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Generations of Cycling

2018 update: Sieg now has six grandchildren. And you bet—as soon as they’re old enough, he shares his bike-love with the new grandies too!
NOW (2011):  Kira Magenheim Belan, Aaron Magenheim, Lyric Belan, and Sieg Magenheim at home

Photo above by Travis Geske for the Salinas Californian/Off 68.

AND THEN (2000):  Kira, Aaron, and Sieg Magenheim at the Sea Otter Classic

Photo below by Kay Magenheim.

Sea Otter Classic a family tradition for some

by Mari Lynch

[This story about the Magenheim family and their history with cycling was previously published in the Salinas Californian’s Off 68, April 2011:  “Sea Otter Classic–A family tradition for some.  Copyright 2011 by Mari Lynch.]

The Sea Otter Classic runs April 14 through 17 at Laguna Seca off Highway 68. Besides plenty of bicycle races, the event also offers a festival. Information: www.SeaOtterClassic.com.

The annual Sea Otter Classic, a “Celebration of Cycling,” takes place April 14 through 17 this year. Many people know about the mountain and road bike races that make Sea Otter world famous. Many are unaware this is a bicycle festival with things to see and do for diverse ages, abilities and interests.

Sea Otter is a place to get inspired about biking. Follow up the festival by making use of other local cycling resources. These include clubs whose members are as ready to help others as is Off 68 resident Aaron Magenheim.

Magenheim responded to my request for pointers about hill-climbing. And when I asked for tips about biking to some remote locations, Magenheim gave sage advice from his personal experience with those routes, including wind patterns and elevation changes.

How did Aaron get to be a cycling enthusiast? Sea Otter is one piece of that puzzle.
Aaron’s father, Sieg Magenheim, bought his first mountain bike when Aaron was 18 months old. Sieg and his wife, Kay, were very involved parents — Kay homeschooled their children — and quickly Sieg was biking with Aaron on a child seat right in front of him. Then Kira was born, and soon she was the one transported on Dad’s bike.

The family home is in Harper Canyon near Toro Park, a desirable destination for mountain bikers. Sieg became one of the first members of the Monterey Mountain Bike Association or MOMBA (predecessor to Monterey Off Road Cycling Association).

“MOMBA helped with the first Sea Otter,” said Sieg. “Some MOMBA members helped prepare trails for the first mountain race — like working on Couch Canyon and the Goat Trail.”

Sea Otter now features the largest bicycle exposition in North America, with about 300 exhibitors bringing products, including free samples. Sieg remembers the expo’s humble beginnings in 1991. The family’s bike accessories company, Cycle Stuff, was “one of very few vendors that first year,” Sieg said.

When Aaron reached adolescence, he started competing at Sea Otter, subsequently earning spots on the podium multiple times. The family included Sea Otter in their homeschooling curriculum. In 2000, Kira raced to fulfill her eighth-grade graduation requirements, with Aaron and Sieg racing too.

Why was cycling important enough to be a required, albeit fun, part of their children’s education? “It’s good for their health,” Sieg answered. “It’s good for developing persistence and strength, so they don’t give up.” Through 4-H and Lyceum, Sieg taught otherkids to mountain bike, too. Often kids would say they couldn’t do it, then later would know the thrill of achievement.

“Cycling is also great for kids who don’t like team sports. Not everyone can play football or baseball, but nearly everyone can ride.”

“Biking is a good family activity,” he adds. “You’re outdoors, enjoying nature, and you can continue it throughout generations.” On the same bike seat Aaron started on, Sieg now carries his 2-year-old grandson, Lyric Belan.

Aaron and Sieg continue to ride together. Their paces are well-matched, for Lyric’s grandpa keeps in great shape by biking. “It’s a sport you can continue all your life,” Sieg points out. Not only are many people riding into their 60s and 70s, the Los Angeles Times reported March 14 that Octavio Orduno, 103, is outdoors pedaling about 6 miles nearly every day.

Like Aaron, Sea Otter has grown up — this year the festival turns 21. It is recognized as one of the world’s largest bicycle festivals, drawing about 8,000 athletes and 50,000 race fans and other bike enthusiasts.

Road and mountain races include amateur categories, with no need to qualify to register. Recreational riders can register for fully supported Gran Fondo rides, meant to be enjoyed with family and friends, ages 12 and older. And girls ages 8 to 14 can register for the Little Bellas day camp led by pro mountain bikers and sisters Lea and Sabra Davison.

A festival pass is free to registered athletes (competitive and non-competitive), and free to kids 12 and younger. With festival admission comes all festival activities, such as Ride with a Pro, Big Air Bag and SRAM Mountain Bike Ride Zone, as well as festival entertainment such as Speed and Style, stunt shows, and more.

Free festival activities for kids 12 and younger include a bike play zone, age-appropriate races and a carnival. There’s an egg hunt for children 8 and younger.

Women and girls will enjoy free female-specific activities April 17. Seminars on bike fit, maintenance, skills and more will be held, and a Women by Design panel discussion will be followed by a wine and chocolate reception.

All the above plus an international food court, beer and barbecue garden, and more make this world-renowned bicycle festival a unique mix of good times.

Invite your loved ones. You just may inspire a new generation of cyclists!

 

Photos below by Kay Magenheim.

Aaron Magenheim in his MOMBA jersey.
Aaron racing Sea Otter….
and at the Sea Otter podium.

April 18, 2011 update:  The photo at the top of this post was taken on February 26, 2011.  Congratulations to Kira Belan and her husband, Brett Belan, on the birth of their daughter, born April 17, 2011.

For more about kids and bikes at Sea Otter, see Mamas and Babies at Sea Otter and Children Celebrate Cycling.

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