Meet the Riders – The Powers Family
Photos by Dante Fontana © Style Media Group
Style of riding you do and what that means to you: Leisure/recreational riding and commuter biking. We ride on Folsom’s streets and bike paths for transportation, but take occasional recreational rides. As the boys have grown, we’ve gone from mostly recreational rides to mostly riding for transportation. Bike touring is our rare, but beloved treat. We [Cecilia and Tony] took a self-contained tour from St. Augustine, FL, to Capitola, CA, in 1994. The best way to see the U.S.!
How long you’ve been riding: Tony biked at college in Indiana to get around campus, and upon graduation, he discovered the joys of road riding. Cecilia rode her bike to high school and rediscovered recreational riding a couple of years after college graduation. The boys have been riding since they were born, each one learning to ride a two-wheeler at an earlier age than the one before him (Daniel was riding one before he was two).
Type of bike you ride: Cecilia and Tony both have touring bikes and road bikes, and share a tandem and a folding bike. Mark has a hybrid, Luke and Joe ride road bikes, and Daniel rides a mountain bike. The boys’ bikes have been handed down from one to the next.
Why you enjoy riding: So many reasons—every ride is an adventure, seeing wildlife, guaranteed exercise, independence (and less time sitting in cars), for the boys, random encounters with friends on the paths, keeps our 23-year-old car “young,” saves money and is good for the environment...and cheap thrills (passing rush-hour traffic on Folsom Boulevard or East Bidwell).
Involvement with any local groups/clubs: Tony founded the Folsom Area Bicycle Advocates (FABA) and is a past board member of the Sacramento Area Bicycle Advocates (SABA). He’s also active in the 50 Corridor Transportation Management Association (50 Corridor TMA) and has helped organize local and regional “May is Bike Month” activities for the past 15 years. He’s also a member of the Friends of Folsom Parkways and Adventure Cycling (a national bike touring organization) and teaches bicycle safety classes through the League of American Bicyclists.
Biggest safety tip: Follow the rules of the road, be visible and predictable, communicate (with motorists or with other path users), and don’t ride on sidewalks if you’re over 10 years old.
Gear you can’t live without: Lights and panniers (saddle bags).
Favorite local ride/route/trail: The combination Lake Natoma/Johnny Cash Loop (about 21 miles). For directions, visit stylergbr.com!
Favorite mid- or post-ride fuel: Ne-Mo’s Carrot Cake (available at fine convenience stores everywhere!).
Advice to families who want to start riding: Start early (age-wise)! Avoid the American River Parkway on weekend mornings, until your kids are confident and competent cyclists. It’s just too busy to use as a training ground, whereas Folsom’s other trails are much less crowded. Have a back-up plan in case “Johnny” decides he’s done halfway through the ride, but don’t sell your kids short—a five-year-old who has been riding regularly can easily ride 10 miles (at their own pace and with appropriate stops and snacks). Forty miles is not an unreasonable challenge for a fit 10-year-old.
Favorite local ride/route/trail: Lake Natoma/Johnny Cash Loop (about 21 miles). From Karen’s Bakery, take the East Lake Natoma Trail west to Hazel, cross the river, take the American River Parkway (ARP) to Beale’s Point (this part is out and back), back down the ARP to the Folsom Lake Crossing Trail to the Johnny Cash Bridge and follow the Johnny Cash Trail to its temporary end at Cimarron Circle, take Natoma Street to Stafford, Stafford through the Rodeo parking lot to the Switchback Trail down to Leidesdorff Street, Leidesdorff to the Folsom Historic Truss Bridge back across the river, and then return to Karen’s on the Lake Natoma Crossing.
Advice to families who want to start riding: Buy a house near a bike path so you don’t have to load bikes on a car to go for a ride. The cyclist homebuyer’s corollary: don’t buy a house on top of a hill—the last thing you have to do is climb that hill at the end of every ride.
Trailers are the safest way to transport young children. Tag-along-bikes are a great option when they are about four. These allow you to ride your pace and distance and them to keep up (they are attached), while learning pedaling cadence from you. A more expensive, but even better option, is a tandem with a “child stoker kit” that allows them to ride on the back (we have both and have used them in combination, along with trailers).
For the kids: Training wheels are evil! Buy a “balance bike” when they are old enough to walk and watch them learn to ride on their own. Then you will avoid the tears, fears and frustration of running after a nine-year-old learning to balance after five years riding with training wheels. There are three main skills to learning to ride: balance, pedaling and braking. Balance is by far the most difficult, and balance bike teach that effortlessly. Once they have established balance, you can put them on a regular bike and teach them the much easier tasks of pedaling and braking
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