Chico wildflower ride a nice way to ring in spring

Spring has finally sprung around here. How lovely to be outside beneath a blue sky and warm sunshine, admiring the beautiful flowers in bloom.

My husband, Scott, and I took part in the Chico Wildflower Bike Ride last weekend. The event is put on by the Chico Velo Cycling Club in California and welcomes roughly 2,500 participants each year.

The wildflower ride offers cyclists a variety of distance and climbing options, including the 100-mile Wildflower, 65-mile Mildflower and 35- or 65-mile Flatflowers. There's even a 15-mile Parent and Childflower route that follows a bike path through some of Chico's serene orchards.

In addition to the scenery, another draw to this event is the incredible food. The ride is heavily supported and offers cyclists delicious choices at each rest stop including fresh fruit, baked goods (the java bread is out-of-this-world), and scrumptious sandwiches. In addition, there's a hearty dinner offered to riders once they complete their chosen course.

The weather on the day of the event could not have been more perfect. The route I chose included a significant climb up Honey Run Road and I was grateful for the cool morning weather. About two-thirds of the way up the climb, I heard a distinct "pop, hissssss," a sound that could only mean one thing. I had a flat tire. It was fortunate that it happened where it did; right next to two good Samaritans who helped me change the popped tube.

At the lunch stop, I was able to have the tire replaced by a bike mechanic from a local sporting goods store, there to support the riders. Thank goodness for the generosity and commitment of the Wildflower supporters.

Scott and I spotted several Alta Alpina (our local cycling club) and Death Ride jerseys along the way.

We rolled through lush valley areas and were amazed by how green everything was, though we didn't see too many flowers in bloom. The innkeepers where we stayed felt it had something to do with the long, wet winter, and that in a couple more weeks the flowers will be in their full glory.

Although I enjoyed the ride, it was a pretty painful lesson that I need to put in more training before venturing out for such a distance. I've been saddle sore for a few days and vow to be more prepared next year. Spinning around the neighborhood with our son, Samuel, on the back of my bike just wasn't enough to prepare me.

This was also the first time that Scott and I both spent a significant amount of time away from Sam. Scott's folks came for a visit and stayed with him so we could have this little getaway. I was excited to go, and a little nervous, though ultimately I knew all would be fine. Sam had a wonderful time with his Mimi and Papa, and we enjoyed a fun weekend away at our Alma Mater. Sam is lucky to be blessed with such loving grandparents, as are we.

I hope you find time to get outside and delight in this fabulous weather. And don't forget to hug a mom on Mother's Day, next Sunday, May 14.

n Amy Roby can be reached by e-mail at


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