Turned down by group, city considers cost-effective ways to foster culture of cycling

Healdsburg, or at least the road network around it, is a mecca for cyclists, but that doesn't qualify the city as a "Bicycle Friendly Community."

City officials recently learned Healdsburg did not make the cut after applying for the designation from the League of American Bicyclists.

"Our reputation precedes us. People come here from all over the world to cycle," said Lynn Goldberg, senior Healdsburg planner. "It's mostly because of fantastic rides outside the city. We just happen to be in the middle of it."

The organization that bestows the title essentially found that Healdsburg needs to be more proactive if it wants to be recognized as a superior place to bike.

About 200 U.S. communities have attained official bike friendliness at one of four levels: platinum, gold, silver and bronze.

In Sonoma County, only the city of Sonoma has earned a distinction. In Napa County, Calistoga got the nod. Both communities got the minimum "bronze" certification.

Nationally, three places have the highest ranking: Davis, Portland, Ore., and Boulder, Colo.

The league presented Healdsburg with a nine-page list of suggestions for improving its chances of selection.

"Some are simple," Goldberg said. "Others require a commitment on the part of staff and financial resources we can't do now."

With the city's tight financial condition in mind, cycling advocates addressed the City Council this week on ways to foster "a culture of cycling awareness," despite being turned down as a bicycle-friendly community.

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