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Bikers enjoy a relaxing day of cycling, visiting wineries

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Posted: Monday, November 7, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 7:08 am, Mon Nov 7, 2011.

Biking is popular in the Lodi area, but Sunday's ride was different.

"It's the end of the season; now they can kick back and have fun," said Michael Cockrell, a volunteer for the Stockton-based Delta Velo Racing Team.

More than 800 people turned out at Woodbridge Winery for a relaxing bike ride without facing the pressure of getting to the finish line as soon as possible.

In fact, they stopped at various wineries throughout the rural Lodi area, sampled some wine and munched on food, and continued their ride whenever they felt like it.

Bikers rode 32 to 64 miles, depending on the chosen course, under threatening skies that pretty much remained dry.

"It's a social ride. It's a chance for friends (to get together) in an area that's normally absolutely gorgeous," Livermore resident Erin Waklee said, noticing the dark, gray sky.

Dave Russell, also from Livermore, was thinking differently.

"Wine," he said enthusiastically. "We can ride anytime. We can't drink anytime."

Bikers were treated to lunch and live music. And if they bought any wine along the way, a shuttle was available to transport the vino back to Woodbridge Winery while the buyers continued their bike ride.

Local wineries became excited about participating because bicyclists tend to be wealthy people, Cockrell said. There were a lot of engineers, chemists and doctors ready to spend money on wine.

Co-organizer Scott Butler estimates that 20 percent of the riders came from San Joaquin County for Sunday's event, a fundraiser for Delta Velo.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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