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Bicycle Leadership Conference

  • From 2009 through 2019, Monterey County has welcomed the Bicycle Leadership Conference during Sea Otter Classic week. The BLC tradition ended for Monterey in April 2019.
  • Due to the global pandemic, the 2020 Bicycle Leadership Conference was initially postponed from its previously scheduled date (April 14-16, 2020) to September 29 – October 1, 2020.
  • On July 1, 2020 it was announced by Sea Otter Classic CEO Frank Yohannan, in a letter to SOC supporters, that both the 2020 SOC and the 2020 BLC were cancelledThe letter made clear that SOC’s cancellation was a result of the continuing pandemic. (“Consequently we have decided to cancel the Sea Otter Classic scheduled for October 1-4, 2020. The Bicycle Leadership Conference is also cancelled. More information regarding the cancellation of the Sea Otter Classic and the Bicycle Leadership Conference will be available on July 17th.”)
  • Also on July 1, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (BRAIN) published a story announcing big changes for the BLC: The new website for the Bicycle Leadership Conference, scheduled for April 12-14, 2021 in Santa Cruz (but changed later to a virtual event), is:
  • Global Outdoor Summit. The inaugural GOS was scheduled for April 13-15, 2021 in Monterey. The summit website (formerly the BLC site) was initially, but that site was not accessible as of 3/26/21.

* * *

The info below was provided

for the BLC held in Monterey

and was last updated in April 2019.

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Bicycle Leadership Conference week is a fantastic time to visit Monterey County. You’ve heard about the county’s Car Week in August? We also have a Bicycle Week, with the Bicycle Leadership Conference and Sea Otter Classic—Monterey County’s world-renowned 4-day Celebration of Cycling.

Come work, and play.

Bikes mean business. And fun!

This post includes tips for BLC attendees that can help save time and maximize your enjoyment of Monterey County, including at Sea Otter Classic.
About the Bicycle Leadership Conference

The Bicycle Leadership Conference is an annual gathering providing a platform for executives from established and emerging companies to discuss industry challenges and opportunities. Joining them are other bike advocates, such as representatives from the League of American Bicyclists, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, and more. The BLC is presented by the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association (BPSA) and hosted by the Sea Otter Classic. For more information, visit www.bicycleconference.comOn Twitter, @bicycleleaders.

Welcome to Monterey County,

Bicycle Leaders

River Road Wine Trail Feb 2014

Curious who the three locals above are, out biking for wine on River Road? That’s journalist , along with @katiepofahl, and their pal Kevin. Look for @bikemonterey on Twitter too, and the@BicycleLeaders. Speaking of Twitter, you’ll find some BLC conversations online using the hashtags #BLCMonterey and #BLC2019.

Bicycle Leadership Conference

Tips for BLC attendees are provided below to help save you time and enhance your fun.
For Bicycle Leadership Conference 2019 details, visit

Conference hotel

The Bicycle Leadership Conference convenes at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, directly off a Class I section of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail’s City of Monterey section (a.k.a. Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail). Repeatedly it’s voted Best Hotel in the Monterey County Weekly’s Annual Best of Monterey County Readers Poll, and was awarded that title again in 2018

Enjoy the ease of bicycle valet parking service, as violinist Laurel Thomsen (below) does, at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa.

Throughout your stay in Monterey County, when you’re looking for bike-related resources, start with Among this site’s 660+ posts and pages are a 33-section Monterey County Bicycling Resources directory and a 20-section Tips for Bicycling Monterey County guide.
Monterey County does not yet have a bicycling coalition, and the Bicycling Monterey site serves as the county’s bike information hub. See About Bicycling Monterey to learn more about this grassroots effort. To contribute, and for FAQs, click here.


Phone Bicycling Monterey anytime.

BLC attendees love biking 17-Mile Drive. Make use of Bicycing Monterey’s tips for bicycling Pebble Beach.

Using the Monterey Regional Airport?

There are secure, conveniently located bike lockers at the Monterey airport, but very limited in number (as few as two); call ahead to reserve. Whether you want to reserve a bike locker, use Monterey Jet Center’s corporate aviation service, dine at Fly Away Cafe and Bar (a HER Helmet Thursdays spot), or just want to know how to bike to or from the airport, see “Monterey Regional Airport: Bike Lockers, Bike-Friendly Restaurant and Jet Center, Airport-to-Bike-Path Tips, and More.”

The Sea Otter Classic

BLC attendees are encouraged to extend their experience with a trip to the Sea Otter Classic. You may wish to purchase a Sea Otter VIP Hospitality Pass for a business associate or friend.

