Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Tracy, CA: Is it Biker-Friendly?

Lately I have had ample opportunity to look into the bicycles that have been sitting idly in the storage sheds at the back, slowly collecting dust and becoming hapless victims to rust.

They have been cleaned, greased, re-aligned, tires pumped, and finally checked off as roadworthy. So now I am the grateful user of three bikes of different sizes and configurations. One is a full-sized menacing Fuji racer left behind some years back by my twins when they finally left the house for good. The other two while of similar stance and profile have different uses, one having balloon tires and intended off-road, while the other has racer tires and looks like the typical wimpy road bike. The hulky off-roader was left by my daughter who moved to another house, and the wimpy one I believe was left behind by a girlfriend of one of the twins and never reclaimed


So now the late autumn afternoons have seen me exploring the immediate environs of our development, treading faithfully along bike/pedestrian lanes which fortunately encircle the entire grid bounded by Lammers to the West, Corral Hollow to the South, and Byron Road and 11th St., North and South respectively. Stretching maybe close to three miles circumferentially, it makes for a good afternoon workout.

The few leisurely driving jaunts that we have taken around the city, going through the new and not- so- new residential housing developments around the city made us aware of their ample provision for bike lanes along inside roads and around the outside perimeters. Thus, one has been encouraged to plan for extended ventures farther out of the comforting familiarity of home and to boldly explore the many storied nooks and crannies of the city of Tracy.

Driving around one cannot miss the many bike lanes around city streets. And a little Googling even informs us that the city is ever vigilant about providing bike lanes, when it can and has the opportunity. Thus, a bike lane(s) with no parking allowed will stretch along Grant Line from Corral Hollow to Tracy Boulevard. Has this particular ordinance been passed and implemented? Will try to see the next time I get the chance to drive over in that area.

So from that scanty perspective one is predisposed to declare that Tracy appears to be biker-friendly enough. But the next few months will confirm or challenge that when I do get the chance to pedal my bike along the different areas. Till then.

From where I have been, I have seen many bare-headed bike riders. So bike crash helmets are not mandatory in Tracy? Google was not helpful in assisting me on this score.

Officer Sir, Mr. Policeman. Can you supply me with the answer to this question? It would be seriously appreciated.

10 comments:

  1. Suggestion: ride around Tracy and try to break every rule you can think of so a cop will stop you. Then, ask him what all the ordinances are... Whadayathink?

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  2. HaHaHa. But I did have a similar plan. During my bike run, just flag a passing cruiser and ask the question.

    But what if he thinks I am trying to be cute because wearing a helmet is mandatory? He could be livid mad with me and make me pay handsomely.

    I am inclined to believe helmet-wearing is not mandatory, after all most of those I see bare-headed are students coming out of schools. Surely, they have been forewarned by their teachers.

    Compromise: I'll just ask any officer but under different circumstances. Like when I am driving or walking by.

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  3. Look, bycycle riders fall into two categories: a) socially disadvantaged who are also gullible and b) sport riders. You can easily distinguish them. Group (a) wears no helmets, ride cheap bikes with small wheels, and wear street clothes. Group (b) wears helmets and spiffy suits with fluorescent stripes and ride bikes which cost 3..4 times more than my car. Both groups are likely to break rules, run across intersections, and sue you.

    Personally I think that bicyclists have no place in the city and should be banned. Motorcycle riders are nowhere near as offensive on the road on the whole.

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  4. I myself prefer to bike in areas where traffic is minimal or nil like bike lanes/trails. I cannot imagine myself getting involved in any collision where the other vehicle is a lot bigger and heavier than the one I am driving. I wouldn't want to be in the right but dead.

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  5. I was never without a bicycle when living in Manhattan. I love bicycling and learned to weave in and out of traffic, as well as dodge suicidal cab drivers. We also did many long distance bike trips to Long Island, New York up to Montauk Point during the summer.

    However, I wouldn't dare ride around on a bike anywhere here in Manila, especially at my age now.

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  6. Eric:

    Getting back to bicycling was indeed challenging, like getting rid of the nasty fear that even a little fall could mean broken bones.

    But since I have been riding almost daily, I have somehow gotten rid of that fear. I now ride even the full-sized racer.

    Yes, riding in PI could be a reckless proposition given traffic conditions. Used to own motorbikes before first leaving, but today, I wouldn't even do that along city roads.

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  7. ???? what a jerky thing to say! Over the past 30 some years I've had to put up with loads of people like you. People on bikes hate people in cars (like you) as much as you hate us. You make zero sense. Maybe you're just trying to be facetious... hopefully.

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  8. The other day, I had the good opportunity to visit the only cyclery shop in Tracy, Tracy Cyclery along W. 11th Street.

    The owner was quite gregarious so we had a little congenial conversation about, of course, bikes and crash helmets.

    Thus, I learned that in Tracy, state law on helmet wearing applies, which is that anyone under 18 years of age is mandated to wear a crash helmet when riding a bike.

    In a jestful twist then, the state does not care about the health and safety of those above 18 enough to require the wearing of crash helmets, quite unlike the seatbelt requirement.

    But seriously, I believe the state believes that adults are responsible enough to take the necessary precautions in their bike-riding habits.

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  9. Great cycling in the cordilleras...no rules, breathtaking views. if you're ever back here, take you for a fine ride!

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  10. Dean:

    I may not be up to the challenge in handling grades. Flat even surfaces are more my cup of tea, same as with my jogging.

    But I do hike grades when I am in Bukidnon, at atltitudes of 1300 meters or so.

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