Taken By Two Wheels: A News Cafe’s Cycling Series

A News Cafe is proud to introduce its first series: “Taken By Two Wheels; Cycling in the North State.”

Whether you’re a daily bike rider or haven’t straddled two wheels since childhood, we think you’ll enjoy this comprehensive look at the Redding area’s love affair with the bicycle, as well as its growing role in our economy, tourism, transportation and recreation. You may be surprised about the key part Shasta County has played in mountain biking’s history, too.

We’re including plenty of maps, photographs, trails and bike routes, plus features about getting back into bicycling, how to take your family along for the ride, and what secrets bike commuters keep while wheeling their way to work.

Readers, we hope you like it! Click on any of the stories below to read “Taken By Two Wheels.” And watch for more — we’ll keep the series rolling through Sept. 20.

Finding Traction for the Redding Area’s Bicyclists

By Paul Shigley
Photographs by Michael Burke

Cycling in the Redding area appears to have reached a potential coming of age.

About 150 miles of paved and unpaved recreational trails invite bicyclists in the Redding area.

The Sacramento River Trail is at the heart of the system, and recent extensions have only increased the trail’s popularity and practical usefulness. Several new routes – including the Dana-to-Downtown bike path, bike lanes on the new Cypress Avenue Bridge, and new bike lanes on College View Drive – provide real possibilities for those seeking an alternative to the car. Earlier this year, the Redding City Council declared “Complete Streets,” in which cars, bicycles and pedestrians … Read more here. 

Age is Just a Number:
Octogenarian Tears Up the Singletrack

by Candace L. Brown

At 81 years of age, Earl Bydalek hasn’t really grasped the concept of slowing down. Well, maybe just a little.

“I just had a hip replacement at Christmas,” he said. “I’m still riding, but more conservatively.”

Bydalek, who moved to Redding from Nebraska when he was 12 and operated Earl’s Auto Electric for 40 years, bicycles weekly with a Friday morning group that circles the Sacramento River Trail and finishes up with coffee at Breaking New Grounds on Read more here.

Doni’s Best Deal on Two Wheels: A Little Red Free Spirit

By Doni Greenberg

My first bike was a shiny, sturdy trike with handlebar streamers. In 1961, it joined my twin’s bike and younger sister’s Radio Flyer wagon in a shipped wooden crate that followed the family during our relocation from Canada to Redding.

By the time I was a third-grader at Cypress Elementary I’d graduated to a Shasta-Lake-blue Schwinn with skinny tires that I wheeled around my neighborhood in Redding’s downtown core. I could park my bike along with other kids’ bikes outside Woolworth’s or Glover’s Toy Store … Read more here.

Blazing the Trail: North State Riders Played an Early Role in Mountain Biking

By Candace L. Brown

The relative newness of mountain biking as a sport might come as a surprise to some. Thirty-plus years ago, the concept of taking a knobby-tired bicycle on dirt trails was just starting to gain ground.

A lot of that ground was in Marin County, California, home to Mt. Tamalpais and other hilly terrain that attracted two-wheel enthusiasts from the Bay Area.

But the North State staked an early claim to the sport as well. In 1981, the Whiskeytown Downhill, a grueling 36-mile cross-country race … Read more here.

Trail Etymology 101: How Did ‘Couch’ & ‘Taco Stand’ Get Their Names, Anyway?

By Candace L. Brown

Before Whiskeytown National Recreation Area gave official names to all its trails, local mountain bikers coined descriptions for their favorite park rides.

These homegrown names – monikers such as the Gas Can, Couch, Recliner, Ice Box, and Satan’s Crack — stuck, making their way into regional biker lexicon and published mountain-biking guides. You won’t, however, find them on Park Service maps, a disconnect that sometimes confuses out-of-town bikers.

“People from the Bay Area used to comment, hey, the names on your map didn’t match the Park Service map,” said Ron Bresolin Jr., a longtime … Read more here.

Author Directs Mountain Bikers to the Best Dirt

Let Max Walter, author of “North State Singletrack – A Guide to the Best Mountain Bike Trails,” guide you on a tour through the Redding area’s vast and varied mountain biking country. Follow Walter’s line from the beginner’s first rides through Oak Bottom, down the more advanced biker’s “Chimney” and up the Westside Trail’s leg workout to the “Top of the World.”
Read more here.

The Best Road Rides: A Fair & Balanced List

Earl Talken, past president of the Shasta Wheelmen, shares the best road rides, whether you need to work off a Lion’s Club size breakfast or you’re riding your birthday in miles — with some to grow on.

With large, easy-to-follow maps and elevations marked, too. Read more here.

A Shared Vision, Spanning Decades: The Redding Area’s Trail System

By Paul Shigley

Back in the 1970s, the only thing resembling a “Sacramento River Trail” in Redding was an old railroad grade on the hillside between the river and some west Redding neighborhoods. Much as today, a thick layer of medium-sized rock covered the former railroad line’s surface. About the only people who ventured there were runners and hikers looking for a hard workout, and the occasional transient.

