There are plenty of very good, healthy reasons to ride a bike in the San Joaquin region — low-impact exercise, clearer air, lower costs than driving a vehicle, and, of course, the scenery.
The San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG) offers a clearinghouse of bikeway maps and plans for San Joaquin County so anyone from beginner to seasoned pro can plan a cycling adventure or commute to work. Check out the resources at sjcog.org/bikemaps.
There are both PDF and interactive maps of existing bikeways in Stockton, Tracy, Manteca, Lathrop, Lodi, Ripon, Escalon and Mountain House. The interactive maps also have the locations of amenities for cyclists such as restaurants, bike retail and repair shops, and public parks with restrooms.
Bicycling is a type of active transportation, or self-propelled mode of transportation, such as walking or skateboarding. These promote a more active, healthy lifestyle and reduce a person’s reliance on vehicle transportation. That reduces vehicle emissions and improves air quality.
The popularity of cycling has grown, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic. People who might not have ridden a bicycle in the past year or more had time during the pandemic to tinker with that bike tucked away gathering dust in a corner of the garage. Others might have opted for a bicycle to commute to work to avoid closed-in conditions on public transit. And Strava, the fitness tracking app with 68 million global users, noted double- and triple-digit increases in the percentage of bike usage in cities such as Los Angeles and Houston in 2020.
Cycling isn’t just about low-impact exercise. After calculating the cost of a personal vehicle — purchase or lease, insurance, fuel and maintenance — commuting or running errands using a bike can be far less costly than making the same trips in a vehicle.