Inaugurated in 1991 as a 350-athlete competitive summit, the Sea Otter Classic has blossomed into a sprawling event with more than 50,000 spectators, 10,000 cyclists, and 300 vendors peddling bikes and gear with demos and samples of new products. Situated within Laguna Seca, the festival draws amateur and professional athletes into competitive mountain- and road-bike races, and recreational cyclists behold Monterey County's striking vistas in three Gran Fondo routes. Children's bike events plant the seeds for the next generation of cyclists with a skill-developing play zone and friendly races.
Just 15 miles from Aptos Village sits the highest point in the Forest of Nisene Marks. From there, a labyrinth of biking trails snake through the redwoods of Soquel Demonstration Forest. There's just one problem: it's an uphill trek from the village. So Shuttle Smith Adventures ferries bikers from Aptos to the mountaintop, then sets them free to conquer the downhill maze that awaits them and their bikes.
Once you've invented a bicycle, fix and maintain it with today's Groupon: $40 for $85 worth of cycling products and services from Silicon Valley Cycling Center. Pedal into the Campbell shop for vital riding accessories, new parts, tune-ups, and Hemi engines for your ride. Today's Groupon gives you the option to combine two Groupons during a single visit.
Tread Bikes suits up cycling enthusiasts with a cornucopia of pedal-pushing gear and apparel, all organized in tidy racks that make for easy browsing. Select RD cleats by Pearl Izumi ($95) use direct-vent technology to cool down overheated tootsies, and the Fox Head Flux helmet ($99.95) keeps cyclers from having to cruise around town in a propeller beanie. Customers can also wrap torsos in the lightweight Carbon Ion jersey by Louis Garneau ($94.99), made from carbon-fiber fabric that assists in reducing static electricity while ushering circulation to the upper body. Tread Bikes' shop boasts a play area for children and welcomes dogs, so long as they are housebroken and aren't wearing rollerblades.
The instructors at California Survival School impart decades of wilderness-survival know-how during outdoor, hands-on courses. Participants prepare themselves to live self sufficiently off the land using both modern and primitive techniques, which can come in handy when lost in the woods or the year 1412. During the Core Survival Skills Adventure Clinic, up to 30 students spend five hours learning to create fire using only sticks, build shelters with natural materials, purify water, and feed themselves off the land. The Ancient Artisans Workshop teaches novices how to fashion crude implements from scratch with materials found in nature, and how to use them while out in the wilderness. California Survival School also offers team-building workshops and private events.