Sonoma Coast cyclists are a most interesting bunch!
Cyclists who pedal along our highways and bi-ways range from folks just like you and me who enjoy a leisurely ride to professional racers who have made Sonoma their home. Some Sonoma Coast cyclists are on the roads to draw attention to a new project, while others rally support for local charities in our community.
And on occasion, you may even come across a few Sonoma Coast cyclists that just make you stop in your tracks and stare.
The Lure of Biking Sonoma County
Sonoma County cyclists are lured to for our award-winning wines, beers, world-class cuisine and of course our vistas. As they meander through colorful and bountiful vineyards they may want to stop for a sample.
They marvel at the majestic beauty of our towering redwoods.
And it’s certainly the serpentine coastal roads that offer riders great thrills.
Without doubt, the draw to many pelotons is the feeling of riding on the edge of a continent as they balance between the redwood-lined coastal mountains and coastline.
A Feel for the Road
You can get a sense of the thrills of biking our coast in this video of Meyer’s Grade, located between Jenner-by-the-Sea and Fort Ross. Would you be brave enough to hop on your bike and join Sonoma coast cyclists in this roller coaster of a ride on Highway 1?
Cycling California’s Coast
While driving up to Sea Ranch it’s a sure bet that you will be sharing the road with Sonoma Coast cyclists. This is a very popular route for amateur and professional bicyclists alike for good reason:
- It’s the home of the US headquarters of the Tour de France winning Team BMC
- Training camps for many elite pro-cycling teams, amateur clubs, and bike-passionate individuals are hosted here
- It’s ranked as the #1 US wine destination by TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards
Meet the Professional Sonoma Coast Cyclists
Notably, Sonoma County offers some of the best bicycle routes, not only in Northern California but in the world. Professional cycling teams who have competed in the Levi’s GranFondo and Amgen Tour of California must certainly agree. It offers intense exciting racing venues.
Levi Leipheimer – Founder of Levie’s GranFondo
The competitive and mass ride draws participants from around the world. Heralded as one of the best-organized cycling events in the world, it offers 11 routes for family riders and professionals alike.
Levi donates 100% of his time to the event that bears his name. Registration fees and fundraising supports the Sonoma community and local charities.
Amgen Tour of California
The Amgen Tour of California — the only U.S. stop on cycling’s prestigious WorldTour circuit — unfortunately, has been placed on hiatus for 2020 and faces an uncertain future.
Over the last 14 years, the Amgen Tour of California offered a Tour de France-style cycling road race created to challenge the world’s top professional cycling teams. This multiple-day road race featured top international cyclists traversing the state as an important lead up to the Tour de France.
A Difficult Decision
According to Kristin Klein, the tour’s president and executive vice president for AEG Sports:
“This has been a very difficult decision to make, but the business fundamentals of the Amgen Tour of California have changed since we launched the race 14 years ago This new reality has forced us to reevaluate our options and we are actively assessing every aspect of our event to determine if there is a business model that will allow us to successfully relaunch the race in 2021.”
Amgen Tour in Sonoma
It was 2016 when Sonoma County hosted Stage 7 of the Amgen Tour of California, The course rolled through four Lexus King of the Mountain points along King Ridge Road, Pacific Coast Highway, and Coleman Valley Road.
Some Sonoma Coast Cyclists Are Also Unique
Professional cyclists are not the only ones enjoying our Sonoma Coast cyclists. By all measures, plenty of Sonoma coast cyclists are just plain folk like you and me. People who enjoy a day’s ride along the highways and byways of Sonoma. Many ride to enjoy the viticultural vistas. Others ride to enjoy the Pacific’s ever-changing character as they coast along the coastline.
But every once in a while you may be lucky enough to meet up with Sonoma Coast cyclist who simply stands out from the crowd.
Sonoma Coast Cyclists Riding Free and Unencumbered
On occasion, you’ll come across some very unique, if not perhaps wacky individuals along our coast. Such was the case in October 2015 as the entire Mendonoma Coast was abuzz with news of a pair of San Francisco cyclists letting it all hang out – literally!
