Welcome to a new year. I started 2019 off with a nice brisk 12 mile bike ride on the Davis Loop at the First Annual Polar Bear Ride sponsored by the Bike Campaign. It was a nice way to meet with 100 other community members and burn off some energy after a week of holiday festivities and an abundance of food. My husband and I rode our bikes 3 miles out to Nugget Market at 1414 E Covell Blvd and got warmed up for the main event. We arrived at Nugget Market at 9:45 am where many bicyclists met up at the bike racks in the Shopping center plaza.
Mary Tebbutt greeted the eager bicyclists and gave instructions on bicycle rules such as using hand signals for stop, left or right turn and to always ride on the right hand side of the road.
Promptly at 10am the ride began on the backside of the Nugget shopping center, turning west on Claremont Dr at the Bike Loop marker. Everyone kept an even pace as we worked our way past Holmes Jr. High and towards the tunnel under the railroad tracks off the apartment complex on J Street. All bicyclists kept enough distance from one another to allow for the sharp right hand turn at the end of the tunnel to get up to H Street. The wind was blowing and the temperature was climbing to the high 40’s as the pedaling continuing past the Davis Little League Fields, across F Street, and into Central Park.
The streets were quiet as the majority of Davis Residents were still slumbering off the effects of the New Year’s celebrations, while the 100 bicyclists ranging in age from 5 to seniors in their seventies kept on biking past Davis Senior High School. A few families are now out walking their dogs and waving in awe to the bicycle caravan.
At Sycamore Park and Willett Elementary, we all gather around the playground and get some more information about the Bike Campaign’s mission to get families involved in biking their kids to school and not rely so much on cars for our daily transportation. The City of Davis has invested so much in providing safe bike paths for people to get to schools and to UC Davis in the past 50+ years, which in the beginning was a revolutionary concept in the nation. We all got back on our bikes and continued on past Arroyo park and into West Village.
Crossing Russell Blvd, was one of the most challenging crossings on the 1 1/2 hour bike ride and the traffic had to be stopped by one of the guides. Biking next to UCD’s open ag fields was a windy experience as the trees were swaying and dropping branches, but in a caravan of bicyclists, we all plowed on as we visited with riders next to us. Little kids were doing a great job keeping up. As the bike ride continued through the UCD campus and the arboretum, more people are starting to appear and waving to us yelling “Happy New Year”. After we went through the tunnel under I-80 and biked along the Willowbank bike path, families were out in the parks and contemplated joining in the fun. We finally got to the Pelz bike overpass connecting South and East Davis and by this time my legs were burning and felt like they are about to fall off as we were working up the incline of the overpass with the North wind blowing straight into our faces. Thinking to myself “the summit is near, the summit is near”, the legs kept on the revolution of the pedals in first gear. Phew - finally the descent, the bikes are coasting without exerting energy. Biking through Mace Ranch, the end is in sight. I drop back to take it easy and catch up to the group by the time we got to Pole Line and Loyola crossing. We work our way through the final stretch of the loop and Nugget is in sight. Every one feels so refreshed yet tired in a good way. The hot chocolate feels good on the soul before contemplating the three miles back home.