Recently I had a local resident point out they were not that fond of bicycle riding the agonizing hills to reach the main hang out area of the community forest. This article is a tip, and reminder for those of you that want to bike casually to the park without having to ride up those pesky steep hills. Perhaps you want to save all your energy for a good hike, or just go relax in the main area without the sweat of a hill. Going up hills is a reality when accessing the community forest.
Well rest assured we do have some other choices. I like to park my bicycle at the corner of 14th and Union. Also another great tip is that local public transit has a stop at 14th and B St, a quick walk to the trailhead ! So consider using the Red route for AMRTS, or the mainline of HTA also located at 14th and B St.
At the end of the sidewalk is the beginning of the trail. The field next to the bike parking includes some picnic tables. It’s a 5 minute walk that will lead you up to the main area of the park. You have many options at this point on the rest of your adventure. The trail leading up to the main area has a few benches along the way. A great spot for coffee outside, to begin your day in peace ! I call it the trail of many opportunities. Like most trails it’s a little climb, but rather short. Some steps do exist along the upper part of the trail.
Dennis Houghton with the City of Arcata, informed me the trail was re-constructed in 1997. The California Conservation Corps out of the Del Norte Center in Klamath, was the organization that re-constructed the trail.
Below see a few images of the trail before you get to the main park area -
Once you reach the top you will come out in the corner of the main field -
The 14th and Union bicycle parking is a great place to begin your journey by foot. Ample parking for families, or friends going as a group. As well as great access for pedestrians walking from town. From downtown riding a bicycle I suggest going up 11th St crossing the 101 overpass, make a left on C St, than right on 14th. Union is a few blocks up the road, the total commute from downtown is less than 1 mile.
Another tip if you are a iPhone user download Bike Maps from the app store. It’s a small fee type app, but you can download maps for free within the app. Including the Arcata Community Forest, or even the Humboldt Bay bike map. As an alternative pick up a paper map of the community forest at local bike shops, and at Arcata City Hall.
When locking your bicycle at any location, and leaving it for an extended period of time. Always have a good lock such as a u-lock that is hard to defeat, and lock the bicycle up properly. I recently wrote an article pertaining to theft, and how to better protect your bicycle. Please always carry ample water on your journeys, and stay prepared for fun excursions into the forest. It’s a beautiful, peaceful place to visit !
Having multiple transportation access options to the park is good city design planning by Arcata. Give the access trail a try for yourself, if you have not already – by bicycle, foot, or public transit. Accessing local parks this way can offer new experiences during your visits !
My previous MVF was a local video of an overview of the Humboldt Bay Trail.
In the latest MVF we will feature Europe’s longest paved trail along abandoned railway line . The Vennbahn crosses over 3 different countries, and is continuous. It’s a wonderful success story, and I thought it would be fun to share with readers that have not heard of the trail. Learn more by watching the video about how the trail was created, what benefits it brings to the communities along the trail, and much more.
Perhaps you’re like me, and enjoy riding your bicycle out in the Arcata Bottom. Peddle up on the Hammond trail to the north. Maybe even going out to enjoy Mad River County park beach, or boat ramp.
I’ve always been frustrated riding my bicycle to the beach, cause I would have nowhere to securely lock it. So I always rode out to the parking lot, then would ride back, without walking the beach. Out of frustration I finally called the Humboldt County public works office. I left a message for the parks department to get more information.
Mike from County Parks was nice to get back to me in a timely manner! It turns out that the beach actually has a bike rack already, and it was not something I was aware of until now. It’s a good news/bad news kind of situation.
The good news is that the bike rack is at a small site that I really like a lot. It’s not in the main parking lot at the beach. It’s just before you get to the parking lot, before you enter it on the right. Some very large rocks are next to the roadway so folks can not park cars in the bike parking area.
The bad news is that the rack is rather small, and outdated. It’s definitely well planted in the ground. However the top of the rack is only 21 inches high. So very few bike wheels could fit all the way through. Let’s look at some images than I can expand on ideas further.
