Pedal along the American River on a weekend trip to Sacramento
My cycling skills and my ancient 10-speed clunker were a little rusty when I headed to Sacramento’s American River Parkway for a recent solo ride. Luckily, you don’t have to be in Tour de France shape to pedal the mostly flat, 32-mile trail that starts in the Old Sacramento historic district and ends in Folsom. During my leisurely 35-mile round trip, I rode through oak forests, across sun-bleached fields and on bluffs that offered sweeping views of the river. Along the way, I encountered wild turkeys, deer, turtles, rabbits and snakes. And I found plenty of places for pit stops, including inviting parks. Before heading home, I popped into the Crocker Art Museum, where the museum’s extensive collection of California art wowed me. The tab: About $320 for a one-night hotel stay, food and museum tickets.
Kimpton’s sleek Sawyer Hotel made an ideal base for my cycling adventure. The 250-room property is in Downtown Commons, or DOCO, a lively mall anchored by the Golden 1 Center arena. The bike- and pedestrian-friendly K Street Tunnel connects DOCO to Old Sacramento. After cycling, I relaxed on the Sawyer’s chic rooftop pool deck with Instagrammable views of the city. Sleep came easily in my comfortable room with a king-size bed and modern decor. If you don’t have your own wheels, you can borrow one of the Sawyer’s bikes.
A Sacramento friend recommended Pushkin’s for a preride brunch. The airy eatery, in the tree-lined Handle District, a small midtown neighborhood known for its restaurants, had an appealing industrial vibe with concrete floors and exposed ducts. Pushkin’s caters to carnivores and vegans, offering separate menus for each. My maple sausage and egg sandwich on buttery grilled brioche was divine.
A quick jaunt through the tunnel led me to the Sacramento River Parkway Trail, which I followed a short distance to Jibboom Street Bridge, where the Sacramento and American rivers converge. It’s also where I crossed the bridge to Discovery Park, the official start of the American River Parkway. I had fun starting and ending my ride in Old Sacramento, but I discovered you can access the trail from several other points along the route, such as River Bend Park in Rancho Cordova, a 15-minute drive from downtown Sacramento.
THE LESSON LEARNED
Mike’s Bikes is one of the few places in downtown that rents cycles. (Reservations are recommended.) Sacramento temps can soar in summer, so hit the trail early to avoid the heat.
Kimpton Sawyer Hotel, 500 J St., Sacramento; (916) 545-7100, sawyerhotel.com. Rates from $210. Wheelchair-accessible.
Pushkin’s Restaurant, 1813 Capitol Ave., Sacramento; (916) 823-5520, pushkinskitchen.com. Open 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays. Wheelchair-accessible.
Crocker Art Museum, 216 O St., Sacramento; (916) 808-7000, crockerart.org. See website for hours and ticket prices. Wheelchair-accessible.
Mike’s Bikes, 1411 I St., Sacramento; (916) 446-2453, mikesbikes.com. Check website for hours.
Sacramento County Regional Parks, . The site provides parkway info and a map of the trail.
Ride the Parkway, ridetheparkway.org
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