Healdsburg California Century Bike Ride: A Fun Ride in the Sonoma Wine Country
I just got back from Healdsburg where I participated in the Healdsburg Harvest Century Bike ride this past weekend. This is a beautiful ride which was organized by the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition. The ride is considered one of “The 7 Greatest Rides on Earth” by Bicycling Magazine. It is an annual ride which I have participated in for the last three years.
The ride started and ended at the Simi winery in Healdsburg. You ride through the Sonoma wine country at your own pace with very little automobile traffic around you. The weather was absolutely fantastic. However, you need to get an early start as the temperatures were in the 90’s by 11:00 a.m. (My friends and I were finished our ride by 10:30 a.m. having started at about 7:00 a.m.).
There are four different routes you can take– a 20 mile, a 35 mile, a 60 mile, or a 65 mile course. The 20, 35, and 60 mile routes are moderate in difficulty, They consist of mostly flat land, some rolling hills, and an occasional steep climb. The highest climb is 492 feet. For the 65 mile ride, the Epic Geyser Ride, the course is more challenging as you have climbs rising to 2421 feet.
There are two rest stops along the way after about 20 miles and then again at 40 miles. The stops have lots of snacks, including fresh fruits, nuts, and drinks to keep you going. There are also ample restrooms. All of the stops also have bike mechanics so if you’re having any problems, they are there to help. SAG cars also ride the course to provide mechanical help for these who need it on the course itself. At the end of the ride, there is a wonderful lunch provided at the Simi winery which includes your choice of barbecued chicken, hamburgers, or wood fired pizza. Wine and soft drinks were also available.
As an Alameda bicycle accident lawyer and avid cyclist, I appreciated how the ride was safely organized. All routes were well marked, with good maps and directions given to all riders. The riders were required to wear helmets which is a must to prevent head injuries from bike accidents. The routes which were chosen were well paved, with little traffic to provide the ultimate in riding satisfaction and safety. The option of four different routes makes this a ride for any level of rider.
I recommend going up and spending a few days with friends or family and then participating in the ride together. I was fortunate enough this year to go up with my wife, and three other couples. We all stayed at a lovely vineyard overlooking the Dry Creek Valley, which includes numerous wineries including the Raymond Burr Winery. On our first night we ate at a great restaurant in Geyserville, Diavola’s Pizzeria & Salumeria . All of the individual pizzas are fantastic. I enjoyed the “inferno” which has spicy Italian peppers, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, and tomato basil. For desert we had s’mores which you have to try. It’s a combination of chocolate ice cream, with home made graham crackers, chocolate, and fresh made marshmallows served with a small metal pot of hot coals on the side so you can make your own s’more right on the spot!
My friends and I look forward to riding in the Harvest Century Ride again next year. If you have any interest in biking, wines, or just a good old time with your friends, I highly recommend it.