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Old 07-31-09, 07:54 PM   #1
genec
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first impressions of Davis, CA

OK I am on one of my bike/drive treks... this time I have headed north and am currently near Portland. Along the way we took a detour through Davis. Now granted I didn't speed a whole lot of time there, but I was there long enough to ride some bike paths and lanes in the area, to visit the chamber of commerce and get a local bike map and visit a couple bike stores.

First impression: The place is flat. I mean real flat. The only hills I saw were the bridges over freeways.

Second impression: people of all ages ride bikes there... I saw lots of utility bikes, I saw folks of all ages either on the bike paths or bike lanes... and I saw few helmets and even less fancy bike clothes. I saw women of advanced age grocery shopping and using three wheel bikes. I saw lots of those stretched bikes. I saw lots and lots of bike racks. And the city is quite proud of their bike heritage... trash cans and other municipal objects were emblazoned with bicycle symbols.

Third impression: This is also a nice walking city... the speed limits tend to be 25MPH or 35MPH on the arterial roads; I did not encounter a single 45 or 55 MPH arterial road so typical of southern California. There are wonderful tree lined roads throughout the city, and good sidewalks and of course bike lanes and bike paths. The place has a great "small town feel." Loved the train station... and the racks full of bikes at the train station.

Discussion: Bike lanes were wide... but they indeed had door zone BL... but with the space given (and I had a tape measure... I should have measured the BL... ) it would be easy to stay out of the Door Zone. The BL are certainly wide compared to what I normally see in San Diego. I saw bike racks at every downtown intersection, if not most corners. I did not see any restriction to the automobile, except for speed. (25MPH in many places) This is a well thought out city with a strong devotion to cycling that is shared by folks of all ages. (believe me to see folks older than my 53 years out shopping readily on bikes is a treat)

This wasn't Oulu Finland, but it sure was bike friendly...

More later.
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Old 07-31-09, 08:47 PM   #2
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For me, there's only one problem with Davis... it's in California.
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Old 07-31-09, 09:04 PM   #3
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For me, there's only one problem with Davis... it's in California.
Sure, but Davis shows what can be done to make a city bike friendly... and I am sure it is not the only city out there that is relatively flat.... not that flat is a requirement of bike friendly... but it sure helps keep the people powered machines rolling well.

The real issue is the dedication to bicycles... and that can be done in most cities with cooperation from the locals.

Is Davis perfect??? No... I did indeed see at least one curb hugging cyclist riding against the flow of traffic... one might think that with all those examples of folks riding with the flow of traffic, the wrong way riders would "get it." But apparently not. I also saw lots of signs admonishing traffic not to run stop lights... so that too is an issue.

But all in all, I think Davis is a good example of what can be done to integrate bicycles into the overall transportation picture.
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Old 07-31-09, 09:46 PM   #4
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doesn't Davis make john forestor blow a gasket?

Gene, are you going to get to ride in Portland?
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Old 08-01-09, 08:38 AM   #5
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doesn't Davis make john forestor blow a gasket?

Gene, are you going to get to ride in Portland?
Yup, got my trusty commuter with me... (should have brought the MTB though as we are headed toward Moab later during this trip.) Will be going to the San Juans too.

Regarding Davis and JF, frankly Davis seems to have it all covered and yet doesn't seem to have any restrictions on auto travel (always JF's biggest concern), other than sensible speed limits.

Folks have just incorporated cycling in ways that you do not usually see in American cities. Bike Racks are a big feature there... unlike what I see in say, San Diego, or Dallas, or even Vancouver Wash. Austin Texas is similar to Davis, in that bike racks and support of the city are very apparent.

Frankly, the lack of real cycling accommodations is one big hurdle for anyone wanting to bicycle... along with high speed roads and distracted drivers... SIGH...

I mean face it, if you as a cyclist just want to run some errands... and you have to always face the simple task of finding secure parking... while glancing around and seeing tons of real estate devoted to the storage of the motor car... One car parking space can park 12 bicycles.
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Old 08-01-09, 09:27 AM   #6
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*siGh*
Yet another example of how incorporating alternative transportation
as more than just an afterthought benefits the community as a whole,
not just bike riders.
When will the experts finally get it ?
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Old 08-01-09, 02:15 PM   #7
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Davis, California is very friendly to bicycles? I'd certainly take an adult upright tricycle with me to Davis and ride around for a bit...

But I'm in the far east coast of United States... Heh.
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Old 08-01-09, 03:47 PM   #8
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Davis, California is very friendly to bicycles? I'd certainly take an adult upright tricycle with me to Davis and ride around for a bit...

But I'm in the far east coast of United States... Heh.
And there would be nothing unusual about it if you did.. you'd fit right in. And probably be quite happy about it.
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Old 08-01-09, 06:04 PM   #9
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eh. not much around davis. about 15-20 miles from downtown. where you can hit the trail to folsom. nice trail.
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Old 08-01-09, 10:25 PM   #10
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Got my Cycle Genius Sparrow at Ken's Bike & Ski in Davis. Did you happen to notice what a cyclist does at a stop sign when nobody else is around?
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Old 08-01-09, 10:49 PM   #11
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Isn't Davis, CA the only city to be awarded the Platinum Level Bicycle Friendly Comunity by the LAB?
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Old 08-02-09, 10:53 AM   #12
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Isn't Davis, CA the only city to be awarded the Platinum Level Bicycle Friendly Comunity by the LAB?
I was under the impression that Davis, Boulder and Portland all had this... I may be wrong.

The interesting thing is (I am near Portland right now) is that the differences between Portland and Davis are huge. I see little "cheering" about being a bike city in Portland, where Davis had bike logos emblazoned everywhere. Bike racks were on almost every corner in Davis... and certainly at every intersection. Portland has a lot of bike racks, but they actually tend to be mid block and you have to look for them a bit. Of course Portland has bike boxes, Davis just had the usual bike lanes.

I see many helmeted and bike clothing specific cyclists in Portland; in Davis, the helmets were few and far between and I saw hardly any bike specific clothing. Davis had low speed limits; Portland has some fast arterial roads... and hills, and bridges.

Both have nice bike paths... although in Davis the paths were more integrated into the whole city... in Portland the paths take advantage of the rivers and such... although they do have some pretty cool freeway paths in Portland. And Oregon in general is pretty bike supportive.

One thing for me as an indicator of the comfort of locals to biking is seeing older women doing chores/shopping on bikes. I saw this in France, and certainly quite a bit in Oulu, Finland. I saw the same thing in Davis. This to me is an indicator that there is a certain comfort about the cycling in a place that transcends the "alpha-male" BS that comes with the whole vehicular cycling mentality... "just assert yourself..." When your grandma can feel comfortable enough to ride a bike to the shopping center and pick up groceries... there is not a lot of "assert" going on.

In Davis I saw folks in regular street clothes riding bikes to do what ever they needed to do. In Portland, while I see lots of folks on bikes... I see a lot of helmets and lots of bike clothing... Different mind set... but I am just offering views of what I observe.
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Old 08-02-09, 02:03 PM   #13
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For me, there's only one problem with Davis... it's in California.
Yeah...because who could possibly want to live in a place with year-round riding, and mountains, deserts, and coastlines that attract people from all around the world?

BTW, this rather unique cycling scene is from Lassen National Park...only a couple of hours from Davis (and, yes, those are snowbanks next to the road):

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