18. Serious Cyclists: BMX, Fixed Gear, MTB, Road, Touring, and More (Clubs, Group Rides, Camping, and Other Resources)

This guide, provided as a public service, was first published in 2009, with many subsequent updates. For additional updates, or if you have questions, please contact us. To return to the portal page of the Tips for Bicycling Monterey County 20-section guide, click here.

Are you serious?

For locals and visitors….
“What do you mean we ‘don’t look serious’?  This hard-core riding with our Velo Club Monterey doesn’t exactly keep us from having fun!”
Whether serious about your ride or just serious about having a good time with other riders, you’ll find resources from our diverse bike community below.

Help keep the local bike scene cool

New here?  Monterey County’s Constables of the Peace are typically bike-friendly.  Make their job easier, and be a good ambassador for the bike world, by brushing up on Cali’s bike laws.
Also refer to Riding Skills, Safety, and CA Bike Laws, which includes Monterey County ordinances on sidewalk riding and more.
And if you’ll be on the multi-use trail, please scroll to “Outta my way” at the end of this page for trail etiquette tips.  Please also be mindful of pedestrians in the City of Monterey plazas and similar areas throughout the county.

Above: Diane Kirckof and Jane Marquette of Estes Park, Colorado stayed in the founder’s home while visiting Monterey County in 1984.

See “Bicycle touring through Monterey County” for some others who travel here by bike.

A few tips for visitors…

    1. Camping: Guidebooks written by people from out of the area can be helpful, and sometimes they are incorrect. People touring by bike often have materials referring to campgrounds at Carmel State Beach, although there’s no camping there. Ask a local—e.g., see  “Camping in Monterey County” on this site.
    2. Bit off more than you can chew? Bike-and-ride.  Even for the most well-conditioned rider, a need may arise to shorten or end bicycling as planned.  Be smart: Listen to your body. Any mile of biking beats a mile of driving, and there’s no shame in doing both.  For tips on taking your bike aboard the Amtrak train, Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) buses, or other transportation, see the bike-and-ride section of this site.
    3. Bike security Looking for a place to kick back for meal, drinks, or entertainment while still keeping an eye on you bike and accessories you don’t want to remove?  For starters, check the list in the Bicycle Security section.
    4. Hotels, hostel, and other lodging: Check out these extra bike-friendly lodging providers; they provide discounts to people who bike, on their Thursday night stay, as part of the HER Helmet Thursdays Project.  The project offers discounts at Hotel, Educational/entertainment, Restaurants and other venues.
    5. Warm Showers lodging program: Many people touring by bike appreciate WarmShowers.org, which typically includes some Monterey County hosts.
    6. Showers: Just passing through and need a shower? See “Where to shower and change” section of this site’s “Tips” guide.
Vera Noghera of Velo Club Monterey alongside a bike rack on an MST bus.

Vera celebrated with U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood the MST Monterey Jazz rapid-transit lines. She knows a bike-and-ride option is sometimes needed when schedule, stamina, or inclement weather so dictate.

Maps and Where to Ride

Refer to “Once you start:  Bike maps and more” in this site’s Tips for Bicycling Monterey County  guide.

Section 10 of the Tips guide, “Where to Bike” includes an “If you’re inclined to explore” portion; that and the headings below it may be of interest to you.  

Intros to some Monterey County communities includes introductions for people who bike the Alisal / East Salinas, Big Sur, Pebble Beach, and more.

Below, regularly seen biking Monterey County, a couple from Aromas.


Infrastructure contacts, including where to report a pothole and more, are on the Monterey County Bike Shops, Services, Clubs, and Resources page.  

Scheduled road and lane closures for Monterey County will normally be posted on the Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) “What’s New” page.

Some infrastructure news is also in this site’s Local Bike News section.

Group rides

First, some public service announcements…

Riding with others: Get acquainted with resources such as Velo Club Monterey’s group riding tips, and the Junior Development team’s group etiquette (also on VCM’s site);  Salinas Social Cycling – Ride Rules; Ciclovia Salinas Open Streets Etiquette /Ciclovía Salinas – Reglas de comportamiento y la Ley (v2).

