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FCBC Newsletter

April 2022

May is Bike Month, and it’s just weeks away. If your bike has been in storage, now is the time to get it ready to ride. A great way to get it road ready is to come to a Fresno Bike Station Fix Your Own Bike event to get expert advice and assistance working on your own bike.

Bike to Work (or Anywhere) Day will be on Friday, May 20. Encourage your friends, family, and coworkers to ride!

In this month’s Newsletter:

  • Bike Café is on Tuesday, April 12 on community bike shops.
  • In May, FCBC will be screening The Soul of a Cyclist, an award-winning documentary, and we will be joined by director and filmmaker Nuno Tavares via Zoom on Sunday, May 22 at 3:00 pm.
  • In our ongoing series on bicycle infrastructure, we discuss Class II bike lanes.
  • The next Fresno Bike Station Fix Your Own Bike event is on Sunday, April 10 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm in the Tower District.
  • The next chapter from the pending book by Juan Flores on bicycling in Fresno describes a ride to Fresno Chinatown and some of its rich history.
  • The next Board meeting is on Thursday, April 21 at 7:30 pm.


FCBC Bike Café Tuesday April 12, 2022 at 7 PM

The monthly virtual Bike Café allows FCBC members and others to socialize and discuss bike-related topics of interest. For this month's Bike Café, in preparation for Bike Month in May, the topic is "Community Bicycle Shops." FCBC members Julie Congi and Ed Smith will give a brief update onFresno Bicycle Station and will be joined by Glenn Small, veteran volunteer and member of the Core Volunteer team at the Sacramento Bicycle Kitchen. Join us as we discuss how community bike shops get started, how they become sustainable, and what's involved with managing and governing a program like this.

Register here to get the Zoom link. If you have questions about using Zoom, registration for the event, or any other questions, email us events@fresnobike.org.

Invite the Community to Bike Month!

We want to register 150 people for FCBC's Bike Month movie screening of The Soul of a Cyclist! To reach that goal, we need your help to get the word out about the screening. Do you have a community newsletter or bulletin board for your HOA, apartment complex, and/or church where you can post the event information? Do you have additional suggestions for good spots to get the word out? Please email info@fresnobike.org.

May is Bike Month Movie Event: The Soul of a Cyclist


You are invited to the 2nd Annual FCBC May is Bike Month Movie Event!

If you have ever dreamed of traveling the world by bicycle, this is the film for you.  This year we are excited to be screening The Soul of a Cyclist, an award-winning documentary that celebrates how bicycling brings people together, inspires joy, builds vibrant communities, and leads to a happier, more fulfilled life.  Bicycles are amazing!


Enjoy a picturesque journey from the rolling hills of Lisbon, Portugal to the tweed-filled streets of London, England, and meet all the charmingly quirky people who share a love of bicycles and bicycling.  The movie is 73 minutes with English subtitles.


Nuno Tavares, director and filmmaker, will be joining us via Zoom from Portugal for Q & A on Sunday, May 22 at 3:00 pm.  We are thrilled because there is an 8-hour time difference between Portugal and California.  Register for the event here.


Bicycle Infrastructure:  Class II Bike Lanes


The most common type of bicycle facility is a Class II bike lane, which is a striped bike lane typically placed on the right shoulder of a roadway.


The essential elements of a Class II bike lane are the 6 inch white stripe, bike lane signs, and bike lane pavement markings.  Approaching an intersection, the bike lane striping should be broken for a distance of 100 to 200 feet as an indication for motorists to merge into the bike lane as they are making right turns.  This helps prevent right hook crashes.


Along a concrete curb and gutter, a Class II bike lane must have a minimum width of 3 feet, not including the gutter pan.  At other locations, the minimum width is 4 feet, though the minimum width is recommended to increase to 5 feet where the speed limit is greater than 40 mph.  The minimum widths do not provide a high level of comfort and should be increased where practical.  Along street parking, a bike lane should have a minimum width of 5 feet.  If the street parking has the typical width of 8 feet, a portion of the bike lane could be in the door zone of larger vehicles.  Therefore having a wider parking lane or implementing a buffered bike lane, with a parking-side buffer would enhance safety.


A buffered bike lane can have the buffer on the traffic side and/or the parking side.  The picture below shows a buffer on the traffic side:

If a raised element, such as a plastic bollard, is placed in the buffer on the traffic side, the bicycle facility would be considered a Class IV separated bikeway, also known as a cycle track.  These types of bicycle facilities will be discussed in a future newsletter.


