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Twilight Rides at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

This post includes the 2020 dates for Twilight Rides AKA Twilight Cycling, as well as tips on what to bring, history, parking, children participating, and more.
Short link to this post: http://bit.ly/TwilightRides

The Twilight Rides are a safe and relaxed atmosphere for families to get out and enjoy a ride together.  The venue is also famous for its challenging 11-turn 2.238 mile course for competitive cyclists. Something for all ages and stages of biking! The circuit has flat areas, 300 feet of elevation change for climbing, and the legendary Corkscrew turns, which drop the equivalent of nearly six stories in a breathtakingly short length of track.

Are all ages really welcome? Yes! At the end of this post, see some children participating in these Twilight Rides.

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If you find info on the Bicycling Monterey website helpful, please make a contribution.

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When are the Twilight Rides / Twilight Cycling dates?

Dates and times are subject to change. Check the raceway’s Twilight Ride webpage for any updates. Wondering about possibility of a sudden cancellation due to inclement weather? Contact the raceway.

2020 Twilight Rides

As of June 30, 2020, the July 7 ride is CANCELLED due to pandemic health restrictions; rides remain scheduled for the following three 2020 dates.
Tues, Aug 11, 5:30-7:30 p.m., hosted by NPS Foundation Cycling Club
Tues, Sept 8, 5:30-7:30 p.m., hosted by Velo Club Monterey
Wed, Oct 21, 5:00-7:00 p.m., hosted by DC-10

About the hosts of Twilight Rides

Among those who serve as host, or otherwise support the Twilight Rides: Doug Chandler / DC-10,Tatum’s Garden FoundationGears4Good, Monterey Off Road Cycling Association (MORCA),  NPS Cycling ClubVelo Club Monterey, Salinas High School Cowboys Racing, Monterey Bay Lightfighters Composite Mountain Bike Team, Ghost Tree, Monterey Bay Racing, California Custom Sheds Cycling TeamLittle Bellas, Work Horse Bicycles, Light & Motion, and Bicycling Monterey.

Checking the raceway’s Twilight Ride webpage for any changes about who’s hosting the current rides. Press releases about a particular month’s Twilight Ride host are also sometimes provided by the raceway and published on their website. And the Master Calendar for Bicycling Monterey County occasionally includes additional details about a host’s plans for that month.

In addition to each month’s special host from the bike community, Work Horse Bicycles and Light and Motion also co-host.

Activities

Ride hosts are diverse, and so are each ride’s activities! On-track activities may include time trials, criteriums, and coasting competitions. Off-track activities range from barbecue suppers to costume contests and giveaways or raffle prizes.

What to bring

$10 participation fee (cash preferred, as of 2/15/20).

Bring your helmet and a bicycle, and note:

  • What about e-bikes? As of 6/29/20, Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are allowed; Class 3 e-bikes (top assisted speed of 28 mph) are not.
  • Helmets are required for all riders on the raceway track, regardless of age.
  • All ages are invited to the Twilight Rides. However you must be riding a bicycle to be on the track (no walking, jogging, running on the track).
Bicycle rentals

Work Horse Bicycles is typically present to rent bikes and helmets. (Helmets are required for riders of all ages.)

Contact Work Horse Bicycles to be assured of rental availability for any specific Twilight Ride date, or to request a reservation for a specific sort of bike rental.

Bicycle rentals are also available elsewhere, e.g., within ten miles of Laguna Seca. Click here for the rentals section of the Tips for Bicycling Monterey County guide. Rentals typically include a helmet.

Bicycle lights

Light and Motion team members are typically on hand renting their LED bicycle lights. (Contact L&M for updates and details.) Light & Motion is known for pioneering state-of-the-art portable lighting systems. In 2008, they launched a line of LED bicycle lights that were designed and built on the Monterey Peninsula.  (I’ve purchased two of their lights myself. See “Night Ride Home.”)

History of the Twilight Rides

The year 2020 is the 12th consecutive year for Twilight Rides at the Laguna Seca raceway. The Twilight Rides are a partnership between the raceway’s operators and community cycling groups to create a safe, fun place to bike for people of all ages and skills.