Review Cali bike laws, Monterey County ordinances, etc. provided earlier in this post (under “Keep the local bike scene cool”)

Attention, fixie, BMX, and other riders: On California roadways, “bicycles must be equipped with a brake that allows an operator to execute a one-braked-wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement,” per CVC 21201(a).  If you view this video (click here) about ways to stop a fixed-gear bike, note that their #1 recommendation is to have a front brake. In the absence of that, also note that their “ways to stop” all require clips or straps. Those who choose to ride a fixie without brakes will likely want to research How to Stop a Fixed Gear Bicycle.

The most recent contact info that Bicycling Monterey has for any of the groups listed on this page will be found on Bicycling Monterey’s main resources/bike community page.

Here is a sampling of group rides in Monterey County:
  1. Check Bicycling Monterey’s master calendar, where you’ll find many local rides and other bike community events.
  2. Also check Bicycling Monterey’s main resources/bike community page.
  3. Three clubs–Monterey Off Road Cycling Association (MORCA), Velo Club Monterey (VCM), and Naval Postgraduate School Foundation Cycling Club (NPSCC)have regularly scheduled group rides.  These clubs often have “no drop” rides, “no mercy” rides, ladies’ rides, beginner’s rides, and more. And don’t be shy about asking club members if any of them can join you to ride at another time; their Facebook groups and such are full of these invitations. 
  4. There are a variety of “under-the-radar” riding groups. These are not necessarily official clubs like VCM, MORCA, and NPSCC; rather,  most are simply informal gatherings of enthusiastic riders. One way to connect with some of these is to ride and volunteer with any of the local bike clubs, where you’ll often learn about these extra opportunities. For example, people doing volunteer trail work on one day might meet some Highway 68 Hillbillies. Get involved with the Monterey County bike community and you’ll soon learn there are many informal groups of people out riding together. The majority welcome new participants. Most local groups have leadership encouraging biking polite, following applicable federal regulations as well as state laws and local ordinances, etc. That isn’t always true of all their members though, so stay alert, and use good judgment so you’re a positive ambassador for bicycling.
  5. Royal Calkins, writing for Voices of Monterey Bay, 10/31/17, provided a worthy report—especially of interest regarding Toro Park and other Monterey County Parks. Refer to Bicycling Monterey’s post “Sharing Monterey County Parks and Other Public Lands: Administration, Care, and Use.”
  6. Psycho Cyclers, based in Salinas, formed in 2010. A group of riders who share in the bicycle as lifestyle, they sometimes host host races, group rides, and bike polo games. Check out their cool statement of philosophy and purpose (the description in their “About” section): http://www.facebook.com/PC831/info
  7. MenstrualXCycles, based in Salinas, has a goal of making a stronger community of female bicyclists in the 831. If you’re female and have a bike, you’re welcome to join them. They’ll also be scheduling some co-ed rides. Visit them on tumblr: http://menstrualxcycles.tumblr.com/
  8. Jess Martinez first founded F.N.B., a fixie group with a safety-conscious street cred.  Click here for details. F.N.B. group ride dates are not being scheduled. However Jess continues to put a lot of miles on his bike and to remain active as a bike advocate. He rides fixed and other bikes, and as of September 2013, Jess and his buddies have a small bike team in Salinas dubbed WEREFAST (We Enjoy Riding Everyday Fast And Smart Too).  [Update: Watch a 12/5/13 video by Jay Dunn for the Salinas Californian featuring WEREFAST riders, along with more photos by Dunn and a story by Becky Bach. Click here.] Jess welcomes you to email him.
  9. Recumbents: Click here for info about some locals who like to ride with others on recumbent-type bicycles/tricycles. 
  10. Salinas Social Cycling picked up where Salinas Bike Party left off. (SBP was a courteous social bike run, welcoming all types of bicycles and any rider willing to cruise in tune with Salinas Bike Party rules. This local bike community event launched August 3, 2012 and had numerous rides in 2012 and 2013.) For the latest contact info for Salinas Social Cycling, see Bicycling Monterey’s main resources/bike community page.
  11. Other social bike rides, including in Salinas, may be listed on the main resources/bike community page. Some–such as an occasional Salinas Burrito Bike Ride (click here for details), or the 10-Mile Family Ride for a Better Community–may pop up on the Master Calendar for Biking Monterey County.
  12. If you’re looking for a racing team to go on group rides with, see “Racing and related blogs” below.
  13. Besides the high school race teams listed on this page, don’t miss any social or other rides organized for elementary, middle, and high schoolers. There aren’t enough, sure, but there are some; and maybe you’ll be one of the people who’ll organize more! See Kids Bike to School in Monterey County, and note the example of Monterey Park School Cycling Club, an elementary school ride group. (Click here for more ways Salinas youth lead the way in Monterey County bike community firsts.)
  14. California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) Otter Cycle Center’s support for the CSUMB community often includes organized rides.   Stop by during these hours or reach Otter Cycle Center via email. For more tips for college students, click here.
  15. Call local bike shops and ask if they are currently organizing any group rides. Often they do!

