At the age of 70, Morro Bay resident Red Davis rides his bicycle about 150 miles a week, setting out on routes across the county and occasionally taking trips up the coastline or south to San Diego County.
Now, the longtime advocate of countywide bicycle facilities and safety has a section of roadway named in his honor.
At its Aug. 18 meeting, the county Board of Supervisors designated the bike lanes on Los Osos Valley Road between Foothill Boulevard and South Bay Boulevard as the “Red Davis Bikeway.”
“This designation makes me proud but humbled that I was picked for this when hundreds of others are volunteering and working toward some of these same things as well,” Davis said. “So many people have been active in bike programs in the county. I’m one of many.”
The board noted his dedication as a founding member of the county’s Bicycle Coalition and service on the county’s Bicycle Advisory Committee for more than 10 years, among other involvements.
Davis has also helped plan projects countywide through the county’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, which helps the county’s Public Works Department plan prioritize bikeways and pursue grant funding.
He has advocated for bike pathway projects, among them the lanes installed in front of Morro Bay High School, paid for through the state’s Bicycle Transportation Account.
The project covered about two miles, including paving, crosswalks, flashing yellow signs, and sharrows (a shared lane depiction on the road for cyclists) covering stretches from Atascadero Road near the high school north to Toro Lane.
In its resolution, the board noted he “is a role model and champion for using the bicycle as a mode of transportation,” mentoring cyclists and community groups through advice, education and leadership.
A sign designating Davis’ name on the pathway will be installed Sept. 9.
Davis said he turned to biking in the 1980s after his doctor recommended a lower impact activity than running, which caused more jarring on his knees and joints. He said cycling allowed him to travel longer distances and be close to nature.
Davis reminisced about the powerful odor of lupine on one of his rides in Indian Valley, north of San Miguel in Monterey County, as well as the scenic ocean views along the California coastline. Davis said he rides up to Monterey and will take trips south to Hemet in Riverside County and to San Diego County.
Davis moved to Morro Bay in the 1990s from Nevada County, Calif. He also volunteers on various civic committees in Morro Bay, including a city advisory group for its General Plan and the board of directors for the Friends of the Library.
Red is known for his naturally colored terra cotta hair for which he is nicknamed.
Part of the reason Davis became involved in local bicycle-related groups was to raise awareness about safety on the road for motorists and cyclists and to help reduce the risks. He said motorists need to be watchful of those on bikes, and cyclists should be aware they are subject to the same rules of the road as drivers.
“Some roads I won’t ride on out of personal choice,” Davis said. “They’re just too dangerous.”
Cycling can be a dangerous activity when motorists aren’t aware, and a momentary lapse in concentration or judgment by either driver or cyclist can be fatal for a cyclist, Davis said.
“It’s so important for drivers and cyclists to be mindful and aware,” Davis said. “A mistake can be made that can be tragic for the person on a bike. Texting and driving has become very prevalent and that’s scary.”