Easy-ish Northern California Sierra Bicycle Ride
Mr. Frog's Wild Ride
Saturday, May 6
7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Feeney Park, Murphys
Bicycling in Calaveras County, or anywhere in the Northern California Sierra can be a joy, but it can also be a challenge. Early this year Mr. Frog’s Wild Ride, a bicycle event with a choice of three rides of varying difficulties, ran into one of those challenges. A scouting trip along San Domingo Road found that the short cycling route through the valley had degraded during rough winter storms, with portions of the road washed out or heavily rutted. “It’s still a beautiful route,” said Maggie Sloan, communications director and registration manager for the ride. “But it’s probably not safe for a bicycle event like Mr. Frogs.”
Instead, ride organizers Susan Lyneis and Pete Maurer opted to design a new short route that skipped the rough patches of San Domingo and offered a more cycling-friendly route through the Northern California foothills. According to Lyneis, the new route is “close to town but it feels far away.”
Mr. Frog's Wild new short bicycle route
Starting at Feeney Park in Murphys in Calaveras County, cyclists on the short route will bicycle through some of Northern California's prettiest countryside, past vineyards and historical sites, and glide through oak forests and meadows. You'll head out Six Mile Road then turn around and cycle back through town. From Murphys you’ll descend Murphys Grade Road to French Gulch Road which will loop you back to Murphys and Feeney Park in time for lunch by chef Laura Lowell of Vida Buena Farms.
Maurer, who also participates in the ride, added, “The best part and the reason we chose it is because it’s got good pavement and not a lot of traffic. It’s all pretty nice. The roads have been recently repaved. It’s got enough hills to be challenging—it will be interesting enough and challenging for all riders.”
Lyneis pointed out that this shorter route is perfect for those with electric assist bikes. In fact, Pedego Electric Bikes in Elk Grove have offered 25% off rental fees of their e-bikes for all participants in Mr. Frog’s Wild Ride. Those who are interested should call 916/829-2813 to arrange a rental.
The longer rides have not changed. Cyclists on the challenging 43- and 55-mile routes will traverse remote routes on a variety of road surfaces, heart-thumping climbs and winding descents on back roads that emphasize the wildness of Mr. Frog’s Ride.
SAG wagons will be available to rescue worn-out cyclists on all routes. The climbs in the Northern California foothills are no joke. Bicyclists should honestly assess their capabilities, and then, once on the road, ride slowly and enjoy yourself. It’s a ride, not a race. Along the way, you'll find fully-stocked rest stops; restrooms will be available. Riders should be off the course by 3 p.m.
A fundraiser for Feeney Park—a community resource managed and supported solely by volunteers—Mr. Frog’s Wild Ride relies on the community to make this a successful event. Volunteers will be needed for everything from check-in, to food prep, to ride safety. Please contact Board member Susan Lyneis at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can help.
Mr. Frog's is a small ride that's got a community feel and a fabulous lunch. Register in advance for Mr. Frog’s Wild Ride online so that you can start your ride early on Saturday. You can also register Friday May 6 from 5 to 7 p.m., or on the day of the event between 7 and 8:45 a.m.
However you choose to participate—as a cyclist or a volunteer—you’re bound to have a wonderful, wild time!