I moved to CA several years ago from rural WA where I rode all the time, little traffic (we had the only stop light in the county) and trails galore. Before I moved I sold my bike due to the horror stories I heard about riding in CA. I ended up in a fairly small town but huge to me (90k people) with lots of riding around. I lived for years not riding but thinking of it alot. I-5 runs through Redding and state hwys going east and west. Traffic is sporadic, busy during rush hours, fairly light the rest of the time. A couple of years ago I decided to risk it and bought a dual sport. I ride it to the trails and around town but HATE the freeway... It boils down to if you are enjoying yourself and feel safe. If I lived in busy SoCal and had to hit the freeways to get anywhere I wouldn't ride or I would have a green sticker bike and haul it to the trails. I would never want to ride afraid....
"Where ever you are, there you go..."