BY TOMOYA SHIMURA for the Irvine Standard 

Loree and Chris Montoya used to load up bicycles and drive to Irvine to ride around the city’s extensive bikeways.

The couple enjoyed them so much that they moved to Woodbridge.

“We just decided, ‘Why continue to make the trip when we can get on these great trails straight from our home?’ ” says Loree Montoya, 51, who rides with her husband a few times a week.

The city offers an ideal environment, especially today, when millions of Americans are taking up biking to get fresh air and exercise safely while spending time with family and friends.

A boom in bike riding

Bicycle sales are seeing the biggest spike in the U.S. in decades. Sales of adult leisure bikes more than tripled in April from a year ago, according to The NPD Group, which tracks national sporting-goods sales.

Bike ridership in the U.S. in early August was about 30% higher than in previous years, according to Eco-Counter, which helps cities track bicycle usage.

 

“We have such great weather here,” Loree Montoya says. “It’s so nice to be able to jump on our bikes and go for a ride.”

Irvine is regarded as one of the most bike-friendly cities in Southern California, offering 301 miles of on-street bike lanes and 63 miles of off-street bikeways. The system stretches from the mountains to the coast, connecting neighborhoods with parks, shopping centers and business hubs.

Two popular trails

“They are doing a fantastic job providing a lot of access around the community without having to ride on the road,” Loree Montoya says. “I love taking the Jeffrey Open Space Trail, going across the little bridges. It’s really nice that you get to ride through beautiful parks. It’s definitely a plus for living in Irvine.”

The Montoyas’ favorite trail is the San Diego Creek Trail, which takes them to Upper Newport Bay past city landmarks like the Irvine Spectrum, Woodbridge Village Center and the UC Irvine campus.

“They have the water and greenery to attract the birds,” she says. “It’s just nice scenery.”

Explore 364 miles of bikeways at irvinecommunityguide.com/around.