Bikes, blooms and beer are the focus of upcoming Chico events

Save these dates for ways to enjoy spring petals and pedals


Join the Wildflower Century ride or the pre-party this spring! Photo by Heather Taylor

As Northern California blooms this spring, Chico State students have opportunities to enjoy two local passions: bicycles and wildflowers. Whether joining a community bike ride or enjoying an IPA from a local brewery, these events and attractions will provide a chance to enjoy the season.

The annual Chico Wildflower Century, organized by Chico Velo, is a bike ride on April 30. The century ride is named so because it covers 100 miles. This ride includes options for riders of varied ages and abilities, including rest stops, bike maintenance and a post-ride meal. 

There are shorter options of varying difficulties so even beginners can participate. For those who are somewhat experienced cyclists but not quite ready for the longer ride, Jade Elhardt, the Events and Communications Manager for Chico Velo, recommends the Metricflower 63 route. This 63-mile option has less climbing and three rest stops along the way. 

“We have a 30-mile route that doesn’t do any climbing,” Elhardt said, referring to yet another option, the Valleyflower 30. “That would be a great entry-level ride. It is flat, so you could take your time doing it, if someone just wanted to participate. 

The first Wildflower Century ride was in 1981, and Elhardt said it was “basically a big group of friends who got together for a ride.” It has been an annual event since, with a break at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. 

Elhardt estimated the ride draws a crowd of about 3,000 people, made up of both local and out-of-town participants. 

Registration for the Chico Wildflower Century can be completed online and will remain open until April 23. 

Those who do not wish to complete the bike ride can join the fun on April 29, the day before the Chico Wildflower Century. The pre-ride party, The Wildfest, will be held at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds and is free and open to the public. 

The Wildfest began as an event primarily for the Century riders, but it has expanded to include the public in a big celebration. 

Elhardt said The Wildfest is “a great way to show people coming from out of town what Chico has to offer.” These offerings will include food trucks, lawn games, bike demos and a funk band. 

The Wildfest will feature food and drink vendors, as well as a beer garden. Local brewery Sierra Nevada Brewing Company will provide their exclusive Wildflower IPA. Sierra Nevada is the title sponsor of The Wildfest and Wildflower Century. 

“They have pretty much always been involved,” Elhardt said. 

The Wildflower IPA was created specifically for the Wildflower Century. “Several years ago, one of our former innovation employees who also participated in the Wildflower each year proposed creating a special brew for the event that utilized wildflowers, and it’s been a hit ever since,” said Ashlee Mooneyhan, the External Communications Manager at Sierra Nevada Brewing.

Those who are of legal drinking age can enjoy this beer, which is brewed with flowers including chamomile, dandelion and marigold. 

“The beer is a small batch offering, so it’ll be in limited supply outside of the event,” Mooneyhan said. “But, readers might be able to find it at The Handle Bar, or in the Sierra Nevada Taproom for a short time following the event, while supplies last.” 

Beyond participating in cycling or partying at The Wildfest, Chico State Students are also welcome to sign up for volunteer opportunities during the weekend of the ride and festival. 

Volunteers assist with rider check-in, catering and wildflower store merchandise. They also receive a free t-shirt. This year’s shirt will feature artwork from local artist, Wyatt Hersey

Whether they be cyclists, volunteers or bystanders, everyone can find a way to enjoy spring in Chico this year. 

Heather Taylor can be reached at [email protected]