Saturday, October 2, 2010

Santa Rosa, Wine Country, and San Francisco

The last few days of the trip have been refreshing. We spent some time in Santa Rosa meeting the local cycling community, we toured wineries and vineyards in Napa and Sonoma, and slept under the stars in Novato, CA. Today we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast and are looking ahead to the ride into San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge.

In Santa Rosa, we spent a day wandering around the city, stopping in bike shops (the Bike Peddler and NorCal Bikesport are good people), talking to local commuters, and enjoying the Land of Snoopy. We even got to spend some time with Bike Monkey editor-in-chief Carlos Perez, whose magazine is the flag-bearing champion of the local bike scene. They're organizing and hosting the King's Ridge Gran Fondo - one of the coolest group rides in the country. We wish we could've ridden this year, but it didn't fit our schedule. Fortunately, we traced much of the route on our way into Santa Rosa. Moreover, Carlos recommended a great route from Santa Rosa to Sonoma that involved some pretty epic climbing (3,000+ feet of climbing over 38 miles). That wore us out pretty well, so we thought some wine-touring was in order.

We stopped in and toured Homewood and Hendry Wineries in Sonoma and Napa, and were treated to some great wine and some even better vineyard and winery touring. If you've ever had an interest in the complexity of winemaking, treat yourself to a winery tour. The synergy of chemistry, agriculture, and artistic touch that goes into winemaking is truly a craft to behold, and the experience of learning about it firsthand was a highlight of our trip.

The riding in wine country wasn't great - high traffic, headwinds, and poor road conditions dominated our day. That being said, the views and the experience were well worth the miles.

We stopped for the night in Novato, CA after a LONG day's riding (our "leisurely" day of wine-touring involved over 100 miles of riding), and found a comfortable little spot to lay our heads for the night. We opted not to set up our tent for the night, and slept under the stars. Fantastic.

Today we set out for San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge, and couldn't be more excited. We'll cross into the city with enough time to do some sightseeing (I'm going to the Ghiradelli Chocolate Factory, and no one is stopping me) and hang out with our friends in town. It should be an exciting weekend.

Anyone have any San Francisco recommendations for us? Places to eat? Things to see? Email me at

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