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Monday, August 1, 2011

Sonoma County Bike Ride Round-Up

By Sandra Lupien
We humans are largely social animals. Of course we need plenty of time to ourselves, but most of us love getting out with our people and making new friends. Participating in group bicycle rides or races is a great way to meet new people, get outside, get exercise, and have a great time. Whether you’re looking for a family ride about town, a fundraiser Century (100 mile) ride, or a wild mountain bike race, Sonoma County offers a grand array of opportunities to get out there and pedal together. Here’s a l’il roundup of what’s coming up in late summer and early Fall.

1. “Lycra-free” Family-friendly
Want to ride about at a leisurely pace that is inclusive for people of all levels of experience? For the following rides, no fancy bikes or special bike clothes are needed. Just your bike and you. Helmets are required by law for everyone under 18 years of age; we recommend them for everyone.

Daily Acts Ride to “Create Fermented Foods and Brews” Workshop – Saturday, August 13
BikeSonoma is partnering with Daily Acts ( bike with you to this great workshop in Santa Rosa. Leave your car at home and ride with fellow workshop participants who, like you, are excited to learn how to make sauerkraut, kombucha, and mead! Meet-up spots will be determined based on where interested riders live. Riders will depart at about 1:30 p.m. The workshop starts at 3:00. Ride may include stops to pick blackberries. You must sign up for the workshop at (fee applies).

“Ride About Town” from the Northern California Bicycle Expo, Saturday August 20, Santa Rosa City Hall

The Northern California Bicycle Expo is your destination for all things bike including the “Ride About Town.” This 10 mile jaunt is a chance for you and your family to rub handlebars with elected officials, community leaders , and your neighbors while enjoying a leisurely pedal around town. BikeSonoma Executive Director, Gary Helfrich, leads the ride, which highlights trails and bike lanes. Bring the kids! Meet at Santa Rosa City Hall in the D Street Parking lot at 8:30 a.m. for a riders-only free continental breakfast provided by Whole Foods Market Coddingtown. Ride departs promptly at 9:00a.m. Afterward, enjoy the Expo, which features bike (used and new) vendors, great exhibits, live music and performance, kids’ activities, food, beer, and more.

“Graton Day Ride” Saturday September 24, Graton at the old fire station

The Graton Day Festival is a classic in this West County Hamlet. Let’s celebrate with a bike ride! Meet up at high noon at the old fire station on Ross Road and I’ll lead you in a lovely and casual pedal around town and along the West County Trail. What better way to meet your neighbors? We’ll return to Graton as the festival is getting underway. Contact me for more information.

Transition Sonoma/ “Moving Planet Ride” Saturday, September 24, Sonoma
At press time, BikeSonoma and Transition Cotati are working out the details of this ride to create a buzz around 350 – that’s the parts per million carbon dioxide scientists say is the safe limit for humanity. We’ll ride a friendly 10-mile route in Sonoma and the Valley, ending at the Vintage Festival on the Sonoma Plaza. All details to be determined; if you’d like to be in the loop contact me.

2. Fundraiser Century Rides
A century is a 100 mile, one-day bike ride; you ride your own pace, stopping at food- and beverage-stocked rest-stops at intervals along the way. A century is an awesome way to experience our rolling hills and coastline on your bike -- with the support of a dedicated crew. There are medics, support drivers on the route if you need your bike fixed or need to be picked up, and lots of great food. Most centuries feature at least two shorter routes (usually about 65 miles and 30 miles), so if a 100 mile ride seems too daunting, you can still enjoy a beautiful route. Century rides have become a popular way to raise funds for various causes, and Sonoma County is an understandably popular place to hold them. Check out these rides:

“Tour d’Organics” Sunday, August 14, Sebastopol Community Center
Tour d’Organics is a benefit for Sebastopol Community Center and Organic Athlete. This beautiful ride takes you through West County, Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley and Bloomfield, and features rest stops at beautiful organic farms, and 100% vegan meals. Choose your route:
100, 65, 35, or 16 miles. Register:

“Holstein 100” Saturday, August 20, Petaluma High School
The Holstein 100 begins and ends at Petaluma High School and most of the route is in Marin County. The ride, a fundraiser for West Marin Senior Services, features 100 and 65 mile routes. Or, if you choose the 30 or 15 mile, you can make it to Santa Rosa in time to enjoy the Northern California Bicycle Expo (see above). Register for the Holstein at

Tour de Fuzz Saturday, September 10, Santa Rosa, Ursuline High School
The Sonoma County Road Dogs, bike club of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office, Santa Rosa Police Department’s Blueline Cycling, and Sonoma County’s Red Peloton are team up to sponsor the“Tour de Fuzz.” Proceeds benefit the Law Enforcement Chaplaincy Service of Sonoma County, and the ride features 100, 62, and 34 mile routes. Register:

Levi Leipheimer’s King Ridge GranFondo Saturday, October 1, Santa Rosa, Finley Community Center. Sonoma County’s largest organized ride, Santa Rosa-based champion cyclist Levi Leipheimer’s GranFondo is a real beauty – and a real challenge. The Gran route (100 miles) is full, but you can still register for the very challenging Medio Fondo (65 miles) or the Piccolo Fondo (35 miles). This ride draws people from around the world, including celebrities like actor Patrick Dempsey. Register:

3. Cycling Clubs
If you’re looking to train for long rides, or just ride with nice people on a regular basis, a cycling club might be for you! Clubs offer regular rides, and most classify their rides by terrain and level of rider experience. Some clubs require riders to pay annual dues (which usually means great perks throughout the year), and some are more casual. Here are a few:

Santa Rosa Cycling Club – This club offers many weekly rides for everyone from beginner to expert, and hosts the annual Wine Country Century (in May)

HillJillys – Women. Bikes. Fun.
That’s this club’s slogan. They offer road and mountain bike rides.

Sonoma Valley Cyclists – Offers Wednesday and Saturday rides in beautiful Sonoma Valley.

Petaluma Wheelmen – Don’t let the name fool you, this club isn’t just for men. It’s been around since 1895!

4. Bike Racing
If you’re an experienced cyclist or an athlete who likes a little friendly competition, bike racing might be just the ticket. Sonoma County has plenty of opportunities to race, and if you’re into Mountain Bike Racing, Bike Monkey is your resource. Bike Monkey hosts tons of great races throughout the year, including the recent Annadel race, a wintertime Cyclocross series, and the following monster of a race:

SoNoMás Saturday, August 27, Lake Sonoma.
This endurance mountain bike race is 35 miles and not for the faint of heart. An oh-so-subtle hint from the ride organizers about just how challenging the ride is: there’s no beginners category. Register at Bike Monkey:

So, if you’re ready to ride, there are many options for you to do so in excellent company. And if you’d like to ride on your own, plan your route using BikeSonoma’s fabulous Sonoma County Bike Map, available at bike shops and book stores throughout Sonoma County, and at our website.

Happy pedaling!


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