BigView – Bikes & Boulevards

The BigView

Bikes and Boulevards
By Chris Murphy and ModestoView Friends

Fix or Free?
Flat or Hills?
Fast or Slow?
These are just a few of the questions you can ask yourself when you are thinking about cycling here in Modesto. I grew up on a bike here in Modesto, from rides out to Knights Ferry when we were in 7th grade, Yosemite Bike Rallies, Bike-a-thons, and riding by bike to school everyday. Racing in high school and college lead me to a career in cycling and allowed me to explore the world. As kids, bikes were our freedom and in the current age of child safety, sadly we have lost some of this freedom. But it is time to get our freedom back and create safe routes to schools and better bike racks, better local bike trails, bike parks and create a cycling friendly city from recreation, to racing to commuting. Awareness is needed from both cyclists and no cyclists.

Q & A
Fix or Free – A lot of people use the word “fixie” for a single speed urban bike. A fixie means the rear cog is fixed, meaning the pedals don’t freewheel and are directly turning the back wheel. Brakes are optional and if you don’t have them, your legs have to slow down the pedaling. This requires experience and the ability to do a track stand in one place is helpful. This isn’t for everyone. Most people would prefer a single speed free-wheel. You can coast and you can use handbrakes. One speeds are fun, light and are perfect for the flat riding conditions here in the Modesto area.

Flat or Hills – I was built for flat land riding. I trained hard to be good in the hills. Some of you are lucky to be good in the hills. If you are, then road racing and mountain bike racing/riding is for you. Climbing skills can be learned and good out of the saddle conditioning is key. If you like flat land cycling, then time trials, commuting and Criterium riding may be your thing.

Fast or Slow – These are questions older than time itself. The first race probably occurred soon after the invention of the wheel. Both styles of riding have great benefits. Slow riding is great for tours, exploration, sightseeing and family rides. Slow riding will allow a more upright riding position and more comfort. If you like it fast, you want a light road bike or a upper end mountain bike. Many of these are made of carbon fiber and aluminum parts and a long stretched out position for speed and agility. Ask yourself “Why do you ride?” and the bike selection comes easy.

The Bicycle Passion
By: Brian McDermott.

The bicycle passion is growing all over the Central Valley. Several local groups get together once a month or more for local rides and rides in other cities and locations around the state. Some, like Central Valley Cruisers and Modesto Area Bike Rides can be found right here in Modesto, CA. You can find both groups on Facebook. There are many other groups in the area as well that hold kid friendly and adult rides, some of which have themes that make it even more fun.

For me it started several years ago when I designed a S.F. Giants themed bike using a computer program. A friend of mine that was in to custom bicycles at that time, saw my design and said…”Hey, I know a guy that can build that bike”. I said, “Are you serious?” and then, I was hooked on creating cool bikes. Since then, I’ve picked up a few more bicycles and love riding all of them. I find it to be a great stress reliever.

The local rides encourage getting family and friends together, and being active outside of the house and exercising. It gives us all a chance to see other local communities in a way we may have never seen them before. The bicycle rides, swap meets and shows also give adults and kids a positive outlet for their energy and ideas. Whether you are in to custom stretch, vintage, cruiser, BMX, fixie, fat tire, road or mountain bike, you’ll find that there are several rides going on each month.
The growing bicycle community benefits from our rides as we make a point to support the local economy wherever we ride. We bring people in from all around the region and usually stop to eat and drink on our rides and the local bike shops get our business.

We are not a club. We are just a group of people who want to encourage everyone, even those who are just learning to ride to the bicycle enthusiast, to come out and join us. Exercise, have fun, be safe, and as we say, “Let’s Ride!”

Local May Bike Rides and Events

By Ruben Porras

May 2: Stanislaus County Bicycle Club – Meet at 7am at Stouffer Park in Ripon

May 3: Stanislaus County Bicycle Club – Meet at 7am at Knights Ferry

May 9: The 4th Annual Ride for Mom staged at Johansen High School. Last year there were over 400 riders, 100 volunteers and 17 exhibitors at the lifestyle event that is part of the event. Complete details and registration link:

May 10: Jenny Lind Breakfast Ride (

Meet at Raley’s at 3020 Floyd Ave.

Choose from three rides –

A Ride – 7am 72 Miles with some rolling hills. Start at Raley’s parking lot.
B Ride – 7:45am 50 Miles with some rolling hills. Start at Oakdale General Store parking lot, corner of Hwy 120 and River Rd.
C Ride – 8:15am 30 Miles with some rolling hills. Start at Eugene, corner of Sonora Rd and Milton Rd.

May 14: Bike to Work Day at 10th Street Place. The event starts bright and early at 6:30am and will end at 8:30am. Attendees will even receive a continental breakfast to help keep them fueled up as they ride. This event is good for our friend Mother Nature. Do this for her. She needs a breather once in a while.

May 16: Family Cycling Festival – 10am-3pm in front of Stanislaus County Courthouse on 9th Street. Enjoy safety seminars, bike races for kids, free helmets for kids and entertainment. This is a free family event.

May 16: Modesto Downtown Criterium presented by Ciccarelli Enterprises – Downtown Modesto between 12th and 15th/ H and J Streets. This is an awesome event to watch. It is amazing to hear groups of riders as they fly through downtown. You will understand the sound of the word “whoosh.” Details and registration:

May 17: Del Puerto Canyon Ride (

Meet at Rogers Rd and Sperry Rd in Patterson at 7am. Park behind Jack in the Box. This popular ride consists of 33, 43 or 50 mile options. Be prepared for moderate to hard climbing. See riding and safety tips at the above link.

May 23: 10 East Brunch Ride (

Meet at 10 East Kitchen and Tap House at 10 E. Main Street in Turlock. See link for times. Choose from 55 or 32 mile ride options. 55 Mile option consists of easy terrain with some rollers. 32 Mile option is on flat easy terrain.

See: for rides of various levels starting in Oakdale.

See: for rides starting at their McHenry Village location.

See: for rides starting at their Turlock location.

See: for group ride and support info



Posted in: news

About the Author:

Chris Murphy is the President and CEO of Sierra Pacific Warehouse Group and Publisher and Founder of ModestoView Inc. Chris worked globally in the cycling industry returning to Modesto in 1996. He is also the founder of the Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route, Legends of the Cruise Walk of Fame, Modesto Rockin’ Holiday, the Modesto Music History Organization and co-founder of the Modesto Area Music Association. Chris is married to his artist wife Rebecca since 1985 and has two daughters Madison and Abigail, both graduating from Modesto High and UC Berkeley. He is lead singer and guitarist for his band, Third Party that donates their performances to non-profits.