Biking to games

Plan Your Route

The key to a great day of biking! Check out the Davis Bike Map (Once you have the map up you can make use of the ZOOM IN tool to magnify or zoom to view route and field details). For a more abbreviated view of your area map, click on WestNorth/CentralEast or South. Especially use the wonderful paths that bypass: I-80 (Putah Creek/downtown under-crossing; Pelz over-crossing between the Mace Ranch and Walnut/Montgomery fields), Hwy 113(over-crossing at Willet Elementary), Covell Boulevard (over-crossing at Community Park; under-crossing on east side of F),Anderson Boulevard (under-crossing north of Covell) and the railroad tracks (under-crossing between J and H south of Covell). Note the great under-crossings and paths into the Walnut/Montgomery, Mace Ranch, Putah Creek, Arroyo, Northstar, Nugget and Community Park fields. Connect up with the right path, then bike right to your field!


Safety First

  • Always wear a properly-fitted bicycle helmet
  • Obey all traffic rules — including stop signs and red lights
  • Ride on the right — with traffic!
  • Use the Davis Bike Map (link above) to design a course on dedicated bike paths
  • Lots more on safety.


Tips for Families

Biking with a family can require extra effort at first.

  • Are we there yet? Bike trips of two-three miles in Davis are often FASTER than in a car. This is especially true for soccer where parking and walking adds to the travel time.
  • Night before. Pump up tires, find and adjust helmets, backpacks needed?
  • Young children Trailers and tandems make travel faster, safer and easier
  • Security Programmable locks, with one family combo, simplify life (one combo, no keys)!
  • Advanced storage Non-collapsible baskets on the back of bikes are often the most durable and stable (front baskets encourage tipping), and have lots of capacity; add bungee cords to secure stuff that might pop out on bumps; wrap the bungees to the outside of the baskets when they aren’t in use to keep them from tangling in the spokes; check out an Xtracycle to add capacity
  • Still want more ideas? Thorn-proof tubes and liners reduce flats; thick tubes also seem to reduce the frequency of tire pump-ups; add an odometer to track your progress (there are clocks on them too!).

What Is "Bike to AYSO"? 

Davis AYSO launched Bike to AYSO for its fall season in 2006. By carefully scheduling games and placing games on fields around town, Davis AYSO believes that at least 4,000 miles of driving can be saved every Saturday if a majority of the 2,300 players and 1,700 Davis AYSO families bike to their Saturday games. Many players already bike to practice, but before the fall 2006 season, game-day fields weren’t always within a bikeable distance (and they still won’t be in some instances). In 2005, Davis AYSO conducted games at three venues, using 19 fields at those locations. For the fall 2006 season, the new dispersed locations include nine venues and 24 fields. AYSO considered 33 city park and school district field options, demonstrating the Davis park system’s many opportunities.


It’s NOT (Just) About the Bike

Many factors make local, bikeable fields the perfect next step for the largest AYSO fall program in Northern California.

  • Families should enjoy biking together, learning the bike routes in their neighborhoods, and with more “local” games families shouldn’t be pulled in as many directions. In many instances, one or both parents may not have to leave the house so long before a game to drive their player to a field. Siblings should be playing closer to each other and be able to see each other’s games more often -- and ditto for school friends in neighborhoods.
  • Drives will be shorter, too! Those who do need to drive will be driving fewer miles on average.
  • Neighborhood play Do you recall playing on a neighborhood team as a child – and at your neighborhood park? We can’t get all the way there, but this will help.
  • AYSO: Steward of our city’s fields Some fields in Davis are overused, particularly the community park fields west of the bike path that host four high school sports and a field hockey tournament. In very important instances, AYSO’s distribution of games will help prevent excessive wear on city fields and ensure that other Davis sports have better fields and less competition for space.
  • Environment and gas prices We all seek to “Spare the Air!” to improve public health and wonder how much more gas prices will rise. The major greenhouse gas reduction measure within control of almost every citizen is reducing car travel. So how can we make a small dent in the problem? Bike to AYSO!
  • Biking in Davis Davis IS the bike capital of the United States. We have over 100 miles of separated bike paths and on-street bike lanes, and 27 different grade separations (bike bridges and tunnels). There is no soccer field in town that one can’t get to safely on a bicycle. In 2005, the League of American Bicyclists awarded Davis a “Bicycle Friendly Community” designation at the Platinum level – the highest level possible. Davis is the first and only city in the U.S. to receive this designation. Let’s keep walking (err biking) the talk.


