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San Benito County: Rides, Maps, Mentors, and More, including Advocacy Tips

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The Monterey Bay Tri-County region is fortunate to have beautiful terrain for bicycling in all three counties—Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz. And as Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District knows, increasing bicycling is one way to protect public and environmental health, including air quality throughout the region. Caring for the Earth, including keeping the air cleaner, is one of the many benefits of biking!

When you’re looking for bike activities and events in Monterey County, refer to Bicycling Monterey’s Master Calendar as well as our Monterey County bike community leaders / main resources page. For Santa Cruz County, check with Bike Santa Cruz County, or contact other resources highlighted under “Neighborly inspiration” in this Bicycling Monterey Santa Cruzans post. And for bike activities and events in San Benito County, you might start with the resources featured below.

REACH San Benito

REACH (Recreation, Exercise, Adventure, and Community Health) San Benito Parks Foundation sometimes has bicycling or bike-related activities and events on the REACH Events calendar:

Among those have been Discovery Classic Bike Ride, Bike to School Day, and Bike Month activities. Some are hosted by REACH, some organized by others. Here’s one example, as reported by San Benito Live in English y en español— a Sept 2018 bicycle ride hosted by REACH

San Benito County

Council of Governments

San Benito County Council of Governments (COG) is the county’s regional transportation planning agency. COG has the responsibilities for San Benito County that are shared elsewhere in the Monterey Bay region by the Transportation Agency for Monterey County and Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission.

Photo provided by Veronica Lezama. 


For Council of  Governments bike projects, visit their Bicycle & Pedestrian web page.

San Benito County’s bike map:

As of March 2018:

View “Going Green – Complete Streets and Sustainable Transportation for San Benito County” on YouTube:

Want to advocate for bicycling in San Benito County?

For public participation opportunities, contact Veronica Lezama, Transportation Planner at the Council of Governments / COG. Phone Veronica at 831-637-7665 extension 204; or email

Did you know? Some time back, San Benito County raised the bar for the Monterey Bay Tri-County region with COG’s bilingual Suggested Walking and Bicycling Routes to School AKA Safe Routes to School tips:

The tips are provided in brochures, in Spanish and English, featuring maps of suggested bicycling and walking routes to each individual school. Bicycling Monterey thinks they’re so cool that we’ve highlighted those tips since 2011 in our bike maps and Spanish resources sections, as well as showing them for inspiration (under “Elsewhere in the Monterey Bay region”) in our Bike to School in Monterey County post.

You can grab those Suggested Walking and Bicycling Routes to School anytime via the San Benito COG Bicycle & Pedestrian page.


Photo above provided by Veronica Lezama. 

San Benito - OTC ride 2015

Photo provided by Off the Chain Bikes

Off the Chain Bikes

in Hollister

Off the Chain Bikes organizes group rides, such as a Saturday morning ride (photo above, details below). Check OTC’s events and programs calendar or phone them (831-636-0802) for any changes or updates.

Ride a 23-mile loop on the Hollister-area’s beautiful country roads. Pace is moderate and regroups (so you needn’t worry about being left behind). BTW, if you’d rather do a 15-mile ride than the 23-mile loop, just let Off the Chain know. They’ll be happy to set up a time when a group can do a 15-miler instead.

When? Meet on Saturday mornings at 8 a.m. at Off the Chain bike shop, 101 McCray Sreet #101, Hollister. To confirm for any particular Saturday (e.g., regarding inclement weather, holidays, etc.), contact Off the Chain, 831-636-0802. They’ll gladly answer your questions about their group rides, as well as provide additional tips for biking San Benito County.

OTC jpeg Image-1

Photo below provided by Jess Martinez.

Jess Martines portrait - ready for work

Jess Martinez,

Ambassador of the Bikeways

Among the cool ambassadors for bicycling in San Benito County, and elsewhere in the Monterey Bay region, is Jesse Martinez.

Some people don’t know that Jess, a Hollister resident more widely known as a fixed-gear rider, rides other types of bikes as well. Whether he’s bike commuting, enjoying a little racing (e.g., singlespeed cyclocross in September 2015), taking a trip up to bike the Hellyer Velodrome, or simply having fun at a regional bike party, Jess has covered many a mile pedaling two wheels. And over the years, he has quietly served as a respected mentor for numerous other riders.

Jess isn’t one to boast. But maybe you heard someone say…

“Did you see that Hollister kid on the front page of the Californian?”

Jess wrote a guest post for Bicycling Monterey, “Fixies: Spinning Spokes and Telling Jokes.” Subsequently, the Salinas Californian did a front-page story about Jess and other fixed-gear riders, along with a video; and we added links to those in Jess’s guest post.

Although this young bike advocate is over 18, you’ll most likely see Jess covering his noggin with a helmet. Doing so, he shows solidarity and support for youth (who are required by CA law to wear a helmet –  DMV VC Section 21212). That’s just one of the many reasons Jess is respected for not only his riding skills but for being an all-around bike community supporter.

In his own younger years, Jess strengthened his group riding skills through associating with people such as Velo Club Monterey Answer Man Jan Valencia. Below, see Jess and Jan during a pause on their ride with City of Monterey traffic engineer Rich Deal, one of the activities in conjunction with the Seaside PAL Bike Fair and Amgen week 2011.

Jess isn’t organizing group rides at present. You’re still welcome to contact Jess with questions about biking Hollister and beyond. Email: green8661 [AT] gmail [DOT] com – and please include your name and phone number if you’d like Jess to reply.

(Photo by Mari Lynch)Ride with Rich Deal May 15 023

Whether you’re a Monterey Bay region local or a visitor,
make use of these San Benito County resources
as starting point for your own explorations
of San Benito on two wheels!


This post was previously published Dec 7, 2015 and was partially updated Feb 26, 2019.

This post was published on 26 February 2019. One or more changes last made to this post on 24 April 2019.

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