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FCBC Newsletter

June 2022

Summer is just around the corner, but it has already heated up.  Don’t forget to hydrate before you ride, and carry plenty of water with you when you ride.

In this month’s Newsletter:


  • Bike Café is on Tuesday, June 14 at 7:00 pm with Jim Baross, President of the California Association of Bicycling Organizations (CABO).
  • A virtual workshop for bicycling and pedestrian safety in the Woodward Park area of north Fresno is scheduled for Thursday, June 16 between 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm.

  • We give a recap of the many bicycling events during Bike Month.

  • The next Fresno Bike Station Fix Your Own Bike event is on Sunday, June 19 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm in the Tower District, and FCBC was awarded a grant to support the Fresno Bike Station.

  • The next chapter from the pending book by Juan Flores on bicycling in Fresno describes Sycamore Island.

  • The next Board meeting is on Thursday, June 16 at 7:30 pm.

FCBC Bike Cafe

The monthly virtual Bike Café allows FCBC members and others to socialize and discuss bike-related topics of interest. Join us on Zoom on Tuesday, June 14 at 7:00 pm to meet with  Jim Baross, President of the California Association of Bicycling Organizations (CABO). The Fresno County Bicycle Coalition is a member of CABO, and this is the first in a series of Bike Cafés where we learn more about these organizations.  Jim is no stranger to Fresno, having been here to lead a League Cycling Instructor (LCI) seminar in June of 2018 with fellow instructor Rio Oxas.

Ed Smith, Jim Baross, Rio Oxas, and Tony Molina at the Fresno LCI Seminar CenCalVia tee shirt presentation.

California’s bicycle clubs organized into CABO, a state federation, in 1972 to protect bicyclists’ interests statewide and to encourage, maintain, and improve bicycling conditions. After Jim's presentation we will also have time to socialize, reflect on Bike Month, and plan upcoming activities. 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.

Woodward Park Virtual Community Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Meeting

There have long been concerns of safe access for bicyclists and pedestrians to Woodward Park in north Fresno.  Recent tragic crashes underscore that more needs to be done.

A two-hour Community Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Training virtual workshop has been scheduled for Thursday, June 16 from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.  The workshop is focused on walking and biking safety in the area around Woodward Park.  Residents, park users, agency staff, and elected officials will learn about pedestrian and bicyclist safety strategies, share their experiences during a Street View walking/biking assessment, and work together to create concrete action plans for community programs and projects that seek to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety.  The workshop has been put together in collaboration with a local planning committee and will be moderated by California Walks and UC Berkeley SafeTREC.  Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).


Connect on Zoom at http://bit.ly/WoodwardParkWalkBike.


See the Facebook event link at: https://fb.me/e/3lEx907H7.


Download the flyer here: Woodward Park, Fresno 2022 CPBST Flyer with QR code.pdf.

Bike Month Recap

Despite the absence of the Mall to Mall/Hall Ride due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, Bike Month still had plenty of events for bicyclists to be engaged and encouraged to ride.  The Fresno City Council had a National Bike Month proclamation on May 12.  The Fresno Cycling Club organized the Ride of Silence on May 18, with over 100 participants, to honor all bicyclists who have been killed or injured on public roadways.

FCBC screened the documentary, The Soul of a Cyclist, which transported viewers to Portugal and England to experience the joy of bicycles bringing people together, followed by a Zoom discussion with director Nuno Tavares.  For those who missed the film or want to see it again, it is available for rent on Vimeo.

Bike through History returned on May 21 with a bike tour of hitching posts in Downtown Fresno, the Lowell neighborhood, and the Tower District to see where Fresnans attached their horses in the 1800s.


Fresno architect Robin Goldbeck, Vice Chair of the Fresno Historic Preservation Commission, leads presentation on Fresno's few remaining hitching posts at the Ride through History.

Fresno Bike Station FYOB Event and Grant Award

The next Fresno Bicycle Station Fix Your Own Bike event is scheduled for Sunday, June 19 between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm at the Van Ness Village Vendor Fair, located at 1440 N. Van Ness Avenue.  Note the later than usual hours.  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.



FCBC received a $4,000 grant from New Belgium Brewing for the Fresno Bicycle Station to further our efforts to teach the members of the community, especially women, to repair their bikes.  New Belgium Brewing has a small grant program for nonprofit organizations to increase bicycle ridership and accessibility.  The grant will equip the Fresno Bicycle Station with new tools and supplies.  Thank you New Belgium Brewing!


Upcoming Book on Bicycling in Fresno

Below is the tenth chapter in the book that FCBC Board Member Juan Flores is writing on bicycling in Fresno.  The chapter is on Sycamore Island, located in the San Joaquin River.  Juan welcomes any comments, corrections, and constructive criticism at juan@fresnobike.org.  Previous chapters can be viewed on the FCBC website.

Sycamore Island

On a Saturday, I joined a group of cyclists as we toured to and around Sycamore Island, one of Fresno’s little known treasures.  We began our bike ride to Sycamore Island from Woodward Park at the well-known “compass,” which is located at the north end of the park across Friant Road from Fort Washington Shopping Center.  The compass is a seating area in the park that consists of an image of a compass embedded into the cement and surrounded by concrete benches.  It is a popular meeting place for bike riders.  Ed and others bicycled to our meeting place from downtown, and some of the group parked their cars at the Fort Washington shopping center parking lot and then rode their bikes across Friant Road to make their way to the compass.

