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5 day tour from San Francisco perhaps towards wine country

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5 day tour from San Francisco perhaps towards wine country

Old 10-06-19, 04:21 PM
  #1  
riceowls
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5 day tour from San Francisco perhaps towards wine country

We have a work-related trip to San Francisco planned for December so I am thinking of taking our BF tandem with us and doing ~5-day credit-card tour, about 50miles/day. I was looking into https://baytrail.org/ but it looks like it is still very much unconnected segments. Ideally, going towards Napa/Sonoma or Pacific seashore North of the city. Any route suggestions - definitely would like to avoid major busy roads.
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Old 10-06-19, 05:23 PM
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One way into Sonoma is via the Russian River, which comes out at Highway One. You can ride north from SF, up through Bodega Bay (location of the movie The Birds) and turn right at Jenner. Then, following the Russian River inland you can make your way to Santa Rosa (a big town) and then down into Sonoma. Note that there are mountains between the Sonoma and Napa Valleys (that is why they are valleys!), so keep an eye on the elevations when you plan your route.

Riding north on the coast will be heading into the wind as the day progresses. Either ride early or prepare yourself mentally for the effort. In addition, while there is a vibrant biking community in both Napa and Sonoma, the bike routes are few. Also, there aren't all that many roads and many carry heavy traffic with limited shoulders.

Suggest you contact https://www.eaglecyclingclub.org/ for Napa information and https://www.srcc.com/ (Santa Rosa Cycling Club) for Sonoma.
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Old 10-09-19, 06:42 PM
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FWIW, SF resident here. My wife and I on our Co-Motion Speedster tandem have done a number 2-3 day loops from SF in wine country and along coast. We're 62, in average shape, and sometimes ride laden with touring/camping gear.
We find the best way from SF to get to Napa or back is to take the ferry from SF to Vallejo.

Here's a possible *very roughly described* route for you to look into, leaving a lot of detail out, including where to overnight (we always camp). I wouldn't hesitate to do it as a 5-day trip, especially if credit-carding:
-Ferry from SF to Vallejo (lovely 1-hour trip through Sf Bay)
-Vallejo to Napa (using ridewithgps, we did this a few weeks ago and it was busy some places but really fine)
-Napa to St. Helena (great scenery and mostly good cycle lane on Silverado Trail, though it can be a bit busy; avoid Rt 9 and 128)
-St. Helena back on Silverado Trail to Calistoga. Jimtown Store is cycling classic. If energetic, take a loop from Silverado Trail around Pope Valley and back.(loop described in book below)
-Calistoga to Geyserville then over to W. Dry Creek Road (lovely narrow paved road with little wineries; never busy the 3 times we've cycled it; two great loop routes in this area described in book below)
-W. Dry Creek Rd. to Westside Rd. to Healdsburg
-Back on Westside Rd to River Rd. to Guernville (stop at Korbel, buy bottle champagne, drink in garden!)
-Guernville to Pacific Coast Highway One just south of Jenner, then south to Bodega Bay (highway 1 can be busy but early morning on weekend we found it just fine)
OR
-Gurenville to Monte Rio then south on Bohemian Highway to Bodega Bay, mandatory stop bakery in Bodega on the way.
(we did a loop one day from Schoolhouse Canyon campground near Korbel to coast to Bodega Bay to Bodega then Bohemian to Guernville and ended up at Korbel for champagne. A fabulous mix of terrain and scenery.)
-Bodega Bay to Pt. Reyes Station (out to Pt. Reyes if you're energetic and don't mind headwinds.)
-Pt. Reyes Station to Stinson Beach to Muir Beach
-Muir Beach to Sausalito
-Sausalito to Golden Gate Bridge to SF (or take Ferry from Sausalito, but you really want to take GG Bridge)

For great routes in various sections, especially to avoid busy roads we have:
-Taken inspiration from this book: https://www.amazon.com/75-Classic-Ri.../dp/B00IUP9NPK
-Used a paper cycling map of the entire North Bay (don't have it with me now so don't know the maker) with good indications of incline/declines and routes
-Planned routes using ridewithgps.com app
-Checked out satellite views on Google maps

In any case, if a cupla oldsters like us can do it, you can too, with a little research, as none of us ride the same.
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Old 10-09-19, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by sapporoguy View Post
FWIW, SF resident here. My wife and I on our Co-Motion Speedster tandem have done a number 2-3 day loops from SF in wine country and along coast. We're 62, in average shape, and sometimes ride laden with touring/camping gear.
We find the best way from SF to get to Napa or back is to take the ferry from SF to Vallejo.

