After the BP MS150 I took a little road trip from San Francisco International airport to Chico, CA. I went to university there many many years ago. I wanted to see how the university has changed since then, and more importantly, to see old friends.
The timing of my flight from Austin to SFO meant that it would be quite late by the time I got to Chico. So I researched bike rides in the Sacramento area, where I planned to stop for the night.
TrailLink showed me the American River Bike Trail, also known as the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail. “Yes” I had to look up who Jedediah Smith was. He was, among other things, a noted explorer, but his accomplishments were not recognized until 75 years after his death.
I had found a trail to ride. I had booked a hotel room in Woodland. Hertz put the final piece of the puzzle in place by upgrading my rental car to a Jeep Compass. I had wondered if I would be able to fit the bike case, a suitcase and my built-up bicycle into the mid-sized sedan that I had reserved. Everything fit with room to spare in the Jeep.
The trail runs between Discovery Park in Old Sacramento to the shore of Folsom Lake, 51km / 32mi from end to end. I started from Discovery Park.
As the name implies, the trail follows the banks of the American River. It is paved for its entire length, and is complete with mile markers, rest areas, water fountains and emergency telephones.
Much of my ride was through shaded tree-lined pathways like this.
The trail isn’t in wilderness per se, but there is a lot of wildlife about. I saw wild turkeys. And this guy.
At the Folsom Lake end of the trail, where Folsom Lake Crossing meets the Folsom – Auburn Road, there is a little shopping centre. I had a latte and a very nice bagel at the Folsom Grind.
You can walk into Folsom Bike from inside the coffee shop. Very convenient if you need a spare inner tube or an energy bar to go.
Speaking of spare inner tubes, my ride back to Discovery Park was punctuated by a flat tire. I couldn’t fault the scenery around me as I made the repair.
I now know that I stopped at Hagan Community Park. It was so pleasant that after I changed the inner tube I sat for a while and enjoyed the view.
Only for a while though. It was getting warm. I still had 25km / 15.5mi to Discovery Park. And after that, 90 minutes of driving to get to Chico.
I am very glad that I made the stop in Sacramento to ride the American River Bike Trail. If I get the chance I will ride it again. And if you get the chance, you should ride it too.