2015 tour offers a slightly different twist to routes we've done
many times since we began cycling and organizing tours in this
area in the early 1980s. We keep coming back, so, needless to
say, it's one of our favorite destinations.
Our tour begins in
San Francisco near the embarcadero on the bay.
On our first morning, you and your bike will board the ferry and
cross the San Francisco Bay to Larkspur. Riding
through Marin County's small towns and rolling
countryside you'll see why the roads here are very popular with
cyclists, both locals and visitors. We stop for the night in historic
Petaluma, lodging in a quaint little French B&B.
The next morning you'll
pedal more rolling pasturelands along quiet back roads to Sebastopol.
North of Forestville you'll ride through the
Russian River Wine Country where many wineries
and tasting rooms are tucked away in the wooded hills. Healdsburg,
our home for the evening, has a charming square and great restaurants.
From Healdsburg you'll
ride through more wine country until you turn west to climb over
the coast range to the Pacific. This will be the most challenging
day, with 6,000 feet of elevation gain over 60 miles. We travel
a very remote back road and it's not likely that you'll even see
a car ... except our support vans, which will make sure that any
rider that needs a lift can catch one to the top of the hills.
This is the only route over the coast range that's not a major
thoroughfare. After a short jaunt up the coast, our stop tonight
is Gualala (pronounced "Wah-LAH-lah), a
tiny berg just north of Sea Ranch.
The next day is all
coast riding with just short stretches where the road dips into
the trees. From Gualala you'll head south along the Pacific, passing
Sea Ranch, Salt Point State Park and
Fort Ross State Park (the old Russian settlement). Bodega
Bay is our destination for two nights. The town is stretched
out for several miles, crammed between Highway One and Bodega
Harbor or perched on cliffs above. It's a busy place with lots
of restaurants and salt water taffy shacks. It stakes claim to
the location for Hitchcock's The Birds, but really only a few
scenes were filmed there. However, when we head south again you
can stop in the tiny village of Bodega to see the old Victorian
house used as the schoolhouse in the film.
On our layover day two options will be offered. Both routes go
through the hill town of Occidental, famous for
its competing Italian restaurants. The shorter route takes Coleman
Valley Road back to the coast. We try to incorporate
this incredible road into any ride we do in the area. The Amgen
Tour of California course uses Coleman Valley, too, but we beat
them by about 25 years. From Occidental the road climbs through
the trees, then breaks out onto a gorgeous rolling ridge before
dropping steeply to the beach just north of Bodega Bay. Or take
the slightly longer route, which drops from Occidental to the
Russian River. Then you'll follow the river to
Jenner where it joins the ocean and cycle the
coast back to Bodega Bay.
Continuing south, we'll take back roads through open pastures
and stands of eucalyptus. You'll ride to the small towns of Valley
Ford and Tomales, then pedal along Tomales
Bay. The famous oyster restaurants should be open when
we ride through. The village of Point Reyes Station is
popular with our cyclists, probably because of the Bovine Bakery!
Then just two flat miles farther is Olema, where
we'll stay at a very nice B&B. Olema was the epicenter of
the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, and you can learn all about
it (and walk the fault) at the Point Reyes National Seashore headquarters
Highway One is usually peaceful and quiet when we start riding
in the morning from Olema, headed to Stinson Beach.
Here we go inland and up, climbing the steep Panoramic Highway
to the road summit of Mount Tamalpais (Mt. Tam).
Descend rapidly through Mill Valley and some
of the priciest real estate in the country, then it's flat pedaling
through the marsh to Sausalito. Finally, ride
across the Golden Gate Bridge to our finish in
we can get reservations, our selected accommodations are fantastic,
and some are right on the water. Since summer lodging fills up
quickly on the California coast ...
Be sure to sign
up early to guarantee your spot!
Up to 9 cyclists: $1700
10 - 13 cyclists: $1500
14 - 16 cyclists: $1400
17 + cyclists: $1300
A $500 deposit holds your spot, and as soon as we have
8 people signed up I'll make those reservations. As of March
11, all selected hotels have room for us, but they're filling
up very quickly. At the initial booking, I'll try to block a
couple of extra rooms, but only if there's no cancelation fee.
If space is available, I'll add rooms as people register.
If you don't have your own roommate or if I can't find you
one, the single supplement is $620 (the cost of the other portion
of your rooms).
Included in your tour fees:
- Bag transport
- Very attentive vehicle support on the long day to the coast
- Light vehicle support when we're near civilization
- On-road snacks and water each day
- 7 nights of hotel accommodations (double occupancy)
- 6 breakfasts
- 5 dinners
- Maps & directions
Please email us for a complete tour itinerary and more