Many of the participants have been involved with Twilight Rides since they started, as The Californian reported 6/21/18.

About the venue

The raceway at Laguna Seca was established in 1957. From its inception through the end of 2019, it was operated by the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP), a not-for-profit 501c(4) corporation.

Beginning January 1, 2020, track operations are now managed by A&D Narigi Consulting, LLC.

In April 2018, the track was renamed WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca; click here to learn more, including about other bicycling events there. 

Contact the raceway with questions about the track and its facilities, or about Twilight Rides. For 2020 ride questions, you’re also welcome to phone
Robert Willoughby, Project Manager, at 831-242-8212. 

Where to park if you don’t bike to the event?

Some people are up for tackling the hill to reach the track. Others carpool with friends. You won’t feel like a wimp if you don’t ride your bike to the track; most Twilight Ride participants don’t. (Example: See a photo of young Miles below, alongside the bike rack of his dad’s truck.)

An illustration that points the way to the usual motor vehicle parking area, the Paddock, is included in an early (May 2011) flier below. Note that on rare occasions, vehicles cannot be parked in the Paddock. Those occasions are when Twilight Rides fall on one of the track’s main event dates, as the Paddock will already be full with team transporters.

For such dates, here are two alternate parking suggestions:  park right outside the Paddock in the lot known as Blue 2 (it is a hill, and it is dirt). Or, park in the lot known as Red 9 (which is flat and paved), and then ride your bike over the Start/Finish Bridge. Download a PDF of the raceway map, to locate these parking areas and landmarks: 2015 Facility Map

Questions? Contact the raceway for parking updates or with any other questions about parking or other facilities.

The flier below—provided by that month’s ride host, the Naval Postgraduate School Foundation Cycling Club—has a handy illustration that points the way to the usual Paddock parking area. It also shows the alternate parking areas, 2 and 9.  Click on image to enlarge.

Click on above image to enlarge it.

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Below, children participating with one of the Twilight Rides
hosts, Naval Postgraduate School Foundation Cycling Club.
To learn more about the Naval Postgraduate School Foundation’s Cycling Club, click here.

Above are Devin, Tyler, Avalin, and Dena Donnell at the March 2012 ride. (Photo provided courtesy of the Donnell family.)

Baby Avalin, of course, was still a bystander at the racetrack. But what about Devin and other children old enough to ride a bike? Are the Twilight Rides really a fun experience for them? Watch a video of one local girl, Juliette, via a Monterey County Weekly 9-11-15 story, “One local girl’s wild Laguna Seca ride….” And you bet: kids who prefer a slower pace have fun at the track too!

Below, Devin, Tyler, and Dena Donnell are at the May 2011 ride, when Dena was pregnant with Avalin.  (To see Dena “Biking through Pregnancy,” click here.)

Above, with this parents: Devin Donnell, age 11. At age 10, he had also completed a fifty-mile Gran Fondo bicycle ride in Monterey!

Miles Hooper (pictured in the two photos below), has also rounded the racetrack at Twilight Rides hosted by the NPS Foundation Cycling Club.

Miles was not only riding but learning about bike equipment too—i.e., how to make use of the bike rack on his dad’s truck.

Few people bicycle to the Twilight Rides. Most, like Miles and his dad, Seth Hooper, use the bike-and-ride option of a personal vehicle to reach the track. Reduce carbon emissions; don’t drive there solo if you can avoid it—instead, carpool with others. Besides, it’s more fun to come to Twilight Rides if you bring family members or friends. The more the merrier!

Twilight Ride tips were first published on the Bicycling Monterey site in spring 2010. This post was first published on 12 June 2012, with numerous subsequent updates. It was extensively updated on 16 February 2020.

This post was published on 16 February 2020. One or more changes last made to this post on 30 June 2020.

  1. Paul Swift says:

    Hi

    We live in England and are visiting the Laguna Raceway to see the sports cars race in September. My wife and I are keen to join in the Twighlight Cycle around the track on the 6th September. Can you tell me if there is a possibility of hiring bikes and helmets at or near the circuit please.

