About the Colony

New bike lane in Atascadero offers a pleasant ride along the creek

Steven Bangs rides a new bike path along Highway 41 and Atascadero Creek from Portola Road to San Gabriel.
Steven Bangs rides a new bike path along Highway 41 and Atascadero Creek from Portola Road to San Gabriel. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

Although I watched the construction for several months, I wasn’t sure what was being built next to Morro Road (Highway 41) between San Gabriel and Portola roads in Atascadero.

I assumed it might be work on one of those new bike pathways we’ve been hearing about, but I wasn’t sure.

But recently I saw a photo in the newspaper of city officials and the San Luis Obispo County Council of Governments cutting the ribbon on what appears to be the first section of a bikeway that could someday go all the way to El Camino Real.

Last Sunday, I decided to check it out. I started in front of the restaurant at Morro and Portola roads and headed west.

The almost 4-inch-thick blanket of asphalt is smooth as glass as it winds its way westward, across two small bridges, some slight up- and downhills and gentle curves, all between the creek and the highway to the sea.

The hills were manageable even for someone my age. I loved it. I did have a little trouble when I reached San Gabriel Road, where I went forward and backward many, many times, having trouble turning my jeep around in that limited space.

Oh, I’m just kidding. I didn’t really drive my World War II era jeep on the new trail, but it was certainly tempting.

I actually rode my mountain bike along the new path, twice, safe from the speeding cars on the nearby state highway, with the bank of Atascadero Creek close by. It has been a long time since any of us have seen any volume of water in the creek, but I have taken photos of that area when the creek overflowed its bank and flooded homes on nearby Carmelita Avenue.

This is a sample of the safe bike/pedestrian pathway the city hopes to build from Portola Road (Atascadero Lake and the Charles Paddock Zoo) all the way to El Camino Real and below Atascadero High School and the Highway 101 pedestrian tunnel.

Funds from Measure J would have made it easier to build that bike path. I believe the city is pursuing other avenues of funding.

I like what has been done. Whether you are walking or riding a bike, you feel very safe from vehicular traffic.

We’ll have to wait and see what path this bikeway takes now.

Lon Allan’s column is special to The Tribune. He has lived in Atascadero for nearly five decades and his column appears here every week. Reach Allan at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.