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We’re Ready to Roll in 2024




February 2024


Dear Motherlode Bicycle Coalition Members,


Best Wishes for a safe, joyful and healthy year riding your bicycle! 


This is our first newsletter of 2024, with more to come throughout the year to keep you informed about cycling 🚴‍♀️ in the Central Sierras.


The Motherlode Bicycle Coalition (MLBC) was founded in 2017 by Motherlode residents interested in promoting cycling, putting on bike events, and advocating for safe transportation infrastructure at the local government level and within Caltrans District 10.



In 2020 Caltrans and CalBike received a SB 1 Sustainable Active Transportation grant and completed a study of bike tourism and its economic impact on local economies in five counties. A final report was completed in 2022 and is available at www.BikeValleytoSierra.com along with economic data showing the benefits of bike tourism and a testimonial video of business and civic leaders supporting bike tourism.


MLBC’s 2024 Board Members are Ben Cook, Timothy England, Siobhán Hayes, Mark Schwartz, Karen Curley, Dwight Follien, Robert Leibold, Emily Kay, and Rob Williams.


We live in and represent Tuolumne, Alpine, and Calaveras County communities. We ride paved and gravel roads, mountain bike trails and parks, and mountain passes in the Central Sierra. We fix and give away bikes. We ride for fun and for transportation. We are a coalition of cycling enthusiasts and partner organizations representing a broad spectrum of bike riding interests. 


Together, we’re breaking down barriers to make cycling more accessible for everyone. 


We recently held our yearly organization planning meeting at Waranerosa Mountain Bike Park in Murphys (https://www.waranerosamountainretreats.com/) where we renewed our commitment to growing our membership, identified our core organizational values, set achievable goals and established a calendar of bike events for 2024.


Our Vision:

  • Safe, connected, and healthy Central Sierra communities

  • A thriving local outdoor culture and economy where everyone can get involved and prosper

  • Opportunities for the next generation to explore, have fun, and become stewards of our natural and working lands

Our Mission:

  • Connect our rural communities through bicycling activities and a sustainable network of multi-surface bicycle routes

  • Create opportunities for community and business development around a thriving cycling community.


Our Strategies:

  • MLBC represents the cycling community and champions bicycle safety, visibility, and accessibility so that everyone has the opportunity to be active, travel, and explore the Central Sierra area by bicycle.

  • MLBC supports other organizations by serving as a united voice for forest accessibility and trail stewardship.  MLBC empowers the next generation of forest stewards by providing training and employment opportunities in route planning, sustainable trail design, construction, and maintenance. MLBC engages with local and state agencies to make cycling in the Central Sierra safer and more accessible. 

  • MLBC promotes the Central Sierra area’s natural beauty and extensive recreational opportunities by publishing cycling guides and trail maps for locals and visitors alike.



Accomplishments from 2023


The MLBC helped establish the Caltrans District 10 Bike Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC). We currently have one MLBC Board Member representing our organization on this 16-member committee and holding the position of Vice Chairman.


Advocacy

Caltrans D10 SubCommittee Bike Related Initiatives 

  • Proposing and Implementing the opening of Ebbetts Pass for cycling and hiking, without vehicles in Spring 2024 for 1-3 days (pending)

  • Demanding that rumble strips guidelines be followed and maintained 

  • Addressing Bike Events Permitting and Fees in D10

  • Submitting Caltrans and county road shoulder maintenance requests

  • Advocated for upgrading the Michelson School/Feeney Park CA-4 crosswalk in Murphys to a HAWK System (High Intensity Activated Crosswalk)


Funding

In December 2023, the Calaveras High School FFA Program submitted a grant proposal to the California State Parks Outdoor Education Equity Grants Program. The purpose of the Program is “to increase the ability of residents in underserved communities to participate in outdoor experiences within their community, at state parks, and other public lands”. MLBC requested funds to get kids riding on local trails. Stay tuned as we await a decision from the funder.


Development of New Bike Trails and Parks

MLBC presented a Bike Access Concept to the Camanche Recreation Coast to Crest Trail Board as published in BikeValleytoSierra Final Report


MLBC is currently working with San Andreas Parks and Recreation District to redesign the Turner Park pump track. Once the weather improves, we will be seeking donations of clean soil and will be reaching out to our membership for help with construction - stay tuned!  


