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BikeValleytoSierra is featuring California Alps Cycling to update cyclists about news of the 2023 Deathride and other related happenings in Markleeville, California.

Mark Schwartz, Bike Advocate and Co- Founder of California Alps Cycling

ADVOCACY. It’s THE reason we (Mrs. California Alps and I) founded California Alps Cycling. Not just for cycling and cyclists, or mountain biking and gravelleurs, but for the all of those that are Alpine; or wish to be Alpine, if only for a little while.

SURE, our primary mission is to “spread the gospel of cycling, all types of cycling,” yet it’s also about stewardship of the Sierra; helping to ensure that we, and others, have skin in the game, if you will.

CHAMPIONING for the area has become a passion. One that I’m reminded of everytime I ride a bike, or go fishing, or hunting, or birding.

Caltrans District 10 Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC)

AFTER five (5) meetings we’re getting to know each other better and our relationships are getting stronger. The committee, comprised of members of the public from the eight (8) counties in District 10: Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa, Merced, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, and Tuolumne, and Caltrans staff, has had productive conversations about rumble strips, how they effect cyclists and potential alternatives.

WE’VE begun exploring bicycle event permits, how they’re handled and the financial impact they have on the mostly non-profit local groups that host these events, including

THERE have been frank conversations about unsafe intersections in Stockton (for pedestrians) and missed stretches of sweeping on some highways within the district. The Caltrans Team has been oh so gracious, and inviting of the criticism.

COMMITTEE Chair, Charles Carroll, has been instrumental, at one point reaching out to me to set up a meeting with leadership and legal, so we can continue exploring the idea of allowing bike and pedestrian (including wheelchair) access to Ebbett’s Pass or Monitor Pass, here in Alpine Co., after the roads are plowed but before they’re open to vehicles.

YOSEMITE does something similar on Tioga Pass most years and I’ve had exchanges with their team to learn more about how they do it.

WE still have a few things to work through/understand: liability, is one example, the possible use of permits, another.

THANK you Caltrans. We’re building bridges, and we’re all being heard.

The Deathride Is In Excellent Hands…Again

YOURS truly moved up here to Markleeville because of the Deathride. Since that fateful day in the fall of 2016 I’ve ridden in it three (3) times, doing all the climbs once. I joined the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce board back in 2019 because of the ride. For those who are not aware, the Chamber owns and operates (with a LOT OF HELP) this one of kind ride.

I’m currently the Board President, and along with my fellow “Boarders” – we all volunteer – and our amazing manager, Meghan, with institutional knowledge (and assurance) provided by our former Executive Director, Becky DeForest, we’ve begun working on this year’s ride. Professionals are the name of the game and so we’ve again inked a deal with Corey Bolton, last year’s Ride Director, to fufill the same role this year! We’re also very excited to have Di Bolton, the other half of the Bolton Team, taking on the role of Logistics and Volunteer Coordinator. We’re blessed to have these two fine individuals (key members of Curtis Fong’s Bike The West Team for many years) as leaders of ours.

MICHAEL Bayer, who’s headed up Alta Alpina Cycling Club’s (AACC) Alta Alpina Challenge for many years, and was part of some of the original AACC Deathride teams, has been instrumental too, and is guiding us on so many levels this year.

SPEAKING of Alta Alpina, the Club is hosting a training series this year. You can register for it when you register for the ride. For a nominal fee you can get some training in with these local experts so be sure to take advantage!

VOLUNTEERS, including our intrepid Kate Harvey, Boy Scouts, and more, help complete the team. Pacific Grade will again be the double-feature this year. We had such great feedback from riders regarding the course last year so it was a no-brainer for the 2023 ride.

Blue, green? Samples of some of the artwork we’re considering for the 2023 Deathride logo.

OVER 600 riders have already registered and we’re grateful. Check out the website for more information.

We Continue to Adopt

HARD to believe it’s been five (5) years of pickin’ but it has. Holy detritus, Batman!

