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Tandem Cycling A bicycle built for two. Want to find out more about this wonderful world of tandems? Check out this forum to talk with other tandem enthusiasts. Captains and stokers welcome!

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Old 04-01-10, 08:01 AM   #1
twicethefun
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Tandem riding in Napa/Sonoma

After a flight west to Vancouver and a drive south to Napa, two tandems will be up for ten days of riding the valleys of Napa and Sonoma.

Since there is nothing worst than travelling across the continent to find the nice rides the day before you have to go back home, I would greatly appreciate if any of you could help me find great early season tandem rides (mainly rolling hills, some climbs here and there and maybe a few long ascents averaging 10%) in those two regions.

Of course, I did thorough search on the Web but, for some reason, I put more trust in contributors to this forum than in most comments I read...
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Old 04-01-10, 09:21 AM   #2
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Silverado Trail has very smooth pavement, wide bike lanes and is rolling terrain. The road up to Anguin I believe is Hwy 128 is nice, a little steeper, also nice pavement. Seems as though Napa County has more funds to keep roads in better shape than Sonoma County, but choices are endless. Enjoy your stay.
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Old 04-01-10, 12:30 PM   #3
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So many good roads in Napa and Sonoma to ride on. Check out this PDF for the Wine Country Century Route - you can also add Coleman Valley Road to the Coast for another 25 miles. Santa Rosa is about 30 minutes up Highway 12 from Sonoma, in Sonoma County.

http://srcc.memberlodge.com/resource...mile%20map.pdf

The Napa Valley Century features some of the best roads and Climbs in Napa Valley and a part of this century is ridden as part of the Tour of California.

You can also ride to Sonoma if you turn left on Mt. Veeder Road where it intersects Trinity Road/Oakville Grade road. Trinity will drop you into Glen Ellen.

http://www.eaglecyclingclub.org/images/100mile.pdf


There are lots of variations off these two rides - in Napa - there is also Howell Mountain Road - then there is Spring Mountain Road, Diamond Mountain Road and Calistoga Road. All of these feature some good climbs. Some in the 18% range.
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Old 04-01-10, 08:15 PM   #4
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Silverado Trail is a famous ride but can be very busy with traffic and therefore noisy.

One of my favorite ride is around Healdsburg. You can pack at the shopping center (safeway?) at the southwestern corner of the town plaza and head west on Westside Rd. and northwest on W. Dry Creek Rd.. W. Dry Creek is a very scenic and quiet road within the vineyards. You can go to its dead end and back half of mile to Yoachim Bridge road going east to Dry Creek Road. You can then either turn left to the Lake Sonoma Dam or right to hit Canyon road. If going to the dam you may either rest at the park (restrooms available) and turn back or make the 1 mile climb to the lake. Come back the main road (Dry Creek) and turn left (East) on Canyon Road. After you cross the freeway head South to Geyserville and east on route 128 into the Alexander Valley. Once reaching Alexander Valley Rd. head back west to town. That's a 36-40 miles very scenic and quiet loop with only the last 4-6 miles being on a busier road.

I have never rode it but the Anderson Valley from northwest of Healdsburg toward the ocean should be a very nice one as well.

Both the Alexander and Anderson valleys offer plenty of small wineries. The area is not as popular as the Napa and Sonoma valleys but are, in my opinion, more rural and authentic and less tourist trap kind of places.
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Old 04-01-10, 08:46 PM   #5
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And the roads are beat to death. Thats my backyard your talking about, I ride the roads around Healdsburg 5 times a week. Most of the roads on the west side are crap, ride the roads on the east side of Healdsburg north and your chances of smoother pavement are much better. Hwy 128 to Red Winery, geysers if your a strong tandem team, anywhere on the east side is much better than the west, such as westside, west dry creek. very serene but very bumby, unless you haul ass and skip over the holes.
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Old 04-01-10, 09:19 PM   #6
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You didn't mean to include Geysers in the "good road" catageory did you ? The south side is pretty good but if you go over the top and head towards Skaggs the pavement is not so pretty, not to mention narrow and often dirty. It's a great ride though, I'd recommend it.
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Old 04-02-10, 07:35 AM   #7
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Yeah the North side is beat to death. Better yet, how about Pine Flat. Hope all the snow didn't wipe out the wildflowers, thats how I con my wife up that hill.
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Old 04-07-10, 10:42 AM   #8
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Thank you all for your help.

