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Downtown churches concerned bike race will affect Sunday services

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Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2009 10:00 pm

While Pastor Alan Kimber is a cycling enthusiast, he is still upset that the upcoming Lodi Cycle Fest could make it harder for his parishioners to get to First United Methodist church's service at 9:30 a.m.

"Firstly, I would like the route to be changed. Secondly, and more importantly, I wish there had been consultation," Kimber said. "This is a total disregard for the two big faith communities that meet Downtown at that time."

He said members of his church and members of St. Anne's Catholic Church were never informed about the bike race.

St. Anne's clergy did not return calls for comment on Tuesday afternoon.

The races start at 8 a.m., and the route goes west on Oak Street and then north on Church Street past Oak Street, which is the corner where Kimber's church is located.

The churches depend on public parking lots, which Kimber is worried will be filled because of the race.

He is also frustrated the city is adding another event on a Sunday during the church's services, because the Lodi Street Faire already makes Downtown congested twice a year.

Lodi Cycle Fest at a glance

What: The first race of its kind held in Lodi. The Criterium-style race will have nine different categories for men and women ranging from 40 to 70 minutes in length. It will feature a one-mile loop circuit format and is expected to draw 500 professional and amateur racers, as well as 2,000 spectators, from all over Northern California.
When: From 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on July 12.
Where: Downtown Lodi.
Cost: For cyclists - $27-$35 and there will be a free race for kids ages 4-12. Free for spectators.
Prizes: Range from $200-$2,500.
Want to volunteer or be a sponsor? Contact Damian Gonzalez at 810-6654 or damian@deltavelo.com and Josh Geisler at 810-3513 or atjoshg302@yahoo.com.
For more information or to register, visit www.deltavelo.com.
News-Sentinel staff

Lodi City Councilwoman JoAnne Mounce, who is a member of First United Methodist Church, said she has no issues with the bike race itself, but would like to see the route changed.

She is most frustrated by the fact that no one appears to have alerted the churches to the race route or included them in the planning.

"The most alarming part for me as a council member is, here I have potentially 3,000 people who have concerns with this event and were never informed," she said.

Kimber would like to see the route change to avoid the intersection of Oak and Church streets.

The city is in the final planning stages before approving the permit for the event, so while it is not impossible to change, it would be difficult, said Jim Rodems, interim director of Parks and Recreation.

He said he does not think the churches will be affected because people going to services can still access the intersection from the west on Oak Street and the south on Church Street.

The Delta Velo/Grand Prix Cycling Team, which is organizing the race, has submitted a traffic plan to the city that has the goal of avoiding congestion around the churches, organizer Damian Gonzalez said.

When people approach Lodi, there will be signs directing traffic to the west side of the course, he said.

The organizers are mainly working to secure sponsorships and work out the race logistics, while the city had a greater hand in the permitting process, Gonzalez said.

Because this is the first race in Downtown Lodi, he said it has been a learning process.

"We are willing to work with anyone, and we are not trying to shut anyone out," Gonzalez said. "We know the logistics of putting on a bike race, but the aspect of surrounding businesses we are new to."

The Downtown Lodi Business Partnership announced the event in its newsletter, city spokesman Jeff Hood said. Also, almost a month ago, the city informed affected businesses about the race because it is a required part of the encroachment permit process, Rodems said. Churches were not listed in the permit language, so the city accidentally did not inform them.

Rodems plans to meet with church leaders Wednesday and said the city will change its policy to ensure churches are notified in the future. He said this is the first time his department has dealt with the permits.

But it's not just this single event that is bothersome, Kimber said. Over the past few years, the city has expanded the street faire to two Sundays a year, and he feels as if the city does not consider the needs of local churches.

"What we are left with is the impression, in speaking with other clergy, that the city is very willing to accommodate for card shops and expand anything to do with the wine industry, but at the expense of the faith community, and that is a disturbing trend," Kimber said.

As other churches have moved farther away from Downtown, Kimber said his congregation has stayed to be part of the Downtown revitalization.

"In a very real way, our right to public worship have been impinged upon. … Without consultation about the bike race on Sunday, it says, 'We want you as a Downtown partner, but we really don't need you.'"

In the future, Rodems anticipates the city will add events because Lodi needs to bring in tourist activities to pay for the parking lots the churches use as well as other city services.

"We appreciate the fact they want to stay Downtown, but there is the practical reality that we do events to help the community, and that's the bottom line," Rodems said. "We appreciate their concerns, and we will work with them on their concerns to make sure the race doesn't heavily impact church services."

