Cameron Smyth | Why You Should Start Cycling in Santa Clarita

Cameron Smyth

Whether you’re looking to improve your fitness, health, save money or help save the environment — bicycling can be an enjoyable way to achieve these goals. If you’re new to cycling, you already have an advantage by living in Santa Clarita. 

Our city is surrounded by beautiful rolling hills, providing the perfect backdrop for 93 miles of bike paths and multi-use trails. This picturesque bike network is the reason we have attracted the world-class cycling event, The Amgen Tour of California (ATOC), more times than any other city.

In addition, Santa Clarita has also been officially recognized as a Bronze Level Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, for our ongoing efforts to make Santa Clarita more safe and convenient for bicycling.

Fall is just around the corner, meaning cooler and more comfortable weather to hit the trails on your bike. If you’re new to biking, the city of Santa Clarita’s Heads Up! campaign is a great place to learn about bike safety tips.

In partnership with the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station, the city of Santa Clarita launched its “Heads Up!” campaign last year to combat distracted driving and increase pedestrian safety. The campaign educated drivers and pedestrians on crosswalk and roadway safety. This year, the city added cycling to the campaign, focusing on four main messages to educate drivers and cyclists on safe behaviors. The four main messages are:

1. See and Be Seen – Cyclists should always ensure they can be seen by pedestrians and motorists. Wear bright colors, apply reflective tape or stickers to bicycles and helmets, and install lights (red for the rear and white for the front) for riding after sunset.

2. Gear Up – Double check that you have your safety gear on before going for a ride. Always wear a helmet and proper footwear. Use a backpack or mounted basket for carrying personal items, because hands-free riding is safe riding.

3. Be Predictable – Cross streets at marked crosswalks and intersections and never ride out mid-block into the flow of traffic. Use proper hand signals prior to making turns and always yield to pedestrians.

4. Go with the Flow – Only ride with the flow of traffic, never against it. This is a good rule when riding on sidewalks along major roads, too. Remember that it is the rider’s responsibility to know and follow the traffic laws applicable to bicycling on city streets.

To learn more about the “Heads Up” campaign, please visit Santa-Clarita.com/HeadsUp.

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the A-B-C’s of bicycling, I would encourage you to explore our trails, and one way to do that is to sign up for a cycling event.

On Saturday, the third annual Gran Fondo Santa Clarita will start and finish near the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center, at 20870 Centre Pointe Parkway. The event offers riders of all levels the option to participate in a variety of chip-timed cycling races: the 20-mile “Family” ride, 60-mile “Medio” ride or the 100-mile “Gran” ride. Brought to you by Santa Clarita Velo and Road Bike Action, this one-day event will bring together cyclists from throughout California who seek to challenge themselves on the beautiful roads, rolling hills and mountains of the Santa Clarita Valley and beyond.

To learn more about the event and register, please visit GranFondoSantaClarita.com.

If you prefer casual, non-competitive riding, Santa Clarita offers many off-street bike paths for you to ride safely and at your comfort pace. For a map of these bike trails, please visit the Bike Santa Clarita website at BikeSantaClarita.com. The website also features information on upcoming events, safety and education tips, FAQs and much more.

This fall, fall in love with cycling…and don’t forget to wear your helmet! See you on the bike trails!

Cameron Smyth is a Santa Clarita City Council member and can be reached at: [email protected] 

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