Posted by marilynch
March 16, and more: Twilight Rides at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Below, get details on 2016 Twilight Ride AKA Twilight Cycling dates, hosts, activities, what to bring, rentals, parking, history, and more.
The Twilight Rides are “a safe and relaxed atmosphere for families to get out and enjoy a ride together,” as assured by Ann Bixler, vice president of event operations for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. And the Twilight Ride venue is also famous for its “challenging 11-turn 2.238 mile course for competitive cyclists.” Something for all ages and stages of biking! As Ann states, “The natural-terrain circuit provides flat areas, 300 feet of elevation change for climbing and the legendary Corkscrew turns which drop the equivalent of nearly six stories in a breathtakingly short length of track.”
The happy faces of young observer Avalin—the baby pictured above; her brother, Devin; and their parents, Tyler and Dena Donnell, testify to the Twilight Ride being a family-friendly event.
Avalin, of course, was a bystander still. But what about for Devin and other children old enough to be on a bike? Are the Twilight Rides really a fun experience for them? Watch a video of one local girl, Juliette, via a Monterey County Weekly 9-11-15 story, “One local girl’s wild Laguna Seca ride….” Kids who may prefer a slower pace have fun at the track too; check out young Miles in a photo below.
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When are the Twilight Rides / Twilight Cycling dates?
Dates are subject to change. For any changes to those listed below, check Mazda Raceway’s Twilight Ride webpage.
As of January 4, 2016, all 2016 Twilight Cycling dates are Wednesdays with the exception of the August 16 ride, which is a Tuesday.
2016 Twilight Rides
When a month’s special host is listed as TBA, it’s anticipated that other Monterey County bike community leaders will likely serve as hosts. Check back here or check with Mazda Raceway for updates.
- January 13 (5-7 p.m.) – Special host: To be announced (TBA)
- February 3 (5-7 p.m.) – Special host: Salinas High School Cowboys Racing Also present will be Fast Freddie from the Amgen Tour of CA, part of his social media tour; and a women’s race team from the Midwest, in CA for a winter camp.
- March 16 (5:30-7:30 p.m.) – Special host: Don Chapin / Monterey Bay Racing
- April 27 (5:30-7:30 p.m.) – Special host: Little Bellas
- May 18 (5:30-7:30 p.m.) – Special host: Amgen Tour of California Public Ride*
- June 15 (5:30-7:30 p.m.) – Special host: TBA
- July 13 (5:30-7:30 p.m.) – Special host: DC-10 / Doug Chandler
- August 16 (5:30-7:30 p.m.) – Special host: TBA
- September 7 (5:30-7:30 p.m.) – Special host: California Custom Sheds Cycling Team
- October 5 (5-7 p.m.) – Special host: Monterey Off Road Cycling Association / MORCA
- November 9 (5-7 p.m.) – Special host: TBA
- December 7 (5-7 p.m.) – Special host: TBA
*May 18: Cycling at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will go professional prior to the May 18th Twilight Ride. This date, the facility serves as the finish line location for Stage 4, the halfway point of the 2016 Amgen Tour of California. More info here.
About the hours
Hours are usually 5:30–7:30 p.m. when days are longer; and 5:00-7:00 p.m. typically November through February. And again, dates are subject to change, so confirm by checking Mazda Raceway’s Twilight Ride webpage.
Who’s hosting a particular month’s Twilight Ride?
In addition to the special hosts listed alongside Twilight Ride dates above, Bay Bikes is a monthly co-host. From October through March, Light and Motion is an additional co-host.
You’ll often find representatives from the following local groups either serving as special host for a monthly ride or just showing up to enjoy the ride: Gears4Good, Monterey Off Road Cycling Association (MORCA), NPS Cycling Club, Velo Club Monterey, Salinas High School Cowboys Racing, Monterey Bay Lightfighters Composite Mountain Bike Team, Ghost Tree, Monterey Bay Racing, California Custom Sheds Cycling Team, and Little Bellas.
Press releases about a particular month’s Twilight Ride host may be provided by Mazda Raceway and published on their website. (See example.) And the Master Calendar for Bicycling Monterey County occasionally includes additional details about a host’s plans for that month.
Monthly ride hosts are diverse, and so are each month’s activities! On-track activities may include time trials, criteriums, and coasting competitions. Off-track activities range from barbecue suppers to costume contests and giveaways or raffle prizes.
What to bring
Bring your helmet and a bicycle, along with a $10 participation fee.
All ages are invited to the Twilight Rides. Helmets are required for all riders on the Mazda Raceway track, regardless of age.
Longtime Twilight Cycling partner Bay Bikes will be present to rent bikes and helmets (which are required for participation for all-age riders).
Contact Bay Bikes to be assured of rental availability for any specific Twilight Ride date, or to request a reservation for a specific sort of bike rental.
You may also rent a bike within about 10 miles of Laguna Seca, at places such as Adventures by the Sea, Bay Bikes, or elsewhere. Click here for the rentals section of the Tips for Bicycling Monterey County guide. Rentals typically include a helmet.
