A Day Tour in Our Own Backyard

Now and then we like to take a break from utility riding to go on a bike ride purely for the enjoyment. These little ‘Day Tours”, as we like to call them, always start at our front door, and usually end up someplace that involves food and perhaps coffee. Between our doorstep and the destination, the goal is to explore the uncharted territory right under our noses, and “get away” without actually getting away in the conventional sense.

This weekend we took a trip to the next town to meet family for lunch and coffee. We chose a route that took the best advantage of quiet backstreets and off street bike paths. Our circuitous route added almost 50% on to the length of our trip, but it was a real adventure that was well worth the extra mileage.

Here we are at one of the trailheads. This particular trail runs along a creek at the base of a ravine that cuts across our town. When riding on this trail, you really feel as if you’re in another world compared to the busy streets overhead.

This is a typical view wherever the trail brushes up against the creek. We stopped along the way to watch the wild ducks frolicking in the pool below. It was a beautiful setting.

This is one end of a bike bridge that crosses the creek. These trails are nicely designed and well-maintained. They may not always connect up where you’d like, and they may not be 100% practical for commuters in terms of efficiency, but for the riders and walkers who take advantage of them, they certainly increase the livability of the community.

This is looking the opposite direction across the same bridge.

This is the I-80 overpass. They’re working on one of the bridges, so the trail was closed in the construction area. We had to backtrack and work our way down to the next freeway overcrossing to continue.

The view from the detour. We were thankful for being on our bikes and not trapped in a steel cage (aka an automobile) on such a beautiful, late summer day.

Our detour took us past the “Cosmos” sculpture. I couldn’t pass up the photo op. I love how the curves in the sculpture mimic the bicycle wheels.

This was a beautiful little park along the trail. It was so nice, we stopped for a moment to enjoy the flowers and a bit of shade.

Our lunch destination.

These rides are always their own reward, but a beautiful cup of espresso never hurt.

Headed home at the end of a fun day tour.

It still always amazes us how much there is to see and do right in our own backyard. All it takes is getting out of the car and taking the time to do a little exploring off of the main roads. Even a half day excursion across town and back can be an adventure when approached with an open mind and a wanderer’s attitude.

16 Responses to “A Day Tour in Our Own Backyard”

  • GTPowers says:

    Biking trails and Latte Art…pretty much my life.
    Beautiful family! Looks like a successful parenting.

  • John says:

    Alan, it’s all in the attitude and outlook, isn’t it? Reminds me of macro photography. There’s a whole world of detail and exploration awaiting us wherever we may be, if we approach it with the right mindset. I’m glad to see that you and your family are of those who can do so.

  • Dave says:

    You make life in California look like heaven. Okay. It is!

  • Steve Butcher says:

    Those smiles speak volumes! Cycling can most certainly be a serendipitous activity.

  • Adam says:

    Very cool. Thanks for sharing.

  • geoff says:

    That’s a beautiful cup of cappuccino, not espresso.
    Great essay!

  • Stephen says:

    Once again, Alan and other like-minded people are in the forefront of social change. Vacation in one’s backyard? A mini-break from the routine? Active living personified? Absolutely.

    I remember a car trip long ago from the Bay area to Lake Tahoe. I was stunned at the number of cars on what is considered a weekend getaway for northern Californians. Tahoe is a gorgeous place, but these kind of seductively easy trips are socially expensive in terms of needed infrastructure, greenhouse gases, accidents, etc. Spending more time locally is consistent with local food and other sustainability measures.

    Nothing wrong with a weekend getaway by car, but people need and deserve lower-cost choices. This is a good model for that sort of thing, in my opinion.

  • Alan says:


    Thanks, Geoff!

    To be accurate, it was actually a mocha, but I have an old habit of calling any espresso-based beverage “espresso”… :-)

  • taiwoon says:

    yes, it is true…and lovely photos and words! More often then not, we fail to see beautiful things around us.. and when they are gone…then we will miss them. Slow down and look.. I mean really look..

    I just said my goodbyes to our National stadium.. I sure have some great memories there.. details of the ride here..


  • John A says:

    Beautiful pics. Living in Elk Grove, I am envious of all of the bike trails out north. You are very lucky; I rode 10 miles around my neighborhood so that I didn’t have to ride on six lane roads in the Sunday post-church, hurry to get home and watch football craziness.

    I am a bit confused though. Is that I-80?

  • Alan says:

    @John A

    “I am a bit confused though. Is that I-80?”

    Doh! Yes, of course. Thanks… :-)

  • Pete says:

    Sounds like a great “Sub 2-4 Hour Vacation!”

  • Jeff says:

    HI Alan,

    Great photos and description of your beautiful ride, beautiful bikes and lovely family. It was really nice meeting you outside Bloom.


  • Alan says:


    It was very nice meeting you as well. Let’s keep in touch regarding the advocacy work you’re doing and how we might be able to lend a hand. You really need to come out and join us for the November Tweed Ride too!



  • Pete says:

    This crowd can tell a 14 gauge spoke from a 15 at 50 paces. No way are you going to get away with calling everything an “espresso!” :)

  • Buck says:

    I love the phrase, “wanderer’s attitude.” That really reminds me of the way I came to see cycling as something other than a sport. I just threw a leg over a more practical bike and started roaming around. It’s inspiring to know that you’re not alone. Thanks, Alan!

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