Some riders call it one of the best

SAN MATEO, Calif.-Participants hailed the 20th annual Tour de Peninsula, one of the Bay Area's longest-running fun bicycle rides, as one of the best they've been in. Based at Coyote Point Park, San Mateo, the event took place August 7th.

Event director, Julia Bott, of the San Mateo County Parks Foundation, said, "It is wonderful to be part of this rolling celebration of the wonderful San Mateo County Parks system. We were able to highlight how much these parks offer for everyone, no matter their age or interest."

About 1400 riders participated in this family-oriented fundraiser for the San Mateo County Parks Foundation. Some of the family groups spanned three generations. With short kids' rides on a closed parkland circuit, as well as 20, 31, 56 and 63-mile course options available, many active families found just the right ride.

Shortly after the early finishers returned, some 75 children took part in the kids' rides, completing multiple laps of a half-mile circuit around Coyote Point.

As the day progressed into its sunny afternoon, families regrouped after completing their respective courses, and enjoyed the shaded Eucalyptus Picnic Area, which among many other features makes a perfect venue for cyclists to relax and share post-ride stories.

We spoke to the Lawrence family from Sunnyvale: Kevin and Tricia, with their teenage daughters Jessica and Jo, who had heard about the ride through friends. Kevin, Jessica and Jo had ridden the 63 while Tricia opted for the 31-mile ride. According to Jo, "We'll make it family tradition." Her father, Kevin, said, "The rest stops were great. It is one of the best-supported rides in the region," and Jessica added, "The directions were well marked. We were never unsure which way to go," and one more thing, said Jo, "The marshals were very good, really friendly."

Also enjoying the warm sun in the Eucalyptus Picnic Area, while the Tribal Blues Band provided post-ride entertainment, were Kaiser Permanente staffer Jessica Bulos and her wife Lorraine Escuro, both from San Jose. They'd ridden the 63-mile route and had a great time. "We've been cycling for a couple of years now, and this is the best ride we've been on so far," said Jessica, who with Lorraine has attended about 10 different events.

Jessica and Lorraine also ride for the Freemont Freewheelers club, and Lorraine could see a lot more of her club mates attending next year. "It's a big Fillipino club, and we like to do rides as a group," she said.

Jessica and Lorraine particularly enjoyed: "the scenic views, and watching from above as the planes come in to land at the airport was neat. There were lots of rest stops - more than other rides - and having lanes closed for us through San Mateo made it feel safer and less stressful," they said.

The popular rest stops were supplied by Bucks of Woodside, Borel Bank, Alice's Restaurant, and The FruitGuys.

Late in the day, seven hours after he'd started, the intrepid Berkeley resident, Andy Su, rolled into the finish area on his "Eliptigo," a cross between a bicycle and a large scooter. He'd just completed the 63-mile route. Others had ridden that hilly course on fixed-gear bikes, but this was something else. "I rode almost all the way up King's Mountain Road, but in the end my quads were the limiting factor," he said, tired, but happy and having walked only a tiny part of the course.

The Webcor elite cycling team was once again a ubiquitous force of constructive energy, offering assistance and advice to riders in need of it, and otherwise adding to the sunshine and happiness of the day. On some occasions these swift racers pedaled ahead to find one of the SRAM support cars to help somebody with a mechanical problem.

World-renowed handmade bicycle builder Craig Calfee, from Santa Cruz, had a booth in the TdP expo, where he displayed his increasingly popular bamboo frames. Calfee was one of the carbon fiber frame pioneers, and now is working with this abundant and naturally occurring frame material. "As an exhibitor, it is really a lot of fun to have a kid-focused event," he said. The kids' rides were routed in front of his expo booth. A keen cyclist, Calfee is familiar with the TdP routes. "This is a great cycling area, parts of the Sawyer Camp Trail are so beautiful it's almost surreal," he said.

The Tour de Peninsula take riders on popular Peninsula bike routes, which include up to five San Mateo County Parks, with breaks at rest stops and scenic sites along the way.

About TdP
A ride dating back to 1990, the main purpose of the Tour de Peninsula has become to raise funds for the San Mateo County Parks Foundation and Bicycle Sunday - car-free biking on Cañada Road. The San Mateo County Parks Foundation funds projects that restore habitat, provide environmental education, improve trails, support volunteer efforts, and encourage recreational use of parks. Since its founding in 1998, the Foundation and its members have provided millions of dollars for San Mateo County Parks.

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