Magazine article Sunset

Biking the Delta; the Levees Are Flat, the Pears Are Blooming, Traffic Is Light

Magazine article Sunset

Biking the Delta; the Levees Are Flat, the Pears Are Blooming, Traffic Is Light

Article excerpt

The levees are flat, the pears are blooming, traffic is light

Some cyclists will always search out muscle-taxing inclines, believing that you can't have pleasure without a little pain. But many bikers are perfectly content to pedal leisurely along a level road, just enjoying the fresh air and scenery. For those who belong to the latter group, twowheeling along the levee roads of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta about 20 miles south of Sacramento should have great appeal.

Using the map on page 20, you can combine routes and cycle for anything from an hour to a full day.

Look down either side as you ride along a levee, and you'll see how essential the embankments are to this agricultural region. The rivers and sloughs that snake through the Delta are noticeably higher than the islands of fertile peat soil; only the levees keep the low-lying fields from being inundated.

From many of the levees, you can survey acre upon acre of pear trees, bedecked with white blossoms at this time of year, Another good reason to tour now is to avoid summer's heat and high winds. (Winds can be a problem year-round, though, particularly in the afternoon.)

Besides being unvaryingly level, many of the levee roads have the virtue of being very lightly traveled by motor vehicles. The bulk of the traffic through the region is concentrated on roads following the Sacramento River.

We've mapped out routes that avoid these high-use corridors, making loops whenever possible. …

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