Planning Your Dream Ride Challenge
The Dream Ride Challenge, our design-it-yourself edition of the quintessential California bicycling tour, kicks off in about three weeks. Our mission is to ride 300 miles over nine days (October 3rd to the 11th). The day-to-day distance configuration can be anything from 33 miles each day for nine days, to 60 miles every other day, or any other combination. Where we ride, when we ride, and what we ride are uniquely individual, too, making the California Dream Ride an event of countless bicycle tours, each one like no other, though connected in spirit.
Don’t forget that you can earn "miles" for actively engaging in the bicycle community, so you can reach 300 miles without riding your bike the whole way -- or even without riding at all! We encourage you to budget some time for these off-bike activities, too.
Designing your tour can be empowering! To inspire and guide you, this week’s blog points you to some resources to help kindle your navigational imagination and creativity.
CalBike, local bike coalitions, and other cycling advocacy groups are excellent sources of local ride information. Virtually all of these organizations provide online access to maps that plot regional bicycle infrastructure, including cycleways, bike paths and bike lanes. The safer streets and paths shown on these maps are excellent options for each day’s riding on the Challenge.
Smartphone map apps
Google maps has a “bicycling” feature (a menu option, typically on the left side of an area’s map) that will layer bicycle friendly trails, paths and routes onto city streets and country roads. With a little creativity, the options shown on these maps can be connected to make loop or “out-and-back” bike rides.
Strava is a social media platform for recording, tracking, and sharing cycling activities. A basic subscription is free, so we encourage every Challenge rider to join. While you are doing that, join the Strava CalBike Cycling Club, too. Once onboard, there are at least two ways in which Strava can help you design your Challenge. First, you are now part of a cycling community. Don’t hesitate to contact other club members in your area using the “post” feature on the club’s main page. Ask the club a straightforward question: “If I’m looking for a scenic/hilly/flat ride in this area, where would you suggest I go?” Another option is to go to Strava’s “explore” menu and pick the “local” option. As you’ll see, there are several dozen areas within the United States, each mapping multiple ride options. Don’t overlook the possibility of riding part of the longer rides.
Dream Ride staff
The California Dream Ride staff has many years of experience planning and producing bicycle tours in northern, central and southern California. Combined, we know these areas well and would be happy to put this experience and knowledge at your disposal. Please contact one of our route planning and navigation experts for advice and consultation: [email protected].
One final note, your health is paramount, so ride shorter distances if you are not feeling 100%. The COVID-19 pandemic remains ever present. Please follow the up-to-date guidance of local public health officials (right now, that means wearing masks, washing hands frequently, and practicing physical distancing of at least 6 feet). If that’s not enough, the historically dreadful wildfire season is creating unparalleled bad air out there, so temper you riding if your local air quality index ratchets upward. AirNow is a useful resource for local air quality.
As always, the Dream Ride staff is here to support you, so don’t hesitate to shoot us a note if you need any help whatsoever.