How To Get Around By Bike Using Fresno Streets
Take a look at a map of Fresno. What do you see?
For the most part, all north-south streets intersect with all east-west streets. This makes it possible to choose a large number of routes that will all get you to your destination in about the same distance.
How then to choose the best bicycle route to your destination?
The first thing to learn, if you are just now making the transition out of your car and onto your bicycle, is that what is best in a car is not necessarily best on a bicycle. It's nice that we cyclists don't have obstacles like steep hills and windy streets in our way, but that's true of cars too, and as a result the arterials of our City tend to be wide, flat, and very fast. Another interesting thing to discover is that, paradoxically, the shortest route is often not the best route.
Let's imagine we're in Clovis, near the Sierra Vista Mall, and we hear that Thai House, near First and Shaw, is a great place to eat. In a car we'd just drive straight down Shaw. On a bike, we could certainly do that, but there is a better way. Head north to Barstow Ave, half a mile to the north. Barstow is much quieter, traffic is slower, and there is a bike lane along much of the length. When you get to First Street, head south back to Shaw Ave. This adds an extra mile to your trip, but the savings in traffic aggravation more than makes up for it.
Other streets that work great between east and west are Dakota Ave, Alluvial Ave, McKenzie Ave, and the Sugar Pine Trail. Streets that help get from north to south are First Street, Millbrook Ave, and Fruit Ave.
Google Maps does a great job mapping bike lanes and routes in town. Use that tool to map bicycle directions, then take a critical look at what they suggest. Sometimes, it's perfect right out of the box. Sometimes, you'll have to tweak the route just a bit to fit your comfort level. Another important component is your skill level. As you get better at negotiating traffic and picking routes, you'll find that streets that seems unpleasant and unrideable before become your go-to choices when you're out and about.
The Fresno County Bicycle Coalition offers Traffic Skills 101, taught by certified instructors that teach you how to ride in Fresno and Clovis. Definitely take the class. And ask your more experienced cycling friends what they recommend.
To review, it's worth it to travel half a mile out of your way to find a pleasant, quiet street. With a little practice you'll find that bicycling in Fresno and Clovis opens up your world to new experiences and options.
Biking = Joy!
The Bike Master Plan is in full swing and new bike lanes are going in all the time. The BMP will also help improve connections for existing bike lanes making it easier to safety get from A-to-B.
Google now has bike lane mapping. Fresno’s bike lanes have been going in fast so their map may not be entirely accurate but it is an excellent resource for finding routes.
Go to Google Maps and when you get directions, click on the little bike icon.
Fresno-Clovis Bikeways Map
Fresno COG has produced a map of all the current bike lanes and trails in town. It also has some great tips on being predictable on your bike and how to use the bike lanes. Click the image below.