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May cycling events, Orange County and beyond

...a bike and an open road. A coffee cup holder doesn't hurt, either.
...a bike and an open road. A coffee cup holder doesn't hurt, either.p.gerrard©2014

What a month is May, if you're into cycling.

On a grand scale, it's National Bike Month, and the Giro d'Italia, with the Amgen Tour of (Parts of) California having its first crank turned in anger on May 11.

It's sort of odd that the Giro manages to not only navigate Italy but also include forays into other countries. This year, cyclists start with a team time trial in Belfast, and will spend the first three stages scurrying about the Emerald Isle. The race runs from May 9 - June 1. No local TV, but there's a plethora of streaming video and text-feed options if you want immediate gratification.

The Amgen Tour of California (ATOC) is going in to its ninth edition. The race begins in Sacramento, and flits and flirts around the state with a circuit-race finish in Thousand Oaks. Big names are coming! Wiggins, Sagan and Cavendish among them. But you might say that their stars are eclipsed by Mr. "Shut Up Legs" himself. This is probably the popular Jens Voigt's last ATOC. As always, he will make it entertaining. Chapeau, Jensie!

Once again, if you were hoping for a stage in the OC, you're out of luck. It's a safe bet that the ATOC will find a way to include another country before touching on the pave in this county. What is it about the OC? Do we have too much fun? Are we the Delta House of California counties? We seem to be on double-secret probation around here. Or invisible.

Here are a few events you might want to follow or join in.

OCTA Bike Month—The Orange County Transportation Authority has embraced cycling in its mobility plans, and has adopted May and National Bike Month with open arms. Visit the web site for more information.

Bike to Work Week (May 12-16) and Bike to Work Day (Friday, May 16) - give your car a rest, eh?

Bike Safely —While everyone is encouraged to commute to work or school more often, Bike Month includes the kick-off of an ongoing effort to entice people to safely hop on the saddle and pedal. One local bike shop, JAX, is offering a nice incentive via OCTA's Be Bike Smart on-line quiz.

Ride of Silence - It started out in honor of a cyclist who'd been killed and to build awareness. Now it an international event. Starts at Irvine City Hall (and several other OC cities) at 7:00 in the evening on May 21.

Cruisin' the Conejo - Saturday, May 10 marks the ride's 30th edition. Not in the OC, but riders who've done it say the drive to Thousand Oaks is short and it's a ride well worth the trip.

Bike Safety Camp - On May 24, from 10 am - 2 pm. Pavilion Park, one of the OC's newest communities, is co-hosting a day celebrating "all things bike."

There are a plethora of other cycling possibilities, of course. If you need ideas, check the Western States Ride Calendar.

And if you're already tied up for this month, there are two great rides in early June.

OCW's "Ride Around the Bear" climbs from Redlands to Big Bear and back. This is, coincidentally with the Conejo, the Bear's 30th Anniversary. As of now, there are still a few entries available for the June 14th ride.

The 3rd "Big Ring Century" takes place in Orange County on Saturday, June 21. Proceeds from the ride support the World Vision Children's Charities.

One more June date to put on your calendar. Sign-ups for OCW's Amtrak Century open at 7:00 am on June 22.