Get ready to ride!

I moved to Benicia in 2003, to our home near the top of Rose Drive.

My first thought was to forget about bicycling since there was nowhere to ride except way down hill and the thought of riding back up was too much. Our previous home was in Corvallis, OR – flat, like the city of Davis. I saw those as great bicycle towns and Benicia, with its many steep hills, not so. So, I continued my habit of running after work and on weekends (I love to eat and drink, so regular exercise prevents excess weight gain).

However, with aging, I encountered more injuries and began to worry that pounding the pavement would ruin my knees. So, with that in mind, I decided to brave the Benicia hills on my bike and run less. I’ve never looked back.

I now remind fellow cyclists that the hills are your friend!

For one, it’s simply not easy to climb a hill on a bike. You must work. Riding flat ground is fun, but not a great way to burn calories. Also, climbing hills takes time while descending is quick and effortless. As a result, if you ride hills, most of your time is spent working and not coasting. Climbing hills on a bike also builds muscle much faster than riding the flats. Before long, the climbing gets easier and riding the flats gets faster, allowing for longer rides. And finally, climbing hills is a rewarding goal that provides a sense of achievement when you reach the top, often revealing a nice view!

In 2004, I began exploring longer rides from home.

First, Lake Herman road, then Lopes Road. I was riding an oversized second-hand Bianchi, replete with full panniers and a milkcrate. One day I was riding on Lopes when a dozen cyclists in yellow jerseys flew past me en route to Cordelia. I caught them chatting at the Cordelia Tower Mart at Goldhill Road where they immediately took an interest in me, and asked me to join any of their Benicia Bicycle Club regular weekly rides. They were having such fun, that I vowed to give it a try. So, I showed up with my “milkcrate” bike, earning myself that nickname. Turns out group riding is much more fun than riding solo and a great way to learn about bicycling and explore the area by bike. The Carquinez bridge opened with a bike lane in 2003 and the Benicia Bridge followed in 2007, creating the renowned “Bridge to Bridge” bike route and making Benicia the hub for myriad other bike routes. 

The pandemic put a damper on group riding, but with re-opening, the Benicia Bicycle Club (BBC) has re-started its regular ride schedule.

The Benicia Bicycle Club was established in 1987 to promote public interest in all aspects of bicycling and encourage recreational bicycling for all skill levels. So, if you want to share the joys of group riding, sip coffee with friends at distant cafes, learn great tips for safe riding, and have fun getting a good workout; come join us on one of our scheduled daily rides. The more the merrier! Our ride schedule is posted on our website (Beniciabicycleclub.org). For more information contact: mail@beniciabicycleclub.org

Craig Snider is currently President of the Benicia Bicycle Club.