Posted by

Bicycling Castroville — plus North County HER Helmet Thursdays spots

Short link to this post:

For a list of the first HER Helmet Thursdays locations in Castroville, Moss Landing, and Pajaro providing  discounts on Thursdays to people who bike—scroll to the bottom of this post.

As do local residents, visitors enjoy beautiful North Monterey County scenes—like the two directly below, both along the Pacific Coast Bike Route. See “Bicycle maps / Mapas de bicicletas – en español and English for Monterey County, plus other bike maps.”

Pajaro River, the county line between Monterey and Santa Cruz counties.

Touring cyclists like these from Germany as well as local bike-to-work commuters pedaling along the Pacific Coast Bike Route enjoy farmland scenes like the one below.

Agricultural scenes are also found directly along this Class I bike path in Castroville.

“You mean you haven’t biked Castroville yet?  What are you waiting for?”
This Class I path at Castroville  is a great place for kids to learn bike skills, as many area parents know.
Mom can jog, and I can ride.
No cars on this bike path, barely anybody at all.
It’s way fun!

What’s up with Castroville?

Founded by Juan Bautista Castro in 1863, Castroville is Monterey County’s second oldest town. There are numerous historic places of interest in and around Castroville. Learn more about just one of those, the Castroville Japanese Schoolhouse, in Bicycling Monterey’s Bike to History section.

Artichoke Capital

Castroville is widely known as the Artichoke Capital or the Artichoke Center of the World. Every year, thousands of people flocked to Castroville’s Artichoke Festival, an event that boasts such local history as Marilyn Monroe being Castroville’s first Artichoke Queen in 1948. There’s a parade you may want to bike in, musical entertainment, ag art competition, field tours, farmers market, arts and crafts, cooking demos, wine tasting, and more. Don’t miss the fun! However, note that beginning in 2014, nearly all of the Artichoke Festival’s happenings will take place at the Monterey County Fairgrounds & Event Center. The parade may still take place in Castroville.  Contact Denice Amerison and Artichoke Festival for updates. 

Year-round, touring cyclists biking on Highway 1 can enjoy a fun refueling stop in Castroville, with its unique small-town flavor.  And many cyclists from the Monterey Peninsula make Castroville their destination for a day’s bike outing, since the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail stretches all the way to Castroville.

Along the way here in North County, you may be welcomed by Kermit the Frog, as these Santa Cruz County touring teens were. Click here to learn more. Monterey County Weekly’s 2015 Editors’ Picks say Kermit’s appearance on Molera Road, Castroville—most every Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. -2:30 p.m. is the Best Reason to Bike to Moss Landing and Beyond.

Bici! Bike! – Spanish and English bicycling info

Castroville is 88.4% Hispanic/Latino, which  makes it a great place to find others who can speak Spanish with you.  Don’t speak Spanish? Great place to learn!

Download a summary of California bike laws in Spanish and English, and share them with people you meet: Leyes de ciclismo de CA – Laws for bicyclists in CA (Spanish, English) – Summary

Share a flier to help others find Spanish-language resources available on this site, such as, and 

Infrastructure updates

A long-awaited Castroville Bicycle/Pedestrian and Railroad Overcrossing Bridge was opened to the public on May 31, 2018. For more photos, see “Completion! — Castroville Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge.”
Better pedestrian crosswalks are part of improving active transportation too! May 4, 2018, that was cause for celebration: Paso de peatones en Castroville cruce ceremonial.

Bike-there direx tips

Whether you’re biking or doing the bike-and-ride, you may find it helpful to refer to the bike-there tips for a Castroville HER Helmet Thursdays location. Below are the first participants. (Note that Merritt Street is Castroville’s “Main Street”–the street with the “Welcome to the Artichoke Center of the World” sign hanging overhead.)

Birrieria & Restaurant Estilo CoalcomanMariscos Nayarita, and Coastal Valley Inn (formerly Motel 6 / Artichoke Inn) (north end of Merritt Street)

Hanabi Japanese and Round Table Pizza (in Castroville Station shopping center, off Merritt Street)

Below, Marisco’s Nayarita on a karaoke night.

Mariscos Nayarita Castroville

Sylvia Barrientos was the first Castroville leader to put her business (Round Table Pizza)  in the HER Helmet Thursdays project.

Castroville Station bike rack locations

Making a stop at Castroville Station?  Bike racks are located under the stairway, next to the laundromat, and nearby, close to the other stairwell.

Two bike racks next to Hanabi

Hanabi, another HER Helmet Thursdays spot

Make some Castroville memories

Castroville is near and dear to my heart, because the first beloved friend I made in Monterey County–back in 1976, when I moved to the Monterey Bay region–lives in the Elkhorn neighborhood.

Another special Castroville memory was attending my Girl Scout leader training sessions at Girl Scouts of the Central Coast (Northern Region).

And the yummy Mexican food in Castroville was a strong lure whenever my family was returning from backpacking in Yosemite.  Somehow, nearing Castroville, none of us could wait and eat supper at home. Instead, we just had to make a stop in Castroville!

Lizsandra bikes often in her hometown of Salinas. Her best friend, Alexis, lives in Castroville–which is why Lizsandra was here today, biking in Rancho Moro Cojo Community Park.
And here Lizsandra is visiting with her best friend’s mom, Grace Campos, proprietress of the popular Taco Mia (831/970-9883).

