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Back in the Saddle: 15 Reasons to Break Out the Bike this Spring

‘Tis the season to dust off your bike and go for a spin. If you need a reason to ride, look no further. Local experts share why they prefer two wheels over four, and why you should too. 

Relieve stress. “Bikes are fun and energizing. For me, it’s a huge stress reliever and a free space to think about life,” says Justin Kerntz, former manager of Bob’s Cycle Center in Roseville, who commuted nine miles each way, every day, rain or shine, to work. 

Boost endorphins. “I love riding outdoors because it’s a great way to get a boost of endorphins pumping through your body,” says Heather Hayes, owner and instructor at TrueNorth Cycle & Barre Studio in Folsom. “The physical exercise paired with breathing in fresh air and being in nature is an incredible mood booster and a great cardio workout.”

It’s an all-in-one exercise. If it’s a rainy day but you still want to get moving, think about an indoor cycling class, suggests Lise Edwards, co-owner of HouseRide Cycling Studio in Roseville. “It focuses on speed, endurance, power, and strength, [so] you’re able to integrate all the important aspects of training into your weekly fitness routine without having to switch equipment.”

Ideal for every body. Bike riding is a low-impact workout that’s far easier on your joints, compared to other cardio activities. “It’s a great way to cross-train and save your body from injury, aches, and pains,” Edwards says.

Help your health. According to Brett Bollinger, senior trails planner at Folsom’s Parks and Recreation Department, bike riding “[aids in] better lung health, promotes weight loss, decreases stress, improves mental health and sleep, builds muscle, and increases flexibility.”  

Meet new people. “You can increase your social network through group rides,” Bollinger says. For a list of local group rides and upcoming cycling events, visit

Be inspired. “[In a cycling class,] your own personal coach will motivate you through the ride,” Edwards shares. “Plus, you can make the experience your own since all moves can be modified or turned up based on fitness level.”

Feel free. For Kerntz, he loves the sense of freedom and accomplishment that comes with riding a bike. “I think back to first learning to ride, [and it was] my first real sense of freedom. I was finally in the driver’s seat—the captain and the navigator,” he says. “Getting on a bike today gives you a new way to feel free…free from the daily grind, free from self-doubt, and free from stress.”

Get to know your town. “California has some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, and as Ernest Hemingway said: ‘It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and can coast down them.’ Thus, you remember them as they actually are,” Kerntz says.

Save money. “Riding your bike to work a couple days a week is a good way to reduce pollution and save money on gas,” Hayes says.

Have time to yourself. “Bike riding represents the promise of the open road, the enthralling sense of speed and movement, and the quiet places in my community. With the challenge of the backcountry, single-track trails, I find myself pushing my physical, mental, and emotional limits,” says Heath Sherratt, founder and owner of The Hub in Roseville.

Passion project. “Cycling celebrates a unique interaction between myself and machine,” Sherratt says. “It has captured my imagination and opened my life to people of all ages and cultures around the world. When I look at bikes themselves, I see [they’ve] have had an impact on culture as a tool in the workplace, as an inspiration for artists, and as a vessel of pure joy and escape.”

In and out. “[Indoor cycling is] a great alternative for road cyclists. You get a complete workout that’ll support your next long ride,” Edwards says.

Strengthen your muscles. “You’ll burn body fat and build muscle all at the same time, since bike riding focuses a lot on strengthening your large muscle groups and smaller stabilizer muscles,” Edwards says.

Make up your own reason. “The fun of bike riding is finding new reasons to ride—maybe a new trail or route, inviting friends to join, and sharing with others the joy of it all,” Kerntz says. “I challenge everyone to find some of their own reasons for why they like to ride.” 

Buying a Bike

Here are some quick tips and things to consider to help you buy the best bike. —Compiled by Patrick Crowley

what kind of riding WILL YOU be doing? Remember that your physical condition and health should play a big part in your decision, too—both in the type of bike you choose and the type of riding you plan to do.

What size bike do you need? A good fit makes all the difference; a reputable local dealer will be happy to help. 

Take a test ride! If the store you’re shopping at doesn’t allow test rides, find one that does and work with them.

Accessories are important. A good helmet and lights should both be a priority. Mirrors and a water bottle are right up there, as are clothing, a lock and pump, repair kits, and tools. And if you plan to travel, find a quality bike carrier.

Money matters. There are lots of brands and bikes with varying price points, but with a little research and expert advice, you can find the right bike for you at the right price.

Visit and work with a good (local) bike shop! It’ll help you make the best decision and have the most fun.

Safety Tips

Following the rules of the road will keep you and others safe as you bike around town.—Compiled by Kourtney Jason 

Be visible. Use a polite bell to let others know you’re there; have working lights when riding in the evening and early morning. 

Learn and use hand signals. Communication with your fellow riders and pedestrians will keep everyone safe. 

Wear a helmet. A good helmet should fit comfortably and allow for efficient ventilation.

Maintain your bike. Take your bike in for regular maintenance and tune-ups. And pay attention to when something might be off. 

Keep your brakes in check. Make sure both front and rear brakes are working properly and don’t get too worn down.

Respect pedestrians. Don’t ride on sidewalks. Instead, use the street, bike lane, or bike path.

Local Group Rides 

Looking for adventure or to check out the many bike routes around town? This roundup of local bike groups and sites will help you decide where you want to pedal next.—Compiled by Kourtney Jason

1. CA Gold Rush to the Bay, May 12-19

Take in views of San Francisco, the surrounding Bay Area, and other parts of Northern California. This trek covers significant distances, with cycling at the heart of each day, and includes a ferry ride and two convenient train connections.

Cost: $2,199

Location: Departs from Sacramento

Difficulty Level: Beginner+

2. California Wine Country Relaxed, June 2-9

Combines Northern California’s scenic and savory best on this tour through some of the coast’s breathtaking agricultural areas. Participants will pedal past dairy farms, vineyards, and orchards at the peak of harvest season.

Cost: $1,499

Location: Petaluma

Difficulty Level: Beginner+


3. Tuesday Race Ride, 5:15 p.m. (2 hours) 

Weekly rides with Mike’s Bikes.

Cost: Free

Location: Departs from Mike’s Bikes (705 Gold Lake Dr., Suite 320, Folsom)

Difficulty Level: Moderate-Difficult


4. Tuesday Night MTB Slay the Bay Ride, 5:30 p.m. (1.5-2 hours)

Weekly rides with Mike’s Bikes. (italicize)

Location: Departs from Mike’s Bikes (705 Gold Lake Dr., Suite 320, Folsom)

Difficulty Level: Moderate

5. California Dream Ride, September 22-27

The sixth annual ride will take bikers from the American River in Folsom to the Golden Gate Bridge, past rugged coastline and beautiful wine country. Cost for five days is $2,850.

By Kourtney Jason