News-Sentinel City Editor Andrew Adams contributed to this story.

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com.

Editor's Note: This story was updated at 12:08 p.m. to clarify that July 12 race was not the first of its kind in Lodi.

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  • posted at 7:37 am on Sat, Jun 27, 2009.


    All concerned parties in this matter are only concerned about money made (collected) or money lost. Everything else is a distraction to fool the sheeple.

  • posted at 4:52 am on Sat, Jun 27, 2009.


    As I read this story, I don't see parking as the issue here. I see communication (or the lack of), courtesy,& common sense (or the lack of) the real issues. The only two buildings in use on a Sunday on Church Street in Lodi and I repeat, Church Street, are churches. Isn't it pretty much a no- brainer that they should be contacted concerning a downtown event scheduled for Sundays to see what they might have calendared? Is worship the only thing that takes place on Sundays in churches? What about weddings? What about funerals? Heaven help the city if a Bridezilla filed a lawsuit for the ruination of her wedding day. Traditionally a "community" has been defined as a group of interacting people living in a common location. The keyword is interacting and that's all about communication. So come on Lodi, in future, interact with all your people when planning community events.

  • posted at 5:48 pm on Fri, Jun 26, 2009.


    Pastor Kimber,Maybe this would be a great ministry opportunity for your church? After God put your church down there for a reason and now you are complaining about it. You are begining to sound like Jonah to me. I'm trying to picture how Jesus would have handled this situation. I think He would have been outside on Sunday morning mixing with the bike crowd and not so worried about the religous crowd having to find a parking spot. After all, don't they already have a permanent parking spot in heaven? Quit worrying about whose in church and start worrying about whose not. Get out from behind your pulpit.

  • posted at 8:49 am on Fri, Jun 26, 2009.


    maybe the reverends real complaint is because like every race this will start with a big bang then evolve into survival of the fastest.

  • posted at 2:22 am on Fri, Jun 26, 2009.


    Hey Journey- for alot of Lodians, Saturday is their sabbath so you wont be solving anything by holding it on Saturday. These biking citizens should be allowed to hold it on any day they like, they are members of the community too! These complainers just need to get a life and realize that we all live in this world together.

  • posted at 6:05 pm on Thu, Jun 25, 2009.


    dogbark:No, but he did take quite a few boat rides. Maybe he just should have swam across? ;)If walking a distance is a problem, then have the driver drop you off in front then they can go park. Reverse it after church. Too many people these days don't know what it means to have to put effort into what they take for granted. Adapt TO the situation or adapt THE situation. In this case the race isn't going to change so adapt and move one.

  • posted at 5:26 pm on Thu, Jun 25, 2009.


    Jesus never walked to church from a parking lot that I recall in the gospels.But he did walk most places!The one time he took a ride, on a donkey's back, it didn't turn out so well.

  • posted at 9:55 am on Thu, Jun 25, 2009.


    Shouldn't the church be trying to turn this into something positive instead of complaining and asking others to fix it? After all, the church is a part of this community and they should welcome the opportunity to have such an event in town. It's one day a year! WWJD

  • posted at 9:52 am on Thu, Jun 25, 2009.


    Actually, I bet some of the older folks would get a kick out of watching some of this bike race as they proceed on to church Sunday morning. I may take grandma downtown to take a look.

  • posted at 9:51 am on Thu, Jun 25, 2009.


    Maybe the church could get together a little help and ride set up where the folks that need a ride can be buddies up with those that can help. Wheelchairs can be provided or golf carts etc... that sort of thing. The church should be well versed on how to organize such help for their elders.

  • posted at 3:15 am on Thu, Jun 25, 2009.


    MP, we are not saying all seniors should ride bikes , though I know a lot that do as its great for their health and a low impact excercise. There is a guy who rides thru the delta that is in his 70's and he looks great. Keeps the joints moving. It will not hurt any to walk a block or 2 to their church. City owned parking lots is the clincher here, not church owned parking lots.

  • posted at 12:48 pm on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    Wow! Downtown Lodi will be congested three whole Sunday mornings a year due to events. Events that bring customers to local businesses and restaurants in these tough economic times. Oh boy, that's just horrible...

  • posted at 12:24 pm on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    JB, your one of a kind and simply Mmmmmmmmmmmmalus

  • posted at 12:11 pm on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    mjp & dogs: I pay taxes and I always stop at every sign and light. There are others that don't. I yell at them about it and so could you. Why don't you just stop creating your own road rules and GO! I hate it when I stop and see stupid drivers waving their arms at me. Or looking at me like their brain is on hold. Review the rules. First in, First out. Car/Bike on right has right of way. Bike runs a stop sign and you run over them, well they should'a stopped!

