Sacramento Mother's Day Ride: Having Fun Doing Good

Part of Cyclofemme's "Empower the Girl. Ignite the Woman." global celebration of women on wheels, our Sacramento Mother's Day ride promised something for everyone. It did not disappoint. Moms with kids, preteens and grandparents, newbies to racing’s elite. They came on road bikes, mountain bikes, and everything in between. They came from halfway across town, halfway across the Sierras, and halfway across the country. They came to have fun while doing good.

The day began at 8 AM at Sacramento’s new one-stop shop for endurance athletes, DAI Endurance, co-owned by Bike Like a Girl co-founder Julie Young with Mike Sayers. We caffeinated with pre-ride coffee from Chocolate Fish Coffee, rehydrated with SIS Hydration, and relaxed post-ride with beer from Ruhstaller Brewery. For some, a thrilling glimpse of the Amgen Tour of California pros sprinting through Sacramento's midtown was the highlight of the day.

In between, of course, we all rode our bikes. Here, rider Theresa Keegan’s account of what made the day special for her…

This year’s Mother’s Day, with my grown children across the country, had the potential to be a dud. So imagine my joy when I discovered there was a bike ride for good causes that support female cyclists: World Bicycle Relief and Bike Like A Girl. With two options: 25 or 40 miles, there was a great span for varying skills, plus the rides were touted as "no drop." It was a no-brainer for me. I signed up.

The morning was sunny and cool and a great group of people – and their bikes – eagerly gathered in midtown Sacramento.

Velofix, the tres cool mobile bike repair van, was there – thank goodness as my tires were flatter than the pancakes being served up for hungry moms by eager toddlers. It’s been a long, rainy winter in NorCal and work demands have kept my outings far too limited.  My tires were filled, brakes checked and after some group intros that included cautions and rules, we easily set off. No drama, no posturing. This was to be a fun ride for all.  The 40 milers went first and the 25 milers a few minutes later.

Probably the biggest challenge of the day was crossing midtown. A gaggle of bicyclists of all skill levels and ages can be a challenge. Add in traffic, lights and stop signs, and it could be a mess. But folks were gracious and courteous – some waited, some sped up and together we soon entered the bike path, just east of the Blue Diamond plant on C Street.

I’ve been in Sacramento two years now, and had yet to ride this stretch of the bike trail, despite the fact it’s my neighborhood - it just doesn’t feel safe due to the homeless encampments and the many dogs that can be heard barking from the bushes. (Don’t get me started on the drawback of Sacramento letting one of its greatest features fall into disuse by regular folk.) But riding with a group made all the difference. I got to see spring flowers in bloom, how the river winds through and the paths criss-cross to various points throughout Sacramento.

The 25-mile group, coordinated by Bike Like a Girl, was great. A few stops were conducted to check in with each other on pace, how bikes were working, etc. and then we just set about riding. I think I can speak for the whole group that somehow, magically, there was no feeling that anyone was slowing us down or forcing us beyond our pace. It was a Goldilocks ride – just right.

Conversations flowed when riders opted to ride side by side, and silence was embraced and respected for those who just wanted to be outside for a nice morning ride. A few were tired when we stopped for a bathroom break, so one leader turned around at the 10 mile mark with them. Again, no drama. Just a decision and it was all OK. What a pleasant difference from other folks who lead grueling group rides that shame people into going further, faster than they’d like and then wonder why people don’t return to their group.

This is the first time I’ve been out with the Bike Like a Girl group, but I’ve already marked my calendar for June 11 – the next Second Sunday monthly ride. I look forward to it.