LISTINGS, How to Get the Discounts, and FAQs about HER Helmet Thursdays

The HER Helmet Thursdays Project was launched in 2009 as a public service. For audios, videos, history, and more, see portal page.
Participating businesses and organizations: click here for the 2024 staff reference sheet.
SPECIAL NOTE TO EVERYONE: Beginning July 2022, the database of participating businesses and organizations is unavailable. Please phone us with questions, including how you can help restore the db for this public service project.

On this page

A.  Listings (Participating Businesses and Organizations): Quick Reference Guide
BHow to get the discounts
C FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
D.  About the Map of Participants’ Locations

But first…

What is the HER Helmet Thursdays project?

People who bike get 10-50% discounts on Thursdays at participating businesses and organizations. Currently available at hundreds of spots  in 17 Monterey County cities and unincorporated communities. Discounts are from 12:00 a.m. til 11:59 p.m. on Thursdays year-round, with some date restrictions.
HER refers to Mother Earth, who benefits from more people biking!H-E-R is also an acronym for Hotels, Educational attractions and Entertainment venues, and Restaurants–the primary types of places that participate. Related places participate too, including bakeries, delis, and wineries; spas; and some retail stores, including bicycle shops.
Why the helmet? See FAQs #3-5 below.

“I have gone to businesses on HER Helmet Thursdays, and they are always gracious. Thank you for making such a great program work!”–Sam Poteete

ksbw glove motion“No profit motive for its creator, Mari Lynch, just a vision to see more locals and tourists ride bikes.”–Ravi Kapur, KSBW

A.  Listings:

Quick Reference Guide

Click link below to download guide.

Special note: Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the guide to HER Helmet Thursdays participants, and the database of listings information, have not been updated. At this time, before going to any participant’s location, kindly phone ahead to inquire about their current status—such as: (1) days and hours of operation; (2) indoor or outdoor service options; (3) curbside or to-go service options; and perhaps (4) closed temporarily, or closed permanently. 

HER Helmet Thursdays Guide
Listings as of 10th Aniversary – January 2020

Before claiming discount, click participant’s name, which takes you to their individual listing in the HER Helmet Thursdays database. (SPECIAL NOTE: beginning July 2022, the database is temporarily unavailable. Questions? Please phone us anytime.) Although the database is normally updated regularly year-round, database updates are not being made at this time.

B. How to get the discounts

Please also look over the FAQs below. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

How to get discounts on “H” = Hotels/other lodging

Mention HER Helmet Thursdays, and either BYOB (bring your own bike) or rent a bike for one day or longer from any Monterey County bike rental location. A bike rental can be for all day on Thursday or Friday. However, the discount is on the Thursday night lodging only.

How to get discounts on

“E” = Educational attractions and Entertainment venues (plus Everything else that doesn’t fit in the H or R categories, e.g., spas, retail shops)

“R” = Restaurants, and related places (e.g., bakeries, delis, wineries)

Bike or bike-and-ride to an “E” or “R” place on Thursday, then mention HER Helmet Thursdays—and show your helmet.
  • About the bike-and-ride option: Bike as far as your stamina and schedule, etc. allow. Please refer to FAQs below for examples.
  • If a place has bike valet parking or a hat-check station, you may leave your helmet with the valet or attendant. Simply ask them to write “helmet” or “bike” on your claim check, so you may show that to your server.
  • A few venues allow showing a bike pump, rather than a helmet, as alternative evidence you biked there.  If so, that option may be noted in their individual listing.

Monterey Museum of Art - HER Helmet Thursdays

Photo courtesy of Monterey Museum of Art, Pacific Street


(Frequently Asked Questions)

