Yesterday, we popped our Dahons in the back of the car and headed for Davis, a small university city known for its bike friendliness. When we arrived, we easily obtained a parking space in a university lot at the edge of the campus. Though the parking lot signs were not exactly clear, we decided that we could park there with impunity on a Saturday.
We set off to ride around the campus, intending eventually to do the 12 mile bike loop around Davis. We started with the path along Putah Creek that leads through the Arboretum, a beautiful ride through an interesting area. Even this path was hard to find; directional signs seem to be few and far between. But we knew the general direction and inquired of passers-by as we proceeded. Through a remarkably quiet campus, we finally made our way to the creek. The path itself is not in good repair, but we were able to follow it with a few wrong turns. I loved viewing the Italian Collection with its silvery green olive trees from across the creek, and the redwood grove made me feel as though I was near Richardson Grove on California’s Redwood Highway. And since we recently had our front yard replanted with lots of California natives, I particularly liked the Early California Garden. As we rode along the path toward downtown Davis, the rousing strains of a brass band reached us, reminding us that we were on a college campus, one related to our own alma mater, UC Berkeley.
As we left the campus, we passed Aggie Village, a development of small houses and cottages built for UC, Davis faculty and staff around 1997. For pictures and information about Aggie Village, click here. The concept behind this development is interesting, and the area is attractive.
Our next target was the farmers’ market in downtown Davis. It turned out that the address from the internet that I had written down was wrong. After some wandering around and several inquiries, we found the market at 3rd and C Streets, fortuitously located right next to the United States Bicycling Hall of Fame, which we intended to visit. Parking our bikes was a challenge in this city of many cyclists, but we finally chained them to a fence. It is not that bicycle racks are lacking; it was the huge number of bikes in this area of the city.
The bicycle museum has a nice collection of bicycles from the penny farthing bikes right up to modern ones with bamboo components.
After the museum, we visited the farmers’ market, which was really crowded, perhaps more so than usual because children were trick or treating at the various stalls. The proprietors of the stalls seemed a bit grumpy compared to the ones that we run into in our own valley. Of course, this could have been due to the numbers of parents and children milling about.
We decided to leave our bikes parked and walk to lunch. I had picked out a couple of restaurants on F Street after reading about them on Open Table . The first was really crowded, actually a good sign, but we decided to pass it by. We settled on Seasons,which proved to be a good choice. The food was really good and the service was attentive; we both had an outstanding butternut squash bisque plus a very tasty grilled chicken sandwich. My only reservation about this restaurant is that the decor is bland, too bland for a place with such good food. It simply does not look like an upscale restaurant. However, I would return without hesitation.
After lunch we walked back to our bikes, tied the produce that we had purchased at the farmers’ market on our racks, and headed back to the car. Once there we unloaded the produce and then hopped on the bikes to pay a visit to the campus bookstore, where I picked up a couple of birthday presents for our younger son. At this point we decided that it was time to head home. The completion of the Davis bike loop will have to wait until our next visit. I hope that by then there are a few more signs pointing out the paths around.