How It Works

To implement Bike to AYSO, the city has been divided into four regions: North/Central, South, East, and West. Each area will have fields for play from the Under-6 through Under-19 age groups. In scheduling, the first priority (but not necessarily the first game) is to have teams play other teams from their region, then neighboring region’s teams will play each other, like North/Central v. West and East v. South, and then if there are still games to be played, a central location like Community Park will be the preferred venue.


It Won’t Be Perfect, But It’s Much Better

This won’t work out perfectly for everyone but we have a great plan that will aid the vast majority of families. In some cases, families with Under-6 through Under-10 children that live close to Community Park will be disadvantaged for those few games they play on fields elsewhere, but the other areas of town are finally getting local games. West, East, and South families with young players will have significantly more bikeable games and games with shorter drives – no fewer than five and perhaps as many as eight or nine, instead of zero. Immediately, or over time, everyone will benefit.


AYSO’s tenet of Balanced Teams adds complications too. Especially at the higher divisions (U-14+), it’s difficult to balance team skill levels when drawing from just one area of town. Therefore, U-14+ teams aren’t as “local.” Availability of coaches can also affect our ability to create teams in a distinct area. When team membership is spread out, the local fields can’t be local for all players.


Making it Work for Teams

Beyond local fields, Davis AYSO has taken still more steps to promote biking, including:

  • Purchasing new ball/equipment bags for coaches that may be worn as backpacks so the coaches can set a great example by biking to practices and games.
  • Creating this web page to help families find the best bike routes and to understand the program.
  • Coaches and parents, please organize players to bike in groups!


How It Happened

Davis AYSO started making plans early in 2006 for moving off of some over-used fields at Community Park west of the bike path. More localized games were a possibility with the addition of goals at Mace Ranch Park last January. Then with the gas prices hitting the mark of $3.00 per gallon, the concept of regional games all over town was discussed. Commissioner Steve Brown estimated that his region’s 1,700-plus families drive over 9,000 miles each Saturday to support 2,300 players’ soccer games. The bikeable games hold the promise of reducing that mileage by over 4,000 miles. That’s like saving a trip driving to Venezuela every weekend! So in the early summer of 2006, Brown challenged the Davis AYSO board to find a way to reduce family driving.


Davis AYSO fields coordinator Kevin Klein took on Brown’s challenge and designed a way to keep families, especially those families with younger children, playing in their own back yards. Klein surveyed 33 potential city and school district field options and drew up a plan with neighborhood fields that was hailed at the Davis AYSO board’s July 2006 meeting. Klein’s plan was simple: divide and conquer! By dividing the city into four regions, and locating at least one field for each younger age level (U6 – U12) within each area, and adding additional U-14 and U-19 fields, families would not have to travel as far.


Davis AYSO worked hard with the City of Davis’s Parks and Community Services department and, especially, fields manager Jerry Lee to help provide access to dispersed field equipment for AYSO and to make that equipment available for reserved field usage by other groups. The Davis school district (DJUSD) also supported the goal disbursement concept. Athletic directors at the local junior high schools welcome the use of added soccer goals and equipment as a mutual benefit of Davis AYSO’s additional weekend use.


Davis’s local State Farm agents also stepped in to make Bike to AYSO a reality. As Davis AYSO’s lead sponsor for 2006, State Farm Insurance immediately bought into the program. Agents Heather Copeland, Raul Herrera, Doug Pritchard and Dave Scheiber picked up the cost of the new PLAYSOCCER stickers especially designed for bikes.


Volunteers also stepped up over the summer to make the plan happen. Leslie Buhlman and Austin Perez have been solving the equipment and field logistics challenges. In part, they organized groups to construct four new goal sets for Community Park (2), Mace Ranch, and Emerson JHS fields. Joe Krovoza volunteered to be the Bike to AYSO coordinator to publicize the campaign, e.g., getting three of the new PLAYSOCCER bike stickers to each player and designing the web page. Other AYSO parents then stepped up fast to “adopt-a-field” whereby families near the neighborhood fields take charge of making sure soccer equipment is ready for use Saturday morning and locked up after the games. Additional field, equipment and scheduling volunteers stepped up to make bikeable fields a reality, including Diane Peterson, Bill Pacuilla, Charlie Russell, Wayne Raymond, Mike Griffith, Leo Rainer and Sergio Espinoza.

See this nice article on the BikeDavis website.