  • posted at 11:07 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    HUMMMM Almost daily the News Sentinel runs an article about how Lodi is the home of American value like gun ownership, taxation without representation, pray at public meetings, freedom to worship. But put freedom to worship up against commerce and look what wins....SPORTS and MONEY. Actions speak louder that words.

  • posted at 10:37 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    mjp, I know what your talking about, those moron`s that ride bikes are by law required to stop at a stop sigh, well they don`t. Makes me wonder will the guy or girl stop at a 4 way stop, if not and they hit my truck I believe they would be at fault and hopefully have insurance. And for poeple towing a baby buggy full of cans, I know they don`t and makes me glad I do. I believe that if there is no bike lane, no bikes should be allowed on it. Ever drive on the very narrow roads in the county, hardly enough room for two cars let alone one person on a bike. The law states that one rider will ride as close to the right hand shoulder single file, more than once I have had words with a group riding three abreast who think they own the road, they don`t pay any tax to be on any road, so get off.

  • posted at 10:08 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    Preacher Kimber states that he is a bicycle enthusiast, then he can understand the bike race and I would think would promote it rather than whining about some of his flock having to walk a block or more. He states he was not told about the race, well he knows about it now and there is ample time to adjust the service or services since the race will be conducted July 12th. All business` were notified of the upcoming event, since the church isn`t a business ( or so his tax man clames ) he therefore wasn`t notified. Pay a business license and the next time there is an event he will be notified. One week-end out of 52 for a event that might not ever happen again, come-on Rev. lighten up.

  • posted at 9:58 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    Why in the world do we want to encourage bicycles on the street. The riders in this town are incapable of obeying the simplest traffic rule, such as stopping at a big red eight sided sign with the word STOP on it. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I would have hit a bicyclist if I just assumed they would obey traffic rules. There are certain 4 way stops in this town, that if I see a cyclist anywhere around, I just wait until they sail through without a glance.

  • posted at 9:55 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    WWJB = where would Jesus bikemight make a nice t-shirt to sell the day of.

  • posted at 9:25 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    "This is a total disregard for the two big make believe stuff communities that meet Downtown at that time."Kimber said

  • posted at 9:13 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    Why can't these events be held on Saturdays, anyway? Isn't Sunday a day to stay at home with family, BBQ, rest up for work the next day?

  • posted at 8:59 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    From Rev. Kimber: "But it's not just this single event that is bothersome, Kimber said. Over the past few years, the city has expanded the street faire to two Sundays a year". Sounds like the church ought get a booth outside their front door and promote their ministries.

  • posted at 8:26 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    This pastor has stained what is I am sure is a nice church. He sounds like a whiner.

  • posted at 7:59 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    Wow! This sure seems to be much ado about absolutely nothing. The city streets are here for everyone - not just for bicycle riders or those who need to park their cars desiring to attend church (or anything else). Last week a small portion of Lodi Avenue was blocked off in celebration of A&W's anniversary. I knew the event was taking place yet I was unaware that the street would be shut off from traffic. So what did I do? I followed the little detour signs (not that I needed them) to maneuver around and was happily on my way to my intended destination.For those who want to attend services on Sunday, they'll find a way to get there. Will some be inconvenienced? Perhaps, but we're people with brains - we can figure this out without inspiring a brouhaha. I just think it's great that so many people will be getting out of their homes to either observe the bicycle race and/or attend religious services of their choice. I think we can all share the streets and sidewalks.By the way, does anyone think that downtown businesses might benefit from this event? I do.

  • posted at 7:54 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    Share the road!

  • posted at 7:39 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    Maybe God will create thunderstorms to cancel the bike race. Kidding.I don't think this will be a problem. It's a race in Lodi, not Bay to Breakers.

  • posted at 7:30 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    educator wrote " Seems like St. Anne's is more concerned about the loss of money for one weekend than the damage they need to fix for bringing O'grady here. "Careful educator, your bias is showing. St. Anne's has said nothing about the race. From the article, "St. Anne's clergy did not return calls for comment on Tuesday afternoon." Makes me wonder why you are attacking a church on an issue they have said nothing about.

  • posted at 7:07 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    Should all the seniors ride their bikes to church too? Loving, sensitive, Lodians. Got to love em'.