In case you missed this news, Sea Otter’s primary venue, Laguna Seca, has a new name as of April 2018. See Laguna Seca Racetrack — home of world-renowned bicycle, motorcycle, and automobile events — renamed WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Tips for 29th Annual Sea Otter Classic, April 11-14, 2019
  1. SOC schedule:
  2. Directions? Refer to
  3. The SOC “About” section includes FAQs, as well as history, weather, lost and found, child safety, dog policy and resources, and will-call info:
  4. Stroll through North America’s largest bicycle exposition, also referred to as cycling’s largest consumer trade show. Take a look, and grab Bicycling Monterey’s tips for locating them.
  5. Of course! Participate in or watch racing, from amateurs to world-class professionals. SOC races in 2019 include Pro Racing —Cross-Country, Downhill, Dual Slalom, Enduro, Road, Circuit, Criterium, and eMTB. For Amateur Racing—Cross-Country, Downhill, Dual Slalom, Enduro, Road, Circuit, Criterium, and eMTB.
  6. Enjoy a fully supported recreational ride—SOC’s Gran Fondo and Tour options in 2019 include (choose from four): the 49-mile Gran Fondo Pacifico, 91-mile Gran Fondo Carmelo, 19-mile Mountain Bike Tour, or 29-mile Gravel Grinder Tour. Details:
  7. Bringing a daughter age 8-13 to Monterey County? Consider a one-, two-, or three-day camp experience like no other: Little Bellas Day Camp at the Sea Otter Classic:
  8. Boys and girls twelve and under find plenty of activities for kids all four days at the Sea Otter Classic. Start with:
  9. Sea Otter Classic includes everything from yoga classes to a beer and BBQ garden. Here’s a sampling of some of the festival fun:
  10. To contact an SOC team member:

Questions about biking Monterey County?

Contact Bicycling Monterey founder Mari Lynch, a Monterey County resident and local business owner since 1981. You may have met Mari at the BLC in 2011 or 2012. Phone Mari anytime with questions or for additional info.

Can’t reach Mari immediately and have an urgent question? Other reliable help is available from Jan Valencia, the Velo Club Monterey Answer Man. Contact Jan via the VCM website: You can often reach Jan via Twitter too: @jvalen – 

Jan Valencia

For additional resources, refer to Bicycling Monterey’s 33-section directory, Monterey County Bicycling Resources and Bike Community Leaders.

If you found information on

the Bicycling Monterey website of value

Consider making a contribution to help maintain and expand these resources.

What’s HER Helmet Thursdays?

On opening day of Sea Otter Classic, as on Thursdays year-round, people who bike in Monterey County get 10-50% discounts at hundreds of businesses and organizations in 19 Monterey County communities. How does that happen? Through Bicycling Monterey’s HER Helmet Thursdays Project, a long-term ecology-economy sustainability project to encourage people to bike. Enjoy 2-minute audio or video intros, and other info, here. See the list of participating places: 9th Anniversary Edition – HER Helmet Thursdays Guide.

Created and launched in Monterey County in 2009, HER Helmet Thursdays is also appropriate for other geographic locations. Catch the vision!

You can even get HER Helmet Thursdays discounts at elegant venues, including some fine dining establishments, hotels, and more.

Bike or bike-and-ride to Monterey County wineries.

The wine room below, HER Helmet Thursdays spot Pierce Ranch Vineyards, is just above Cannery Row, near the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa (whose Tidal Coffee, Schooners Coastal Kitchen and Bar, and Vista Blue Spa are also HER Helmet Thursdays participants).

Have a friend or family member looking for things to do while you’re engaged in business meetings? Perhaps they’d enjoy biking, or doing the bike-and-ride, to a wine room. 

And on Thursdays year-round, all wine purchases at Pierce and other HER Helmet Thursdays wineries are at a discount for people who bike. See “Wine-ding your way along Monterey County bikeways,” which includes tips for avoiding a BUI!

Special indeed—biking in Monterey County. Below, Vera Noghera, an active Velo Club Monterey member. Vera was greeting Ray LaHood and showing off the MST Rapid Transit Jazz bike-and-ride option.

Vera of VCM 12 Nov 2012 2439 (2)

Bike-and-ride options in Monterey County

Any mile of biking beats a mile of driving! When schedule or stamina means it isn’t possible to bike all the way to a destination, consider a bike-and-ride option. 

Bikes are welcome aboard nearly all Monterey-Salinas Transit buses, as well as hotel shuttle vans, in a taxicab trunk, on the Monterey Airbus, and more. See bike-and-ride section of the Tips for Bicycling Monterey County guide for details.

Local news sources

What’s the buzz? 

