With cooler temperatures, now is the perfect time to take advantage of an often-overlooked characteristic of Bakersfield – it is a bike-friendly city!
Whether for transportation or recreation, cycling is a fun activity with tremendous health benefits. With four dedicated bike shops, local riders have easy access to expert service and the latest in gear and accessories. There’s really no excuse not to give it a try.
Bakersfield Life spoke with some of these experts and compiled a list to hopefully encourage more residents to explore the city on two wheels rather than four.
Tips for Beginners
• Get a good helmet – This is a no-brainer.
• Be seen – Bright-colored clothing, lights and reflectors make you more visible to vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.
• Get social – Riding with a group is one of the best parts of cycling. There are tons of local groups for every skill level and age.
• Select a bike that’s right for you – There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to bikes. Talk to the experts at one of Bakersfield’s many bike shops and get a bike that suits your needs.
• Carry a tire repair kit – Flats are an unfortunate part of cycling, but that shouldn’t keep you off the bike. A tire repair kit containing spare tubes, tire levers, patches and a pump will get you up and riding in no time. Just make sure not to leave a mess behind!
Road Etiquette for Cyclists and Drivers
• Share the road – Just as cars should share the road with cyclists, cyclists should share the bike path with joggers and walkers.
• Watch those corners – Slow down when approaching blind corners, especially under bridges and overpasses. Don’t assume others won’t be in the lane.
Types of Bikes
• Road bike – With drop handlebars, thinner tires and a more aerodynamic build, road bikes are built for speed.
• Mountain bike – Taking the fun off-road, mountain bikes are more durable with thicker tires, front or full suspension, and lower gear rations for climbing steep grades.
• Hybrid bike – Great for commuting as well as exercise, hybrids combine elements of road and mountain bikes with an emphasis on comfort. Traditionally the best-selling bikes in the cycling world.
• Beach cruiser – Meant for leisurely rides, beach cruisers feature a wide, cushy seat and upright handlebars for a comfortable trips over shorter distances.
• BMX – Compact and lightweight, BMX bikes are designed for freestyle riding and stunting at skate parks.
• Can’t afford a bike? Bike Bakersfield’s Recycle-a-Bike program can provide you one at no cost! Just volunteer 12 total hours in the bike kitchen and/or at community events and you can walk away with a free bike.
Notable Riding Spots
• Kern River Parkway Bike Trail – Stretching 21.4 miles from Enos Lane to China Grade Loop north of Alfred Harrell Highway, the bike trail is the crowned jewel of Bakersfield in the cycling world – fun, easy to navigate and full of friendly passersby.
• Round Mountain Road – A fun, but challenging loop that can be ridden clockwise or counterclockwise that includes a stretch of rolling, great views and fast descents.
• Breckenridge Road / Lions Trail – Geared toward more advanced riders, these mountainous roads will take your rides to new heights. Literally.
• The Foothills – A popular local spot for mountain bikers located between Dr. Juliet Thorner Elementary and Hart Park.
• Team Factory Cycles conducts road rides every Friday at 5 p.m. from the bike shop (8200 Stockdale Highway, Suite B-4) and mountain bike rides at Hart Park at 5:30 p.m. every Tuesday.
• Kern Wheelmen Bicycle Club has training rides every Tuesday and Thursday at 5:45 p.m. at Yokuts Park and recovery rides every Saturday at 9 a.m. at Finish Line (8850 Stockdale Highway).
• The Southern Sierra Fat Tire Association hosts weekly rides starting at Dr. Juliet Thorner Elementary (5501 Thorner St.). Monday rides start at 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday rides start at 8 a.m.
• A women’s group ride takes place every Saturday at 8 a.m. at Finish Line (8850 Stockdale Highway).