yokota Fritz said...

I ran across some research somewhere that argued for the case that the percentage of female cyclists is a good indicator of how "safe" cycling is perceived to be. I think it's a compelling idea.

Dr. Logan said...

I think Sac ranks 6th in the country for % of bike commuters. Not too shabby.

Elly said...

I lived, and biked, in Sacramento for a month a few years back and was blown away by the cycling infrastructure. Bike lanes everywhere...and on both sides of one way streets! An amazing off-road bike path that took me straight to the office in the burbs. And cyclists everywhere, too.

I found myself missing some Portland amenities, too, though, like traffic circles that don't give you the squeeze, drivers who use turn signals and aren't bent on running you down, bike boulevards, a really powerful set of advocates and activists, strong allies in the government, and of course our beloved cycling culture.

In Sac there were (that I knew of) one major bike advocate (Walt Seifert of SABA), a Wheelpersons club, and a healthy but small bikey group of earnest punk kids who showed up every month for Critical Mass despite complete incomprehension and intolerance by the police. A friend of mine was hit by an uninsured driver while biking around, and there was no support network or even information about her rights readily available, and only one bikey lawyer in town (a roadie, who wasn't interested in her case).

I'd love to know about any progress that's being made... We all have so far to go!

Anonymous said...

Since moving to Sac from Fresno, I have been commuting most days the temperature is below 90. I ride the ART part way and city streets the rest and I must say, Sac is much safer than Fresno or Kansas City (where I grew up). We are so happy to have the bike facilities here, and it saves enough $$ in gas that I can keep my truck for mountain use on the weekends :)

Jenaye - TNT Tri Team Manager said...

I work for Team In Training Sacramento Cycle Team and we have watched our Cycle Team grow over the past few years. More people are interested in cycling and Sacramento has created great bike trails and bike lanes.

We primarily train beginner to advanced cyclists for century rides (America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride and El Tour de Tucson) while raising funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I have noticed our Cycle Team has not only trained for these century rides, but most riders have made cycling a habit and are commuting or cycling to weekend activities.

Sacramento has done a great job improving bike trails and bike lanes and I hope as more people get on their bikes, the city continues to make improvements. We’re moving in the right direction!

For more information on the Team In Training Cycle Team contact Jenaye Shepherd at 916-348-1793 or