Joe, these maps are a great help.

We'll try to keep on the east side; still, I can't believe your so called bumpy roads are half as bad as our nice roads...
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Old 04-08-10, 08:33 AM   #9
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Yeah the North side is beat to death. Better yet, how about Pine Flat. Hope all the snow didn't wipe out the wildflowers, thats how I con my wife up that hill.
Pine Flat is a nice ride, but you better be a strong tandem team to ride it.
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Old 04-08-10, 08:43 AM   #10
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Pine Flat: I guess we could give it a shot...

I figure we could ride a loop on Pine Flat Rd and Geysers Rd. Looks like a hilly ride but nothing crazy...

Any idea what kind of gradients we should expect?
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Old 04-09-10, 10:09 AM   #11
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We have cycled many of the routes in Sonoma and Napa including the tour of Napa. We liked the ride through Pope Valley. We did Santana's Sonoma / Napa tour a few years ago and stayed at the Geyserville Inn. We like the ride over the ridge to Napa. Silverado Trail is very nice and flatter but has fast traffic and may have a lot of wind. I would suggest doing the riding early before the wineries open. Here is a link to several rides. If you are looking for more challenging rides, the last one has your name on it.

http://www.srcc.com/10_rides.html
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Old 04-10-10, 11:33 PM   #12
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Pine flat, 5-23 percent at the very top, but we usaully don't go to the top. Geysers is lots harder, many 15 percent grades, and approx. 40 mile loop
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Old 04-12-10, 11:34 PM   #13
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Another possibility is to start in Rutherford or St. Helena. Use the Silverado Trail to get to Route 128 (Berryessa). Follow 128 past Lake Hennessey. Turn left and go toward the Pope Valley. At Pope Valley, refuel at the general store and either go up Howell Mountain or continue on until you get to Ink Grade. Climb either road. Both take you to a little town called Angwin. From there, it is a beautiful downhill run back to St Helena. About 33 miles using Howell Mountain and about 38 miles using Ink Grade. Both are about 11% average for 2+ miles. Lots of shade on both of them. Be careful on the Silverado Trail in the afternoons on the weekends. Too many people have had way too much wine.
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Old 04-13-10, 12:20 AM   #14
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If you want to extend your radius a little bit, look into West Sonoma County coastal areas. It's been an awful long time since I rode there. I'm planning on doing Levi's Gran (actually Media) Fondo. Look into parts of those routes.
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Old 04-13-10, 08:50 AM   #15
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Another possibility is to start in Rutherford or St. Helena. Use the Silverado Trail to get to Route 128 (Berryessa). Follow 128 past Lake Hennessey. Turn left and go toward the Pope Valley. At Pope Valley, refuel at the general store and either go up Howell Mountain or continue on until you get to Ink Grade. Climb either road. Both take you to a little town called Angwin. From there, it is a beautiful downhill run back to St Helena. About 33 miles using Howell Mountain and about 38 miles using Ink Grade. Both are about 11% average for 2+ miles. Lots of shade on both of them. Be careful on the Silverado Trail in the afternoons on the weekends. Too many people have had way too much wine.
That's part of the Century route map I posted the link to. I agree - one of the nicer rides in the Valley - do it all the time.
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Old 06-09-10, 08:50 AM   #16
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Well, I'm back.

As planed, we first spent a few days in Napa then moved to Santa Rosa.

Although Napa was beautiful, the best rides were in Sonoma county.

The weather was mostly bad to real bad: we had 3 sunny days which is sad considering what weather should be late May in that area. We were so happy to have sun for the King's Ridge ride!

We left early, allowing the longer drive along the coastal road -- under the rain.

Thanks to you all for the cues and thanks to the Santa Rosa Cycling Club for the great maps and road books!

I don't know when, but we will be back!
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Old 06-10-10, 05:10 AM   #17
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Sorry to hear you had such bad weather. I didn't see your post for information early enough to reply with some of my suggested rides, but it sounds as if you had some great routes from the advice here on the forum.

