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Bikeable California

July 8, 2019

While taking a California road trip in a convertible is on many people’s bucket lists, many are now opting for another open-air adventure—biking the Golden State. Here there are endless opportunities to experience the freedom of the open road and connect with the local culture, from meandering in quaint beach towns, making epic mountain climbs in mountains and railbiking among the redwoods, to trekking iconic spots like the Golden Gate Bridge and taking guided journeys into wine country.

Wine Country

Napa Valley

There are many places to sip and cycle across California, especially in Napa Valley, where you can pick up a complimentary bicycle from one of many hot springs resorts in Calistoga or rent one from Calistoga Bikeshop. Visitors can take the paved portion of the Vine Trail which connects downtown to wineries along Dunaweal Lane. Getaway Adventures offers a guided winery tour, complete with a picnic lunch. For a bigger challenge, take the 47-mile paved Napa Valley Vine Trail from Calistoga to downtown Napa.

Sonoma County

Embark on a standard or electric bike tour with Sonoma Adventures, which takes guests to several outstanding wineries for tastings. Other great guided Sonoma County options include Ace It Bike Tours, Adventures in Cycling, Getaway Adventures, Sonoma Valley Bike Tours and Wine Country Bikes. Many of these companies also offer guided tours to artisan craft breweries. Hardcore foodies can take a multi-day tour by Sonoma on a Bike.

Paso Robles

Avid saddle riders can join Central Coast Outdoors for a full-day tour of Paso Robles wine country, starting at the historic Mission San Miguel and including a gourmet picnic lunch at J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines.

Carmel-by-the-Sea

Rent a standard or electric bike (with Garmin GPS) at Mad Dogs & Englishmen in Carmel-by-the-Sea and explore the whimsical village. Or try lovely coastal paths such as Scenic Road, a trail through Monterey cypress trees, landscaped gardens and the jagged coast of Carmel Point.

 

Redwoods

Mendocino County

For a twist on the traditional bike ride, take the world-famous Redwood Route in Fort Bragg on a two-person railbike - the only railbiking experience in California. These pedal-powered vehicles will take you on a one-hour round trip along the Pudding Creek Estuary on the tracks of the Skunk Train!

Stanford Inn Eco-Resort’s Catch A Canoe & Bicycles Too gives renters insider tips on cycling the Big River logging road, which often provides glimpses of harbor seals, deer, great blue heron, kingfishers, and river otters within the dramatic redwood temperate rainforest.

Visitors without wheels can rent from Fort Bragg Cyclery and head to the historic Pudding Creek Trestle, which bridges the town with the spectacular California Coastal Trail, extending north along the Pacific Coast to MacKerricher State Park and Ten Mile Beach.

Sonoma County

Pedal your way under the magnificent, soaring canopy of an ancient redwood forest in the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve just outside the Russian River town of Guerneville.

 

Coastal Adventures

San Francisco

For the ultimate selfie, rent a bike at Blazing Saddles in San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf, stopping to take photos along the shore with shots of Alcatraz, the Pier 39 sea lions and the Golden Gate Bridge. From there, cycle across the world’s most famous bridge and down to the picturesque seaside towns of Sausalito or Tiburon, where you can catch a ferry back to the city.

Monterey County

Visitors to Monterey County can take the 18-mile Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, offering chances to visit Fisherman's Wharf, Cannery Row, beaches, parks and historic sites. Rent a bike at Pebble Beach Resorts and explore the famously picturesque 17-Mile Drive or get an electric bike in Carmel Beach and traverse Scenic Road past cypress trees and landscaped gardens to coastal Carmel Point.

San Luis Obispo County

In San Luis Obispo County,  quaint Morro Bay offers free bike maps at the visitor center or on their website www.morrobay.org/visitor-information, highlighting points of interest, bike shops and restrooms.

Santa Barbara

In Santa Barbara County, you can bike from the mountains to the sea with Santa Barbara Adventure Co., taking in sweeping ocean views and stopping at the Santa Barbara Mission.

Ventura

Visitors to Ventura County can ride along Oxnard's shoreline while taking in famous shipwrecks or picturesque Channel Islands Harbor. The new Rincon Bike Trail offers chances to spot dolphins and whales.

Los Angeles County

In Los Angeles County, bike from Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades, continuing past popular surf breaks along Santa Monica State Beach, under the Santa Monica Pier, and by the famed Muscle Beach. Or take The Strand, a 22-mile beach trail that starts at Torrance Beach and ends in Santa Monica. Over on Catalina Island, rent a cruiser to tandem bike and pedal through the charming coastal city of Avalon, or venture inland for mountain biking (permit required by the Catalina Conservancy)

Dana Point

Dana Point in Orange County rewards cyclers with romantic seascapes on Salt Creek Trail, which starts in on a Laguna Niguel bluff, climbs up a coastal canyon, and connects to Salt Creek Beach. Down in San Diego County, Oceanside boasts numerous bike routes including the San Luis Rey River Trail, a leisurely bike route from Oceanside Pier to Mission San Luis Rey; and the Coastal Rail Trail that connects San Diego’s beach cities.

 

Mountain Trails

Yosemite Region

Although you can’t mountain bike in Yosemite National Park, you can just outside the park at several locations. Tenaya Lodge by the park’s south gate offers rentals and access to trails of the Sierra National Forest and Nelder Grove of Giant Sequoias. Rent from Yosemite National Park Bike Rentals and trek to Bass Lake, known for its top-rated mountain bike trails. If you’re in Tuolumne County, you can explore the Stanislaus National Forest and New Malones Lake.

North Lake Tahoe

North Lake Tahoe offers hundreds of miles of scenic paved bike paths and mountain trails. New this year is the paved East Shore Trail, where you can coast your beach cruiser 11 miles from Incline Village to Sand Harbor while experiencing panoramic views of the lake.

Mono County

Rent a bike at sports shops in Mono County resort areas such as Mammoth Lakes or June Lake and explore scenic routes such as Lower Rock Creek, an eight-mile, technical single-track considered one of the area’s best mountain biking trails. June Lake Loop winds through a canyon carved by glaciers and into town, covering 14 miles one-way.

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