If you still can’t find the ride that best meets your schedule, interests, and abilities,  contact me, and let’s see what’s possible.  Or write a guest post outlining what you’re looking for.  Our Monterey County bike community wants to see more people on bikes, and there’s a lot of respect for the multitude of uses.  Perhaps your favorite group would be parents and children in bike trailers or parents-children with trail-a-bikes, or couples with tandems.  Or even shopping-by-bike groups (now that sounds serious–a serious hit to the wallet!).

There is also a tri-county bike Meetup group, Over the Top Cycling.  The group organizer emphasizes that the Meetup’s membership is actively screened and inactive individuals are removed on a regular basis. Over the Top may be scheduling Thursday evening dinner rides to HER Helmet Thursdays spots.

Wondering if Monterey County has much of a custom and vintage bikes or beach cruiser scene?

You’ll see many such bikes, including at the Burrito Bike Rides in Salinas. Burrito Ride 5-19-13 Salinas - gatheringMet the folks riding these bikes on the Monterey and Pacific Grove sections of the coastal trail in summer 2015—”Smokes and Spokes” ride group from San Jose.

Photo directly below provided by Smokes and Spokes.

Courtesy of Smokes and Spokes of San Jose - 2015 summertime on MoBay coast trail

A visitor’s perspective on riding with local clubs

Oregon resident Jim Moore has written a useful feature story on bicycling with local bike clubs as a tourist.  He shared his experience of biking with Velo Club Monterey.

Below, another visitor–this one biking solo on the beautiful Monterey Bay Coastal Trail.

Group riding video

Safety tips and riding etiquette for group rides deserves careful attention, even for the experienced. Review Velo Club Monterey’s group riding tips.

Bob Shanteau of Velo Club Monterey shared this 43-second video from Team CyclingSavvy that demonstrates communication and effective lane change
from back to front.  <http://vimeo.com/42872314>

  • Group starts out in right lane
  • Lead rider signals left
  • Following riders signal
  • Rear rider clears the left lane
  • Group changes lanes from back to front
  • Overtaking cars use right lane

Local clubs

People looking for group rides and more local tips will find these three clubs especially helpful. Visit their websites to learn more.

  1. Monterey Off-Road Cycling Association (MORCA). See below re Ft Ord also.
  2. Velo Club Monterey. Check out VCM’s video section to see some group ride options. Velo has tools and bicycle shipping boxes available for checkout to current members; see vcmonterey.org.
  3. Naval Postgraduate School Foundation’s NPS Cycling Club. Road and mountain. Members are military officers attending NPS or the Defense Language Institute as well as instructors, support personnel, and spouses. All these can enjoy an active calendar of regularly scheduled NPSCC events. 

These clubs include some of the strongest cyclists in Monterey County, although VCM and MORCA rides, open to the public, include some for beginners too. Members are typically supportive of others, and each club works hard to support our local bike community and its visitors.  See “Knights of the Central Coast,”NPS Provides Inspiration,” and “Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day” for examples.

Devon, Tyler, and Dena Donnell

Who ya gonna ask?

Wondering about the best Monterey road bike routes? Curious if there are other bicycle races on the Monterey Peninsula beyond Monterey County’s renowned Sea Otter Classic? 

The above three clubs and lots of other local resources are on my Monterey County Bike Shops, Services, Clubs, and Resources page.  Here are just three of the many from that page who are very knowledgeable and have reliable tips to share.  (See more details about them on the resources page.)

  1. Jan Valencia (on Twitter @jvalen) has been a terrific help to visitors and locals for many years, both as Velo Club Monterey’s Answer Man and informally.  Contact him via the Velo Club Monterey website.  
  2. Frank Henderson, League of American Bicyclists Safety Instructor and Transportation Agency for Monterey County’s 2010 Golden Helmet Award winner.  Frank is a bike commuter who puts on a lot of miles and can be especially counted on for guidance on safest routes and more.
  3. Devian Gilbert of Asana Cycles. Devian is a bicycle lifestylist and lives a car-free life in Monterey County since 1993. He is a United Bicycle Institute certified mechanic and winner of the Transportation Agency for Monterey County’s 2011 Golden Helmet Award, In Sonoma from April to October 2011, Devian is back in Monterey County and available for a range of services and general support. Welcome back, Devian!
 Jan Valencia

Frank Henderson

Frank Henderson May 2011 at Seaside PAL Bike Fair

Devian Gilbert on his Ride the Divide adventure

Photo courtesy of Devian Gilbert.

