It’s hard to beat Sonoma County as a cycling destination. The range of terrain is so vast that it practically guarantees you’ll never get bored.
Hop on your road bike one day, and you’ll take off exploring a back-country road in a bucolic valley filled with vineyards (or a steep stretch of coast highway edging the ocean). The next day? Grab that mountain bike to peddle up a trail or deep into a redwood forest.
And the diversity doesn’t stop there. On your rides you might encounter winter streams in a deep canyon; meadows filled with springtime wildflowers; summer’s bleached yellow hillsides dotted with ancient stands of oak trees. You’ll find extensive wetlands; 50 miles of coastline; the Russian River; quaint rural towns and the modern city of Santa Rosa.
The best thing is that there’s something wonderful for every level of rider. If you’re a rank beginner or a family with young kids, there are plenty of fun — and flat! — routes to keep novices happy. And if you’re a veteran of Race Across America or the USA Pro Challenge Professional Cycling Race — well, you will love the challenge of Monte Rio’s King Ridge.
The Santa Rosa Cycling Club, a social and recreational organization of about 1,600 Sonoma County cycling enthusiasts, offers a list of 10 rides in Sonoma County that range from easy to challenging. Here are three to check out:
- Dry Creek, Alexander Valley (Easy): SRCC calls this the essential, definitive Wine Country ride and notes that it’s appropriate for entry-level riders. Read a description or download the route map.
- Valley of the Moon (Moderate): Ride through a lovely landscape, charming villages, moderately steep mountain roads, and Sugarloaf State Park. Read a description or download the route map.
- King Ride (Challenging): SRCC notes that this route is considered by many to be the crown jewel of North Bay cycling. It’s also thought to be very challenging (it’s steep), or, as one rider put it, it’s “a death march.” Read a description or download the route map.
To learn about all 10 rides, read the Santa Rosa Cycling Club’s “Ten Great Rides.”
Written by Sonoma Insider Suzie Rodriguez