By Mayor Pro Tem Laurene Weste
If cycling is your passion, hobby, or sport, then Santa Clarita is where you want to be. Cycling enthusiasts are attracted to Santa Clarita because they can enjoy miles of riding amidst the pristine beauty of our 1000’s of acres of preserved natural open space.
I have had the unique privilege of being a founder of our bike and trail systems network which now extends over 115 miles, offering 25 miles of on-street bike lanes, 38 miles of paved bike paths and 47 miles of natural paths that are also great for hiking.
This did not happen by accident. The City works continuously to improve the biking and trail experience every year. Just recently we installed 168 wayfinding signs throughout our pedestrian and bike trail network. These signs include directional details and distance to routes and City destinations such as Metrolink stations and libraries, allowing you to explore new places with ease and confidence.
City staff is also eagerly looking into the possibility of bringing a bike share program to Santa Clarita. Earlier this year the City conducted an online bike share survey to gather feedback from our residents about what their needs and wants would be regarding a potential bike-sharing program locally. Many communities throughout the United States now have bike-sharing services where visitors and residents can conveniently rent a bicycle from multiple stations around town.
It is our bike-friendly efforts and beautiful open space views that have earned Santa Clarita a Bicycle Friendly Community award from the League of American Bicyclists and made it a destination for multiple cycling events such as the Amgen Tour of California, and coming up soon, the second annual Gran Fondo Santa Clarita.
This year the City is delighted to once again be a sponsor for the second annual Gran Fondo Santa Clarita, presented by Santa Clarita Velo and Road Bike Action. The Gran Fondo is a one-day, chip-timed cycling event that brings together riders from throughout California who seek to challenge themselves on the beautiful roads, rolling hills, and mountains of Santa Clarita Valley and beyond. The event will take place on Sunday, October 1, starting at 7:30 a.m. near the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center at 20870 Centre Pointe Parkway.
The Gran Fondo features three courses for riders of all skill levels and includes a 20-mile “Family,” 60-mile “Medio,” and 100-mile “Gran” course. This year the event is being hosted by Bob “Bobke” Roll, a former American professional cyclist, and Jim Miller, USA Cycling Vice President of Athletics. A generous portion of the event’s proceeds will go directly to the Davis Phinney Foundation which was established to support and help people battling Parkinson’s disease. This is a Santa Clarita tradition – to help others while enjoying an event.
For those not ready to tackle a course just yet, the event will also feature a free Bike Expo on Saturday, September 30, at 4 p.m. and Sunday, October 1, during event hours near the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center. The expo will feature vendors showcasing bike-related products, raffles and a Kids Course on the grass for children to practice their cycling skills.
The Gran Fondo Santa Clarita event will be fun for the entire family. More information on the event including ticket prices and course details can be found online at GranFondoSantaClarita.com.
The City of Santa Clarita is always looking for ways to become an even more bicycle-friendly community and improve conditions for bicycling. To stay up to date on our efforts and also find out about upcoming bike-related events and programs, please visit BikeSantaClarita.com. The website also provides printable trail maps, information on bike clubs and bike etiquette.
I hope as residents and visitors of Santa Clarita you take advantage of our extensive bike trail network and give cycling a chance. There are many advantages to cycling; it can help you burn those calories, strengthen muscles, have fun with friends and enjoy exploring your beautiful City. I hope to see you on the trails!
Mayor Pro Tem Laurene Weste is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at: [email protected].