So when the Redding City Council nearly 35 years ago insisted that the developer of the Lake Redding Estates subdivision provide an easement along the Sacramento River’s northern bank to accommodate a future bike path, the developer “screamed bloody murder…” Read more here.

Q&A with Phil Noll: Family’s Tykes Like Bikes

By Doni Greenberg

Doni Chamberlain-Greenberg interviewed Philip Noll, a renowned bike enthusiast, about how he and his wife Christine have passed on the couple’s love of bicycling to their children.

Originally from the East Coast, Philip and Christine Noll have lived and biked around the Redding area for 10 years … Read more here.

Lesson 1 for Kids Learning to Ride: Ditch those Pesky Pedals

By Kimberly Ross

For most bike riders, graduating from tricycle to two-wheeler involved a set of training wheels — and often, tears, frustration and scraped skin, too. But many parents are finding their kids have an easier and safer transition riding a balance bike instead.

These no-pedal bicycles for toddlers and children go by many names: walking bike, kick bike, push bike. And they can be “ridden” as soon as a child can confidently walk. For Redding mom Heather Waldrop, “It’s the only way to get your kid to learn how to ride a bike…” Read more here.

Mixing with Motorists: Bicycles as Transportation on Shasta County Streets

By Jon Lewis and Paul Shigley

The irony is rich: Anne Wallach Thomas was planning for the next day’s monthly meeting of the Shasta Cascade Bicycle Coalition and, once again, confronting the fact that she would have to drive to the Redding meeting from her Palo Cedro home. “I can’t ride my bike into Redding — I could get killed,” she said. “It drives me crazy, but I see things changing.” Her optimism stems from the fact that there is a Shasta Cascade Bicycling Coalition, and from the progress its members … Read more here.

Dream Bike Projects: What’s Coming? What’s Not?

By Paul Shigley

Will the perfect trail or connecting route you’ve been hoping for ever be built? Checking into a “High Route” through Whiskeytown, a path along the ACID canal, and a possible bike lane on Deschutes Road, Reporter Paul Shigley investigates a dozen projects the cycling community has been dreaming up — and whether they’ll ever be laid out on Shasta County soil. Read more here.

Bicycle Journal: Day Care to Work to Yoga – Sara Sundquist Rides On

Motherhood didn’t stop Redding’s Sara Sundquist from her 12-year bike commuting habit. In fact, she revels in the fuel- and time-savings that comes from riding to her job at Shasta County Public Health, in addition to less hours spent at the gym and more with her baby.

Sundquist’s bike panniers have cradled crock pots full of food, gallons of milk, farmers’ market produce and just about anything else she wants to transport by bike. Read more here.

An Engineer in the Bike Lane: Commuting with Chris Gaido

Caltrans Project Engineer Chris Gaido brings an engineer’s perspective to potholes and storm runoff while he commutes by bike. Gaido knows plenty of “secret bike passageways” through Redding’s streets, and he shares them in between rides to a friend’s lunchtime triathalon training session, peeks at the eagle’s nest near Turtle Bay and Sunday travels to church with his wife and children. His advice: “Don’t take a ‘Not a Through Street’ sign seriously if you’re on your bike.” Read more here.

Tourism, Hotel Officials Hot on the Trail to Market Redding’s Cycling Amenities

By Paul Shigley

When Turtle Bay Exploration Park leaders went looking for a partner to develop and operate a hotel next to the Redding museum, they found an eager partner in San Diego-based Azul Hospitality Group.

Azul, which runs destination resorts and hotels, simply couldn’t pass up the location at what Azul President and CEO Richard Mansur calls “a tremendous trailhead.” To take advantage of the proximity to the Sacramento River Trail, which links to other paved and dirt recreation pathways west and north of Redding, Azul intends to offer bikes for rent and shuttle services for people who would like to pedal from, say, Shasta Dam to the Sundial Bridge. Read more here.

Doni’s Q&A with Cyclist Dave Bartle: ‘Get Outside and Enjoy’

By Doni Greenberg

Doni Chamberlain-Greenberg spoke with Dave Bartle of Redding, someone who offered biking tips when Doni mentioned she was thinking of riding a bike again.

Doni wondered if it’s true what they say about riding a bike – that once you learn, you never forget. If anyone knew the answer, Bartle would. Read more here.

First, You Need a Bike: Cruiser, Road, Mountain or Hybrid?

By Alisha Gorder

Whether you have never owned a bike or are a seasoned rider, today’s vast array of bike options can overwhelm someone who’s decided to buy a new bike.

Thankfully, Redding boasts several solid bike shops to lead customers in the right direction … Read more here.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.

aNewsCafe.com staff

Doni Chamberlain and R.V. Scheide are both award-winning North State journalists.

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