Linda and I heard of the annual Cycle The Sierra bicycle tour from friends, who found the ride to be strenuous but scenic. Our only previous bicycle rides in the Northern Sierra Nevada were loops around Lake Tahoe. Most of the 2016 route would be new to us. So we decided to give the Cycle the Sierra bicycle tour a try for June 2016. Our friends Mark, Mary, and Chuck also joined us on this tour, though they proved to be stronger riders and almost always rode well ahead of us.
June 18: Nevada City to Chili Bar (60 miles, 4900 ft gain)
We left Nevada City and rode through Grass Valley, then on country roads through oak woodlands and low traffic for many miles. We crossed over the Bear River and entered the outskirts of Auburn before steeply descending to the confluence of the North and Middle forks of the American River. This was Saturday and there was a lot of traffic leading to and from the river. From here we had a steep 3 mile climb from the river on a sometimes narrow road with little shoulder. Linda and I rode as close to the shoulder as we could. We relied on the alertness of the drivers approaching and passing us as we climbed. Above the climb we reentered oak and pine woodlands. At one point as I climbed a quiet forested road I wondered if I had made a wrong turn as I could see no other riders. I stopped to compare the cue sheet with my GPS map and decided I must be on route just before Linda passed me. Linda approached an intersection where a dog bit her on her right leg as she rode by. We eventually descended to the South Fork of the American River to find our camp at the Nugget Campground near Chili Bar. Here we enjoyed the late afternoon and had the first of many excellent dinners.