Events

  • Co-produced the Blue Zones/MLBC Sonora Bike Day at Indigeny Reserve

  • Organized the Columbia State Park Family Bike Night Ride

  • Held the Arnold Rim Trail Bike-a-Palooza Bike Event 

  • Hosted the Death Ride Lake Alpine Turnaround Rest Stop for over 1,200 participants 

  • Attended the Tuolumne County Volunteers Faire

  • Our mechanics helped at Sonora Bikes for Tykes Project 

  • Planned and Managed the 7th Annual Calaveras County Arts Council RideandWalk4Art: https://www.rideandwalk4art.com/

  • Supported the Groveland Grind Mountain Bike Event 

  • Supported the Feeney Park Mr. Frogs Wild Ride as rest stop host

  • Participated in the third annual FROGTOWN BMX International Bike Classic in Angels Camp


Goals for 2024

  • Increase MLBC membership and publish quarterly MLBC newsletters

  • Support six signature bike events in Alpine, Tuolumne, and Calaveras counties:

  • 8th Annual RideandWalk4Art

  • Groveland Grind

  • 43rd Annual Death Ride

  • Bike-a-Palooza

  • Columbia Bike Nights

  • Bike Day at Indigeny

  • Build and distribute Bikes for Tykes during holidays 

  • Advance the recommendations of the Cycling Tourism Study to improve and encourage recreational biking in the Motherlode: https://www.bikevalleytosierra.com/about

  • Meet quarterly with CalBike and attend the CalBike State Summit on April 18-19, 2024 to stay connected to statewide issues and initiatives 

  • Continue advocating for pedestrian and cycling safety infrastructure:

  • Upgrading the Michelson School/Feeney Park CA-4 crosswalk to a HAWK System (High Intensity Activated Crosswalks)

  • Exploring alternatives for safe CA-4 crossings in Arnold


What's All the Noise About Rumble Strips?

Rumble strips are road safety features installed at the edge of the roadway and on the centerline to provide an audible and tactile alert to inattentive or drowsy drivers that their vehicles are drifting out of the lane into the shoulder or the opposing lane. Studies indicate that rumble strips are effective at preventing crossover and run-off-the-road collisions by 20%40%. Caltrans recommends them as an inexpensive and effective safety feature on state highways and rural roads. While rumble strips are effective for combating roadway departure crashes, they must be implemented carefully to avoid creating serious hazards for cyclists. Here are some important considerations pertaining to rumble strips:


  • Since rumble strips aren't rideable, their placement should leave adequate space on road shoulders for cyclists to ride.  By far, the most consequential design decision is the amount of space provided on the shoulder between the rumble strip and the outside edge of the shoulder. If that riding area is too narrow, cyclists could be forced to ride in the traffic lane and be unable to move over to the shoulder to let motor vehicle traffic pass. Or, cyclists may be unable to maneuver around an obstacle, risking crashes that could result in injury or death.

  • The depth of the rumble strip should be limited to avoid causing a cyclist to lose control of their bicycle if they come into contact with the strip.

  • Centerline rumble strips should be implemented selectively on roadways of adquate width to avoid causing drivers to encroach on the shoulder where cyclists are traveling.

  • When shoulders are too narrow, signage should be installed to alert drivers that cyclists may be in the lane.


Here's what MLBC is advocating for in regards to rumble strips:

  1. Rumble strips should be implemented according to CalTrans Best Practices.

  2. BPAC should have the opportunity to review all plans to install, modify, or remove rumble strips.

  3. CalTrans should sweep and maintain shoulders each spring and summer to remove blockages from shoulders that would otherwise force cyclists to ride on edge strips or enter the lane of traffic.

  4. CalTrans should educate operations staff about Rumble Strip Best Practices.


Here’s what you can do to help:

Click here to add your name to the petition!

If you would like to learn more or get more involved in MLBC's advocacy effort regarding rumble strips, please contact Rob Williams @ mlbcrob@gmail.com



Your membership dues contribute to the basic costs of maintaining a rural bike advocacy organization including event expenses, web hosting fees, virtual meeting platform subscriptions, and the cost of attending the annual CalBike State Summit.


Help us by renewing your $25 yearly membership here.


With your energy, experience, and membership, we can work together to:


● Build bicycle-friendly communities

● Break down barriers to cycling

● Improve air quality and public health

● Educate cyclists and motorists on Sharing the Road

● Promote bike rides and routes in the Motherlode

● Organize more bicycle events to promote cycling, increase public awareness, and have fun.


Follow us!


Motherlode Bicycle Coalition Website 


Central Sierras Bike Riding Tourism Project


California Bicycle Coalition 


Facebook 

Motherlode Bicycle Coalition 


Instagram 

Motherlodebike


Strava Clubs Ride Events 

Motherlode Bicycle Coalition 


Flipboard 

California Bike Pedestrian News, MLBC News, Northern California Bike News


Threads 

motherlodebike


Caltrans District 10 BPAC 



Our Partners 

209 Adventure Club

Arnold Rim Trail: https://arnoldrimtrail.org/

Bear Valley Adventure Company: https://www.bvadventures.com/

Bear Valley Mountain Resort: https://www.bearvalley.com/

Blue Zones of Tuolumne County: https://tuolumnecounty.bluezonesproject.com/

Calaveras County Arts Council: https://www.calaverasarts.org/

Dodge Ridge Mountain Resort: https://dodgeridge.com/

FROGTOWN BMX International Classic: https://frogtownclassicbmxdays.com/

Groveland Trail Heads: https://grovelandtrailheads.org/

Mountain Aloha MTB Co.: https://www.ridemountainaloha.com/

Waranerosa Mountain Retreat: https://www.waranerosamountainretreats.com/





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