For years, the rolling pastoral roads through Granite Bay have been a destination for road cyclists. It is not uncommon to see 5 to 10 bikes riding the narrow country roads through Granite Bay. As a resident of Granite Bay, I’ve seen a several cycling accidents and near misses over the years because of our narrow roads and cars. There are also Granite Bay residents who don’t necessarily appreciate a peloton of cyclists riding down the semi-rural roads. But as cycling grows in popularity, Granite Bay should embrace its identity as a cycling destination by creating wider road shoulders for safer cycling travel.
Cycling friendly Granite Bay?
Every day, the main roads that traverse Granite Bay such as Cavitt-Stallman, Barton, Auburn-Folsom, Douglas, and Olive Ranch are used by road cyclists. Sometimes the riders are just out for some exercise and others seem to be more serious cyclists training for their next big race. You might see just a single rider or a whole group of cyclists. The roads that make the rides most enjoyable, those lined with large oak trees and open space, are also the most dangerous.
Granite Bay rural roads beckon bikers
One of aspects that makes these Granite Bay streets so appealing to residents and cyclists alike are the lack of curbs, gutters or sidewalks. Most of these roads just have drainage ditches next to them – not the place you want to pull over if a car zooms too close when passing by. However, some stretches of Granite Bay road have been widened over the years and incorporate a nominal bike lane of sorts.
From my perspective, just as I enjoy seeing throngs of cars headed out to Folsom Lake for a day of family fun on Douglas Boulevard, I also appreciate the cyclists out for a daily ride. Although, I will admit that initially I was perturbed by all the cyclists forcing me to slow down to a crawl on some stretches of road that had a blind corner or hill. But then I started riding a mountain bike out at Folsom Lake and my perspective changed. To be clear, a mountain bike is not the same as a road bike. A mountain bike is usually ridden on trails and a road cycle on paved streets. But riding is riding, and it is all good fun and exercise.
Cycling and Mountain Biking are increasing in popularity
I’ve also seen a large increase in the number of mountain bike riders heading to Folsom Lake to ride the trails. So whether mountain bike riders are coming to Folsom Lake to ride the trails, or cyclists venture out to the streets around Folsom Lake, bicycles are converging on Granite Bay. They are here to stay. (As a motorcycle owner and rider, Granite Bay is also a nice region for a leisurely motorbike ride.)
Granite Bay should be designated as a cycling friendly community
Granite Bay should embrace the bicycling popularity by announcing we are a cycling friendly destination. Just as some regions of Placer County are designated as a wine trail or Placer Grown Mountain Mandarin region, Granite Bay should be designated as a cycling friendly area.
Many urban areas such San Francisco have begun to promote safe cycling and road sharing with designated bike lanes and signage. The prospect of improving all the cycling thoroughfares in Granite Bay with bike lanes or wider road shoulders would be prohibitively expensive. But Placer County, in cooperation with Granite Bay residents, could help promote a safer riding experience by designating the region as cycling friendly. With a small investment, signs on the major cycling routes could announce the cycling friendly zone. At a minimum, this would alert drivers from out of the region that they may encounter one to many cyclists out for ride. In other words, slow down.
Recreational biking brings dollars to the community
People coming to Granite Bay to either mountain bike or cycle do spend money in the community. Granite Bay might be able to leverage the cycling popularity and encourage more cyclist to patronize local café’s and stores in the community. There could be designated parking zones for cyclists to park their cars. As development occurs in the Granite Bay region, the roads through the area will necessarily be upgraded. If Granite Bay was designated as a cycling designation, Placer County to include that road improvements take into account the high number of cyclists on the affected streets.
Will Granite Bay embrace our cycling destination
The number of cyclists on Granite Bay roads will only increase as the sport grows in popularity along with the surrounding population. Some people would call Granite Bay an attractive nuisance for cyclists. The topography and landscape are conducive to a nice bike ride while at the same time having an elevated risk of accident because of the narrow roads. The Granite Bay community has two options. They can do nothing to promote cycling and safety, which will surely increase the number or accidents, or Granite Bay can become proactive in cycling safety by embracing the sport.
It is inevitable that Granite Bay will see more cars on the road and more cyclists attempting to share the road with those cars. Now is the time to plan for that eventuality. Granite Bay should be designated as a cycling friendly community and then take steps to ensure the safety of both cars and cyclists traveling through the community.