Don't wait to go cross country, go overnight, says Bike Overnights. A long bike tour is my dream vacation. A day will dawn, when I will ride the open road in front me over thousands of miles. But until then, I will have be content with overnight bike tours on weekends.
I wrote about my first bike tour, Santa Cruz – Monterey – Carmel, last labor day weekend, which was published in Bike Overnights. This route takes you through the farmland and sand dunes of central CA coast. Public transit is available from SJ to Santa Cruz and from Monterey to SJ. It is generally a good idea to go south as the winds tend to be from the north. Veterans park campsite is the best option for a night stop on this trip.
SF to Santa Cruz is a fine touring option too. We started at the SF Caltrain station and followed the waterfront, first due west and then south till we hit Hwy 1, which takes you all the way to Santa Cruz.
The SF – Bodega Bay – SF tour takes your through the rolling hills and farms of Marin and Sonoma counties. We headed north through Fairfax and Nicasio, east of Three Peaks in Marin county.
Soak in the wine country as you pedal through the storied vineyards of the world famous Napa Valley.
Big Sur, a bit of heaven on earth. I had blogged about the Big Sur bike tour with Almaden Cycling and Touring Club. I didn't do this ride as a self supported bike tour. It might be a little too strenuous to bike this loop on a fully loaded bike. But the brave souls who take this one on, will be duly rewarded. Big Sur is definitely one of the most beautiful places I have visited. Take it all in at the relaxed pace of a bike ride.
Some useful tips for aspiring bike tourists. Map your ride using Ride with GPS. This website gives elevation profiles of your route. Your pace will be much slower on a hilly terrain as compared to a flat one. Also check for wind directions as a strong headwind is like a continuous uphill not followed by a downhill. Gear includes a touring bike (or a road bike with a metal frame), panniers, tools and camping gear. I have a Novara Safari touring bike with Ortileb panniers. Go discover the Bay Area, one weekend overnight trip at a time.