A week ago, we did a story on the lengthy closure of the American River Parkway Trail due to a landslide that blocked the area in January of last year. Knowing we needed a photo of the area that cyclists have been talking about, I decided that riding to the location would be far smarter than walking the entire way so I brought the mountain to work one weekend.
Photo: Bill Sullivan, General Manager, Folsom Telegraph Newspaper
Packing the camera gear in a backpack, I made the trek on a pedal version of what many of us remember as the “Les Nessman news mobile.” Only those who watched an old sitcom known as WKRP in Cincinnati will understand that reference, but to sum it up, it’s not the fastest method to get to a news story.
After getting the needed photos and being out of shape by the time I got back to the office, loading my bike back into my car seemed equivalent to competing in a triathlon. Therefore, I went lazy and decided to just leave the bike at the office, telling myself I would start riding after work each night or come down on the weekends to ride the more scenic and flatter area trail that borders the south side of Lake Natoma.
As far as telling myself and my imaginary witness that I would start riding every day after work, that hasn’t happened, I’m using daylight savings time as the delay on that plan. However, I did come down to historic Folsom on Sunday to take an afternoon ride, and I learned a few things on it.
First of all, I already knew our trails in Folsom are second to none, but I had forgotten how beautiful this particular one is, especially as the afternoon sets and illuminates Lake Natoma. I am not one who enjoys riding on the pavement fulltime. I enjoy getting off the populated trails and taking to dirt. Part of it is the adventure, part of it is probably because I grew up in the country and dirt roads were like treasures to a kid, whether you were on a bike, a go kart and eventually a car. The dirt road was where the most fun was had and the most scars were made.
The main reason I like to get off the paved routes is I am one who likes to get away from the crowd, so to speak. In this job, I work closely with people, in person, on phones, online; you name it, so it’s nice to get away from it all. However, there is another reason I tend to take the road less traveled and that’s simply because there are so many on our trails these days that lacks courtesy to others.
I will be the first to admit I am not the fastest rider. I was always the slow kid on the playground; the one that prayed that the fly ball never flew in my direction. I was the one that was only in front running laps when I was getting lapped and ironically, the one who was always picked first as the target in dodge ball.
Just taking a casual ride on our local trails can be daunting at times. Many riders are courteous and politely let you know if they are passing on the left; many are not. It can be pretty intimidating to be cruising along and having someone an inch in line behind your drafting like they are in a NASCAR race or passing you at top speed and not letting you know. This is just common courtesy we all should practice. I am an adult, and I can deal with it, but it made me think of the families with little ones on the trail that aren’t prepared for that (speeding bikes). It wasn’t long ago a walker was struck and injured by a cyclist nearby, and that just shouldn’t happen.
Another observation, so many folks disregard the signage that tells them what side to be on, so those of us on wheels have to weave in and out of walkers or in some cases go off the trail to get by. Lastly, and I noticed this on my recent ride as well, folks walking Fido all too often have an extra long leash that goes all the way across the track. For the slow guy on the trail like me, that’s not too much of an issue, but for the avid rider that is passing the slow guy, that’s not going to end well.
We have beautiful trails here in our city. If we all work together to give everyone a little elbow room as we enjoy them, it works out for all. Most of all, it will make visitors to our city feel welcome and wanting to come back to enjoy our area more and more. Let’s all do our part.
Bill Sullivan is the Associate Publisher of Gold Country Media and the General Manager of the Folsom Telegraph. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.