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Sept 17 and more: Twilight Rides at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, 2014

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.

The happy faces of this young observer, Avalin–the baby pictured above; her cyclist brother, Devin; and their parents, Tyler and Dena Donnell, testify to the Twilight Ride being a family-friendly event!

What to bring

All ages are invited to the Twilight Rides, and helmets are required by all riders on the Mazda Raceway track.  Bring your helmet, and bicycle, along with a $10 participation fee.

If you need to rent a bike, rentals are available within about 10 miles of Laguna Seca, at places such as Adventures by the Sea and Bay Bikes. Click here for the rentals section of the Tips for Bicycling Monterey County guide. Rentals usually include a helmet.

Twilight Ride scheduled dates are subject to change.

 Click here for Mazda Raceway’s Twilight Ride webpage.

Hours are usually 5:30–7:30 p.m. when days are longer; and 5:00-7:00 p.m. typically November through March.   Check Mazda Raceway’s Twilight Ride webpage to confirm hours as well as dates.

2014 Twilight Rides

For 2014 Twilight Ride dates, there may be notes about who’s hosting a particular month on the…

Master Calendar for Bicycling Monterey County

Light and Motion loaner lights

When daylight is short,  Light and Motion team members are usually on hand loaning out their LED bicycle lights.  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.”)

Who shows up?

Cyclists of all stripes turn out to ride the track.  Besides Gears4Good.org, which hosted the December 2013 ride, you’ll also find these folks and others either hosting a monthly ride or just showing up to enjoy the ride: Monterey Off Road Cycling Association (MORCA),  NPS Cycling ClubVelo Club Monterey, Salinas High School Cowboys Racing, Ghost Tree, and Monterey Bay Racing.

Below, learn more about Twilight Rides

and one of the hosts:  Naval Postgraduate School Cycling Club.

Among the most active bike advocates in Monterey County are the 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.   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.


(Photo provided courtesy of Javier Chagoya of the Naval Postgraduate School.)

A heads-up on direx to all Twilight Rides

Refer to the helpful direx provided on the NPS May 2011 flier below.  Click on image to enlarge.

Click on the image of the above flier to enlarge it.

Look for the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca marquee along Highway 68 (Monterey-Salinas Highway).

 

History of the Twilight Rides

For the fourth consecutive year, in 2012,  Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is hosting bicyclists for monthly Twilight Rides. The raceway’s Twilight Rides are a partnership with community cycling clubs to create a safe, fun place to ride for cyclists 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.

Have a question for Mazda Raceway? Phone 831-242-8201.
  1. Paul Swift says:

    Hi

    We live in England and are visiting the Laguna Raceway to see the sports cars race in September. My wife and I are keen to join in the Twighlight Cycle around the track on the 6th September. Can you tell me if there is a possibility of hiring bikes and helmets at or near the circuit please.

    Kind regards, Paul and Kim.

    Gloucester England.

  2. marilynch says:

    [Jan 8, 2014 update: Per Mazda Raceway's 1/8/14 press release, "Partners Bay Bikes and Light & Motion are also on hand each month to rent bikes or loan out lights." Contact Bay Bikes for details regarding those on-site rentals. Regarding Light & Motion loaner lights, those are typically brought only in months when daylight is short, as mentioned in the above post. If you'd like to be certain loaner lights will be available, contact the month's host or contact Light & Motion.]

    So glad you’re interested in biking during your visit. While we have some good biking weather every month of the year, September is typically an especially beautiful month here.

    There are bike rentals available about 10 miles from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Rentals commonly include a helmet, and helmets are required for the Twilight Rides for all ages, as you apparently noticed. The Tips for Bicycling Monterey County guide has a section on Bike Rentals. You may want to start by calling Adventures by the Sea and Bay Bikes. Feel free to email me or call with any other questions.

    And thanks for this inquiry, which prompted me to add that info to my Twilight Rides post.

    Welcome to Monterey County!

    Mari

  3. Paul Swift says:

    Hi Mari.

    Thanks for the info. We will be in arriving from San Francisco in a hire car and we will need to get the bikes the 10 miles to the circuit and get the bikes back the same day, time is tight!!! Really keen to do the circuit on a bike. I will give ‘Adventures’ a call.
    Thanks again for your help, Paul and Kim. You never know we may see you there.