A bike lane can be easy to implement if there is adequate pavement width and no street parking.  If parking must be retained, and there is insufficient width to stripe a bike lane, there are a few options that could be considered:  (1) reallocating the pavement by removing through lanes or a center turn lane, (2) widening the roadway by creating parking bays in landscape strips, or (3) placing a Class III bike route with sharrows and “BIKES MAY USE FULL LANE” signs.  The bike lane can also be made part-time to allow parking in evening hours, for example.  Fresno does have some part-time bike lanes, such as in the area of West and Barstow Avenues, but it is not uncommon to find vehicles parked at those locations during the restricted times.


Green paint can be added to bike lanes to add conspicuity,  Because of the high cost of the typically placed composite material called methyl methacrylate, it is normally placed only in conflict areas or mixing zones.


Whenever a roadway is resurfaced or receives some kind of seal coat, that should be taken as an opportunity to add a bicycle facility to collector or arterial roadways.

Fresno Bike Station FYOB Event


The next Fresno Bicycle StationFix Your Own Bike event is scheduled for Sunday, April 10 between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm at the Van Ness Village Vendor Fair, located at 1440 N. Van Ness Avenue.  The Fresno Bike Station is sponsored by FCBC and allows bike owners to learn how to repair their own bikes with help from experienced mechanics, including FCBC member Julie Congi and Tower Velo owner Chris Eacock.

Legislative Update


The California Legislature convenes in January and adjourns at the end of August, and the Governor typically signs or vetoes bills in September.  Here are two of the more significant proposed bills related to bicycling:


  • Assembly Bill (AB) 1713 brings the “Idaho stop” for bicyclists, allowing them to treat stop signs as yield signs.  Last year the Governor vetoed the legislation over concerns regarding children being able to judge vehicle speeds or have the necessary caution to yield to traffic.  The new bill would not apply to those under 18.

  • AB 1909 Bicycle Omnibus Bill would allow expanded use of e-bikes on trails, allow bicyclists to follow pedestrian signals at traffic signals, require motorists to move over when passing bicycles, and prevent local jurisdictions from requiring licenses for bicycles. 

Proposed laws typically change significantly as they progress through hearings and committees.


Upcoming Book on Bicycling in Fresno

Below is the eighth chapter in the book that FCBC Board Member Juan Flores is writing on bicycling in Fresno.  The chapter is on bicycling to Chinatown in Fresno and exploring some of the history of the area.  Juan welcomes any comments, corrections, and constructive criticism at juan@fresnobike.org.  Previous chapters can be viewed on the FCBC website.

Chinatown Ride 

There is a Class II bike lane on Elm Avenue that will get you to Chinatown from the south side of Fresno.  The bike lane starts just north of North Avenue, and you can proceed north for two miles.  Turn right on Ventura Avenue and proceed for just a block, and then turn left to C Street, which is just before the State Route 99 freeway.  Travel three blocks to Kern Street, and then make a right turn and go over the freeway to arrive in Chinatown.

Fresno’s original settlers located their new community along a new railroad line in the 1860s that was built by Chinese workers.  Many of the Chinese workers were expert brick makers, and they were employed to begin building the city.  But due to the racist practices back then, they were not allowed to live in the city and were forcibly relocated to the west side of the tracks. 

Racially segregated residential enclaves were common in California in the 19th century.  There was much racism and discrimination against the Chinese.  They were mistreated, but Fresno still needed their reliable labor force in the agricultural fields, so Fresno created Chinatown in 1872, and the Chinese community was relocated there.  The Chinese people were allowed to work in the nearby farms, but they were required to return to Chinatown when the work was done.  The population of Chinatown increased during the agricultural season and diminished at the end of the season when the harvest was completed.  Many immigrant Chinese and Mexican families met in Chinatown early in the morning to be hired by “contratistas” or labor contractors and then trucked off to farms where their labor was needed. 

Most of the cultural and ethnic communities in Fresno got their start in Chinatown.  West of the tracks was a lively and thriving area that offered goods, services and all kinds of entertainment day and night.  The residents were entrepreneurs who ran shops, hotels, theaters, restaurants, and service businesses.  They were farmers of figs, grapes, cotton and wheat.  

There was a great diversity of immigrants who made Chinatown their home when they first arrived in Fresno.  They included Chinese, Japanese, Germans, Armenians, and Mexicans.  As they began to earn enough money to have their own homes, they moved to the north side of Fresno, and thus they made room for new immigrants.  