  • posted at 5:26 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    I am so glad to see that some fellow Lodians have, or is it 'has'?, a sense of humor re: Rhodie's bike trek through the "dessert". I was thinking the same thing, 'what kind of dessert?' Chocolate pudding? How about Strawberry Fields Forever? Or luscious lemon meringue pie! Yummy. I think Rhodie's wife is hitting on something. A nice massage at a day spa sounds 'sweet'. Goes along with the 'dessert'. Thanks bloggers for the laughs today.

  • posted at 4:37 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    Seems like St. Anne's is more concerned about the loss of money for one weekend than the damage they need to fix for bringing O'grady here.

  • posted at 4:19 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    ya i agree, when did the churches downtown get a say in who uses the CITY parking lots. The churches dont pay for those parking lots, but they sure use them up. maybe the city should start renting out those parking lots and then lets see what the churches say after that.

  • posted at 4:16 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    Rhodie -- Lodi Lake is not the place for a bike race. the pavement sucks, too small of roads for a criterium. criteriums are a circular race.

  • posted at 4:02 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    Who cares about whether this affects the churches? Since when do they get any priority on City decisions?It's not like they're a retail business whose revenue is going to be affected by the race (or are they?).Bring on the race! It's a great event and an opportunity to highlight our City.

  • posted at 3:46 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    Just a question here; Why not have it around Lodi Lake? Isn't there a bike path out there already? I realize it is a thinner path than a street which would lead to more congestion for the riders but the scenery riding would be much better.

  • posted at 3:44 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    Well, so much for the fact that God is everywhere. No he is strictly confined to inside Downtown churches on a beautiful Sunday morning. Why not tailor those July 12 sermons to keeping company with your brotherhood or volunteerism or maintaining a healthy body, which is his temple, by partaking in some wholesome activity. Oh but why, when you can just throw some coins in a plate, accept another week of exoneration and go home to kick your dog. You don't see the bars complaining...and frankly...this ain't their crowd.

  • posted at 3:44 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    Oh, I see now. Should have remembered "Desert", one s cause you don'e want to go throug it twice. Dessert because two "s" means you want seconds. Fingers were moving to fasst I guesss.So chocolate, a bike trek through a chocolate dessert.

  • posted at 3:41 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    tanner b " bicycling thru what kinda dessert? "Utah, around Zion national Park and St. George. Still debating between a mountain trek which would be more vigorous or a city trek which would be longer. For some reason the wife is opting to use that day to hit the spa and get a massage instead.

  • posted at 3:36 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    tanner b: That was my question also. Hope it's something with chocolate in it. :)

  • posted at 3:32 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    If you go to the Delta Velo website, the only blocked parking is city owned parking lots, not church owned property. Since when is it the City's responsibility to supply parking for the churchs?

  • posted at 3:17 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    you can never make everyone happy in the downtown area. They should just have it around pixley park and the industrial area. There is a large parking lot out there AKA Plummer, that is vacant and the hotels are right next door.

  • posted at 3:15 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    bicycling thru what kinda dessert?

  • posted at 3:09 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    You dont see St Anne's whining about this. So you have to walk a little further 3 sundays a year, big deal. I love the suggestion that maybe your parishioners should bike to church, great idea.This bike race is going to affect the whole downtown and hopefully bring in much needed money to the businesses which in turn will benefit the whole town of Lodi.How much is the church going to give to Lodi businesses on this same sunday? I am sure a lot less.

  • posted at 2:47 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    Now if it were nude bike racing I could understand the problem. Or if the race was starting near the churches where there would be more people looking for parking, of course with just a one mile loop it could be packed anyway.A simple solution for the churches would be to offer a modified schedule for the weekend. Have more services on the Saturday night or Sunday afternoon. But the bottom line is maybe it would be good for some people to walk a little farther to get to church so they can remember that not everyone has it as easy as us.Being a cycling enthusiast as well I was actually thinking of volunteering for the event, but then realized I have a trip planned that week (which includes a nice long day of cycling through the dessert).

  • posted at 2:24 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    Not to worry, the "Collection plates" will still be full!

  • posted at 2:04 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    It sounds like parking is the main concern, so what a great opportunity to start an annual "bike-to-church" day. Get in the spirit of the downtown bike race, help the planet, and pick up some more press for the church.

  • posted at 1:33 am on Wed, Jun 24, 2009.


    Let me get this straight. There are 52 Sundays in a year. In the past, 2 Sundays per year have been affected by the street faire. Now a third Sunday is affected by a bike race. So much for the faith community getting along with everyone else. I'd think the faith community would be happy to see good, wholesome activities going on. The City needs to communicate better with the churches and the churches need to stop whining.



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