I like the fact that the bike parking has its own designated area. Large rocks block cars from driving up into that area, so you don’t have to worry about vehicles hitting the parked bikes. As you can see in the picture the rack is in a grassy area, which is nice. However I suspect that area gets overgrown at times. I imagine the current rack is actually taller than 21 inches, but some of it is buried under the ground. Clearly it has been here for a long time.
In its current state as an individual rider, I can certainly make use of the rack knowing it is here. I can lock up with my bike going parallel to the rack, or simply have it at the end of the rack. It most certainly is an outdated rack, and not an optimal situation. The bike parking amenity needs to be updated. At its current state it is not that welcoming, if a family wanted to make use of it. With the size of the rack, and style that it is – it limits the amount of bikes that can securely make use of it.
Again I want to reinforce that this site has great potential! It would be great to see an updated rack style be installed. Such as a rack seen installed at the Hikshari trail seen below -
It would be nice to see the rack pulled away from the trees/bushes. So bicycles on that side of rack have more clearance. Maybe consider doing something different with the ground to reduce overgrowth maintenance.
Would you use bike racks at Mad River County park if they were more updated? Are you willing to share your support to County Parks for this idea? Perhaps you would consider calling County public works, and leaving a message for County parks.
I believe these upgrades could be done at a very modest cost, and it would make the bicycle parking much more welcoming. This could be just a wonderful spot. I feel with the growing population of bicycle riders locally, the time is ripe for such an upgrade.
Would you agree?
I really hope that County Parks can take this under consideration. I, and others I’m sure would even be willing to pitch in to help out on this little project! Let’s give it some real consideration. It’s little things like this that will make Humboldt County more bicycle friendly! This upgrade will certainly reduce auto parking congestion on popular sunny days at the beach.
update – since writing this original article, I have visited the site a few times. I have seen other riders struggle with the rack, and turn away from using it. This would clearly be a welcome upgrade for both individual riders, and families. One day I hope to write a new article showing an upgraded site ! I hope to open up with more communication with county parks on this parking site.
Have you seen my Humboldt Bay Trail progression page? Recently I updated it with the newly released trail overview video. Check it out if you have not seen it, yet !
Have you ever noticed the bicycle trailers displayed on top of the freezer, across from the Arcata customer service desk?
Did you know that the Co-op has made a generous donation of one bicycle trailer to Melanie Williams of bikethere.com – to be used towards the bike book mobile program. The co-op has also shown support as a community book donation source.
I posed a few questions to Melanie Bettenhausen of the North Coast Co-op -
Chris Butner question – Meanie why has the co-op decided to offer bicycle trailers in the store?
Melanie Bettenhausen - We decided to bring in the trailers to encourage shoppers to think about carrying groceries home by bike. We don’t expect to sell a bunch of them or to make a profit; it’s more about making bike options more accessible. A shopper might not go out of their way to find a suitable grocery trailer for their bike, or it might fall to the bottom of their “to do” list, but they might buy one if it is readily available while they are at the grocery store. Once they purchase one, they will most likely use it for other errands. We just want to get people thinking about the alternatives to cars, even if they don’t buy a bike trailer from us.
Melanie shared some of the trailers details with me, as well. For those that are more curious about some of the trailer specs. The sturdy, watertight trailers are rated at 27 gallons and can hold up to 75 pounds. Remember the old school grocery paper bags? The trailer can hold about five of those at max capacity. So plenty of room to feed a hungry family! The wheelbase is about 18 inches, and the trailer weighs about 14 pounds.
I also took advantage to ask Melanie about bike parking at the North Coast Co-op, and even future plans. It turns out the topic is one of excitement for the North Coast Co-op, and they are not shy in sharing that excitement with the community!
Melanie Bettenhausen - We have been working on improving our bike parking for a number of years. Recently we increased the number of covered, secure bike parking spaces for employees. Next we will focus on customer bike parking. While we have more bike racks than most businesses, we know that there is a need for more covered bike parking which would allow those with panniers and trailers to park without blocking the walkway and/or damaging their bikes. We will be working on that in the next five years.
