Fulfill your craving for Northern California’s scenic and savory best on this incredible tour through some of the coast’s most breathtaking and productive agricultural areas.
Starting on the outskirts of San Francisco at the Marin Headlands Hostel, we’ll pedal past dairy farms, vineyards, and orchards at the peak of harvest season. We’ll also tackle some of the best cycling terrain the region has to offer and you’ll quickly understand why many professional racing cyclists call this area home. We’ve kept the daily riding distances short enough to provide time for enjoying the various wineries, farmers’ markets, and other harvest highlights of the region. We’ve also added some long alternate routes for those looking to increase their daily mileages.
Our group will explore the Sonoma and Napa valleys, the Alexander and Russian River valleys, Point Reyes, Tomales and Bodega bays, and the coastal bluffs of Marin County. You’ll inhale warm autumn air, savor locally sourced produce, sip some of the world’s finest wines, and pedal from the edge of the tawny Coast Range to the blue Pacific, and back again. Join us for this magical sensory tour blending sustainable agriculture with world-class bike touring!
|Start Date:||Sep 07, 2014||End Date:||Sep 14, 2014|
|Start Location:||Sausalito, CA||End Location:||Sausalito, CA|
|Total Days:||8||Riding Days:||7|
|Rest Days:||1||Level of Support:||Fully Supported|
|Miles:||260||Average Daily Mileage:||37.1|
|Accommodations:||Camping, Motel Options||Physical Difficulty:||Intermediate+|
|Airport:||San Francisco Int'l (SFO)||Tour Leader:||Bob Westgate|
San Francisco/Marin Headlands Hostel. You’ll meet up with your leaders and fellow cycling and food aficionados at the hostel, where we’ll all get acquainted with each other, the tour mechanic, and our all-important caterer. The hostel is tucked away in a wooded setting just across from the Golden Gate Bridge. Here you can relax and enjoy the ample treasures of the California coast, mountainside creeks, wide-open meadows and crashing surf. Cozy up and get ready for the weeklong adventure that lies ahead!
San Francisco to Petaluma, 53 miles. Today’s ride takes us down into lovely Sausalito. The bike path we’ll follow skirts the waterfront and passes through the wetlands of southern Marin County. We’ll set off along a series of backcountry roads popular with local riders, pedaling past a French cheese factory, and continuing on to our campground located on the outskirts of the charming and historic community of Petaluma.
Petaluma to Santa Rosa, 34 miles. Today we’ll ride northwest from Petaluma on quiet country roads toward the town of Sebastopol, the hub of western Sonoma County’s active wine and orchard country, and home to a flourishing downtown. We’ll skirt Sebastopol’s eastern border near the alluring Laguna de Santa Rosa Wetlands Preserve, then cruise to Santa Rosa on a bike path to make our camp and visit the Charles Shultz Museum. “Peanuts,” anyone?
Santa Rosa to Napa, 42 miles. Since the mileage is moderate, you’ll have ample time to sample the region’s finest fare as we cycle through scenic farming valleys, stopping at local shops offering fresh fruit, wine, and cheese. Or perhaps you’ll be satisfied just spinning past California’s famed vineyards and working your way to Napa for a fun evening. Thermal features also dot the area, evidenced by the many developed hot springs where you can stop for a soak.
Napa to Calistoga, 34 miles. Another fun-filled day is on tap as we follow the Silverado Trail into the heart of Northern California’s wine country. Both well-known and smaller boutique wineries line the route as we head toward Calistoga, a destination hot-springs resort marking the upper end of the Napa Valley. Maybe now is the time to treat yourself to a soak if you haven’t already. More than two dozen spas and hot springs are found in and around Calistoga.
Calistoga to Duncans Mills, 49 miles. Today we’ll ride into the Alexander Valley, passing Little Old Faithful Geyser, where super-heated water erupts 60 feet into the air every 40 minutes. We’ll then visit eclectic and energetic Healdsburg, where you’ll likely want to spend some time wandering around the historic downtown plaza. With its top-notch shopping, renowned galleries, locally grown organic produce, and artisan-crafted breads, wines, and cheeses, beautiful Healdsburg embodies what this tour is all about. From there, we’ll spin our way toward Guerneville, riding beneath giant redwoods, some of which are 1,000 years old and 250 feet tall. We’ll end the day at a rustic campsite alongside the Russian River.
Duncans Mills to Olema, 56 miles. We’ll follow the Russian River to its mouth near the tiny town of Jenner, sitting prettily on the Pacific Coast. We’ll hug the coast to explore some of the most scenic roads in North America. We’ll pass through Bodega Bay, ride along Tomales Bay, and pedal down to Point Reyes Station, home of Cowgirl Creamery and its lovely barn-like food emporium offering some of Marin County’s freshest farm products. A few miles farther down the road we’ll arrive in Olema, located on the eastern edge of the Point Reyes Peninsula near the southern reaches of sparkling Tomales Bay. Here we’ll enjoy the final dinner of our tour, celebrating the wholesome and healthy flavors of local foods under a twinkling canopy of stars.
Olema to San Francisco, 40 miles. We just may have saved the best for last, as we’ll pedal our way back to our point of origin by way of Bolinas Ridge and Mount Tamalpais, the birthplace of mountain biking. We’ll tackle a challenging climb that pays exceptional dividends: the endless Pacific Ocean on one side and the San Francisco Bay Area on the other. Riding a low-traffic road that swoops along an open grassy ridge, we’ll skirt Mt. Tam and enjoy a long, winding descent through coastal redwoods and open grasslands. After zipping through the tidy town of Fairfax and revisiting Petaluma, we’ll cross the Golden Gate Bridge together, ending our adventure refreshed and rejuvenated by the simple joys of good food, new friends, and superior cycling.
"I don't know what I miss the most... the daily riding, the warm sun, the lovely egrets and osprey, the clouds of ocean fog, the oyster docks along Tomales Bay... or the food"
2009 Tour Participant
"The meals that that the caterer comes up with are all gourmet. And the attention that the tour director pays to details and to anticipating potential problems make for a delightful tour experience."
2009 Tour Participant
"Wonderful staff...excellent food and organization!"
2009 Tour Participant
"Meeting new friends and being able to share the whole journey with them made my tour. The staff was outstanding with service and places we camped at were totally great. Thanks for going the extra mile with activities and services provided."
2012 Tour Participant