  4. marilynch says:

    You’re welcome, Paul. Consider asking your “hire car”/rental car company for a bike rack for your car–they may have one available. See rental car tips in Bicycling Monterey’s bike-and-ride section: http://marilynch.com/blog/tips-for-tourists/the-bike-and-ride-option And let Adventures or Bay know your specific timing and needs; they’ll accommodate you anyway they can. [See 1/8/14 update below re Bay Bikes on-site rentals for Twilight Cycling.]

  5. Asa Widmark says:

    I’m Swedish and I was so happy to see that there is a Laguna Seca Twilight Ride while I’m in Monterey, June 12th!
    A rented bicycle will be my only means of transportation during my 5-day stay. Would it be “reasonably safe” to ride the bicycle back to my Monterey Downtown hotel after the track ride?
    After all, it’s not like it’s in the middle of the night, is it?! The distance doesn’t worry me. (I’m on my way out for a 5-mile ride with my dog on a Swedish winter road right now…)

    Regards
    Asa (“upper-middle-aged” woman)

  6. marilynch says:

    Welcome, Asa. Daytime, yes, most experienced and well-equipped cyclists would be comfortable riding alone to the track. For the return trip, which will be partly in the dark, most people would recommend biking with some fellow riders.

    Biking to Laguna Seca from a downtown Monterey hotel, here are a few pointers:

    Get over on the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail (the dedicated multi-use trail/”bike path”). Take the trail, which runs parallel to Del Monte Ave, toward Seaside–all the way to the Del Monte Ave and Canyon del Rey intersection (you’ll see the tall Embassy Suites hotel at that intersection).
    • Canyon Del Rey/Highway 218: After leaving the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail and crossing Del Monte Avenue to reach Canyon del Rey Boulevard, here’s what you’ll discover: Canyon del Rey is a wide road, though without painted bike lanes until you reach Fremont. From Fremont to General Jim Moore Boulevard (your turn-off), Canyon del Rey has painted bike lanes.
    • Canyon del Rey is a mostly flat route. After you’ve crossed Fremont, you’ll soon come to a little downhill swoop that lands you at the Frog Pond Nature Preserve—a fun stop—just beyond the Del Rey Oaks City Hall. Continue on Canyon del Rey past the Frog Pond until you reach the traffic signal at General Jim Moore Boulevard, which is on your left. Make that left turn at the signal and head north on General Jim, which has a painted bike lane. (General Jim runs from Canyon Del Rey in Del Rey Oaks to Inter-Garrison Road near the center of the former Fort Ord—and in the process, it crosses South Boundary Road, the road you’re looking for.)
    • Make a right off General Jim onto South Boundary. There is a painted bike lane on part of South Boundary, and at other times, just a reasonably good shoulder. Expect a steep climb on South Boundary. From there, refer to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca website maps.

    Return trip: In the Serious Cyclists section of the Bicycling Monterey site, you’ll find Jan, Devian, and Frank; you might contact these helpful locals to see if any of them, or their riding buddies, are biking to the 6/12/13 Twilight Ride. If so, chances are they’d be happy to bike with you.

    Or, contact Velo Club, MORCA, or NPS Cycling Club (also in the Serious Cyclists section) to see if any of their members are biking 6/12–or are hauling their bikes to the track and can give you and your bike a lift home.

    For other bike-and-ride options, check the MST bus schedule, which may have service changes before then. Or, depending on your hotel, you might inquire about the possibility of a hotel shuttle picking you and your bike up after the Twilight Ride.

    If you have other questions, feel free to phone me when you get to town.

  7. Asa Widmark says:

    Wow! Thank you very much for that very extensive and useful reply! I don’t know what made me thing of Monterey as a Bicycle friendly place, but it seemed my instinct was right!
    I have so much to look through on this page, and pages linked to from here. Good thing I discovered it 3 months ahead of my trip and not the day before! ;)
    Once again: Thank you!

  8. marilynch says:

    You’re welcome! Having visitors from all over the world is wonderful for us, and we especially appreciate those who bike, at least for part of their visit.

    You can see Christine van Burken of the Netherlands biking north on the coastal trail (scroll down this “Dress Up Challenge” post) and a young family from Holland biking downtown Monterey. After your visit, please feel free to share a photo with us of a Swedish visitor biking at the Twilight Ride, or elsewhere in Monterey County! :)

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