Below, a woman from Quebec, Canada, who I met in Sand City on October 3, 2015. She was making her way along the “So beautiful!” coastal trail, headed to camp at Veterans Park in Monterey, a spot popular with many visitors who bike.

Touring cyclist from QuebecThis Canadian visitor was spotted where the Class I coastal trail has a brief interruption in Sand City by the two large shopping centers—Edgewater and Sand Dollar.

See “Tioga” area on bike map. Signage helps reconnects you to the trail, and as of October 2015, it is anticipated that new Wayfinding signage will soon make it easier for people to follow this route.

The two pictures below are from this vicinity. In this photo (taken on an annual Intergenerational Ride), the people are biking from the north, headed south.



Photo directly below provided courtesy of Steve Benes, Gears 4 Good.VLUU L200 / Samsung L200

Then you’re quickly back on Class I (no cars) trail.

sign - mobay coastal trail sand city

Racing and related blogs

  1. If you’re a racer or race fan, if possible, don’t miss the annual Sea Otter Classic!  More on that below, and elsewhere on this site.
  2. Amgen Tour of California likes Monterey County. As reported 1/28/16 by James Raia in the Monterey County Herald, ATOC has held three stage starts in Seaside and two in Monterey; and will have a stage finish in Monterey County, for the first time, on May 18, 2016. Check Bicycling Monterey’s main resources page for referral to our most current ATOC info.
  3. The three main local bike clubs listed above all have members who participate in races and/or have race teams.
  4. Salinas Valley Criterium is coordinated by Grass Roots Cycling, a small, informal group that puts on cycling races licensed by USA Cycling.  Details available at http://www.grassrootscycling.net/SalinasCrit.html – Phone 831/442-VELO (831/442-8356). – Racing opportunities include for girls and boys, ages 10-18, as well as adults. Visit the Pedali Alpini website (a Salinas-based nonprofit) to learn of additional opportunities.
  5. You’ve heard about other local bike clubs?  They are probably actually referring to racing teams, such as:

Others that locals participate in include Velo Bella and VOS Racing.

If you show up to ride with a group open to anyone, keep in mind the standard guidelines, as posted on MBR’s website:  “Have a reliable bike in good working condition. Please ride with common sense, and obey all traffic laws. All riders are expected to be skilled at riding in groups and pacelines.”

Taking things too seriously? Here, lighten up, courtesy of PeopleForBikes.org.

Click here and watch “Sh*t cyclists say. “

Youtube:  A Youtube search will show up some exceptional Monterey County riders, such as Keith DeFiebre.  Check out this 6/8/11 Youtube of Keith on a training ride, and changing a flat en route.

Check out another Monterey County pro cyclist in the Monterey County Weekly: Eamon Lucas (on Twitter @cuzzmayne92), in a 7-12-13 story by Eduardo Cuevas.

Additional blogs

Racing – High School

Below, Monterey Composite,
a high school bike team welcoming teens countywide.

Photo directly below courtesy of Monterey Composite.

Monterey Composite paceline - daylight

Monterey Bay Lightfighters Composite Mountain Bike team

Do you know the history of Monterey County’s high school cycling teams? To my knowledge, the first high school biking team of any kind in the county was Calvary High School’s–now Trinity High School.  (Although that team is no longer active, you can still see their principal biking to worship; click here.)

Part of the Calvary family are Patty and Mark Kintz. They coached a homeschooled mountain bike team, the Monterey Bay Kingfishers, who competed at Sea Otter Classic and other events. Patty and Mark continued to coach high school youth; Kingfishers rebranded and expanded to welcome other high school students whose schools have no team. That was the start of Monterey Composite, later referred to as Monterey Lightfighters.

Monterey Lightfighters is an inclusive team for high school age students countywide who want to be on a mountain bike team. Students are welcome from any Monterey County public, private, or homeschool, including unschoolers and those in independent study programs.