This Castroville cyclist, Max, and his dad were part of the 7/14/12 Rolling Riders fun in Salinas at the Kiddie Kapers parade, a California Rodeo Salinas tradition.  Max clearly has it figured out that high-visibility apparel and accessories are the way to go on many bikeways.

Questions about Castroville?

Who ya gonna ask?

For general questions about Castroville…

Ask a librarian! Looking up information on the web is so common today that many people have forgotten about an extraordinary information resource, and one of our communities’ best assets:  reference librarians at local public libraries!  The Andy Ausonio Library / Castroville branch of Monterey County Free Libraries is at 11160 Speegle Street; (831) 769-8724.  Spanish speakers, ask for Irene. For more Spanish-speaking librarians, call the Monterey County Free Libraries number, (831) 883-7555, and choose extension 3 for Spanish.

And see “Castroville Library: A Resource for People Who Bike” to learn about 21 new bike-related items added to the library’s collection in December 2015.   Castroville Library 20160123_111544

Denice Amerison is another helpful Castroville resource, including about the annual Artichoke Festival and much more. Contact Denice by phone (831/633-2465) or stop by the North Monterey County Chamber of Commerce office.

Bike maps for Monterey County include the Castroville area. Another good resource for biking the vicinity is Velo Club Monterey Answer Man Jan Valencia.
Diego Tapia below) is well-versed with Castroville area routes…

He bikes from his home in Watsonville to his workplace, the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.

View from the Class I bike path parallel to Highway 1, heading south of Castroville.
Girl Scouts of the Central Coast Headquarters

When biking Castroville, one place where I often stop by to say hello and share bicycling event posters, bike law summaries, etc. is the Girl Scouts of the Central Coast headquarters. It’s on Castroville’s “main street,” Merritt Street / CA SR 183. In 2017 it will be transformed into the Phyllis & Andrew D’Arrigo Leadership Center. Read details on the Girl Scouts blog, here.

Whether you’re biking, walking, running, skating, driving, or whatever, please help turn the litter tide countywide.

At Rancho Moro Cojo Community Park during the October 16, 2011 Solar Tour and Sustainability Fair (click here for a bit of history), some of us did a spontaneous park clean-up. Lots of litter, including hundreds of plastic water bottle caps. On July 25, 2015, a clean-up alongside the bike-ped path in Castroville took place. Let’s turn the tide everywhere and make Monterey County a litter-free zone!

July 2015 Castroville cleanup

Just fyi: Tony’s Bike Shop & Skateboards in Castroville closed in the summer of 2015.

Tony's Bike Shop Castroville - Saul Soto - 30 May 2015

Raise the bike-friendly bar in North County

There are over 200 businesses and organizations in the HER Helmet Thursdays project countywide.  Besides those Castroville spots mentioned above, there are North County spots in Moss Landing, including Haute Enchilada Cafe & Gallery and Lemon Grass Seafood Bar and Grill; and in Pajaro, G’s Tacos and Real Colima I.

Don’t be confused that sometimes Pajaro (Monterey County) addresses are sometimes listed as being in Watsonville (Santa Cruz County).G's Tacos Pajaro AKA Watsonville address

Have a favorite Castroville or other North County spot not yet in the project?  Invite them! As of the project’s fifth anniversary, there is still no fee to participate. And business owners and organization directors need not wait for an invitation.  Any H-E-R spot (hotel/lodging, educational or entertainment venue, restaurant, or related place) can join by signing up online or by phoning 831.375.6278.

The first North County

HER Helmet Thursdays spots

in Castroville,

Moss Landing, and Pajaro

  1. Birrieria & Restaurant Estilo Coalcoman, CastrovilleBirrieria & Restaurant Coalcoman - Castroville
  2. Coastal Valley Inn, Castroville
  3. G’s Tacos, PajaroG's Tacos Pajaro
  4. Hanabi Japanese, Castroville
  5. Haute Enchilada Cafe & Gallery, Moss Landing
  6. Lemon Grass Seafood Bar and Grill, Moss Landing
  7. Mariscos Nayarita, CastrovilleMariscos Nayarita Castroville interior
  8. Real Colima I, Pajaro
  9. Round Table Pizza, Castroville

This post was first published on February 10, 2012, with some subsequent updates.

This post was published on 7 May 2018. One or more changes last made to this post on 20 July 2021.

  1. marilynch says:

    You’re welcome, Terry, and thanks for the broken link fix. Very helpful. 🙂

    See the Master Calendar for May 30-31, 2015 for info on the bike valet, etc. at the Artichoke Festival.

    Feel free to write a guest post about biking Castroville anytime.

    Biking the Artichoke Festival parade does sound fun! Also, you may be interested in biking in other parades, such as those mentioned in First Night Monterey organizers years ago asked to have a bicycling presence in that parade; perhaps sometime volunteers from the bike community will make that happen.

  2. TerryR says:

    This is a great post about biking in Castroville. Thank you! We just moved here, and walk on that path everyday, but now I definitely want to dust off the bike and get out further on the trail.

    I noticed that your link to the the Artichoke Festival is broken. The correct link is

    I rode my bike in the Artichoke Festival Parade a few years ago. What a HOOT that was!

    Thanks again!

  3. Dave Clark says:

    Post a map of this bike trail. Thanks, Dave

    Dave: Contact and let the bike/ped coordinator know you’d like their next edition of the Monterey County bike map to include all of North County. (I’ve put in that request myself, and the more people who let TAMC know about that need, the better.)

Leave a Reply