Bringing the bike revolution to Sacramento

Okay, not really. James and I bringing our bikes to Sacramento and biking all around does not actually engender a bike revolution. But it was still pretty awesome.

(downtown Sacramento as seen from our bikes on the super awesome River Walk)

Generally going home to Sacramento means a lot of driving, simply because that’s what everyone does in Sacramento. With its tangle of sprawling suburbs and the fact that our families are spread to various far-flung ends of them, Sacramento just screams “get in your car!” But I was determined to not let that be the case this time, especially because with Thanksgiving in the mix, I was really not psyched about the idea of spending the week eating and sitting on my ass. That combination makes me grumpy.

So! With a borrowed bike rack strapped to our 42mpg rental car, we (sort of) brought the bike revolution to Sacramento. And actually, it kind of worked. We spent a good day biking around Natomas (one of those Sacto suburbs) with James’ mom, who surprised me with her gutsyness when it came to interacting with car traffic. This lady had us going over on- and off-ramps to I-5, Highway 99, and all sorts of other crazy roads, and then led us fearlessly into the Sacramento airport, where no one has yet dared to bike. Well maybe someone has, but the absolute dearth of anything to lock one’s bike to–seriously, nothing–made me think that whoever designed this airport definitely did not believe that anyone would ever bike there. Which is not that surprising, due to the aforementioned total crazy clusterfuck of roads you have to take and high-speed merging traffic you have to navigate to get there. It really made me appreciate the super easy approach (and the variety of different approaches) to the airport in Portland.

Nevertheless, it gave me a huge thrill to bike to the Sacramento airport, if nothing else because I’ve always wondered if it’s even possible to get to the there without a car. It turns out yes, it is, but kind of not really.

(James and his mommy all smiles on the way to the airport! –And yes, that pleasant-looking road in the background is actually I-5!) 

We also managed to convince my mom to bike from her house in Carmichael (another one of those Sacto suburbs:) all the way down to Old Sacramento and downtown Sac on the American River Bike Trail. This is something I’ve always wanted to do but somehow never did completely, though it turns out without knowing it I’d already gone most of the way. It’s a super lovely ride along the American and then Sacramento rivers, and it turns out there are all these other path spurs that extend outward from the American River Trail that I totally didn’t know about. If I’d just unknowingly landed in the middle of Old Sac with my bike and spent the day exploring, I would have thought that Sacramento was the bike-friendliest place ever. Which is a funny realization for me, since from my mom’s house–where I spent most of my time in Sacramento, after all–it seems like one of the bike-unfriendliest places ever. I wonder if this is sort of like growing up in Gresham or something, where biking sucks, and then taking a visit to downtown Portland or the inner east side with all its crazy bike lanes and friendly infrastructure. It was kind of an amazing discovery.

Oh, and mad props to my mommy for basically getting on her bike cold and still managing to ride–happily, even–about 40 miles over the course of the day.

 (it helped, I think, that it was an amazingly gorgeous day. Go mommy! :) 

So yeah. It was quite lovely to have our bikes in Sacramento. Not only did it make the week seem more normal, like it was just part of our daily life where we get to the places we want to go via our own power, but it also gave us a chance to do active things with our family–always a plus. This only serves to further convince me that I kind of want to have my bike with me every time I travel, to anywhere:)


  1. Does this mean you want to bring your bike to Laos?

    • omg! Although I would super love to have my bike in Laos, it may be more trouble than it’s worth to get it there. heh. Plus, I’m not sure how my super-skinny, relatively weaksauce tires would hold up. And to be honest, though in theory I would love to bike the heck out of Laos, I also just kind of want to adventure with you guys:)

      … way to poke a hole in my theory;)

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