For more about this team on the Bicycling Monterey website, click here.

Salinas High School

Who else will you find at NorCal races?  Salinas High School Cowboy Racing Mountain Bike team! The SHS team was the first organized public high school cycling team in Monterey County, and to my knowledge (as of 10/8/13), remains the only public high school team. Tax-deductible donations of used or new bikes are appreciated; click here to learn more.

You may have the chance to meet members at Twilight Rides–then try to keep up with their youthful energy on the Laguna Seca racetrack!  Or, contact them about their race schedule and show up to cheer them on.  Visit their website.  

Read more about the SHS team on this site:

Below: Salinas High Cowboys Racing

Photo directly below courtesy of Salinas High Cowboys Racing MTB team.

Palma High School

Palma High School has started a mountain bike team as of January 2013. Click here to learn more.

Other youth ops:  Have a teen, or younger child, not interested in racing? Encourage them to bike via other local bicycling activities for youth. See the Children and Teens section of this site, including “Bicycle Culture and Youth.” To support or create youth opportunities here, see “Salinas youth and others for bikes:  Bikes make life better.”

Racing – BMX

Photo directly above courtesy of Dawn Allen.

Monterey County’s BMX racing champs include Shawn Carden, who was racing BMX as a Salinas High student and continues as a student at Hartnell College, Salinas. In May 2012, Shawn competed at the BMX World Championships at Birmingham, U.K.  and he continues very successfully with his BMX racing career. Congrats, Shawn!  Click here for photos and details.

Another local BMX racer is Jack Fling. Read about Jack on the Palma School website; click here.

And many of you are well acquainted with BMX racer Joey Bradford of Monterey!

Steve Aday at Marina Cycle & Skate is one supporter of BMX racers in Monterey County. Stop by the shop and chat with Steve about opportunities for youth and others in BMX racing.

Heads up, BMX riders.  If riding on California roadways, bicycles must be equipped with a brake that allows an operator to execute a one-braked-wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement. CVC 21201(a).

Looking for BMX parks in  Monterey County?

Whether you are into BMX for racing or BMX for recreational and social aspects, where can you legally ride–and connect with others who do–in Monterey County? Click here for this site’s resources page and go to the BMX section.

About Fort Ord National Monument/Public Lands

Fort Ord is renowned for mountain biking. But did you know? It’s popular with roadies too! On the former Fort Ord, there are many miles of paved roads where cars are not allowed. Refer to the Fort Ord links in Bicycling Monterey’s “Bike Maps” section.

Mountain biking: Undoubtedly the best resource for riding the Fort Ord trails (and other trails, such as Toro Park, Salinas ) is  Monterey Off-Road Cycling Association (MORCA).  They also do trail maintenance work; volunteer to help. This is “an organized voice for responsible mountain biking in Monterey County.”  Besides the info on their website, follow their Google group (access it via their site), for the latest scoop on where, when, and more.

Want to help users at Fort Ord? Help Bicycle Equestrian Trails Assistance.  BETA is mostly on horseback, but some mountain bikers participate too, trained in first aid, radios, maps, and assistance:  http://www.ftordbeta.org/

Also see Fort Ord a National Monument.

Biking Big Sur

Please take time to refer to the tips in Big Sur: Bicycling tips for the Big Sur Coast on this site.

Biking between Salinas and the Monterey Peninsula

If you might want to ride with experienced bike commuters–who welcome beginners to join them–between the Monterey Peninsula and Salinas, see the Blanco Rd/Hwy 68 post. Frank Henderson and Phil Yenovikian are ready to help you ride the Blanco Road route or the Highway 68/Monterey-Salinas Highway route.  If biking 68 on your own, note the following tips.

Another option:  Some people will prefer to make use of the MST bus for travel between Salinas and Monterey. See bike-and-ride section for tips.

Monterey-Salinas Highway/Highway 68 Corridor

Now and then I see someone biking on the freeway–dangerous and at risk of getting a ticket.  That can be avoided here, hence the tips below.

Be advised that although this scenic Monterey-Salinas Highway route is loved by many experienced riders, it is a two-laner with no bike lane, tho a mostly comfortable shoulder.  Bright clothing and appropriate lights/accessories are in order.