plus a potpourri of tips
(The blue or “bold” black text below are all links–click them for more info.)
  1. How did The HER Helmet Thursdays Project get started? Monterey County Weekly asked that question too. And they invited the founder to tell the story in their Earth Day 2010 issue; see “Wheel the Earth.”
  2. It sounds like a bike safety project for females! It isn’t, but it makes sense that it may first be perceived that way. The discounts are for all people regardless of gender. Listen to a 2-minute audio from KUSP, or read the transcript, “What’s up with the bike helmet buzz?”
  3. Does CA law require wearing a helmet? Only if you are under age 18, per VC section 21212. (For more about helmets, see Bicycling Monterey posts such as this and this, or refer to “Riding skills, safety, California bike laws” in the Tips for Bicycling Monterey County guide.)Cesar Chavez Greenfield student fitted with helmet 2012
  4. Then why the helmet in HER Helmet Thursdays?  A helmet avoids the need for a plastic card, coupon, punch card, etc. It was simply chosen as the evidence of bicycling, because it is a common accessory. See “It’s not about wearing a helmet.”
  5. Can I just drive there and have a helmet in my car, and still get the discount?  No. The project’s purpose is to encourage biking. Please read #6, 7, 8 for additional clarification.
  6. Do I have to bike to an “H/hotels/lodging” place to get their lodging discount?  No. You get a Thursday night lodging discount simply by showing you’re going to do some biking while you’re there.  See “How to get a lodging discount” for exactly what’s required.
  7. Do I have to bike all the way to an “E/educational/entertainment” spot or  to”R/restaurants and related places” to get the discount?  Not all the way, but it is necessary to bike at least partway there to get the discount.  It’s fine to use a bike-and-ride option partway. To get the discount, you’re required to bike as far as your stamina and schedule, etcetera allow. You’re on the honor system.  See examples of how the bike-and-ride option works in FAQ #26 below.MST - Cini closeup
  8. If we biked earlier in the day, can we get a discount that night? Only on Thursday night lodging. (See “How to get a lodging discount.“) It is not okay to bike earlier in the day and ask for a discount that night at an E/educational/entertainment”or “R/restaurants and related places” spot. Instead, it’s necessary to bike or bike-and-ride to reach that spot. (If you bike at night, you may want to refer to night riding tips.)
  9. I don’t like wearing a helmet! It isn’t required to wear a helmet to get discounts at E & R spots, just show one after you bike or bike-and-ride there. If you’re adamant about not wearing a helmet, one option is to buy an inexpensive one and just carry it along in your pack, etc. (However, a caution for those who are looking for a safe helmet: beware fake helmets.)
  10. Do I show my helmet at a fancy place?  Places with valet service or a hat-check room can jot “bike” or “helmet” on the claim check. You can show that to the server, as evidence you biked there, so they can give you the HER Helmet Thursdays discount. For additional tips, see “Bike to elegant venues, including fine dining establishments.”
  11. I want to dress more elegantly—but on a bike?  See “How to dress” tips and “Inspiration” provided in “Bike Fashionistas.” For additional tips, see “Bike to elegant venues, including fine dining establishments.”Chic signaling
  12. Do the more formal venues offer bike valet parking, as for cars? Yes, many do!  Bicycle valet parking is part of our bike-friendly county. Call them ahead to ask.Nick - cheery valet and savvy cyclist
  13. I’ve heard there are wineries in the “R/Restaurants/other food and beverage” category. You heard right. See “Wine-ding your way along Monterey County bikeways.” Besides both elegant and casual restaurants, the “R” category also includes other types of places with sit-down food or beverage service. As well as wineries, there are coffee houses, bakeries, delis, and more.
  14. What about drinking alcohol and biking?  See “Safe biking and drinking” tips in “Wine-ding your way along Monterey County bikeways.”
  15. Any Seafood Watch program participants in HER Helmet Thursdays?   You bet! See “Bike for Sustainable Seafood.”I was once as skittish about fish as I am about new tech!
  16. Any places on the Monterey wharfs? Yes, Wharf II is unanimous, and there are also participants on Wharf I.HHT - Wharf 2 sign - DSC00331
  17. What’s in the “E”/Education/Entertainment” category? The  “E” category is flexibly defined: anything that may be considered educational or entertaining. Among participants are  such things as art, literary, and children’s museums; whale watching; concert venues; spas; and a few surprises! For example, there’s a photo shop that touts how educational and entertaining their photography is, and a family chiropractic practice that asked to be part of the fun—they said they educate their patients on healthy living! And to celebrate the 8th anniversary of HER Helmet Thursdays, local bike shops were also invited to join the project. The first bike shop participants are listed in “Bike to Shop, including HER Helmet Thursdays discounts.” Questions? Please contact BicyclingMonterey.Museum of Monterey 8 Jan 2012 (1)
  18. We’re going to the National Steinbeck Center. Any HER Helmet Thursdays spots in Salinas?  You bet! The Steinbeck House is a HER Helmet Thursdays participant, and that’s just the start. You’ll also find Salinas lodging, dining, theater, and spa services in the HER Helmet Thursdays project. Check out the Bicycling Salinas section of this site.Taco El Jali Alisal at Madeira
  19. Any tips about finding HER Helmet Thursdays spots in specific areas of Monterey County? For a post about that, see HER Helmet Thursdays FAQs: Geographic Areas. In a nutshell: Although there are fewer participants in less-populated communities, there are indeed HER Helmet Thursdays spots spread all over Monterey County, including North and South County communities. (For example, one of the charter participants is San Ardo Cafe in San Ardo.) As of the 10th anniversary of HER Helmet Thursdays, there are participants in 17 Monterey County cities and unincorporated communities / census-designated places, namely: Big Sur, Carmel and Carmel Valley, Castroville, Corral de Tierra, Gonzales, Greenfield, Marina, Monterey (these and more), Moss Landing, Pacific Grove, Pajaro, Salinas, San Ardo, Sand City, Seaside, and Soledad. Posters highlighting the first participants in some communities are also available on the Posters, etc. page, e.g., Carmel and Carmel Valley, Pacific Grove, Salinas, Seaside. In addition, a few miscellaneous search tips are archived at the bottom of this web page.

