From its serene country roads to its grassy hilltops, the Sonoma Valley’s wine country is a terrain best traversed by bike. The staff at Wine Country Cyclery facilitates these two-wheeled treks by renting, selling, and servicing cycles from Giant and Cannondale. Their rides cater to different types of excursions; the Giant Roam is ideal for leisurely jaunts, while the lightweight Cannondale SuperSix Evo lends itself to fast-paced sprints down tree-lined trails or away from the dryads that guard each vineyard. When riders need help navigating the countryside, seasoned guides hop on bikes and lead them on 12- to 18-mile adventures, stopping at local sites such as Roche Winery & Vineyards along the way.
Breakaway Bikes' owners and bike enthusiasts, Phil and Christina Fifer, equip cyclists with bicycles, athletic apparel, and gear from quality brands including Marin Bikes, Haro Bikes, and Niner Bikes. To suit the needs of cyclists of varying skill levels and ages, they carry merchandise for adults and children who plan on treading rough terrain, meandering along city streets, or coasting down bowling-alley lanes. In addition to wares, the couple smoothes rides with tune-ups, bike-fitting sessions, and overhauls.
With a population of just a few hundred, Tomales provides small-town charm close to a host of outdoor activities. Dillon Beach's sandy dunes provide a scenic backdrop for clamming digs or quiet strolls past tidal pools. At Point Reyes, about 20 miles south, 33,000 acres of coastal wilderness delight bird watchers, hikers, bikers, and kayakers. A breeding colony of elephant seals decorates pups' nurseries with squid mobiles near Chimney Rock between December and March, and California gray whales have been known to parade past the headlands of the Point Reyes Peninsula.A long day in the salt air can rouse a serious yen for seafood, and restaurants in the surrounding area oblige hungry visitors with pescatarian delights pulled straight from the bay. Picnickers can fill their baskets at the local general store, deli, or bakery and dine alfresco with a side of ocean vistas or picturesque sunsets. To wash it all down, the renowned varietals of Sonoma await about 45 minutes to the east of Tomales.
Point Reyes Outdoors leads hiking, biking, and kayaking expeditions through the unsown hills of the Point Reyes National Seashore and the tranquil waters of the California coast. During kayak tours, explorers jaunt through the tidal waterways of Drakes Estero and sunset forays into Tomales Bay. Guided nature hikes explore the local bounty of flora and fauna such as marine mammals, wildflowers, or migratory lawn gnomes.
Nature specialists, such as biologists, nurses, and certified kayak instructors, lead all tours and provide insight into the landscape and its inhabitants. Point Reyes Outdoors also rents out mountain bikes, which guests can use to pedal through a circuit of nearby trails that climb Fir Top mountain or stretch out to Wildcat Beach.
The Pedaler Bike Shop spruces up street steeds and their doting owners with an enormous cache of cycle-centric equipment, apparel, and accessories. Though the store prides itself on its expertise regarding road and mountain bikes, it supplies tubes, tires, wheels, seats, and footy-pajamas for two-wheelers of every breed. Outfit rigs with the 2010 Planet Bike Superflash/Blaze combo set ($59.99), which employs forward- and backward-beaming, superbright LEDs to, increase the bike's visibility for up to one mile. The 2011 Specialized Henge expert saddle ($99.99) coddles nether regions with a sleek shape and sturdy-yet-cozy Micromatrix top, and the 2010 Bell Faction helmet ($40) provides the resilience and protection of Sylvester Stallone's biceps. An array of clothing and shoes is also available, ensuring rider and ride are outfitted to a tarmac-pounding tee.