There are only six short weeks until the Rapha Cycling Club (RCC) Summit in Sonoma County, so we sent out RCC member and Rapha photographer Andy Bokanev for a short reconnaissance ride to sample the area’s roads, wine, and views. Despite setting out on an uncharacteristically foggy morning, Bokanev’s photos of the area speak for themselves – Sonoma County is a great place to ride a bike.
The roads of Sonoma County offer a breadth of variety that’s rarely found in such a small area. You can find gradual climbs where the only traffic is the occasional inquisitive deer, miles of roller exposed to the Californian sun, Redwood-shaded highways on the outskirts of the mysterious Bohemian Grove, and bumpy stretches of tarmac that cut through acres of vineyards. Personal favorites include the screaming descent to the ocean on Meyers Grade, and the countless gravel roads that snake their way into the woods. It does not come as a surprise that the AMGEN Tour of California keeps coming back to these roads. Or maybe it’s the wine.
Replenish your bidons
The RCC Summit’s programming includes a full slate of culinary outings, but if you choose to explore the area in the days before or after, the following establishments are fine places for mid-ride replenishment or post-ride beverages.
Highway 1 hugs the Pacific Coast for miles, offering exceptional views of the ocean’s horizon. If your ride takes you through Jenner, on the delta of the Russian River, stop at Café Aquatica for an espresso, pastry, lox sandwich, or house-made clam chowder (although chowder is rarely recommended as a mid-ride food, this broth is worth your consideration).
How does one even go about picking a place to drink a glass of wine when you are in Sonoma? If you are into something a little bit off the beaten path and searching for a quiet experience while looking over miles and miles of rolling vineyard, look no further than Hanna Winery.
Yes, this may be wine territory, but Santa Rosa is also home to one of the best breweries in the country and arguably the world. Beer geeks hold Russian River Brewing in high esteem due to the relative rarity of Pliny the Elder and the holy grail status of its cousin, Pliny the Younger.
And here is the all-important place for a superb morning coffee. Head down to Flying Goat Coffee for a proper cup of caffeine, along with a pastry to bring you back to life and fuel you up for a ride.