By BOB NORBERG

THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition wants anyone to be able to pull that old bike out of the garage, throw on any old clothes and show up for a family-oriented ride.

“There is a world beyond lycra out there,” said the coalition’s executive director, Gary Helfrich.

The coalition is planning a series of family-oriented rides to reach cyclists beyond the weekend warrior with the lycra jerseys, spandex shorts and carbon-flavored bicycles conquering major hills.

And cycling should be more than just commuting as well.

“These are free rides, much shorter in distance and the ride progresses slowly,” Helfrich said. “You want the kids to be happy, the parents to be happy, you want everyone to start together and finish together. It is a social event on wheels, it is not meant to get you fit for the century ride.”

The coalition wants the cycling scene to include people who may be amazed when they discover they just rode 20 flat miles.

There are the hipsters and Burning Man people who look at bicycles as art … sometimes outrageous art … and mountain bike riders who may feel on the fringe.

“If it has wheels and it is human powered, we should be reaching out to those people,” Helfrich said.

“The point of a family ride is to pump your tires up and show up. You don’t need a special bike, don’t need special clothes, dust if off and show up. We have to provide fairly intense support for these rides, we have inexperienced riders on bikes which have not been looked at for a long time.”

On Sept. 23, the coalition is planning a parade lap around town as a kick-off for Sonoma County Museum’s opening of its exhibit on the history, current state and future of cycling in Sonoma County.

On Sept. 24, a family fun ride will tour public art in Santa Rosa, starting and ending at the museum.

On Oct. 15,a round-trip ride will go to Gold Ridge from the museum and from Luther Burbank’s home.

And on Oct. 22, riders will tour bicycle frame and art bike builders in the Santa Rosa area.

You can reach Staff Writer Bob Norberg at 521-5206 or bob.norberg@pressdemocrat.com.