  20. Which are the easiest venues to bike to with children? In Tips for Bicycling Monterey County, section 10, “Where to Bike,” you’ll find suggested routes that are all off-road/Class I bike paths, great for traveling with children. Will you be going to the Aquarium? You may want to check out the Lighthouse Avenue HER Helmet Thursdays spots, including information about local ordinances and safety issues regarding sidewalk riding.

    Taqueria del Mar, Monterey

  21. Any more route tips? See bike maps section of the Tips for Bicycling Monterey County guide. Salinas bike map
  22. We want to make a reservation. How can we estimate our arrival time? See “Estimating arrival time” in “Partner Up with HER Helmet Thursdays Ecology-Economy Leaders.”
  23. I’m a visitor and can’t figure out these locations easily. No worries, phone me for help. Other resources: bike maps, or local bike shops, or other bike community leaders.
  24. I’m a local and have bike-there tips to suggest. Great! Contact me.  I’d love to have your help, and to add you to the Acknowledgements page.
  25. We have expensive bikes that we like to keep an eye on all the time. Along with other bicycle security tips, the “Bike Security” section includes a large sampling of HER Helmet Thursdays spots that make this easy, with photos of many.

    Security - Golden Fish parking
  26. Can you give me examples about using bike-and-ride to reach an “E/educational/entertainment” spot or  to”R/restaurants and related places”?  Sure! Bike and ride MST Jazz Line downtown MontereyRemember that to get the discount, it’s necessary to pedal a bicycle at least partway there; and you may use a bike-and-ride option the rest of the way. You are to bike as far as your stamina and schedule allow; you’re on the honor system. Here are some examples: Bike rack - atop car kids - DSC00421(a) You live in Del Rey Oaks and want to take your kids to breakfast on Cannery Row. Take your bikes on a car rack or MST bus to the Class I coastal trail near the corner of Canyon del Rey and Del Monte, then bike the rest of the way to Cannery Row. (b) You live in San Francisco and want to explore John Steinbeck’s hometown.  Cool!  Take your bike on the train to Salinas, then bike around Salinas to the National Steinbeck Center and to various HER Helmet Thursdays spots—including Steinbeck House—and still get a discount because you biked as well as used the train bike-and-ride option.  (c) You’re in Marina and want to have lunch in Moss Landing or Castroville.  Take your bike there on the MST bus, get a discount (e.g., at Haute Enchilada or Lemon Grass Thai in Moss Landing; or at the Castroville spots), then bike the return trip, with the wind at your back!  (d)  You have a bike rack and love biking around Carmel-by-the-Sea in the early morning, when the streets are quiet.  But you live in Salinas and don’t want to bike all the way there!  No worries, put your bike on your car’s rack, drive on over; then park your car at the outskirts of Carmel.  You can bike to breakfast, get a discount, and enjoy a beautiful morning of biking all around Carmel. (e) You want to explore South County, and you know there are HER Helmet Thursdays spots in Gonzales, Greenfield, San Ardo, and Soledad. However, those destinations are too far to bike from your starting point. So bike-and-ride, e.g., using an MST bus or a personal vehicle. (f) You want to have a big shopping-by-bike day in Sand City and Seaside, including eating meals out. You know there are HER Helmet Thursdays restaurants in both towns. You’d like to be able to drive there so you can bike around to shop, make frequent stops back where you parked your car to unload purchases, then keep biking more. Sounds like my kind of shopping trip! And those discounts–available morning, noon, and night–will help pay for your shopping purchases.Crossroads bus stop - DSC00142
  27. My favorite places aren’t in the HER Helmet Thursdays project yet. Feel free to invite them; click here for instructions.
