Rural Northern California was a melting pot for many all across the Golden State on Saturday for the return of the 11th annual flat, fast, fun century bike ride hosted by the Colusa Lions Club.
Proceeds from the event go back into the community of Colusa, according to Lions Club President Jim Pingrey.
Pingrey said there were about 120 riders who signed up for all three rides, with the majority electing to participate in the metric century, which breaks down to 62.1 miles through the beautiful Yuba-Sutter-Colusa region.
“It was the best sunrise this morning, nice and pink,” said San Diego native Suzanne Pitman.
Pingrey said the decision to be one of the few organizations to put on a century and metric century bike ride in the middle of an ongoing pandemic was a difficult one. He worried how the public would respond.
Some, he said, elected to opt out and wait till the 2021 ride, while others decided to push through and get on their bikes.
“This is my first century (100 mile) ride,” Pitman said. “I’m loving how flat it is.”
Pitman said for anyone struggling right now given the uncertainty of life in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, she said a bike ride can be extremely therapeutic.
“It’s great (for) people to get outside and away from what's going on,” Pitman said. “It's like free therapy because you're on your bike for six hours, so there is nothing else to think about.”
Pitman’s friend and century ride partner, Frieda Edelmann of Oakland, said she appreciated the vigilance from the volunteers and organizers in keeping everyone safe.
She recently moved to Oakland from the east coast so Saturday was her first century bike ride in California.
“I’m amazed by the beauty of the landscape,” Edelmann said.
There were a few veteran riders as well, including several with hundreds of rides under their belt.
Mark Birnbaum of Novato, was participating in his 516th century ride this year. He began in 1977, and says the best part is seeing different parts of the countryside.
Birbaum’s ride partner, Norman Beffert of Lincoln, said it’s important to see the beauty of this state before it’s gone.
“I love to see it before the state burns down,” said Beffert, who finished his 446th century ride this year.
Overall, it was a successful day and organizers have already begun preparations for next year with 17 signed up for the May, 2021 ride, Pingrey said.
In total, 137 signed up with 17 deferring to next year because of COVID concerns, he said.