WELL, the work will continue for another five; we’ve just renewed our commitment to toiling on the turnpike. Not much work to be done presently, though, due to so much snow on the highway. Dang.

Coming Soon To Alpine County

THE Resource Advisory Committee (RAC) has received proposals for six (6) projects and we’re looking forward to reviewing them. From wayfinding to “Camping Like a Pro,” we’ve got some good juju focused on our local forests. Check out this recent post for more on the RAC.

MARKLEEVILLE’S water company, known as the Markleeville Water Company (who’d a thunk it?), on which I volunteer on the board, and am our webmaster, is hoping to finally get things flowing on a major project this spring. We’ve been working with the state for some time now on a grant to replace the core of our infrastructure, with new water lines for the town and surrounding residences. Timing is key because after that project, comes another for the town.

HOT Springs Road repaving would be it. The partial redo of one of the two (2) main roads in town, this one on the way to Grover Hot Springs State Park, will give us some buttery pavement on which to walk (and ride) and some wider shoulders to do it on.

SPEAKING of Grover…While the hot springs themselves are doing what they have for thousands of years, the infrastructure that funnels that hot, mineral-rich water into a walled pool, is not. CAMPING is open on a first-come, first-served basis, and will continue to be, including for the Deathride, but the plumbing (among other things) is in need of repair and a start date is unknown at this point. WE continue to communicate with the state, and fingers crossed we’ll come up with a solution soon. BRIDGES? We’ve got bridges. And we’re working on them. Well technically it’s Caltrans and their contractors that are but we’ll reap the rewards. There are approximately five (5) in the county that are on the list, a couple of which have been started, including the bridge just south of town and the one on Highway 4 near Silver Creek. LAST, but definitely not least, is the Arts and Culture initiative. Our former District 1 Supervisor, and Club-Mom, January Riddle, is heading up the effort. Our mentor, and sponsor, Arts and Culture El Dorado, has been instrumental in guiding us and will continue to be our partner. Work has begun on a tentative program to kick things off, and the team is forming its board and getting ready to file that “(c)(3) paperwork” with the state and the Feds. THESE last few years have been a bit of a wild ride here in the heart of the California Alps. HEY, the rest of the world has been experiencing its challenges too. IT’S not just us. It’s all of us. NONETHELESS, while we may still be grieving a bit over what was lost in the Tamamarack Fire, and the ensuing natural disasters that followed, we are NOT WALLOWING. In fact, as you have read, we’re rising! MORE surprises are in store so stay involved and keep visiting, especially this spring and summer. We’ve got a good one (or ones) queued up for you!




We are asking all cyclists who ride a bicycle in San Joaquin and the Motherlode to report unsafe road conditions due to lack of maintenance.

For example: San Joaquin County

West Lane and Lower Sacramento Roads between Lodi and Stockton. Nice wide bike lanes but, full of debris.

What to Report?

Roadway location

Type of road issue

Debris, trash, litter

Pot hole, Crack

Landscaping tree, bushes, mud, sand

Your input will be reported to Caltrans D10 and the San Joaquin County Public Works by D10 Bike Pedestrian Advisory Committee Members

Public Works Maintenance Direct Reporting Option

Send your input to,

The Seventh Annual Ride & Walk 4 Art on March 19, 2023 offers a variety of fun for everyone in West Calaveras County. This popular event, organized by the Calaveras County Arts Council and managed by the Mother Lode Bicycle Coalition, has three bicycle ride choices—30, 45, and 70 miles—or a 4.5 mile walk along New Hogan Lake. It finishes with a home-cooked lunch at the Jenny Lind Veterans Memorial District in Valley Springs.

A fundraiser for the Arts Council’s Arts Education fund, Ride & Walk 4 Art has grown from a neighborhood event in its first years in San Andreas to a cross-country road ride. It starts and ends at the Jenny Lind Veterans Memorial District in Valley Springs.