We were fortunate to have as our guide John Shelton, the Executive Officer of the San Joaquin River Conservancy, and he explained to us the history and development of Sycamore Island and other sites along the river.  We rode the bicycle pathway down the side of the bluff on the north end of the park, and once we reached river bottom, we turned right on the road of what was old Highway 41 and past the trailer park.  We continued on to the entrance of Panoche Creek River Ranch (the old Cobb Christmas Tree farm).

At the entrance to Panoche Creek River Ranch, we turned right and followed a short road that led to the parking lot and entrance to Wildwood Native Park.  You can drive and park here, but don’t forget that this park is only open three days a week.  There are a few permanent vault toilets in the parking lot that aren’t for the faint of heart, but they’re useful for those in need.  An alternate way to get to the Sycamore Island entrance is by transporting your bicycle in your motor vehicle north on Highway 41, before you get to the Children’s Hospital turnoff and then doubleback to the Cobb Farm and the Wildwood Native Park.

From Wildwood Native Park, we bicycled under the old Highway 41 and the new 41 freeway, after which we were able to access Sycamore Island by bicycling along a short walking trail, then riding along a gravel road until we came to a locked gate that is there to limit vehicular traffic. The first thing that struck me is that there are so many ponds and lakes along the trail, places where the San Joaquin River spread out and created all of these verdant homes for wildlife.  Truth be told, many of these ponding basins are remnants of old gravel pit operations, so the river is in the long process of healing itself, hopefully with the assistance of our Central Valley community.

The trails around Sycamore Island are dirt or gravel in most places, but there are paved roads that traverse the area, with occasional gates to limit access to motor vehicles.  As we made our way along the bike path, we came across various anglers who have made Sycamore Island their fishing destinations over the years. We learned that the primary motor vehicle access to Sycamore Island is via the Madera side of the river. Apparently there is not a motor vehicle access to Sycamore Island on the Fresno side of the river.  Although the Sycamore Island property is west of the locked gate, the area between Freeway 41 and the locked gate, the San Joaquin River Conservancy’s Van Buren properties, is not open to motor vehicles, but is open to cyclists, pedestrians, bird watchers, and anglers.  This access from Wildwood Native Park is a convenient shortcut for walkers and cyclists.  The only vehicular access to Sycamore Island is from the Madera side, on Avenue 7 ½, which begs the question of why there isn’t vehicular access to Sycamore Island from the Fresno side of the river.

There is a bait shop on Sycamore Island that sells fishing supplies, soft drinks, and other goodies to satisfy the anglers.  There is also a boat launch on Sycamore Island and ample parking that appears to be getting good use.

Sycamore Island is a great place to fish, boat, picnic, watch wildlife, and enjoy nature.  Located west of Highway 41 near Children's Hospital of Central California, the property is owned by the State of California's San Joaquin River Conservancy as part of the San Joaquin River Parkway.  The River Parkway Trust started operating Sycamore Island in 2013 under a 5-year agreement with the San Joaquin River Conservancy.  Sycamore Island has three access points to the river for canoeing and kayaking, and has several miles of dirt roads that provide an excellent surface for bicycling, trail running, walking, and horseback riding.  There are three covered picnic shelters on the 350-acre property, and canoes and kayaks can be rented on site on a first come, first served basis.  The watercraft can be used in the ponds that are not connected to the river.

I lived north of Herndon near West Avenue for many years, and although we were a stone’s throw away from the San Joaquin River, I never discovered any kind of access to take my children down to the river to enjoy its natural flora and fauna.  Even the people who lived on the Bluffs with a panoramic view of the river had limited physical access to the river.  People who live in south Fresno have even less access to the San Joaquin River, but fortunately, the San Joaquin River Conservancy is developing a plan to increase access to the river from south Fresno. I look forward to seeing this improved access to the river.

There are some who say that we need to keep the river treasures a secret so that large crowds won’t spoil this natural treasure, but that has always been the challenge of giving people access to our natural richness while still protecting it.  We have always played a balancing act of to what degree we advertise the natural beauty that our community has to offer.  Fresno has always suffered from a lack of park space for our burgeoning community, and particularly for south Fresno.  For a while, Lost Lake was a little known park space and recreational destination that very few people knew about.  As its popularity grew and more people began to discover and enjoy it, many other people began complaining that it was now spoiled and overcrowded.  The same thing can be said about Yosemite National Park and other similar parks.  As more people began to discover the park, and as the roads there have been improved, we began seeing overcrowding and increasingly more trash in Yosemite.  Some fear that Sycamore Island will suffer the same fate of Lost Lake and Yosemite.  But the solution is not to keep these treasures hidden and unseen to our community.  The solution is to make these parks more visible so that more people can enjoy them and begin saying, “I love this park, and I will vote for more measures so that these beautiful park spaces will be improved and maintained for future generations to enjoy them.”

After enjoying a wonderful afternoon bicycling around the Sycamore Island area, we rode our bicycles back to the Woodward Park compass, resolved to return there with our families and friends to give them the same joy and wonder that we experienced, and committed to preserve this natural beauty for future generations.

 Jobs Announcement to FCBC members from REI

From REI Sales Manager, Maryann Aguirre:

We will be having some openings for employment. We are looking for more Women of REI and Bike techs. If you can pass it on feel free to have the person reach out to me if they have applied and or created a profile at Careers (rei.jobs)


Maryann Aguirre

Retail Sales Manager

Fresno #112



Next Board Meeting

The next Board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 16 at 7:30 pm via 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.

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

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

Fresno County Bicycle Coalition

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