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Planing bike tour of Napa Wine Country

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Planing bike tour of Napa Wine Country

Old 07-08-10, 09:20 AM
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Planing bike tour of Napa Wine Country

Don't know if this is the right forum for it but would like to find out the best routes, wineries, etc in Napa we can bike to on our August Napa trip. Any info or tips are really appreciated.

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Old 07-08-10, 03:10 PM
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Silverado Trail is *much* better than Hwy 29 for bikes, as a north/south route. But even that is pretty darn busy, to the point of being unpleasant- try to do your biking in the mornings on weekdays if at all possible. Hwy 29 is downright scary, especially on the weekends- bumper-to-bumper cars with people who mostly have been drinking, IIRC. But since most of the wineries are on Hwy 29, you would need to take some of the smaller east-west routes to get to them. Any winery that you go to is nice- I liked V. Sattui for the cheese and bread selection, and congenial picnic grounds. I enjoyed staying in Calistoga- a massage and mud-bath at Doctor Wilkerson's spa was a good interlude, and they have relatively inexpensive motel rooms there too. I never had a bad meal in the Napa Valley, but I didn't eat in any fast-food restaurants either.

Good luck and have the best of times!
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Old 07-08-10, 03:38 PM
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Given the bicycle-inhospitable roads in Napa, you might want to consider traveling through other wine growing areas where there is less traffic. Here are ones I have visited:

Italy: Much of Italy is wine country!

Alsace, France: If you don't want to climb hills, stay close to the Rhine. Lots of back roads, so it's easy to avoid traffic. Typical wines: Riesling, Gewurtztraminer, Pinot Noir.

Burgundy, France: Great cycling. There is a busy main road, but there are many side road options that avoid traffic. Typical wines: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gamay Noir.

Ticino, Switzerland: Amazing scenery, but there are wicked hills and mountain passes. Bicycle paths run everywhere, including past and through vineyards. Typical wines: don't remember.

Okanagan Valley, British Columbia: There is one main road, so traffic might be an issue. (I was last there 9 years ago, and traffic wasn't too bad then.) Typical wines: Everything, including excellent blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot.

Niagara, Ontario: Excellent cycling, and it's easy to avoid traffic. Typical wines: Everything. My vote for the best are Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, and Riesling.

Prince Edward County, Ontario: A new wine growing region that has not yet been "discovered," so traffic is not a problem. Fantastic cycling on quiet country roads. Best wines are Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling.
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Old 07-09-10, 07:55 AM
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Thanks acantor - I'll add them to my list. We originally planned a trip to Germany to visit some friends, then our plans changed and we decided on England but after quick search for airline tickets uncovered cheapest fair in the neighborhood of $1100 roundtrip in coach we decided to use our expiring jetBlue (what a crappy airline) miles to fly to SF and tour Napa. We'll probably go to Europe in Winter for some skiing though
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Old 07-09-10, 09:34 AM
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Agree with cycle_maven: Napa on the weekends really isn't a place I'd want to be riding a bike. Don't know what it's like during the week...

loty, how long is your trip? While Napa is certainly the most famous wine-growing region in the area, it is by no means the only one! In addition to Napa, I'd look for routes/wineries in Sonoma County which includes the Alexander Valley, Russian River, and Dry Creek wine-growing regions. Further afield, I know there's great riding and a few decent wineries in the Santa Cruz mountains. I'd also take a look to see what's available in Mendocino County...
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Old 07-09-10, 01:49 PM
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We'll have about a week and Sonoma is definitely on the list. Can you recommend a specific route or an area and what would be a good base camp for us.
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Old 07-09-10, 02:25 PM
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much better shoulder and room along Dry Creek, Geyserville Rd. Simi Winery , etc.
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Old 07-10-10, 07:56 PM
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the valley road layout is like a ladder .. the trail on the east, 29 on the west, and connecting roads between them .
out and backs on the cross roads travel up the trail.

you can take Pope valley road to Lake Count then descend back to Calistoga on Mt St Helena,
a busy road in the summer but a nice downhill

Mt Veeder - Oakville is another vigorous bit of up and down.
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