Northern California - Napa/Sonoma bike rides suggestions
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Hi, we are heading to Napa/Sonoma at the end of August. Can someone please suggest bike routes, wineries to visit, not to miss stuff etc.
I found a bunch of bike stores/tour operators that do guided tours but really perplexed at their pricing. It's $35 a day to rent a hybrid bike and $140 for the same bike and a guide that will ride with a group and supposedly tell you some stuff. They usually throw in a picnic lunch as well but everything else is extra $. Is it really worth extra $200 (for 2 of us) a day to go with a guided tour or is it better just to do it ourselves. We have 3 GPS units so we won't get lost and I'm sure we can score a picnic lunch on our own too :)
07-09-10, 02:01 PM
I think some people feel safer with a guide. Personally I'd rather go without. You sound fairly independent, I'd just rent bikes and go for it.
07-09-10, 02:13 PM
Silverado Trail is what you want.. very smooth and pretty flat for around here. Very popular too in case you need a hand. No need for a guide..
If I were you I'd just load up google maps and search for wineries, pick some that sounded nice that were on Silverado Trail and then let the day play it self out. If you want to picnic, there are some nice deli's in Calistoga to get some sandwiches and things if you'd like.
As for attractions.. well there's the Geyser which is easily bike accessible but will cost you to see. There's also Lake Hennessey which is nice, and has been deserted when I've rode there along Howell Mountain Rd/Conn Valley Rd. Great place for that picnic. There's a portapotty there but no drinkable water so you would need to bring whatever you needed with you.
Personally, my trip would start in Calistoga, head north to the Geyser, then south on Silverado Trail. You'll hit most of the wineries on this side of the road I believe so you could check them out as you go. I would hold off though and climb Howell Mtn Rd and head out to Lake Hennessey for a bit. Have that picnic lunch and relax, then hit the wineries on the way back to Calistoga. Then I would throw on my swim suit and jump in waters at Indian Springs before cleaning up and having dinner at some place nice.
My favorite riding in that area is around Healdsburg. Go to the bike shop there (Spoke Folk) and say hi. They have rentals (including tandems) and will give you a little map with a bunch of local rides leaving right from the shop. My favorite is West Dry Creek. Very mellow and lots of cool wineries.
Also check out the Santa Rosa Cycling Club website for a list of the ten best rides in that area.
Someone mentioned Silverado- from there, I would recommend the Chile's and Pope's Valley loop. There is a route sheet on the Oakland Yellowjackets website with a bunch of different options, depending on the distance and climbing that suit you.
This is some of the best riding in the state. You will not be disappointed. For longer routes, check out the Wine Country Century route. You could easily follow that on your own.
Good luck and have a great trip!
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