Here's a possible *very roughly described* route for you to look into, leaving a lot of detail out, including where to overnight (we always camp).
Wow!!! that's exactly the type of advice I was looking for! We are younger but riding around Houston don't get as much climbing. But I am sure we can manage some version of that.
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Old 10-09-19, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by riceowls View Post
Wow!!! that's exactly the type of advice I was looking for! We are younger but riding around Houston don't get as much climbing. But I am sure we can manage some version of that.
Glad to help. We've had great times cycling in this area. One time on Silverado Trail we stopped to watch them harvesting olives on a road between vineyards. Our favorite is probably up there north of Healdsburg, but it's all great save some busy stuff around Napa where you need to hold your nose a bit. If you feel like roughing it just a tad, consider staying in the yurts or cabins at Bothe Nape Valley State Park, just a mile or two off Silverado Trail north of St. Helena, and in cabins on Steep Ravine just south of Stinson.
The paper map I mentioned is the Krebs Cycle Products San Francisco Bay & Wine Country Bicycle Touring Map. We've used it so much I've put wide packing tape on it and just cut out the section we need for a given trip. It's an old-school bit put together by someone who clearly loves cycling.
Confession re the hills: I swapped out our 30T front chainring for a 24T granny, and switched to a 12-36 cassette. It means we can tackle about any hill on a route like this as long as we tell ourselves we're ascending at a hiking pace and in no hurry.
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Old 10-10-19, 06:21 AM
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Originally Posted by sapporoguy View Post
...
-Sausalito to Golden Gate Bridge to SF (or take Ferry from Sausalito, but you really want to take GG Bridge)
....
My only advice is to take the golden gate bridge, you will remember riding across it on a bike for the rest of your life.

I assume you are credit card touring. You said you were there for work but if part of your trip is on your own nickel, I found lodging costs in San Fransisco to be exhorbitant when I was there in 2014, but the HI Hostels were quite affordable. I stayed at the HI Fishermans Wharf Hostel. They can fill up, if you might stay there, reservations are best.
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Old 10-10-19, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
My only advice is to take the golden gate bridge, you will remember riding across it on a bike for the rest of your life.

I assume you are credit card touring. You said you were there for work but if part of your trip is on your own nickel, I found lodging costs in San Fransisco to be exhorbitant when I was there in 2014, but the HI Hostels were quite affordable. I stayed at the HI Fishermans Wharf Hostel. They can fill up, if you might stay there, reservations are best.
Thanks, I will get reimbursed for the SF nights but may need a night before. CC touring as hauling a tent etc on the airplane in addition to the bike for 5 day tour is not practical imho. But I will consider KOA cabins and similar lodging options while in wine country.
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Old 10-11-19, 06:30 AM
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Originally Posted by riceowls View Post
...CC touring as hauling a tent etc on the airplane in addition to the bike ....
Credit card touring is a common term for staying indoors, eating in restaurants, etc. while on your bike tour. In other words, credit card touring is not tenting.
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Old 10-11-19, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by riceowls View Post
Thanks, I will get reimbursed for the SF nights but may need a night before. CC touring as hauling a tent etc on the airplane in addition to the bike for 5 day tour is not practical imho. But I will consider KOA cabins and similar lodging options while in wine country.
I always found it fairly easy to get a bike and gear in two checked bags even for heavy touring. I assume the reason it is a problem is that you have other stuff because you are there on business travel. If, you wanted to camp, it would be pretty easy to either ship the bike via shipbike.com or bikeflights.com, or to send the tent and some gear by UPS, USPS (Flat Rate box?), or FedEx. Not sure how your BF tandem impacts this, but I'd think it wouldn't be a negative impact compared to two single bikes and if anything would be easier.

When we packed super heavy for our first tour (Trans America) we pretty much maxed out the 50# limit on two bags each, but made it under the limit without needing to take a carry on. Since I converted to U/L touring with carefully selected U/L backpacking gear I can get bike and gear in one bag (a light soft case) and still stay under the 50# limit.

However you go have a great tour.
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Old 10-11-19, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Credit card touring is a common term for staying indoors, eating in restaurants, etc. while on your bike tour. In other words, credit card touring is not tenting.
I think what he means is that he's planning to cc tour because hauling a tent, etc., is not practical.

OP: Better make sure things like KOA cabins offer more that a bare planform to sleep on. I am pretty sure they don't supply linens/blankets. Might consider a brining a sleeping bag and mattress.
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Old 10-12-19, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
...
OP: Better make sure things like KOA cabins offer more that a bare planform to sleep on. I am pretty sure they don't supply linens/blankets. Might consider a brining a sleeping bag and mattress.
Good point, a couple months ago I was offered a cabin at a good price instead of a tent space. Good thing I had my own sleeping bag and air mattress, the bare plywood would have been an uncomfortable bed. It was not a KOA, it was an independent campground.

Your own towel might come in handy too.
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Old 10-12-19, 12:51 PM
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When I was running my bike tour company, we operated a hilly tour in the region north of San Francisco.

It could be done as a credit card tour. Here's the daily itinerary:

Stage 1: Mill Valley-Occidental (63 mi., 4100')
Stage 2: Occidental-Timber Cove-Occidental ( 61 mi., 5500')
Stage 3: Occidental-Boonville (67 mi., 4200')
Stage 4: Boonville-Ukiah-Boonville (78 mi., 7100')
Stage 5: Boonville-Sea Ranch (54 mi., 5600')
Stage 6: Sea Ranch-Bodega Bay (69 mi., 6900')
Stage 7: Bodega Bay-Mill Valley (68 mi., 6100')
Stage 8: Mill Valley-Marin Headlands-Mill Valley (24 mi., 1900)

If anyone wants the routes, let me know.
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