The Santa Cruz Local Organizing Committee for the Amgen Tour of California attracted a fair number of enthusiasts in the full lycra kit, but most of the people who showed up on bike were people interested in cycling for transportation.
Tim Bustos of Ecology Action at the Amgen Tour of California Santa Cruz organizing committee press conference.
The title bike shop sponsor, for example, is The Bicycle Trip in Santa Cruz. While they sell to the high end enthusiast market, The Bicycle Trip is also very actively involved in promoting cycling for transportation Santa Cruz. They sponsor Bike Smart, a youth bicycle safety program that encourages and empowers youth to use bicycles for transportation. The Bicycle Trip also runs the Bike Shop @ School program, which teaches Santa Cruz public school youth how to repair and build bicycles at the high schools.
Bicycle Trip manager Aaron Jacobs told me that he believes sporting events such as the Amgen Tour of California and personalities like Lance Armstrong encourage people to get on their beach cruisers and ride. "It's a great cycling event for the community," said Jacobs. "Santa Cruz has great cycling culture and is really suited to host the Amgen Tour of of California because it's such a great place for cycling."
Utility cyclist advocate Tim Bustos also attended the press conference in Santa Cruz. Tim was the bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the bicycle friendly city of DAvis, California. Today, he is a program specialist for Ecology Action, an environmental consultancy in Santa Cruz. Although Tim gets around on a very practical Raleigh Sojourn as he wears ankle straps, he believes the Tour of California is good for utilitarian cycling. "Bicycle racing elevates cycling in the public eye," says Tim. He looks at Italy as an example of a nation where all cyclists benefit because of the passion Italians have for the sport of cycling. "The Italians drive like maniacs, but they take cycling seriously so they watch for cyclists on the road. They don't want to run down a national hero."
Santa Cruz Mayor Ryan Coonerty announces route details of the 2009 Amgen Tour of California.
The Santa Cruz committee are still organizing transportation options, and because Stage 2 will take place on a holiday weekend the expect as many as 20,000 visitors to Santa Cruz on Presidents' Day. When asked how fans should get into Santa Cruz to watch the race, Santa Cruz committee chairman Matt Twisselman had a three word answer: "Ride your bike."
I'm moving tonight and this weekend, but I'll try to get the detailed street map of the route in Santa Cruz posted sometime. Here's a cellphone snapshot of the paper map if you want to try to figure it out yourself.