To see our employee bike parking video, click here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3Plu4AuWao.
To see our five-year strategic plan, which includes improved access for bikes, click below
I’d like to thank Melanie for taking the time to share these ideas with all of us! It seems as though the co-op is a forward thinking business in Humboldt County, we applaud these ideas here at completestreetsadvocate.org
More recently the City of Arcata has released documents of a planned bicycle blvd, to be implemented in front of the co-op on I street. The co-op had begun these bike parking upgrade ideas well before the bike blvd plans were announced. So it seems like the times are ripe for businesses such as the co-op to embrace these ideas. Across the country bike economics is gaining more, and more every year. It looks as though that trend is making progress here in the Humboldt Bay area as well!
I decided to feature this story this week as an example of good local business. It’s a pleasure to see some businesses can look at the larger, long term picture. In the end better non-motorized access to any given store, should equate to more customers for the business, but also create a more happy customer experience. So it’s a win, win for everybody!
Social, or disconnected ?
Humboldt Underground Bicycle Repair is a wonderful local success story. Located at 3525 Redwood Drive in Redway. Owners – Jacob Todd and James Seiberlich. Some of our local readers may remember the boys working at Revolution bicycles in Arcata in years past. Well they are full steam ahead with the Underground doors open for one year now !
Happy customers and experienced mechanics – Earlier in the spring I had the pleasure to visit the shop in person. I saw two customers while visiting, and they were super happy customers at that. Humboldt Underground has a fully stocked shop of tools for any job. You name it, they have the tools, and the mechanical experience to do a great job, on whatever work you need done. Although 80% of the work they do in shop is on off-road bicycles, they can tend to any style bicycle you need repairs on.
Community – What I love about this shop is that they are helping to make a better community. They allow locals in Southern Humboldt to have a nearby source for bicycle repair, but so much more – making social connections for discussing such things as trail advocacy ideas. A meetup spot of sorts for riders to connect for the next big gravel grinder ride. It’s the “chamber of commerce” of bicycle culture in Southern Humboldt. The boys (Jacob and James) have volunteered community time at the Tour of the Unknown Coast. Most notably the boys have teamed up with Bureau of Land Management to further open discussions on more trails in southern Humboldt. Having more trails will further the fun factor for local riders, and improve bicycle tourism in our area. By offering more diversity in riding for people from out of the area to come use our trails, and contribute to the local economy.
One year in Business – It’s amazing how time flies. It was May 13, 2013 that the doors open. Jacob says “the community response to our business has been wonderful”. Humboldt Underground Bicycle Repair has become a very busy shop. It’s great to see an area that previously had no bicycle shops, now have a space for repairs and social bicycle culture. (Updated) Congratulations boys -
Upcoming benefit for Kings Paradise – The boys, and the community have worked hard with BLM, and they want your help. Come celebrate in beautiful Garberville on Sat. May 24th . Grant money is already on the table from BLM to help further outdoor recreational activities in Southern Humboldt. This benefit show is to work towards matching the grant funding. Come on down to the sunny weather, and show your support in raising money ! You’ll have a great time with live music, circus tent, bicycle films, bicycle demos, food, drinks, and much more ! Here is the Facebook event page. See the event advertisement below………
How to connect with Humboldt Underground Bicycle Repair -
3525 Redwood Drive – Redway, CA
Humboldt Underground on Facebook
This week we will stray away from a mobility video. Instead let’s enjoy some of what we have to offer here in Humboldt County. This you tube video channel is known as – The Humboldt Live Sessions. Often many more people enjoy to get out on bikes in the spring, after a cold winter. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this local video work, the singers, and the outdoor environment !
The Secret Service at the Arcata Marsh during sunset -
Some readers will know that I have had my eye on Dutch transportation, for some time now. For a while I have been very inspired to ride a bicycle like the Dutch! My daily commutes are always under 5 miles, so having a heavier dutch bicycle is not a problem for me. I spent some time researching the dutch options on the American market. Comparing features versus price points, and deciding what fits my needs best. Well the time has come to share the inspiration in real-time with locals of the Humboldt Bay area.
