By Alyssa Green
Summer is right around the corner and the kids will soon be out of school. It’s time to start planning ways to keep them busy. You probably have swimming on the list as well as cooling off at any of our area spray parks. But biking should be on your list too, and here’s why.
Sacramento is a great place for family biking. We have scenic trails, great weather and an overall easy and inviting city to navigate due to shaded streets, plenty of biking lanes, level surfaces and popular attractions located within a short distance of one another.
First, you could spend a morning biking around town. Bring your own bikes or rent some from Practical Cycle in Old Sacramento. From there you can ride along the Sacramento River, to the nearby Crocker Art Museum, head on over to the California State Capitol and then further east to Sutter’s Fort. You’ll find plenty of shaded streets, coffee shops, restaurants and bike racks along the way.
If city biking isn’t calling your name, hop onto the American River Bike Trail (also known as the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail,) near Old Sacramento. The ARBT is one of the longest, most scenic and paved biking paths in the country. This 32 mile long trail is used by thousands of area joggers, hikers and cyclists for both recreational and commuting uses. It runs between the confluence of the Sacramento and American Rivers north of downtown Sacramento and east to Beal’s Point at Folsom Lake.
The Trail passes through many notable places of interest including Discovery Park, Sutter’s Landing Park, the Guy West Bridge (a small version of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge,) Sacramento State University, Ancil Hoffman Park and the Effie Yeaw Nature Center, the Nimbus Fish Hatchery and Lake Natoma. At any point on the trail you are likely to see not only beautiful views, but also native area wildlife.
For a much more low key and leisurely ride, head south to William Land Park. The paths wind around ponds, gardens, a golf course, the Sacramento Zoo, Fairytale Town and Funderland. All very family friendly places to let the kids take a break and run around. Enjoy the enormous shade trees and bring your own lunch to the many picnic areas.
If this all sounds like fun and you want to try out family biking, maybe for the first time, you are in luck. The month of May is National Bike Month which means that there are plenty of events throughout the month where you can receive the resources and information you need to get your family excited about biking in Sacramento.
First, Wednesday, May 9th is “Bike to School” Day. Not only will your kids be encouraged to ride their bike to school, but they will most likely receive some valuable biking tips and safety information.
The Capitol Bike Fest follows on Thursday, May 10th. Another wonderful event to encourage cycling in Sacramento with music, health and environmental booths, cycling information and free valet parking. Lastly, on May 17th is “Bike to Work Day,” for all you grown-ups!
For more information on National Bike Month and upcoming events, click here. For a map of the American River Bike Trail, click here.