    Kind regards, Paul and Kim.

    Gloucester England.

  2. marilynch says:

    [Jan 8, 2014 update: Per Mazda Raceway’s 1/8/14 press release, “Partners Bay Bikes and Light & Motion are also on hand each month to rent bikes or loan out lights.” Contact Bay Bikes for details regarding those on-site rentals. Regarding Light & Motion loaner lights, those are typically brought only in months when daylight is short, as mentioned in the above post. If you’d like to be certain loaner lights will be available, contact the month’s host or contact Light & Motion.]

    So glad you’re interested in biking during your visit. While we have some good biking weather every month of the year, September is typically an especially beautiful month here.

    There are bike rentals available about 10 miles from Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Rentals commonly include a helmet, and helmets are required for the Twilight Rides for all ages, as you apparently noticed. The Tips for Bicycling Monterey County guide has a section on Bike Rentals. You may want to start by calling Adventures by the Sea and Bay Bikes. Feel free to email me or call with any other questions.

    And thanks for this inquiry, which prompted me to add that info to my Twilight Rides post.

    Welcome to Monterey County!

    Mari

  3. Paul Swift says:

    Hi Mari.

    Thanks for the info. We will be in arriving from San Francisco in a hire car and we will need to get the bikes the 10 miles to the circuit and get the bikes back the same day, time is tight!!! Really keen to do the circuit on a bike. I will give ‘Adventures’ a call.
    Thanks again for your help, Paul and Kim. You never know we may see you there.

  4. marilynch says:

    You’re welcome, Paul. Consider asking your “hire car”/rental car company for a bike rack for your car–they may have one available. See rental car tips in Bicycling Monterey’s bike-and-ride section: http://marilynch.com/blog/tips-for-tourists/the-bike-and-ride-option And let Adventures or Bay know your specific timing and needs; they’ll accommodate you anyway they can. [See 1/8/14 update below re Bay Bikes on-site rentals for Twilight Cycling.]

  5. Asa Widmark says:

    I’m Swedish and I was so happy to see that there is a Laguna Seca Twilight Ride while I’m in Monterey, June 12th!
    A rented bicycle will be my only means of transportation during my 5-day stay. Would it be “reasonably safe” to ride the bicycle back to my Monterey Downtown hotel after the track ride?
    After all, it’s not like it’s in the middle of the night, is it?! The distance doesn’t worry me. (I’m on my way out for a 5-mile ride with my dog on a Swedish winter road right now…)

    Regards
    Asa (“upper-middle-aged” woman)

  6. marilynch says:

    Welcome, Asa. Daytime, yes, most experienced and well-equipped cyclists would be comfortable riding alone to the track. For the return trip, which will be partly in the dark, most people would recommend biking with some fellow riders.

    Biking to Laguna Seca from a downtown Monterey hotel, here are a few pointers:

    Get over on the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail (the dedicated multi-use trail/”bike path”). Take the trail, which runs parallel to Del Monte Ave, toward Seaside–all the way to the Del Monte Ave and Canyon del Rey intersection (you’ll see the tall Embassy Suites hotel at that intersection).
    • Canyon Del Rey/Highway 218: After leaving the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail and crossing Del Monte Avenue to reach Canyon del Rey Boulevard, here’s what you’ll discover: Canyon del Rey is a wide road, though without painted bike lanes until you reach Fremont. From Fremont to General Jim Moore Boulevard (your turn-off), Canyon del Rey has painted bike lanes.
    • Canyon del Rey is a mostly flat route. After you’ve crossed Fremont, you’ll soon come to a little downhill swoop that lands you at the Frog Pond Nature Preserve—a fun stop—just beyond the Del Rey Oaks City Hall. Continue on Canyon del Rey past the Frog Pond until you reach the traffic signal at General Jim Moore Boulevard, which is on your left. Make that left turn at the signal and head north on General Jim, which has a painted bike lane. (General Jim runs from Canyon Del Rey in Del Rey Oaks to Inter-Garrison Road near the center of the former Fort Ord—and in the process, it crosses South Boundary Road, the road you’re looking for.)
    • Make a right off General Jim onto South Boundary. There is a painted bike lane on part of South Boundary, and at other times, just a reasonably good shoulder. Expect a steep climb on South Boundary. From there, refer to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca website maps.

