Wildfires cancel California bike ride

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Organizers have cancelled the upcoming 2015 Grizzly Century in the Sierra National Forest east of Merced, CA, because of a series of wildfires there this summer.

Willow Fire is one of three in the vicinity of bike ride

Willow Fire is one of three in the vicinity of bike ride

The North Fork Sierra Vista Scenic Byway Association announced their decision this week as crews contained the latest flare-up, the 5,000 acre Willow Fire.

Making the announcement, Doug Waltner said:

“There have already been 3 major fires in the area this summer, making for unhealthy, smoky air for a strenuous Century bike ride. The likelihood of more fires is quite high. In addition many of the volunteers work for the Forest Service and have spent most of the summer fighting fires, and if more occur they would be unavailable. To be safe and avoid last minute complications and expenses, the Grizzly Committee reluctantly made this decision.”

Sierra National Forest view -- by Sierra Vista Scenic Byway

Sierra National Forest view — by Sierra Vista Scenic Byway

This year’s Grizzly Century, scheduled for Oct. 3, would have marked the 23rd anniversary for the event that promotes the Sierra Vista National Scenic Byway. The byway wends through the Sierra National Forest past groves of giant sequoias, mountain lakes and numerous campgrounds.

Slated to start in the town of North Fork — dubbed the exact center of California — this year’s bike ride comprised four ride options: The Griz (100 miles), Metric Century (63 miles), Loop the Lake (24 miles around Bass Lake), and Byway Grinder (about 100 miles that includes gravel and native surface).

The area was wracked by wild fires last year as well, but local cyclists discovered that the fire-ravaged areas helped to open up more vistas.

Even before the latest round of fires, the event was looking to inject some new blood into the organization and find new volunteers to handle the bike ride details.

According to the website: “The future of the ride is uncertain at this time. With new, enthusiastic, dedicated volunteers the Grizzly may ride again.”

Let’s hope this ride returns in 2016.

Check for cancellations

Also, considering the number of wild fires burning throughout the western states, it’s probably a good idea to double-check with Facebook pages or websites for bike rides to make sure they’re going off as scheduled this summer and fall.

Permanent link to this article: https://www.bikingbis.com/2015/08/26/wildfires-cancel-california-bike-ride/

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