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Northern California Vacation(8 posts)

Northern California VacationHMS
Jul 24, 2001 2:41 PM
I just have returned from a vacation in Northern California and have some random, cycling-related observations:

1. Renting a Road Bike. My LBS and others had recommended that I take my bike with me on the trip. Given that it was a family vacation, we were flying from the East Coast, renting a car, etc., I did not want to travel with the bike. It was a mistake. I was unable to rent anything other than a cruiser in Santa Cruz and I had to do some searching before I was able to rent a road bike in San Francisco. The one thing that I did do right was to take my pedals with me. I think that the shops were I rented the bikes treated me more seriously when they saw that I had pedals, shoes, and a helmet with me. Also, I felt more "at home" on the rented bikes with my own pedals.

2. California Drivers. I live in Maryland, northwest of Baltimore. I cannot go for a ride of any length without someone obnoxiously beeping his or her car horn at me, being nearly run off the road by a driver coming too close to me or a driver's yelling something negative at me. California drivers were much more respectful and careful. No beeps, no cutting off, no negative comments.

3. Counzelman Road. I took the Counzelman Road loop, which is just north of the Golden Gate Bridge. I never have squeezed the brakes so hard and kept on moving on a descent as I did on Counzelman Road. How do people handle this descent?

4. Route 46, West of Paso Robles. On Wednesday, July 11, we were driving west on Route 46 between Paso Robles and the Pacific Coast, when we saw a lone cyclist on a Colnago climbing effortlessly (or at least it seemed so) on a fairly steep incline. Could that cyclist have been anyone who posts on this board?
Ain't it great?mr_spin
Jul 24, 2001 3:21 PM
Pity you couldn't get a road bike in Santa Cruz. Come back someday with your own bike. The Santa Cruz Mountains is one of the best places on earth to ride. I must have ridden every road, and biked many of the trails, and believe me, there are some crazy descents in there, too. I'm lucky to live here.
Shoulda seen it 25 years ago...cory
Jul 24, 2001 3:56 PM
Seriously, I think it's one of the best places to ride in the country--lots of variety, pretty, still some two-lane roads, close to the coast, people are aware of bikes, nice weather 10 months of the year. I moved to Reno in the '70s for a job, and I like it here, but northern Calif. is really hard to beat.
Only thing I'd argue with is the drivers. I did a week near Baltimore a couple of years ago (my sister lives in Glenn Dale), and I came home and wrote a newspaper column about how courteous Maryland drivers are...
You cant beat it.railer
Jul 24, 2001 4:02 PM
The only bad thing is housing costs and a 3-4 hour drive to ski or board. I guess you have to pay for the beauty and the nice weather all year.
Fair 'nuff!grzy mnky
Jul 24, 2001 4:10 PM
Though I'd still prefer a 4 to 6 hour drive with chain restrictions to ski pow over the best ice New England has to offer. Once you learn to ski the ice/rocks in NE you can ski anything - 'cept for the super steep and deep through the trees - that takes some practice ;-)
Jul 24, 2001 5:30 PM
I live in the foothills above Auburn (50+miles e/of Sacramento).
Great places to ride, I seldom see other cyclist on weekdays. I picked living here with cycling in mind. Ca drivers are on a whole considerate to cyclist, I think they are used to seeing them. I can ride just about all year round, only thing that stops me is rain.
Glad you like our state, unfortunately it's getting too darn crowded, and expensive. They say the area I live resembles upper New York state, if that means anything. I was born in N.Y. but we moved when I was seven years old. Santa Cruz is a nice spot also (on the coast as you know, S/of San /Francisco). I worked there during the late 70's and early 80's. Did you have the pleasure of driving Hwy 17?
Conzelman Road, Route 46MeDotOrg
Jul 24, 2001 7:40 PM
Conzelman Road: Some people DON'T handle the descent. According to local paramedics, several people a year "lose it" on that road, resulting in serious injuries. It is one place you DON't mess around (just having a flat tire can be unnerving). Nevertheless, a beautiful view looking back to San Francisco, yes?

Route 46: I've only ridden east-to-west (in June), but a fairly tough climb followed by a beautiful descent.

Judging from the posts here, I would say that, on the whole, Bay Area drivers sound less obnoxious that drivers in some other parts of the country. I've never had anyone throw anything at me, for example.
Bike rentals???TommyBoy
Jul 25, 2001 9:16 AM
I'll be in SF and the wine country at the end of August/beginning of September. I'd love to know where you rented in SF. Also... anyone know a good place to rent in Napa/Sonoma?

In response to the "3-4 hour drive to skiing/boarding"... consider yourself lucky. I am a 3-4 hour flight to good skiing (Chicago).

Thanks in advance for the tips!