Last month, we teamed up with Huckleberry Bikes in San Francisco to host a beginners bike tour weekend. We wanted to put together a ride where anyone would feel comfortable joining, regardless of bike touring experience or what kind of gear they owned. To make it more accessible for those who needed it, we offered rental services of our equipment, and we gave hands on support to teach folks how to use the gear.
On Saturday morning, we met up at Huck bikes, enjoyed some coffee and doughnuts, chatted about the weekend plan, and headed out of town. Our route took us from Market street, out past Ghirardelli Square, along Chrissy Fields, and left San Francisco over the Golden Gate Bridge.
Riding into the quaint town of Sausalito, we, naturally, stopped for a treat at Cibo just past downtown. Part of what we love about bike touring is that it's slow and relaxed by nature. The whole idea is to slow down and enjoy your time, so that's exactly what we did. One cappuccino and morning bun in the belly, 30 miles to go.
We continued through the North Bay, mostly riding on bike paths and quiet roads, and stopped for lunch at one of our favorite spots in Marin County, M.H. Bread and Butter, just off the bike route in San Anselmo. Being a group of strangers for the most part, we went around the table sharing where we were from and something cool about ourselves. Surprisingly, more than half of the group were international folks! We had representation from Latin America, Europe, Asia, and all over North America, which was pretty awesome. On top of that, we learned that we were an eclectic bunch with folks in tech, a comedian, an artist, and consultants, among other things.
From lunch, we continued through the quiet suburbs, grabbed some gourmet groceries in Fairfax, and finished our day riding over rolling hills in the countryside and meandering through the beautiful redwoods. As we rode into the forest, the air literally changed. It was earthy, fresh, and cool, and we finally felt that we were truly out of the hustle and bustle of the city. After working all day to get out there, we arrived at our campsite by the creek with redwoods towering all around us. It was the perfect reward.
One of the best parts of bike touring with a group of people is the post-ride hangs. Even when you ride solo, you inevitably gather around the picnic table and chat the night away. In this case, it was with good cold beer and a delicious three course meal which we all made together (one of the many benefits of riding with a group is the variety of camp food you can carry and prepare!). The night ended around the campfire, s'mores in hand.
On Sunday, we packed up, and returned the same way we came. We rode a bit faster now that our bodies had trained the day before, and treated ourselves to some delicious SoulFood in Mill Valley. We rolled back over the Golden Gate in the mid-afternoon, beating the fog, and finished the ride back at Huckleberry Bikes by 4.
It was a great weekend getaway with an awesome group of supportive, fun riders. Everyone varied in experience with biking and bike touring, but everyone left with a sense of accomplishment and some new friends.
We plan to run more of these weekends this summer, so get in touch if you're interested in joining! We promise, you'll have a great time.
(For this bike tour weekend, some of the riders rented biking and/or camping gear through Best Coast Biking, while others brought their own equipment. Campsite dinner and breakfast were included in the weekend bike tour cost, as were the campsite fees and firewood. Join us next time! Subscribe to our mailing list and check out Huckleberry Bikes too!)