Gil Levy, 26, and Sam Golstein, 25 wearing nothing more than their helmets and riding shoes, were the talk of our Mendonoma communities. Soon the calls came in from all across the Mendonoma coast to The Independent Coast Observer, our community newspaper. J. Stephen McLaughlin managed to get exclusive photos and an interview with the pair published on October 15, 2015.
From Seattle to San Francisco
Starting in Seattle the clothes-optional cyclists stopped at every McDonald’s on the way offering to buy coffee and an ice cream cone for anyone who sat with them and tell their own stories. They chronicled their adventures on Twitter using the hashtag #coffeeandconelove @nakedmenonbikes.
After their riding shoes gave out they did manage to get a replacement pair by BucketFeet.com, their only sponsor gained after a Twitter campaign.
Cary Cray: Unique Cyclist, Author, Illustrator
What a lucky moment that warm early spring day in March 2016 when I met cyclist, Cary Gray. He was on his way to the Bay Area traveling via our beautiful Sonoma Coast Highway.
Cary most definitely puts the uni- in unique and cyclist. He’s a long-distance unicycling author who illustrates his books using his feet!
Another Naked Sonoma Coast Cyclist
When we met he was excited by his upcoming book, The Naked Unicyclist (which has absolutely no connection to the Sonoma Coast cyclists mentioned above).
Why a Unicycle?
When I asked him why he was peddling on just one wheel, he responded, “I’m doing this to empower everyone, especially kids with the message that anything’s possible.” He noted that challenging situations also helped him learn more about the world.
Author and Illustrator
At the time he was also promoting his book and true passion, Luno the One Who Rode to South America on One Wheel. Cary not only authored the book, he also illustrated it using his feet!
The unicycling author and illustrator made countless drawings and paintings inspired by journeys. Cary holds the pencil and paintbrush between his first two toes on either foot. Not only does Cary write ambidextrously (Latin for being left and right-handed). he writes'”ubidextrously,” or “all right-handed,” including his feet.
The Lesson of Human Generosity
He shared two great lessons gained from his journeys. First is that of human generosity and kindness. Before his journeys, Cary felt jaded by humanity. But as he met people along the way and experience their kindness he no longer feels the same. Rather he expressed his gratefulness for them. He learned humanity, while initially guarded, always trumped hate and negativity.
The Lesson of Universal Momentum
As a consequence of his global bike riding experiences, Cary developed an awareness of universal momentum. Life continued whether or not you reached your goals. “Life moves on and forces you to confront it, Cary noted. “Progress is best made when confronting yourself, your issues, and others’ issues.” He added, “Progress is also best made by moving into and out of discomfort.”
Sonoma Coast Cyclists Just Keep Peddling
As a nomad, Cary lives on the road. The 27-year-old has considered starting a little nomadic family at some point. But he observes that would require some stationary years.
And as Albert Einstein said ~Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving.
Biking in The Sea Ranch
Biking in The Sea Ranch is a wonderful activity in Sea Ranch. Imagine the joy of escaping the California valley temperatures as they rise to scorching triple-digits. Instead, you’ll leisurely cruise along the meadow trails embraced by the cool ocean breezes.
Bring Your Own or Rent Bikes?
Admittedly serious bikers will want to pack their own bike. But that said, to save space in the car you can also rent adult sized Expedition Bikes. Sea Ranch Bike Rentals located in the Sea Ranch Supply (35550 Verdant View, Sea Ranch) provides not only adult size bikes but also helmets. The best thing is they deliver both bikes and helmets they will deliver it to you. Sea Ranch Supply then returns to pick them up.
If you have children do pack their bikes for that family ride.
Resources for Your Biking Fun:
Visit our Explore and Experiences Page to discover more about cycling in Sonoma, and most especially Sea Ranch
Read or blog posts:
- Pedaling Back in Time for trails and maps
- Sea Ranch Bike Riding: A Favorite Vacation Activity
Maps and Itineraries for Sonoma Coast:
Share your Stories too!
Are any of you Sonoma Coast cyclists too? Tell us about your adventures in the comments below.