Ride director Rob Williams said the move to the Valley Springs site has been a great choice. “There is parking for over 200 cars. There are indoor bathrooms. And it starts and ends the ride at a safe neighborhood location.”

Bicycling Routes

The cycling routes are designed to offer cyclists a choice for their fitness level.Out-and-back rides branch from a central route; riders can add the mileage that is just right for their fitness level. Williams cautioned that riders should honestly assess their abilities. Some of the hill climbs are intense.

For those who are less sure about pedaling up a hill, Pedego Electric Bikes Elk Grove are offering a 25% discount to participants who want to experience the ride on a pedal-assist bike. Contact Lisa or Dave at 916/829-2813 to rent an e-bike.

Safe and secure

One of the benefits of joining an organized ride is the safety that comes from a well-run ride. The event relies on volunteers to keep the wheels spinning. “The volunteers that manage the event have been together for 5 years,” Williams said. “The radio operators, the rest stop crew and the support crew all work together to make sure it’s a safe, fun ride.”

“We’re really proud of our safety record, and of making sure cyclists feel comfortable on the road.” He emphasized that road safety control will be available from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the day of the event, and the American Legion Ambulance service will be on site.

If you get stuck with a flat tire, or you just run out of air, volunteers with the Calaveras Amateur Radio Association are stationed at key points along the ride to call a sag wagon. Three local bike shops will provide mechanical assistance along the route: Mountain Pedaler Bicycles from Angels Camp, Bear Valley Bicycles from Arnold, and Jackson Bike and Board.

All rest stops will be fully stocked. “I’d like to thank Moke Hill Nuts & Candies for leading off with a donation,” Williams said. He gave a nod to the volunteers who will be stationed at the rest stops. “They’ll take every health precaution to keep riders safe.”

Take a walk

If cycling isn’t your jam, you can enjoy a sedate walk along the Cameron Trail starting at the New Hogan Lake Over Look near the Army Corps of Engineers Headquarters. Hike as much of the 4.5-mile trail as you wish, then head over at noon to the veterans hall for lunch.

Eat some lunch

As she has for the last 6 years, Cynthia Pryzbyla will lead her team of volunteers as they serve a chicken-in-a-barrel lunch with “all the fixins” in the comfort of the veterans hall. Their volunteer service goes beyond this event. “The cooking crew has been together since the Cajun

Fete,” Williams said, “so they’ve been together for close to 30 years. They are really experienced and do a great job with the chicken-in-a-barrel.”

This year local vendor Cowabunga Ice Cream truck will be on hand to sell ice cream treats, Powerade frozen pops, and pickle pops. They pledged to donate a portion of their proceeds to the Arts in Education fund.

Past participants say that this event is one of the nicest local bike-and-walk events, with plenty of volunteers and a friendly non-competitive community atmosphere. And the proceeds go to a worthy cause.

Ride & Walk 4 Art Supports Arts in Education

Ride & Walk 4 Art supports the Calaveras County Arts Council’s mission to support arts education in Calaveras public schools. Every year the fundraising event Ride & Walk 4 Art raises between $4000 and $6000 for the Arts in Education program.

“The Calaveras Arts Council is committed to supporting the arts of every medium in our local schools,” said Executive Director Kathy Mazzaferro. “We are delighted to sponsor such programs as the Fine Arts Day in Jenny Lind, performances by "B Street" theater in San Andreas, as well as lessons with visiting artists in the classrooms.”

But most importantly, this fundraiser provides resources for schools to help students make sense of their lives as they learn critical real-world skills like creative thinking, resilience, problem solving, and project management. “There are any number of studies that prove that the arts help students in everything from math to science, language and social skills,” Mazzaferro said. “And it's fun!”

Just by having fun riding a bike, participants give the gift of art to Calaveras County students. That’s a pretty good time for all.

Contact information:

Register at

For more information:

Rob Williams. 209/273-8009

Kathy Mazzaferro. 209/754-1774

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