I been interested in the upright riding position for some time now. Not only is the Secret Service super comfortable, for my daily commutes. It also allows automobile traffic to see me much easier in this upright position. I’m identified by auto drivers, as more of a real human in this riding position/style. I think many folks also recognize my ride as Dutch style. I often see folks just in the first week of riding it, capturing my happiness as I ride – tall and proud.
I grew up with a mindset that many of us did – step through frames are for women, and diamond frames are for men. As you can see I decided to go with the step through frame. In the eyes of the Dutch, bike frames are not designed based on gender. You choose a certain style bicycle frame based on what is most comfortable for you. Having gotten a Brompton folding bicycle last year – I found the step through type frame very comfortable, and enjoyed it so much more than my diamond frame bicycles. I test drove the Secret Service in both frame styles. The step through was the obvious best choice for me ! Stepping on/off the bicycle is so much easier, and enjoyable.
Some unique features come along with a Dutch bicycle made in Holland -
The elastic straps on the rear rack do a great job of holding down items. The chain guard does open up easily at the rear bottom corner, if you were in need to drop out the wheel. The handle bars offers plenty of adjustability to move them up or down to your liking. The double legged kickstand offers great stability.
The rear wheel lock is handy to have. In riding mode the key is always in the lock. Then I have a AXA chain that goes along with the lock. On the opposite side of the lock image, the chain inserts into the lock, so you can loop the chain to your bicycle and something secure. Your other option is to just lock out the rear wheel without the chain. This means no one can simply ride away on the bike, because the wheel is locked from spinning. Oh and the bicycle is not light(at 45 or so pounds), so no one is likely to carry it away easily.
As shown in the above picture the front rack was the only extra cost. The basket was not included. I actually already had the basket in stock, and it fit on the rack like a glove ! Other included features were B67 Brooks saddle with springs, roller brakes, 8 speed nexus hub, Schwalbe Marathon tires, dynamo front hub for front and rear lights. This bike is ready for your city commuting as soon as you get it out the store door. Soon I will be upgrading the front light, so I have a stand light. The front light that came with the bike did not include stand light. Stand light allows the light to stay on for a short while after the wheel stops spinning, such as at stop signs. The upgraded light will be a silver/chrome color, so that will give things a nice look.
The Nexus 8 speed hub allows me to move around my environment just fine. It requires a little more leg muscle for a few hills in the area, mostly due to the heavier weight of the ride. When commuting I find that 6th gear seems to be my most used cruising gear. So I’m very happy with the Nexus hub with the 8 gears. The bell stamped with Amsterdam is a really fun bell, I like it a lot ! The process in which the frame was painted in bomb-proof.
I’ve gone fully dutch with ditching my helmet. This is something that I have considered for many months. Previously hesitant to do so, I made the plunge with my secret service. Why ? I found motorists respond differently to me on this bicycle. As I said before I’m much more visible in this riding style. I’m seen as much more human in this style, and I sense that change with how motorists behave around me ! It is also helpful that they see me in just normal everyday clothes. I’m confident in some situations I will still wear a helmet, but not much anymore on an average daily commute. The ride itself is very comfortable, both physically and socially.
I want to expose to Humboldt county the Dutch style. I’d like other street users to see that commuting by bicycle is OK in just normal everyday clothes. You don’t need to ride fast, just at a nice casual pace. That is something else that has changed for me. I ride at a slower, more relaxed pace – it’s very comfortable. Now I’m often seen riding with a big smile on my face, with the enjoyment riding in a city upright riding style. Plus I feel tall and proud as I ride my WorkCycles Secret Service.
Buying a Dutch bicycle is limited across the country. I was already a current customer with Clever Cycles in Portland, OR. They had in stock what I wanted, and at an earlier date I did some test riding, while visiting friends in Portland. So naturally I took my business to them.
The Secret Service are advertised as the leaner, tighter city bike version. Though they have other options available as well. Check out WorkCycles online !
Feel free to stop me and say hello as I ride !
Get out and ride like the Dutch !