Media Life: Auburn blows by Davis for regional cycling bragging rights

State schools chief to visit and run with the kids at Skyridge
By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Media Life columnist
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Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at or (530) 852-0232.

You’d think Davis would be wearing the yellow jersey when it comes to naming the community in the region that has the most diligent bike peddlers.

But you’d be wrong if you put your money on the home of the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame.

Instead, cast your gaze high into the foothills, where the gears grind and the cycling community puffs up quad-zapping grades and down maniacally exhilarating slopes. Local pride is busting out all over after Auburn took the so-called “City Challenge” in May and ended up besting all 22 cities in a six-county area — including Davis — in bike miles per capita.

Part of the Sacramento region’s May is Bike Month campaign to energize residents to get outside and cycling, the challenge amassed a roster of just less than 9,000 participants pedaling a combined total of 1.75 million miles. Twenty-two cities took part in the civic challenge portion of the competition.

While ringers like the UC Davis faculty and staff were logging an average of 148.4 miles per participant and students at the school were peddling an average of 112.7 miles to up that city’s mileage, Endurance Capital of the World cyclists were busting their buns on local roads to help achieve an average of 2.17 miles per capita for each Auburn resident.

Davis finished a strong second, with 2.02 miles per capita. But it’s really all about horse shoes and hand grenades, isn’t it?

In the end, it was about eating a goodly helping of crow, followed by a slice of humble pie.

Auburn Mayor Kevin Hanley could watch contentedly as Davis Mayor John Krovoza announced the challenge results and the upset victory at a recent meeting of event co-sponsor the Sacramento Area Council of Governments.

No trophy on this one but the bragging rights will do.

“We obviously have a lot of dedicated bicyclists,” Hanley said.

Hanley will be handing off the chore of retaining top dog status among cities to Councilwoman Bridget Powers, who will be in the mayor’s chair next May.

An avid cyclist, Powers should help Auburn’s chances of retaining its current biking crown, Hanley said.


Voices of freedom

The voices of freedom from half a century ago will be ringing out over the local airwaves this coming Sunday, when “Old Radio Theater” features a look back at the major players and events leading up to the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s watershed “I Have a Dream” speech. Husband-and-wife co-hosts David and Linda Breninger will include unique historical narratives from King Jr.’s widow, Coretta Scott King, and the NBC News duo of anchormen Chet Huntley and David Brinkley tracing the events of 1963 that led up to the Aug. 28, 1963 march. Dave Breninger, general manager of the Placer County Water Agency, said he’s proud to be making the switch on Sunday from his day job that has much to do with water rights, to civil rights on his long-standing program, highlighting the best of the Golden Age of radio. The show starts at 8 p.m. Sunday on KVMR FM 89.5.


State schools chief to run in Auburn

None other than the state’s schools chief will be visiting Auburn this fall and running with the kids. You may know Tom Torlakson as superintendent of California schools. But in the world of triathlons and distance running, Torlakson has also carved out a sizeable niche. Brad Kearns, founder and driving force behind the nonprofit Running School, has known Torlakson for several years. Kearns is a retired professional triathlete, while Torlakson has taken part and done quite well in events such as the Escape From Alcatraz triathlon. Torlakson also coached high school cross country for 26 years before gaining elected office. Kearns was able to convince his old friend to stop in at Skyridge Elementary School, visit a classroom or two after having lunch with the kids and then change into his running gear and do some Running School activities on the field. The date of the visit is Oct. 10.


Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at or (530) 852-0232.