20th Annual Grizzly Century

Bicycle event will be held Saturday

By Mike Nolen / Guest ContributorOctober 4, 2012 

More than 500 cyclists are expected to participate in the 20th Annual Grizzly Century bicycle event this Saturday with three bike courses scattered along roads across the greater North Fork area.

Along with the bicycle rides, the public is invited to join in the many festivities of the 20th Annual Fall Festival, held as part of the Grizzly Century event.

A pancake breakfast by the North Fork Lion's Club will be held at North Fork Elementary School's Kennedy Hall, $6 for non-riders. A $12 post-ride rib, tri-tip and chicken barbecue from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. will be held at the North Fork Town Hall, put on by the Bass Lake Ranger District employees association. Dinner presale tickets are $11, available at the U.S. Forest Service office in North Fork.

The North Fork History Group will present "20 Years of Grizzly Century Art: 1993 - 2012" at North Fork Town Hall.

Saturday's bicycle events kick off at 7 a.m. at North Fork Elementary School with a 24-mile "Loop the Lake" course -- a 1,000-foot elevation gain around Bass Lake, returning along Highway 274.

Longer courses include "The Metric Century" -- a 100K (63 miles) ride with a 5,000-foot elevation gain to Mile High Vista -- and "The Griz" -- a 100-mile ride with a 10,000-foot elevation gain passing Mile High Vista, Jackass Rock, Arch Rock and Cold Springs Summit.

Registration is available online through signmeup.com. Cost is $35 single or $65 tandem for Loop the lake and $50 single or $95 tandem for the 100-mile and 100K rides.

All proceeds from cyclists entry fees support the Mountain Area, including schools, volunteer fire departments, art and reading projects and North Fork town improvements.

Sponsors of the event include Ponderosa Telephone, Yosemite Bicycle & Sport, Steven's Bicycles, Sunnyside Bicycles and Rubber Soul Bicycles.

Details: Mike Nolan, (559) 877-3157 (day), (559) 877-2805 (evening), grizzlycentury.org.

Tips to help drive safely alongside bicycles

If driving Saturday, remember that cyclists have a right to the road in California. They have a right to share the road and a responsibility to obey the laws of the road just like motorists.

The best way for motorists and bicyclists to coexist is for both parties to acknowledge their shared responsibilities and to live up to the laws of the state of California. Motorists should expect to see bicyclists at any time and be prepared to share the road.

This translates into slowing down and waiting until a good opportunity to pass presents itself. Or it could mean keeping vigilant as you pass a cyclist riding in an adequate shoulder lane.

Bicyclists may encounter some of the following challenges that motorists should be aware of:

Disappearing road shoulders -- road lines are inconsistent in the foothills.

Impaired hearing while cycling downhill.

Speed and reaction time.

Avoid doing the following if driving:

Don't honk as you come up behind a cyclist. This can startle them and cause them to swerve into the lane or off the road.

Don't pass on blind corners: you risk being hit by oncoming traffic.

Don't be impatient. Leave home a bit earlier to allow a few minutes of delay to not upset your schedule.

Don't hold fast to the notion that bikes don't belong on the road. This can endanger a cyclist's life.

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