Tandem Cycling - Napa Valley/Bay ride area info
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We're heading to Napa for a bit of R&R and the thought crossed our minds today to take the tandem along. Wondering if anyone has any experience rding in this area. Knowing it's high tourist season, that the roads we've been on before seemed quite narrow and that it seems that if you leave the "Valley" there might be some ugly climbs to face we thought we'd inquire here in hopes of some info.
Any and all info is greatly appreciated.
KRhea and Debra
I rode a single there 2 years ago. There is actually some nice riding. I think there is a bike shop in Yountville or Oakville which has some good bike maps. You are right about climbing out of the valley. It's pretty steep. I did Oakville Grade and it hurt! I think you could put some nice routes together with using rt 29.
We rode the tour of Napa last year and will ride it again this year http://www.eaglecyclingclub.org/tour.htm. There are route maps on this web site. In general, the elevation gained in Napa / Sonoma is 50 feet mile in the valleys and 100 feet per mile or more climbing the ridges. However, if you are not used to some climbing, then Napa can be a tough day in the saddle. Highway 29, which is the major road where the brand name wineries are located, is not great for cycling due to the traffic and rough roads. However, most of the roads are okay and some are excellent.
A month ago, we rode our tandem along Silverado Trail starting at Silverado Country Club and did 40 miles. This section of the valley is flat, 50 feet per mile, and has great bike lanes. You can ride along the Silverado Trail and visit a number of small wineries over a 40 to 50 mile ride. Last September, we did a 4 day tour of Sonoma which included a ride over the ridge via Highway 128 to Napa. Highway 128 is two lanes with a minimal shoulder and can have some high speed traffic. However, it was not a problem. The climb is of moderate difficulty and the descents medium in technical difficulty. I would include a ride from Napa to Sonoma to visit the Ferrari Carano winery http://www.ferrari-carano.com/. FC has award winning gardens, architecture and wine – best in Napa / Sonoma. This could be ~75 miles or farther depending on where you stay in Napa.
If your level of conditioning and climbing ability is reasonable, then my suggestion is to bring the bike. You will love the riding. If you do not have a place to stay picked out yet, check out Silverado Country Club. They have hotel services and a great golf course and spa and it is located a couple of miles from the Silverado Trail for great riding and smaller but excellent wineries.
08-02-07, 09:35 PM
Another perk for the Silverado CC is if you take a right out of the parking lot you have a ~10 climb up to Atlas peak with minimal traffic and outstanding scenery. In my book its the hidden gem of the area. Did it 4 times the last time I stayed there (2 night, 4 climb special !!!)
Check out the area around Healdsburg and Geyserville. We have ridden there several times and always had a great time. There are many small wineries and Healdsburg is a wonderful little tourist gem.
08-03-07, 12:12 AM
In June we rode our old tandem from Vacaville over Mt. George and into Napa, along Silverado Trail to Zindandel Lane, then to 29 and V. Sattui winery, where we stopped and had a delicious lunch. http://vsattui.com Then we rode 29 to Zinfandel to Silverado Trail to 128 and on to Lake Hennessey and Lake Berryessa. There are some challenging hills around Pope and Chiles Valleys...if you hate hills you'll want to avoid these rides. Otherwise the scenery is gorgeous and the ride challenging. Google the various wineries and see what rides are available.
Have fun and enjoy!
08-03-07, 09:37 PM
It's a little out of date, but this is a great book if you're planning on riding in Napa or Sonoma: http://www.amazon.com/Wine-Country-Bike-Rides-Mendocino/dp/081181355X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/104-8100385-6220718?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1186198782&sr=8-1
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