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.
You seldom see Sacramento on the list of great cycling towns. However, there is an extremely tight-knit community there that has grown up around the bike. First off – the city is almost dead flat. Coupled with a climate that, while hot, is mostly sunny and you’ve got Midtown streets filled with cruisers (Sac definitely seems to prefer coaster brakes to questionably-legal fixies). But the cycling doesn’t stop with the mid-town hipsters. The CX scene in Sacramento is thriving, spurred in part by quirky dirt-track racing. Throw in a scrappy bike polo team and an active bicycle advocacy group and you’ve got a full cycling scene.
Pretty much every new city street project includes the addition of bicycle lanes. The area also sports over 70 miles of mixed use trail along the American River. You can ride all the way from Old Town Sacramento to Folsom on the foothills of the Sierras without riding parallel to a single car.
And speaking of foothills – east of the city provides some amazing hills for the wanna-be mountain goats among you. While your up there, don’t miss trying your hand at Beaty Dr., a local benchmark for area climbers.
I still routinely take my bike back and forth between Sacramento and San Francisco. While riding in SF is exciting and rewarding itself, I always seem to feel a bit more relaxed in Sacramento. It is a great place to just enjoy the ride.