Barbra Brady

Cycling Near Sonoma: Where the Smile Meets the Road

In Cycling on March 1, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Remember the glee, the glory, the Wow of the first time you rode a bike, all by yourself, no training wheels? Not the recollection from the intellect, but the pure spirit of being alive, of smoothly gliding along, your wheels (and smile) set free?

Cycling in the vicinity of Sonoma when the mustard is in bloom re-creates and expands that one extraordinary moment over and over again. Yours for the recreation of it all. Or perhaps yours is a more coastal calling. I recently took a short (albeit hilly) ride from Drakes Bay Visitor Center to the Point Reyes Lighthouse on the Marin County coast. It was quite simply like being in a snow globe, the sights all around me spectacular in the most serene way.

The bucolic, lush green, cow-specked hillsides en route to the lighthouse so ridiculously lovely, the “destination” was practically nonchalant. I was grinning ear-to-ear. The combination of the Coast’s pristine, mellow, and friendly charm and that certain child-like joy that only happens on a bicycle saddle served to make this one ride in February one of the best I can imagine.

In fact, the ride was such a delight to my senses and continued well-being, it more than made up for a minor spill I took, thankfully toward the end of the day. This is where I offer my own painful accident to illustrate a public service reminder: Cyclists, keep your equipment in good (i.e., safe) working order! I hang my helmeted head in embarrassment that I had ignored the signs my bike shoe cleats were a bit worn, and not working properly, and in fact were due to be re-newed. For the previous couple of rides, I had noticed it took a couple of extra turns of my ankle to click out of the pedals. I remember thinking, “Better adjust those cleats.” Listen to that little Pssst!

I hope my own brush with the pavement (to avoid a cow!) there at Point Reyes may serve as an example to others. Check out your equipment before you head out. Take that extra time to take care. We have a number of excellent, locally owned and operated bike shops in the area, staffed by knowledgable folks who can not only keep your bike road-worthy, but offer suggestions on some of the other amazing rides in our fabled neck of the woods.

If I haven’t quite pumped your heart’s desire, if you are still curious (that’s a good thing) about the wonders of cycling around the Sonoma County area, we’ve got a sure ride of a local advocacy organization to train your wheels. The Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition in Santa Rosa offers educational outreach, workshops, and more. They know the ropes of the road, and are there to share.

Love your ride!

Near Drakes Bay, Point Reyes National Seashore

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