Life in the Bike Lane

Seeing the world from a bike

By: Tom Frady
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We cyclists see things differently.

I’m not talking philosophically, albeit there may be something to that, too. But the real world looks a little different from a bicycle seat.

There are three reasons for this. 

First, we are traveling slower than those in a car and we are out in the open (is that two reasons or one reason, parts a and b)? Our view is not hampered by windows, headliners and headrests. Our view includes hills, trees, creeks, turkeys, clouds, rusting trucks, turtles, big rock formations, historic buildings, crumbling barns and ponds with swans.  

Some residents have really put effort into making their rural mailboxes special.  Thanks. 

Second, some routes, especially bike paths, allow you to see vistas from different angles. If Roseville had a skyline, we’d view it from a different perspective.

Riders can ride from Sierra College Boulevard to old Roseville on a path that follows a creek and winds through hills covered with oak trees and tall grass. It crosses under East Roseville Parkway, Sunrise Boulevard, Highway 80 and Galleria Boulevard (and soon at least two other streets).  The path cannot be seen by drivers on those roads but it’s a bit of rural countryside in the middle of suburbia, well-known to cyclists, parents with strollers and squirrels.

 On Pleasant Avenue in Auburn, you can’t look over the cliff into the American River at the site where the dam was going to be built, unless you got there by bike (or on foot). 

We enter Auburn, not from an off ramp on Highway 80 but Mt. Vernon Road. 

Third, we ride on roads that others have little reason to travel by car.  Typically, once in your car, you are interested only in quickly getting from Point A to Point B.  Cyclists intentionally look for the most interesting way to get somewhere, assuming that they have a somewhere to get to in mind.  “Most interesting” usually means the long way around.  We have ridden 25 miles to a donut shop that is three miles from our starting point and then taken 25 more miles to get home.   

You probably haven’t driven on Itchy Acres.  We have.  And there’s a little gap in the fence that allows us to ride from Purdy Lane to Troy Way.  We will ride out of our way from an already out-of-our-way road to see the zebra or feed an apple to an old horse. 

Part of the joy of bike riding, especially riding farther than one’s neighborhood, is finding new roads, new sights and new experiences.   Because I am always looking for that perfect photograph, I may look at the scene a little more closely but others in my riding group are constantly pointing out something unusual as we ride. 

Of course, we know all the places to get a donut. 


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