Sign along Monterey-Salinas Highway/Hwy 68

Traveling by car, you may have noticed…

First, if you’re a visitor, don’t get mixed up about Highway 68.   Perhaps you’ve traveled Highway 1 by car and noticed that 68 West/Holman Highway exit takes you past Community Hospital and on to Pacific Grove (where you’ll first end up on Forest Hill, near the Forest Hill Bike Shop, before continuing down Forest and landing in downtown PG, a few blocks up from the coastal bike path).   And this 68 West exit is also the exit that connects you promptly with the H’way 1 Pebble Beach gate.

By car,  from H’way 1, you’ll likely have noticed that 68 East/Monterey-Salinas Highway is the exit that takes you to the Monterey Airport and on to Salinas.

Coming from 68 West/Holman Highway, you connect with 68 East not directly but by traveling Aguajito Road until you take a right on Monhollan, which later becomes Olmsted. At the traffic light, Olmsted connects with 68 East/Monterey-Salinas Highway.

Traveling by bike, here are just a few tips…

Okay, now for tips on biking the Monterey-Salinas Highway.

I’ll offer these tips as if you’re starting from the Salinas side.

  • Be careful around the Salinas River Bridge.  You may want to avoid it by biking through the little town of Spreckels from south Salinas, or take Reservation Road to Davis from north Salinas.
  • You can get a ticket if biking on a California freeway, which means:  across from Toro Park, it’s wise to exit 68 and bike on Portola Drive for a couple miles before returning to 68 at Torero Rd.

Okay, so you continue along 68 toward Monterey.  Then what?  As you near Monterey, you have options:

  • You don’t have to take the above-mentioned (in orange) route.  If you want to do that, you turn left at Olmsted and continue; it becomes Monhollan, then make a left when you reach Aguajito.  And if you do go that way (a lovely scenic route with hills and trees), you also have the option of making a right when you get to Molhollan, and then head straight all the way to the coastal bike trail at Del Monte Beach!
  • If you don’t want to take the “turn left at Olmsted…” route, here are some other nice options for getting off the Monterey-Salinas Highway.  Both of these allow you to avoid ending up on a Highway 1 (freeway) ramp; that means you won’t risk a ticket!  Here are choices:

  1. Turn right when you reach the light at Canyon Del Rey Blvd/Hway 218 (by 711 and Starbucks). Then take Cyn del Rey all the way to the coastal bike path at Roberts Lake/Embassy Suites.  (En route, you’ll pass the Frog Pond Preserve and Del Rey Oaks City Hall, then later, Fremont Ave, then Laguna Grande Park and DMV and Seaside City Hall–and behind it, if you need it, is the Seaside Library.)
  2. Or, turn right when you reach the light at Olmsted Road (by Monterey Peninsula Airport turn-off and Comfort Inn).  Then, make a left right away onto Garden Road (a stretch of office buildings, with no pit stops except the coffee bar at Gold’s Gym).  It’s a short stretch though, and then you’re at the corner of Garden Rd and Mark Thomas Dr/Fairgrounds Rd–at the 3-way traffic light by the Monterey County Fairgrounds.  From there, you can turn right and go up to the stop sign at Casa Verde, then make a left and take Casa Verde all the way to the coastal bike path (past La Sala Bi-Rite Deli).  Or, at Garden Rd and Fairgrounds, make a left onto Mark Thomas Drive; you’ll soon pass Santa Catalina School.  Continue on Mark Thomas all the way to Sloat Ave (first light).  From there, if you’d like to head directly to the coastal bike path, make a right.  You’ll go underneath the freeway, then continue straight on Sloat in the bike lanes alongside the Naval Postgraduate School. Continue all the way to the coastal bike path (when you reach the T-intersection, you simply cross Del Monte Ave).

Don’t miss lupine season on the Monterey-Salinas Highway!

Events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Race events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca aren’t just limited to cars!  Besides the monthly Twilight Rides mentioned above, there are special events such as the Hammerstein 8- and 24-Hour Mountain Bike Race.

And, of course, there is…

The Sea Otter Classic

Two of approximately 60,000 bicycling enthusiasts who flocked to Sea Otter in 2012.

Sea Otter Classic

Be sure to calendar the annual Sea Otter Classic, Monterey County’s world-renowned Celebration of Cycling. The 28th annual Sea Otter Classic is in 2018. Sea Otter includes North America’s largest bike expo, as well as bicycling race events that first made the event so popular.  Sea Otter is a bicycle festival for the entire family.

