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Prime time for cycling club

Auburn area bikers launch group for riders of all levels
By: Todd Mordhorst, Journal Sports Editor
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Timing is everything. The prestigious Amgen Tour of California will wind its way through Auburn this spring. The Auburn Chamber of Commerce has pronounced 2010 the “Year of the Bike.” So a group of Auburn area cyclists figured, “What better time to launch a cycling club?” The Sierra Foothills Cycling Club was officially founded earlier this month. There is no lack of momentum for the energetic group of riders, who are welcoming riders of all levels to join them. “We’ve been doing informal rides as a group for several years,” club president Larry Matz said. “We felt like there was a need for a club in this area. We think we could have 200 or 300 members eventually.” The club already has 30 members and the public is invited to find out more about the group Tuesday at an informational meeting at the Round Table Pizza in the Elm Shopping Center at 6 p.m. The new club is looking to organize Auburn-area riders with the idea that there is power, and safety, in numbers. “Safety is a big part of it,” Matz said. “Knowing where to ride and how to ride is really important. And the club will definitely be an advocate for (cycling) safety. We want to have people ride within the safety of a group, but we’re also a social organization and we want to work with the community.” The SFCC already has several fans around town. All three Auburn bike shops - Auburn Bikeworks, Bicycle Emporium and Victory Velo - have pitched in with sponsorships. Members of the club will receive discounts and special offers from the bike shops and other local businesses. The club is working with the Chamber of Commerce and other local groups to organize local events. One project in the works is a ride along the Amgen Tour’s Stage 1 route from Nevada City to Auburn and possibly even on into Sacramento. The club is also planning on organizing volunteers for the Amgen race and pitching in to help the city represent itself well in its first experience with the world-class event. Matz has been riding regularly with Joe Hernandez, Bill Beadle, Ted Moore, Ann Downey, Larry Merlo and a handful of others each Wednesday for a couple of years. Hernandez first suggested the idea of forming a club after seeing the number of bikes on Auburn roads increasing in recent years. The club is open to men and women of all ages and abilities. There is at least one recreational ride scheduled each week and other events an activities are posted on the club’s new Web site. The $30 yearly dues cover the club’s fees as a member of the League of American Bicyclists along with other expenses. Jerseys are on the way along with membership cards. For more information on the Sierra Foothills Cycling Club, attend Tuesday’s meeting at Round Table Pizza or visit www.sfcyclists.org.