  28. My business [or organization] would like to be in this project, though we haven’t been invited. Outreach happens gradually in this long-term project, and there’s no need to wait. You are welcome to sign up now!
  29. How can we learn who the newest participants are? Among the ways to catch this news: (a) Follow @HERHelmetThurs on Twitter. That Twitter account’s primary purpose is to share news about participating businesses and organizations, including announcing new participants. (b) Check Thursdays on Bicycling Monterey’s master calendar. Beginning June 25, 2015, soon after a business or organization joins the HER Helmet Thursdays project, that new participant will be highlighted on the calendar (look for “Welcome” on Thursday dates). (c) Subscribe to the Bicycling Monterey website; new participants are typically mentioned in the occasional news summaries sent to subscribers. (d) Contact me and ask who the newest participants are.
  30. Is it okay to use an electric-assist bicycle?  You bet, as long as your e-bike is an e-assist—meaning it requires you to pedal—you qualify for HER Helmet Thursdays discounts just like people pedaling a traditional bicycle. (HER Helmet Thursdays discounts don’t apply for electric bikes that operate without pedaling; see different types of electric bikes.) Learn more about e-bikes on this site, including about laws/regulations, and how Bicycling Monterey’s founder gave up being an “e-bike snob.”
  31. I heard bike shops now give HER Helmet Thursdays discounts too. Is that true? Yes! In celebration of the 8th anniversary of the HER Helmet Thursdays Project in 2017, local bike shops were invited into the project. Most of Monterey County’s local bike shops now give HER Helmet Thursdays discounts. The first bike shop participants are listed in “Bike to Shop, including HER Helmet Thursdays discounts.” And all locally owned bike shops in Monterey County are still welcome to sign up.
  32. I recently went to one of the participating spots, and neither the person serving me or their manager were aware of HER Helmet Thursdays. What’s up with that? Launched in 2009, HER Helmet Thursdays is a long-term project, not a short-term discount promotion, and the project has no scheduled end-date. Businesses and organizations were advised of that before they enrolled (that they’ll be in the project indefinitely unless they contact Bicycling Monterey to drop out). However, businesses and organizations often have staff changes, and all staff may not be aware of the project. There is a staff reference sheet provided when businesses and organizations enroll, and annual updates are also provided. Nonetheless, as recommended in the listings guide, it may be helpful to have their listing pulled up on your mobile phone screen (or bring a printed guide), just in case a staff person on duty isn’t familiar with the project.

D. About the Map of Participants’ Locations

Beginning January 2020, we are no longer providing
the HER Helmet Thursdays venues map,
which was provided the first ten years.
  • The HER Helmet Thursdays Project was launched Thanksgiving week 2009 as a public service, with no fee charged to participating businesses and organizations, and no fee charged to people who bike. That’s still the case as of January 2021.
  • As with all Bicycling Monterey projects for over a decade, the work of the HER Helmet Thursdays Project has been an unpaid volunteer effort for Bicycling Monterey’s founder for over a decade.
  • To help maintain and expand the Bicycling Monterey projects, consider making a financial contribution. Any amount is meaningful and appreciated. Or, contribute volunteer time or project supplies; phone Bicycling Monterey. Thank you.

HER Helmet Thursdays 5th Anniversary poster JQ2Questions?

Please feel free to phone Bicycling Monterey.

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Special thanks to

Charter Participants.

These visionaries were the foundation

of The HER Helmet Thursdays Project!

Click here for a list of these early leaders.

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Short links to this page: