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CALIFORNIA COAST &
WINE COUNTRY

July 26- August 1, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our 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 nearby.

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 San Francisco.

If 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 details.

We also have gift certificates!

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