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Life in the Bike Lane column

A morning on the inaugural MandaRide

By: Tom Frady
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Up before dawn to don my Lincoln Hills Cyclists kit to represent the ’hood at the inaugural MandaRIDE on Saturday in Loomis. I have decided to stretch the 30-mile charity ride (there is also a 12-mile family event) to 50 miles by riding to the start from my home. 

The Loomis Basin Education Foundation exists to improve the overall educational experience of students in the Loomis Union School District by supplementing academic and enrichment programs while supporting the district’s strategic plan.  The foundation extends grants to the school district by hosting community events like this one and receiving donations from the school district’s families and community businesses. 

I am used to rides with hundreds of cyclists, most of whom will be milling around the starting point, checking in, finding the “continental breakfast” table or looking for a bathroom. 

When I arrive at Loomis Elementary School, I see no one on a bike!   However, my name is on the list and I get a free water bottle and bike bag from a sponsor. 

I had hoped to get off by 8:15 a.m. It’s 7:35 a.m. 

It appears that I will be riding alone, which is fine with me. I know the roads, it’s a beautiful morning and I love being on my bike

The route heads out King, which is just a little uphill and can be a bit of a slog. However, I must have been talking to the voices in my head, because I’m at Auburn-Folsom Boulevard before I know it. Now, it’s mostly downhill to Douglas. 

I don’t usually ride on weekends. We can ride for 50 miles on a Wednesday and see very few other riders.  On this Saturday, there are hundreds of riders.  There are two other charity rides sharing some of the same roads: the 66-mile Greater Sacramento Honor Ride and the Folsom Powerhouse Century.

The organizers have done a good job of marking the route. All riders (about 75) are given a turn-by-turn cue sheet and map, plus there are bright green paper arrows stuck to the pavement at every intersection.

I pull into the rest stop at Mile 15. I am the first to stop by and I’m guessing most people skipped it. It was very quiet.

Back on the road, I fall in with a small group of riders, who, except for one couple, weren’t part of the MandaRIDE.

The route eventually makes it to English Colony Road, which is frankly not my favorite stretch of pavement. It would be a great road to ride but it’s too narrow, with view-blocking hills, to be safe with the speed that cars travel. Making it worse Saturday were some large groups of weekend riders, basically racing each other. The pack mentality takes over, negatively affecting the driver/cyclist interface.

I arrive back at Loomis Elementary at 10:30 a.m. Five of us enjoyed our lunch of a curry chicken croissant sandwich and Caesar salad before leaving.

Back on my bike, I need to make my return to Lincoln at least 10 miles long, so I can say I rode 50 miles. That won’t be a problem. 

Why do we ride charity rides, especially for those causes to which we have no direct connection?  Why pay money to ride the same roads we ride for free every day? I guess it’s a way to make us feel good inside while doing something we like to do. It’s a way to support good causes in our area, give back a little.  Often, we ride with friends or make new friends on the road.  For some, the cause is the reason.

The folks at MandaRIDE did a fine job, especially for the first time out. It’s a great ride for the more casual rider and families. Put it on your calendar for next April. 

 

 

Tom Frady is a Lincoln resident and avid cyclist and driver.