    Return trip: In the Serious Cyclists section of the Bicycling Monterey site, you’ll find Jan, Devian, and Frank; you might contact these helpful locals to see if any of them, or their riding buddies, are biking to the 6/12/13 Twilight Ride. If so, chances are they’d be happy to bike with you.

    Or, contact Velo Club, MORCA, or NPS Cycling Club (also in the Serious Cyclists section) to see if any of their members are biking 6/12–or are hauling their bikes to the track and can give you and your bike a lift home.

    For other bike-and-ride options, check the MST bus schedule, which may have service changes before then. Or, depending on your hotel, you might inquire about the possibility of a hotel shuttle picking you and your bike up after the Twilight Ride.

    If you have other questions, feel free to phone me when you get to town.

  7. Asa Widmark says:

    Wow! Thank you very much for that very extensive and useful reply! I don’t know what made me thing of Monterey as a Bicycle friendly place, but it seemed my instinct was right!
    I have so much to look through on this page, and pages linked to from here. Good thing I discovered it 3 months ahead of my trip and not the day before! 😉
    Once again: Thank you!

  8. marilynch says:

    You’re welcome! Having visitors from all over the world is wonderful for us, and we especially appreciate those who bike, at least for part of their visit.

    You can see Christine van Burken of the Netherlands biking north on the coastal trail (scroll down this “Dress Up Challenge” post) and a young family from Holland biking downtown Monterey. After your visit, please feel free to share a photo with us of a Swedish visitor biking at the Twilight Ride, or elsewhere in Monterey County! 🙂

  9. Korben Dallas says:

    Um… For some reason none of such articles ever include the most requested information people come to such web sites for: how do we participate in such ride if we come from somewhere else by car? Where do we park our cars? Does Laguna Seca provide parking facilities for Twilight Ride participants on site? Or are we supposed to park somewhere off-site and then cycle to the track?

    How does the whole thing work for people who don’t live on the outskirts of the racetrack?

  10. marilynch says:

    Hi, Korben. Thanks for pointing out that it isn’t easy to find on the web info on where to park at Twilight Rides.

    There’s a May 2011 Naval Postgraduate School Foundation Cycling Club (NPSCC) flier that I’d left in the post, to make it easier for people to know where to park motor vehicles. Thanks to your question, I’ve moved that NPSCC flier up higher in the post, so it’s easier for people to notice.

    I’ve also added alternate parking suggestions for times when the usual paddock parking area would be unavailable. Included too now is PDF of the facility map, courtesy of Ann Bixler of Mazda Raceway. If you have more questions about parking or other facilities, you may want to contact Mazda Raceway. Their contact page includes driving directions too. http://www.mazdaraceway.com/contact?profile=695

  11. Bill miller says:

    Is it ok to use an electric bicycle on the twilight ride

  12. Founder, Bicycling Monterey says:

    Our guess is electric-assist (requiring human pedaling vs a throttle bicycle) would be allowed; however, we’re not certain, and haven’t had anyone ask that question before. We encourage you to contact the raceway to ask, or contact the bicycle shop listed on their site for people interested in rentals: https://www.weathertechraceway.com/twilight-cycling.

    6/29/20 update: As of today’s date, per Robert Willoughby of the raceway, Class 1 and 2 e-bikes are allowed for Twilight Cycling; Class 3 (top assisted speed of 28 mph) are not allowed.

    For more info about e-bikes on this site, including descriptions of Class 1, 2, 3: https://bikemonterey.org/regulations-for-e-bikes-electric-assist-bicycles-and-other-non-people-powered-bikes-in-monterey-county-and-elsewhere.html.

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