BigView – Ride Modesto 2016

Ride Modesto
By Chris Murphy

Let’s make this easy. Modesto is a flat city. I think the net elevation change from east to west Modesto may be about five feet. Simply put, the biggest hill you have to climb are the overpasses over the freeway. Modesto should most certainly be a bike town, but there is so much more to it than just putting in bike lanes.

We need people to understand that bikes are part of the road network. And bikes need to follow the rules of the road. We need safe places to park bikes and there are good things happening as we roll out the new artistic and regular bike racks. Businesses should make it easy to ride, city planners need to connect the gaps in our trail network and motorists and cyclist need to respect each other. Most of all, we need to make sure that cycling is easy, affordable and safe.

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 non-cyclists.

So May is “National Bike Month” and let’s take one big change and embrace this opportunity to be a bike city. There are many weekly rides to go on, you don’t have to spend a billion bucks on a good race bike, cycling is the way to fitness if, like me, you have torn up your knees from years of abuse. Do you need a car at work? Could you ride? Have you check out the route you would take. The new bike lanes on College, although controversial, are really quite good and the new connection we have from East to West campus is solid.

It starts with your first ride to the store, maybe the farmer’s market, or even a bike ride to school. So get your bike spiffed up, whether it is a cruiser, fixie, racing bike or just a clunker, it is all good when you are on you bike. Even if you never put on spandex racing shorts, get out and take a spin and enjoy the world around you. But please, wear a helmet.

Ride for Mom – May 7
This annual tradition was started 5 years ago by local attorney Bob Fores as a tribute to his mom Jinx, who passed away after a second battle with cancer. It will be held on the day before Mother’s Day, Saturday, May 7, 2016 and staged at Johansen High School in Modesto. The 10, 35 and 77 mile rides all include rest stops and support, swag and lunch. In addition, the RFM Organizing Team will be hosting early check-in and a pre-ride social event on Friday, May 6, 2016 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at McHenry Village in Modesto.

Amgen Tour of California Team Layover – May 18
Modesto has been a fantastic host city for the Amgen Tour in the past and this year, we are providing the racers a stop over as the race transisitons into the central valley. Hopefully, this will help us slot of position as a finish city in 2017. Head to the Modesto Center Plaza and check out the team pits, watch the crews clean the bikes and team will be dining all over town. This is pro cycling and you should check it out on the evening of May 18th.

Bike to Work Day – May 19
You can meet Modesto’s new Mayor and ride to work. Meet up at Village Baking company on May 18 at 6:30 and join cyclists from all over as they commute to work via bicycle. We all need to do this more often. If we had good share car and community bike program, it would be even cooler. There will be prizes, and morning snacks in 10th St Plaza. From 6:30 – 8:30 am

Let’s go to the races
The Modesto Criterium has been a part of downtown Modesto for over 30 years. ModestoView publisher Chris Murphy, then a college student at CSU Stanislaus restarted the long gone Tour de Graceada in 1983 and there has been racing on the big wide streets of downtown Modesto ever since. There will be two races on this weekend. You won’t want to miss the high-speed thrill action of a Criterium when you see the cycles speeding by on a short figure 8 loop in downtown Modesto. Lots of great viewing spots and there will be high speed sprints at the finish line. On Sunday, the racers will take to the farmlands west of Modesto with a start line on Hall Road off Kiernan.
For a full schedule on all of the Nor Cal races where local cyclists will compete

May 21 Downtown Modesto
May 22 Modesto Road Race

Family Cycling Festival May 21
Fun, games, and big giant aerial BMX tricks will keep the whole family entertained. Get safety items, tips and even helmet and gear information and samples. It’s never too early to start safe cycling.

Ride with the Stanislaus County Bike Club
There really is no excuse to start becoming a solid cyclist. There are so many different levels and distances of rides. There are some friendly fun fitness rides and some good fast rides.

See: for group ride and support info

Here are some other resources
Central Valley Cruisers:
Modesto Area Bike Rides:
Eternal Rascals B.C.:
Booze Cruisers:
Rolling relics:

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



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.