Bicycling is a popular way of exploring Wine Country, and k Sonoma is a major bicyclists’ mecca, boasting some of the finest road biking anywhere in the world. Out in the Russian River Valley, you can find easy tours, more strenuous trail rides, and even some mountain biking possibilities. Newcomers to bike touring in the area can choose from several reputable touring companies that can get them up on the saddle and pointed in the right direction.
Wine Country Bikes (61 Front St., Healdsburg, 866/922-4537, www.winecountrybikes.com, $129/person) sits right on the square in downtown Healdsburg. Its Classic Wine Tour starts at 10 a.m. and runs until 3:30 p.m. During your leisurely pedal through the Dry Creek region, you’ll get to stop and taste wine, take walks in vineyards, and learn more about the history of wine in this small, proud appellation. A gourmet picnic lunch is included with your bike tour.
From there, the tours get longer and/or more luxurious—check the website for information about multi-day bike tour packages that include accommodations.
For independent souls who prefer to carve their own routes, Wine Country Bikes also rents road bikes, tandem bikes, and hybrids that you can also take out on moderate park trails that permit biking.
To become a part of the larger bicycling culture in the area, consider participating in the annual Harvest Century Bicycle Tour (www.healdsburg.com/events/bike_tour/bike_tour.asp, July). This event requires some degree of physical fitness, since riders must register to ride 23-, 37-, or 60-mile routes. The roads are moderate, however; while you’ll find some inclines, experienced cyclists won’t be tortured so much as to preclude enjoying the rest of the day with great food, wine, and the companionship of plenty of like-minded souls.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition