Calling all bicyclists and nature lovers.
The annual Tour de Peninsula this Sunday lets participants flex some muscle while taking in some of the county park system’s crowning jewels.
“The only thing that’s required is a helmet and having a good time,” said Julia Bott, executive director of the San Mateo County Parks Foundation, which benefits from the funds raised.
The tour offers up tracks for all levels of ability: a 20-mile route for beginning and intermediate cyclists, a 31-mile route for intermediate to experienced cyclists and a 63-mile stretch for the advance. All start and finish at Coyote Point Park, winding though popular bike routes including Sawyer Camp Trail with breaks throughout at scenic spots and rest stops. A kids-only ride will also happen in the park at noon.
Money raised by Tour de Peninsula will fund Bicycle Sunday, a popular event that blocks part of Cañada Road from cars for the enjoyment of more than 60,000 people each year. Bott said many people are surprised that doing so costs about $40,000 annually.
“We don’t look at it as closing a road so much as opening a park,” Bott said.
The Tour de Peninsula is one of the Bay Area’s longest running bike rides, dating back to 1991. Usually about 1,200 people register to ride — just more than 1,126 were signed up as of midweek although a spike is expected closer to the race and on ride day, Bott said — and about two-thirds are returning cyclists. Of those repeat customers, 26 have ridden more than 10 times and another 80 say they’ve done it five or more times, Bott said.
Proving that anybody of any age can turn out for the fun, 25 registered cyclists so far are 70 years or older and four are even in their 80s. On the other end of the spectrum, 75 children under 12 are registered and some are even opting for the 63-mile trek.
For those who want to participate in the day but want a pass on climbing atop a bike, Bott said there are still opportunities to volunteer. The biggest need is for bodies on the course to monitor the stops and keep cyclists safe as they navigate city streets and trails. No experience is necessary.
“They just need to look great wearing an orange vest,” Bott said.
Sponsor Whole Foods is stocking up the rest stops with tons of food and lots of water bottles — thankfully, Bott said, Recology is recycling them all — and back at Coyote Point there will be food for sale, tunes from the Tribal Blues Band, the bookmobile and a kids-only loop where the younger set can ride alongside Webcor Cycling Ambassadors and some Olympians.
Participants are encouraged to picnic and also to donate a children’s book for the county’s Big Lift Little Libraries project.
And as for those riders who need a little help getting to the finish line?
A limousine service will be on hand to offer a lift.
For more information about the ride visit www.supportparks.org/tdp/
To volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org
In-person registration is available at Talbots Cyclery, San Mateo 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2; Coyote Point, 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 3.
Planned lane closures Sunday, Aug. 3:
• Third Avenue, San Mateo, 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
• Crystal Springs Road, Hillsborough, 7 a.m. to 10 a.m.
• Millbrae Avenue from El Camino to Bayshore, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
• Cañada Road between State Route 92 and Filoli, 8 a.m.
• Sawyer Camp Trail closed to all but riders until 1 p.m.
Extra cycling traffic expected:
• Bay Trail between Coyote Point and Ryder Park, 7 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
• Highway 101 off and on-ramps at Third Avenue, San Mateo, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
• Kings Mountain Road, Woodside, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
• Highways 35 & 84, Woodside, 8 a.m. and noon
(650) 344-5200 ext. 102