Everyone wants to live in an area with lots of riding opportunities, and lots of people to ride with, right? We at Art’s Cyclery know how lucky we are to have both—it’s not Whistler or the hills of Tuscany, but we can pedal from our front door into hours of climbing, plummeting, rolling, twisting, scenic asphalt or singletrack, and almost always run into someone we know along the way.
San Luis Obispo’s cycling scene has been pretty strong for a long time, and we love hearing tales of the old days when adventurous guys like Ron Cox rode dirtbikes up on the Ridge to blaze the trails we now ride by pedal power only. Even though there is a rich history of riding bikes in this town, there is always an opportunity to strengthen the community, and thankfully, that’s just what is happening.
Local races are a great way to bring the cycling enthusiasts in your area together, both on the pavement and on the dirt. San Luis Obispo’s premier race promoter, cencalcycling.com, puts on races both large and small, from crits to cyclocross, and the turnout gets better every time. For 26″ wheeled racers, there is an under-the-radar “Black Market” race series put on by the racers themselves complete with times, photographers, and sometimes prizes. (Disclaimer: the Black Market Series is held on remote trails, where hikers, equestrians, or other trail users never go.)
Finally, San Luis Obispo’s “Bike Happening” attracts both hardcore and strictly-casual cyclists alike, and is a great way to have fun, ride bikes, and catch up with friends you haven’t seen in a while. The Bike Happening is a Critical-Courteous-Mass-style event, held on the first Thursday of the month, in which participants dress-up according to a theme, pedal around downtown SLO a few times, and have a great time, all while increasing the profile of responsible cycling in the community.
So there you go. Get some friends together and start a race series, or meet up after work one night and ride in circles for a while. Whatever you do, tell other cyclists about it, and make sure they spread the word as well. Before you know it you’ll be spinning right in the middle of a growing bike scene, which will lead to more trails, more bike lanes, and more friends!