Fresno was ruled from the east side of the tracks by a select group of white men who controlled City Hall, the business, and the police.  But they traveled to Chinatown with its maze of underground tunnels, built to offer protection from the hot Fresno summer and to house brothels, opium dens, and gambling parlors.  This was an underground world that not too many were exposed to.  

Chinatown was the place to be from the late 1800s to the mid-1950s.  With urban renewal in the 1960s, Chinatown began to lose its businesses and residents, and its historic buildings began to be torn down. Other buildings were abandoned, and vagrants began to congregate.  Chinatown suffered decades of neglect.  Poorly implemented and inadequately funded attempts for improvement didn’t help any. 

The arrival of the High Speed Rail construction began to provide much needed attention and potential development monies in Chinatown.  Property and business owners in Chinatown began to see an opportunity to benefit from a potential influx of people who will be boarding trains for travel to the rest of the state, as well as people traveling to and through Fresno.  But the High Speed Rail construction created a new challenge in that the three primary streets into Chinatown were temporarily shut down.  

There are other sites of historical interest in Chinatown.  St. Genevieve’s, the Chinese Catholic church located at 1127 Tulare Street, was established as a place of worship for Chinese laborers in Fresno.  The red brick building has many Chinese design features, and one of St. Genevieve's parish’s claims to fame is that it is the smallest parish church in the world. 

There is also an historic, three-story Buddhist temple in Fresno’s Chinatown, built by the Japanese Buddhist community in Chinatown many years ago, and it is now coming to life again. On the top floor of the Betsuin Buddhist Temple is a large meditation room with antique pendant lights hanging from the high ceiling and intricate woodwork decorating the room.  Multi-paned windows let in lots of light.

First generation Japanese immigrants, the Issei, built the temple.  They were mostly field workers paid very little, but they still managed to fund the elaborate temple.  In 2011, the Japanese-American congregation put the property up for sale and moved to North Fresno.  Fresno’s small Burmese-American community raised the money to purchase the temple in 2021, and it’s now known as Mrauk Oo Dhamma.  Their goal is to make it a monastery and a meditation center.   

At the front of the hall is a colorful shrine with a very big Buddha statue. It’s hand carved and covered in gold leaf.  It was recently shipped from Burma, or what’s now called Myanmar.  

To the left of this Buddha is a smaller Buddha.  When the Burmese-American community bought this property, they found the smaller statue of Buddha in the storeroom.  It turns out a mayor from a small Burmese town presented this Buddha to the city of Fresno in 1961.  The city then gave it to the temple, where it was stored after the Japanese-American congregation left.   

Behind the temple is a large fellowship hall with a kitchen that hosted numerous weddings and festivals and served thousands of meals over many generations. 

Outside the building is a large tree with heart-shaped leaves.  The banyan tree was sacred for the Buddhists because Buddha was enlightened under a banyan tree.  This tree apparently grew from a seedling that was transported from Sri Lanka and is related to the original tree.  

Cuca’s Restaurant is one of Fresno’s oldest establishments from a bygone era when people regularly traveled to Chinatown for entertainment, excitement, and good food.  The original establishment is still at its original location at 907 F Street, although there is a newer location at 936 East Olive Avenue in the Tower District.  

And there is also the yearly Chinatown parade and celebration that is sponsored by the Chinatown Merchants Association. 

Volunteer and Leadership Opportunities at FCBC

If you are interested in volunteering to distribute movie flyers and/or table at upcoming FCBC events in April and beyond, please let us know as we need your help! There are Earth Day events Sat April 16 11-3pm at Mary Ella Brown Community Center, April 20 11-1pm at Fresno State, and April 21 3-7pm at Fresno Courthouse Park sponsored by Fresno County Public Works. If you might be available emailto:tony@fresnobike.org

One of the tasks of most importance to the growth of an organization is the development of its future leadership.  With this in mind, we are sending out this message to ask you to consider the FCBC leadership positions of chair, vice chair, secretary, treasurer, and membership coordinator.  We are not expecting you to immediately step forward and run for election (although we would be delighted), but we are asking for you to consider shadowing the current elected Board member and to become acquainted with the responsibilities of the position.  If you are interested, please email us at info@fresnobike.com.


Next Board Meeting

The nextBoard meetingis scheduled forThursday, April 21 at 7:30 pmvia Zoom.  Everyone is welcome to join the virtual meeting.  If you would like to participate in the meeting, register here, and you will immediately get the Zoom link.


If you are not yet a member of FCBC or need to renew, please visit https://fresnobike.org/join to become a member or renew your membership.

Have a comment or suggestion?  Contact us at info@fresnobike.org

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