May is National Bike Month. Established in 1956 and promoted by the League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Month is a chance to showcase the many benefits of bicycling—and encourage people to give biking a try.
To celebrate, we asked several Water Forum members who are known cycling enthusiasts to share what they love about biking on the American River Parkway. Read their reflections below to learn about their cycling experiences and even some of their favorite spots along the trail.
Then don your Lycra (or not!), grab your cruiser, tandem or custom racer, and let’s get rolling!
Ansel Lundberg, Originator, SMUD (Public Caucus)
I love seeing all kinds of people spending time on the parkway—families, couples, friends, and maybe even a pro athlete every once in a while! I really enjoy how people feel safe to ride, walk and roll there because they don’t have to worry about cars messing with the vibe.
Sometimes I just ride a few miles across the river from downtown, and other times I’ll ride all the way from Northgate to Sutter Street in Folsom. I really enjoy the north-south section that parallels Howe Avenue and Campus Commons golf course. I ride the trail there to get to the grocery store, a soccer game, or the doctor’s office. It makes me thankful to have a separated bike facility so we can feel safe, and also reminds me of the investments we’ve made to protect our community from flooding while also allowing the river to have some freedom when the flows get high.
Generally. I am focused on bicycling only, although sometimes when crossing the bridge at River Bend or Hazel, I will pause to take in the view of the American. Other times I’ll ride out to William Pond or Watt Ave to have a picnic with friends and see how the river is flowing.
In college, I took a few English classes that focused on how we conceptualize “nature” in literature and culture. My studies helped me understand why I love the parkway: It is contained within an urban environment—a reminder that nature isn’t just “out there” or in the wilderness but can be in our backyard and integrated within our built environment as habitat, recreational space, or ecosystem services.
Bill Busath, Director, City of Sacramento Department of Utilities (Water Caucus)
My wife and I are normally biking on the parkway three to four times per week, and log about 40 miles per week on the parkway itself.
The parkway is one of the great treasures of the region, and the proximity to the river makes riding on the parkway very enjoyable for me. Our favorite stretch is William Pond to Negro Bar. We mostly do not stop along the way.
My only concern about the parkway is bike and foot traffic. Walkers and runners are particularly problematic as they are often not on the correct side of the pathway, and they are often not paying attention to how much of the bike path they are taking up.
Overall we love the parkway and are grateful that we have a world-class amenity like this in the area.
Mike Grinstead, Senior Civil Engineer, Sacramento County Water Agency (Water Caucus)
Years ago, I got to commute on the bike trail. That was awesome. Then I moved jobs downtown and take city streets. I bicycle commute most days. About 1,500 miles a year. The commute is four miles one way, so eight miles a day.
I used to ride from the H Street Bridge to Watt every other day when I worked off of Bradshaw. It was so beautiful. I loved the sunrises when you would hear the birds waking up. Had deer run alongside me. Would see the turkey rituals around spring. Dodged a rattlesnake or two. Even in the evening on hot summer days, the river would add a little cool breeze and the trees provided shade. Very different than the part of my ride along Folsom Blvd.
Our family rides to Sac State and up around the Guy West Bridge often. We enjoy stopping in the middle and watching the river in hopes of seeing a shadow of a large fish. If I had to pick a favorite place, I would say Guy West Bridge. The view is awesome, and I have shared smiles from there with my family often.
Anne Sanger, Government Affairs Manager, City of Sacramento Department of Utilities (Water Caucus)
Bicycling on the American River Parkway is a great family activity! I bicycle about once a week, but our family’s annual Mother’s Day ride to Dos Coyotes in Folsom was a great tradition.
We ride for fun, so we stop often. My favorite stretch is William B. Pond, because the river is wide and you can cross the river on the foot bridge.