With the weather warming up and the flowers coming out, Chico is the perfect place to explore on a bike. Although it may seem relatively small, Chico is actually home to many nationally competitive cyclists and the host of one of the largest road bicycle races in California.
Chico is also home to Bidwell Park, one of the largest municipal parks in the United States, which is teeming with trails that stretch up and down its length. Bidwell Park begins in downtown Chico and snakes up along Big Chico Creek Canyon. The lower section of Bidwell Park is a great place to go for a picnic or casual ride or stroll. There are picnic tables, lots of shade, and numerous deep places in which to swim.
The upper portion of Bidwell Park is by far the most popular spot for mountain bikers in Chico and the surrounding areas. Chico is notorious for its lava rocks, and Upper Park is no exception—the trails and rough and rocky. Local cyclists claim that if you are able to confidently ride Upper Park trails, then you are pretty much capable of anything. No matter what skill level the rider, the park provides numerous trails, ranging from beginner to expert. The awesome thing about Bidwell Park is the abundance of good swimming holes. After a hard bike ride, you can ride directly to the creek and go for a dip.
I began riding my freshman year when I joined the cycling club here on campus. I was hesitant to compete in the races because I was new to the sport and had little experience. However, once I experienced my first race, I immediately knew that I had found something that would stay with me forever.
The Chico State cycling club takes advantage of the trails in the park by holding practices, and the occasional race, in Upper Park. Every fall, the cycling club competes all across California and Nevada and occasionally as far away as New Mexico and the East Coast. The cycling club is oriented for people looking for off-road thrills. It is a great place for like-minded students to travel together to awesome venues to ride mountain bikes. We can be found on Facebook.
There are many other ways to get involved in the cycling community, whether you are an experienced rider or just someone looking for a good time. Chico Velo Cycling Club is a large road biking club that offers many group rides and races.
Whether you are just the casual rider out on a short ride or the avid cyclist looking to push yourself in your discipline, I guarantee that Chico has something for you. So next time you are bored at home and looking for something to do, grab your bike and head out for a ride!
For bike routes in Chico and Bidwell Park, check out these links:
Chico Velo Cycling Club maps: http://www.chicovelo.org/main/area-rides
Upper and Lower Bidwell Park: http://www.bidwellpark.org/page/explore-bidwell-park/park-maps.php