The solar-powered, local, independent Monterey County Weekly is the largest circulation newspaper in the county. It comes out late Wednesday nights and is available free at newsstands, on the Weekly’s website, and in a mobile edition.

Voices of Monterey Bay is nonprofit, multicultural news source launched by veteran local journalists Mary Duan, Joe Livernois, and Julie Reynolds Martinez in October 2017.

Monterey County Herald is a daily, a Digital First paper in print and online.

The Salinas Californian is a Gannett paper, in print and online; Gannett also publishes the weekly Off 68 and the Spanish-language El Sol.

Carmel Magazine65 Degrees, and the weekly newspaper Carmel Pine Cone are available free on newstands. They also have online editions.

Additional Monterey County Visitor Information

The Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau provides the See Monterey website and As their “Top Ten Bike Rides” post indicates, “For more information on bicycling in Monterey County, visit Bicycling” (a.k.a.

Why bike?

While biking does benefit the environment, there are so many more benefits. Among them is that going to history spots, farmers markets, and shopping districts by bicycle means you can avoid traffic jams, get free and close parking, and have much more fun!

Bicycling Monterey’s Tips for Bicycling Monterey County 20-section guide includes:
  1. Benefits of Biking – Why Bike: The Many Benefits of Bicycling Short link:
  2. Bike Shops and Tips on Purchases – Local Bike Shops in Monterey County–plus Tips on New and Used Bike Purchases, relevant for anywhere Short link:
  3. Bike-and-Ride – Bike-and-Ride Options: Bicycling Needn’t Be All or Nothing! (Inspiration and tips for anywhere, with a special focus on Monterey County tips) Short link:
  4. Environmental Benefits – Bicycling and Ecotourism / Good Earthkeeping Right at Home Short link:
  5. Farmers Markets – Farmers Markets Short link:
  6. Historic Sites – Cycling to Monterey County’s History Spots Short link:
  7. Laws, Skills, Safety – Bicycle Riding Skills, Bike Safety, and CA Bicycle Laws–for Children, Teens, and Adults Short link:
  8. Lodging, Education and Entertainment, Dining, and More – Hotels, Entertainment, Educational Venues, Restaurants (a variety of places and tips, including about some HER Helmet Thursdays spots) Short link: [In addition, check out such places that participate in the HER Helmet Thursdays Project,]
  9. Maps – Bike Maps and Other Tools for Finding Your Way—in Monterey County and elsewhere in California Short link:
  10. Night Riding and Low-Visibility Weather Conditions (Fog, etc.) – Biking in the Dark Short link:
  11. Parking – Bike Valet and Other Bicycle Parking–including Etiquette and Laws Short link:
  12. Rentals and Tours – Bike Rentals in Monterey County–plus Self-Led and Guided Tours. Also included are guidelines about e-bikes and other non people-powered bikes Short link:
  13. Repairs and Maintenance – Repair and Maintenance for Bikes–and Bikeways–Including DIY tips for anywhere Short link:
  14. Safety—Visibility – More Bicycle Safety: High Visibility Short link:
  15. Salinas, Monterey County’s largest city – What to Do in Salinas, the Monterey County Seat Short link:
  16. Serious Riding (plus some not-so-serious) – Serious Cyclists: MTB, Road, BMX, Touring (Clubs, Group Rides, Camping, More) Short link:
  17. Shopping – Shopping by Bike (tips for anywhere, and a special focus on Monterey County) Short link:
  18. Shower – Where to Shower and Change in Monterey County Short link:
  19. Theft Prevention – Bicycle Security Tips for Anywhere— plus a unique list of Monterey County places to go where it’s easier to keep an eye on your bike Short link:
  20. Where to Bike – Where to Bike in Monterey County Short link: 

Who’s the guy above? A perennial of the Monterey County bicycling community. He’s Robert Kelly, on his regular ride from his home in Toro Park, Salinas—biking to visit his son in Pacific Grove.

Blast from the past: 2014 IBD Summit

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The IBD Summit, a Retail Academy and Industry Networking Event—which has taken place in Monterey County some years—was created by Interbike and the Sea Otter Classic for top retailers. This first-of-its-kind bicycle retail-specific summit brought together progressive bicycle retailers to learn from expert presenters, key suppliers, and their retail peers on how to take their successful businesses to the next level. Retailers benefited from an advanced level of education that built upon the very popular education series at the Interbike Expo. For more information and future dates, visit

Short link to this post:

This post was first published in 2011 and was updated for April 2019. It was republished on July 1, 2020 with new information—see bullets at top—regarding big changes for the BLC.

This post was published on 1 July 2020. One or more changes last made to this post on 26 March 2021.

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