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40 Years of Cycling the California Alps

In a normal year, thirteen bike events are held in Caltrans District 10, in the Central Valley, Motherlode and the Central Sierras. This year only one bike event was held before Shelter in Place.

Prior, to the 2020 Covid Pandemic the bike events held in Caltrans District 10 included, Mr. Frogs Ride, RideandWalk4Art, Party Pardee, Delta Century, Pedaling Paths to Independence, Mom’s Ride, Almond Blossom Century, Golden Hills, Ebbett’s Pass Century, Alta Alpina Challenge, Best Ride, the Death Ride and Tour delle Vigne.

Bike events support and encourage cycling tourism in the five Bike Valley to Sierra county partnerships. Bike events use local bike routes that become popular bike riding destinations before and after the event is held.

This summer, CalBike, the Motherlode Bicycle Coalition and Cycle California Magazine held three virtual meetings with Caltrans District 10 Bike Event Organizers to discuss rescheduling bike events post Covid 19. At the August meeting, USA Cycling presented a risk assessment tool, Covid 19, guidelines to design event protocols for rescheduling bike events.

The most prestigious bike event In Caltrans District 10 is the annual Death Ride. This ride is celebrating it’s 40th year and is scheduled for July 17, 2021.

The Death Ride started in 1978 when five cyclists decided to bike ride the California Alps in one day, with just the support of friends and family following along in a vehicle. The event quickly grew to worldwide recognition in the cycling community, and is a sought-after event for those looking for a serious challenge.Today, the ride still caters to the elite mountain cyclists, but also offers a range of challenge levels, from one pass to up to 5* mountain passes. The event is not only a sought-after cycling venue, it is the primary fundraiser of the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce and Visitor's Center, whose mission is to promote business prosperity, tourism marketing, and a healthy community for Alpine County and its neighbors.

This year the Death Ride Director is Bike the West Director and Death Ride veteran Curtis Fong.

The Death Ride contributes important revenue to Alpine County. Additionally, cyclists visit Alpine County during summer, spring, and fall to cycle the California Alps. Strava bike riding data showed that Alpine County had over 3,000 cyclists ride 9,000 bike rides in 2020. Ninety six percent of the cyclists were visitors to Alpine County.

Bike events generate a large influx of cash in a short period of time. Bike event participants often stay before and after the bike events staying in local hotels, campgrounds, and rentals. Participants in the one-day America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride circling Lake Tahoe spend an average of 2.5 days and $641 per day.

However, bike events bring their share of complications. Permitting from local counties is an issue, depending on the size of the event, the impact of the desired route, and the agencies involved. And now, with the Covid Pandemic public health department’s will be part of the permitting process.

All bike events raise funds for local charities and share proceeds with local nonprofit organizations.

RideandWalk4Art raises funds for public school arts education programs, the Delta Century proceeds support important Stockton Charities and the Death Ride in the past contributed $90,000.00 back into community businesses and nonprofits, including the Alpine County Fire Safe Council and Alpine County Fish & Game.

Bike Events Held in Caltrans District 10

Most bike event organizers have set dates for rescheduling in 2021, see bike event links below for updates.

Pedaling Paths to Independence,


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