Pedal power is a great way to travel green. And the beachside community of Santa Cruz, California is a great place to bicycle.
The League of American Bicyclists has named Santa Cruz a Bicycle Friendly Community. It's an award, a recognition, to communities that have made impressive efforts to integrate bicyclists into the community. The designation is difficult to come by -- since it was launched in 2003, just 70 communities have earned the pedal power award.
The designation includes recognition of the all-around cycling program in Santa Cruz, and such specifics as strongly enforced guidelines to protect the safety of cyclists, pedestrians and disabled travelers.
One of the places to visit on your two-wheeled travels is Roaring Camp Railroads, up in Bear Mountain, which is offering a menu of rides from one hour to four hours long. Novice cyclers can take the train up the mountain.
You'll learn about the redwood forest, nature, ecology, conservation efforts and local history. From there, it's all downhill -- on a single track run back to Roaring Camp.