When Deborah Hinderstein decided to move from bicycle-friendly Boulder, Colorado, to Southern California, she chose Irvine.
“The trails and bike paths here are fantastic,” says Hinderstein, who bikes 150 miles a week. “It’s better than in Boulder because there are lots of places to ride and lots of cyclists here. I don’t know what other city has this kind of flexibility.”
She’s not the only one hit with the bicycling bug this spring. Sales of leisure bikes rose more than 200% in April from a year ago, according to The NPD Group, which tracks national sporting-goods sales.
“Cycling is a great solution for nearly everybody to get some exercise and stay in shape,” says owner Matt Ford.
A variety of bikeways
Irvine is suited for every kind of riding, he says, from mountain biking, to road biking, to commuting.
The city offers 301 miles of on-street bike lanes and nearly 62 miles of off-street bikeways. The system stretches from the mountains to the coast, connecting neighborhoods with parks, shopping centers and business hubs.
Irvine also is close to popular mountain biking spots such as Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Peters Canyon and O’Neill Regional Park.
One trend that’s been growing this spring is family biking, Ford says. People are dusting off bikes in the garage, taking them in for repairs or buying new bikes to ride together.
“It’s been a great opportunity for us to spend time together as a family,” says Nancy Park, of Portola Springs, who recently began riding with her two children. “My kids were always scheduled with soccer or volleyball, so we never really took the time to bike. It’s been so much fun.”
How to get started
If you are looking to get into cycling, you should first decide your goal, Ford says. Do you want to get fit? Ride casually with your family and friends?
“It’s always fun when you ride with someone else,” he says.
Before shopping, decide how much you want to spend on your new bike.
One option is electric bicycles. They are great for beginners to keep up with more advanced cyclists, or to simply enjoy the freedom of getting around without a car.
Don’t hesitate to ask questions at the store.
“I still ride bikes every day,” says Ford, who founded Rock N Road Cyclery 29 years ago. “We’re sharing our passion. You’re not going to get rich working at a bike shop. It’s a lifestyle. I love the community. I love the sport.”
Find a trail that is right for you
This pleasant 2-miler offers a two-lane paved path along the Hicks Canyon Wash and is shaded most of the way by majestic eucalyptus trees. Connects to Peters Canyon Trail for longer rides.
The backbone of the 57,500 acres of preserved open space on The Irvine Ranch, this trail winds through oak canyons and along creek beds all the way to Upper Newport Bay.
Shady Canyon Trail
Stunning views of Strawberry Farms Golf Course and preserved hillsides create a picturesque scene on this 2.5-mile bike path that connects Quail Hill with Bommer Canyon.