When daylight is shorter, October through March, Light and Motion team members plan to be on hand renting their LED bicycle lights. (Contact L&M for details.) Light & Motion has been pioneering state-of-the-art portable lighting systems for 20 years. In 2008, they launched a line of LED bicycle lights designed and built right here on the Monterey Peninsula. (I’m a fan of their lights myself. See “Night Ride Home.”)
Where to park if you don’t bike to the event?
Unless you’re up for tackling the hill to reach the track, you may want to drive—or carpool with friends— to reach the Twilight Rides. You won’t feel like a wimp if you don’t ride your bike to the track; most Twilight Ride participants don’t. (Example: See a photo of young Miles below, alongside the bike rack of his dad’s truck.)
See May 2011 flier below, which includes an illustration that points the way to the usual motor vehicle parking area, the Paddock. Rarely vehicles cannot be parked in the Paddock. Those occasions are when Twilight Rides fall on one of the track’s main event dates, as the Paddock will already be full with team transporters. (There may even be world-class race car drivers biking the Twilight Ride with you, as they train for that weekend’s event. When? April brings the Continental Tire Monterey Grand Prix; August, Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion; September, Mazda Road to Indy; and October, Pirelli World Challenge.)
For such dates, here are two alternate parking suggestions: park right outside the Paddock in the lot known as Blue 2 (it is a hill, and it is dirt). Or, park in the lot known as Red 9 (which is flat and paved), and then ride your bike over the Start/Finish Bridge. Download a PDF of the Mazda Raceway map, to locate these parking areas and landmarks: 2015 Facility Map
Questions? Contact Mazda Raceway for parking updates or with any other questions about parking or other facilities.
The May 2011 flier below—provided by that month’s ride host, the Naval Postgraduate School Foundation Cycling Club—has a handy illustration that points the way to the usual Paddock parking area. It also shows the alternate parking areas, 2 and 9. Click on image to enlarge.
Click on above image to enlarge it.
If you’re coming from Monterey-Salinas Highway 68, look for the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca marquee.
History of the Twilight Rides
For the seventh consecutive year, in 2015, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is hosting people who bike for monthly Twilight Rides. The raceway’s Twilight Rides are a partnership with community cycling clubs to create a safe, fun place to bike for people of all ages and skills.
“The thousands of area cyclists who have tackled the challenging 11-turn 2.238-mile course are pleased that we are continuing this program,” said Ann Bixler, Vice President of Event Operations for Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. “The raceway’s beautifully smooth pavement with no traffic concerns is a dream for any cyclist.”
Check out a Youtube of the Twilight Rides at the NPS Cycling Club website: http://www.npscc.org/index.cfm/cycling_club.htm
About the venue
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was established in 1957. The world-renowned raceway has been operated since its inception by the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP), a not-for-profit 501c(4) corporation. Each race season, SCRAMP donates its net proceeds to the volunteer groups that help put on the races.
Contact Mazda Raceway with questions about the track and its facilities, or about Twilight Rides.
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Below, learn about one of the Twilight Rides
hosts: Naval Postgraduate School Cycling Club.
Among the most active bike advocates in Monterey County are members of the Naval Postgraduate School Foundation’s Cycling Club. Click here to learn more about how they serve as local bike advocates!
The Naval Postgraduate School Cycling Club hosts Twilight Rides regularly. At the top of this post are Devin, Tyler, Avalin, and Dena Donnell at the March 2012 ride. Below they are at the May 2011 ride, when Dena was expecting Avalin. To see Dena “Biking through Pregnancy; click here.”
Kids and bikes: NPS knows that’s important!
Why does NPS Cycling Club help teach scouts bike skills, help with Police Activities League (PAL) bike fairs, and otherwise encourage kids biking?
Safe Routes to School–allowing kids to bike or walk as part of their daily routine–are often hard to come by these days. Kids need exercise, and being outdoors on a bike has many other benefits as well!
Think most kids these days just sit around playing with their video games and other tech toys? Not Devin Donnell, age 11–at 10, he had already completed a fifty-mile Gran Fondo bicycle ride in Monterey.
And like Devin, young Miles Hooper (pictured in the three photos below), has also rounded the Mazda Racetrack at previous Twilight Rides hosted by the NPS Cycling Club.
It’s clear Miles is becoming familiar with not only riding but with bike equipment too–such as how to help with the bike rack on his dad’s truck.
While Miles and his dad were volunteering at the PAL Bike Fair in Seaside, Miles spent many hours encouraging hesitant children by his example. He returned to the course repeatedly throughout the day to practice his bike skills.
Here are a few more examples of the NPS Club members serving as bike advocates: promoting HER Helmet Thursdays, attending municipal planning meetings to be sure the voices of cyclists are heard, and participating in new Bike Week events. Even the bike corrals on the NPS campus show that the Naval Postgraduate School is a bike-friendly place!
Below: NPS cyclist Seth Hooper at the PAL Bike Fair, answering questions about the Club’s activities.