Gran Fondo

Sea Otter includes Gran Fondo routes, fully supported recreational rides. For example, in 2012, there were two Gran Fondo road route options–the Carmel Valley Route (approx 95 miles), which includes “The Loop”; and a mostly Coastal Route (approx 50 miles).  There was also a Mountain Bike Route (approx 20 miles).

Check out this report by Patrick Brady/Ride Kite Prayer on his experience of the Carmel Valley Route, which includes the Salinas Valley. (BTW, you may also enjoy Patrick’s thoughts on e-bikes, “An Open Letter to American Cycling.”)

Janet Beaty and Jack Long of Seaside stay conditioned for bike touring by not skipping local hills, such as General Jim Moore Boulevard (below).

Seaside - 9 Feb 2011 Janet and Jack - GJMRd (2)

Other locals who’ve toured America by bike include Daniel Troia of Monterey. Daniel and fellow CSUMB grad Luke Young of Murrieta made a 3,000-mile trip from West Coast to East Coast in 71 days. Their ride benefited Dorothy’s Place, Salinas, which serves the homeless. You can read about their trip–and their documentary of it, “Road Less Traveled”–in Dennis Taylor’s Monterey County Herald story; click here. (January 2024 update: As reported in Bicycling, beginning 12 Jan 2024, Daniel’s film “We’re All In This Together” is available for viewing on various platforms. For details, go to https://www.weareallinthistogethermovie.com.)

Serious cyclists?

Looks like too much fun to me!  Velo Club folks at one of their favorite hangouts,

HER Helmet Thursdays spot East Village Coffee Lounge on Monterey’s Griffin Plaza at Washington and Pearl Streets,  downtown.

(Photo courtesy of Leo Kodl.)

“Outta my way!” Sharing multi-use paths and trails

Below, on the coastal multi-use trail (aka “bike path”)

Love to race along or have fun doing your daredevil deeds?  More power to you!  Sometimes I do too.

Still, I know that startling pedestrians or others on a multi-use path—or drivers on a shared road—isn’t a good way to be an effective ambassador for the cycling community.

A Monterey sign, urging pedestrians to stay to the right.  Visitors may have just come from, for example, Roseville,  California, where pedestrians were urged to stay to the left. No wonder people get confused!  Please slow down, and show an extra dose of  courtesy to and patience with others.

About pedestrians, wheelchair users, skaters, and others

On the multi-use path, when I’m on a bike, I feel confident of the way I could  zigzag safely between groups of pedestrians.  But if were walking the path with my toddler friend Mira, or guiding my pal Margaret in her wheelchair, I know either could be frightened by zooming bicycles darting in-and-out of pedestrian traffic.  

It only takes a second for an unanticipated move to cause fright, trauma, injury, or even death. So slow it down near pedestrians, skaters, and others!

About other people who bike

It can be annoying when, for instance, another person on a bike who has stopped to chat with someone intrudes on your lane.  I have watched a pro cyclist suddenly fall after pausing, clipped-in, to chat with someone.  And I have been such a person myself, suddenly losing my balance and crossing into the other lane just seconds before a fast bicycle came my way.

Whether it’s another person biking, or someone walking, skating, or whatever, it makes sense to give others the benefit of the doubt, rather than screaming at them!  Go slow enough that you are prepared for the unexpected, able to make adjustments to avoid frightening or injuring someone.

Shucks!  Think I’m spoiling all your fun?  I wouldn’t wanna do that…

Where to speed along in Monterey County

Not only on the multiuse trail, but other places too–such as 17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach–people on bicycles are reminded those areas are not appropriate for racing.  

Although I’m not a racer, I do often love to fly along.  In those moments, I wish I could have the bikeways all to myself.  However, here in Monterey County, there are lots of place to experience freedom and speed; the resources listed above on this page will take you there!

One example:  Challenge yourself on the Corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on a Twilight Ride.

Below:  A beautiful, sunny day on the multiuse trail…

And it was also one of those times when the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail is packed in certain sections!

As the touring-by-bike folks pictured here—loaded down with gear—can surely relate to, after many miles of biking, sometimes the scenery around you, and the people, can start to blur together. Staying safely alert to those around you means you’ll be more aware of nature’s beauty here too. Be prepared to relax your pace when you reach pedestrian-heavy sections like this one.

And you bet, Monterey County people head off to other places to tour by bicycle too. Read Ross Majewski’s story on the Palma School website for just one example.

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This guide was first published in 2010 and has not been updated in its entirety.