Did you see anyone famous? Two years ago we were climbing Mt Veeder and were overtaken by a guy in a full Bicycling Magazine kit. I said something about his impressive speed, and he replied, "Wait 'til you see who's behind me." A few minutes later, an even bigger whoosh as another guy passed us but in an Astana kit riding a Trek. Yes, it was Levi out for a training ride after his second win of the Tour of California. We were on part of the Tour of California route and could follow the chalk marks for people's favorite riders.

I enjoyed reading "A Tale of Two Valleys" by Alan Deutschman, who compares the history and culture of Sonoma and Napa. I, too, thought the best rides were in Sonoma. We also plan to be back!
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Old 06-10-10, 02:30 PM   #18
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I'm glad this thread was resurrected. My wife and I are looking for a ride on the 26th and have given up on finding a good organized ride. I think we'll look to plan something out in Sonoma. We did a very nice 60 mile ride starting in Sebastopol on our anniversary recently
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Old 06-11-10, 12:33 PM   #19
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rdtompki, you will love this link : http://www.srcc.memberlodge.com/TGR
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Old 06-11-10, 02:23 PM   #20
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TTF, as it turns out I was looking at the SRCC website just yesterday. SRCC has a 100 mil ride on the 26th with only 4000' of climbing, the very day we were looking for a ride. DW and I will probably do this although we'll need a nap or two before the following weekends NWTR.
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Old 06-11-10, 02:50 PM   #21
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Silverado Trail is a famous ride but can be very busy with traffic and therefore noisy.

One of my favorite ride is around Healdsburg. You can pack at the shopping center (safeway?) at the southwestern corner of the town plaza and head west on Westside Rd. and northwest on W. Dry Creek Rd.. W. Dry Creek is a very scenic and quiet road within the vineyards. You can go to its dead end and back half of mile to Yoachim Bridge road going east to Dry Creek Road. You can then either turn left to the Lake Sonoma Dam or right to hit Canyon road. If going to the dam you may either rest at the park (restrooms available) and turn back or make the 1 mile climb to the lake. Come back the main road (Dry Creek) and turn left (East) on Canyon Road. After you cross the freeway head South to Geyserville and east on route 128 into the Alexander Valley. Once reaching Alexander Valley Rd. head back west to town. That's a 36-40 miles very scenic and quiet loop with only the last 4-6 miles being on a busier road.

I have never rode it but the Anderson Valley from northwest of Healdsburg toward the ocean should be a very nice one as well.

Both the Alexander and Anderson valleys offer plenty of small wineries. The area is not as popular as the Napa and Sonoma valleys but are, in my opinion, more rural and authentic and less tourist trap kind of places.
My wife and I were in Occidental for my nephew's wedding in '05 and we spent a week in no. calif. Next to the wedding and associated family events, the highlight of our trip was a guided 25 mi wine country tour around that area. We still talk about that ride and how much fun it was. I don't remember the roads being "bad," but I do remember our guide saying we were going up one road early as it got quite busy in the afternoon. We returned on another less traveled road.

We were not "into" cycling much then, but we did have hybrids for little neighborhood pie rides. I've often thought about that ride again now that we are pedaling TWOgether (thanks Zona') I do remember some nice rollers, something we don't see here in So. Fla.

Have a great time, and post pix
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Old 05-23-11, 07:38 PM   #22
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There and back again...

The two captains that went to Napa and Sonoma might very well be back (although on smaller bikes): thanks to you all, we loved our trip so much we are now planning a second!

We do not wish to stick to Napa and (better) Sonoma : anywhere we could drive to in a rental car from SFO airport suits us!

Is there a specific area where rides are worth flying 6 hours for and in such number that we wouldn't spent most of our precious time (a week) in the car? We don't mind climbs, I don't mind redwood and my partner doesn't mind highway one ;-)

I'm thinking in the lines of north of the Bay -- again -- (Marin County and some more King's Ridge) or south (Santa Cruz, Los Gatos) -- this mostly based on feeling. I'll leave it up to you to please enlighten me.

Many thanks
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