Not into Spandex? Cycling Can Still Be Your Thing

Bay Area's climate and trails make for perfect cycling

You may think that cycling more than a hundred miles in a day at an average speed of 30 miles per hour, clad completely in spandex is not for you. It's not for most of us, but the reasons that draw the Amgen Tour of California through the South Bay might just be your thing.

Many of the world's best cyclists use the Amgen Tour of California to train for the Tour de France and the Olympics. They like the tough but beautiful roads through the Santa Cruz Mountains and through the East Bay Hills.

They also like training in our Bay Area weather. 'Bicycling Magazine' contributor Bruce Hildenbrand says that if you cycle six hours a day, the Bay Area is a great place to do it. He is a former competitive cyclist who now rides recreationally. He says the Bay Area is perfect for that too.

"One of  the really great things in the Bay Area is the number of bike paths. The Coyote Creek trail, which is south of San Jose, the Los Gatos Creek Trail which runs by Lake Vasona and toward Los Gatos, the Stevens Creek trail in Moutain View, " Hildenbrand said, naming a few of his favorite spots. "Those are areas where you can get  on a bike with the family and the trailer and take it at your own speed and not worry about cars and not worry about dealing with traffic so you just enjoy a pleasant afternoon," he said.

If you're into speed, you might enjoy the San Jose Hellyer Park Velodrome.  Velodrome is to cycling what the NASCAR track is to racing. The one in San Jose is one of only 19 in the country and is the creation of of one of the world's top velodrome constructors. Five dollars will buy you time on the track and a little instruction time.

Finally, Hildebrand says an added bonus to taking up cycling rather than other sports, is that it is an activity you're likely to be able to enjoy longer in life than running, tennis or other higher-impact sports. He said, "You're not putting stress on the joints or blowing out your knees but you're making your heart stronger and just getting that overall health that makes you feel good in the morning."

No spandex required.

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