Easy weekend getaways by bike: Santa Rosa
by Falk Schützenmeister and Cynthia Powell
Bikes on the front, we jumped on Golden Gate transit bus #80 to Santa Rosa. Luckily the driver let the other three cyclists on board bring their bikes inside. Two hours later we rode two blocks south from the Santa Rosa transit center and found the bicycle trail (bike maps www.sctransit.com/bikesafe/maps.htm). We followed the river to Willow Road and then took back roads to the West County Regional Trail.
This is a Rails-to-Trails-Path passing swamps and vineyards: smooth, wide pavement. From Forestville we took CA 116 ¼ mile and turned right on very scenic Martinelli Road to the Russian River. An old church there witnesses the time when Russians tried to make their pelt fortune. They left two years before the Gold Rush started.
Using the Old River Road complete with hot tamales along the Russian River to avoid traffic, we arrived in Guerneville. North of Guerneville is Austin Creek State Recreation Area. It’s a steep 2.7 mile climb up Armstrong Woods Road after the redwood grove, but worth it to camp by Bullfrog Pond.
The next morning, full of Guerneville's eggs and coffee, we rode Moscow Road to Duncan Mills (check out the bakery next to the old Railway Station Museum). My valve flat slowed us down a little -- we had a patch kit but no tube! Luckily the rec riding roadies helped us out with a tube, impressed with our camping gear and fortitude.
On Highway 1 riding south, the wind basically blew us to Bodega Bay. Doran County Regional Park has a large hiker/biker campsite on the water; good thing because the whole coast was booked for camping and hotels that night. They also have hot showers. Albeit windy, we slept well and rode Bodega Highway to Sebastopol for a big brunch at the East West Lebanese Cafe. Rails to Trails picked up again in Sebastopol (parallel to Ca 12) and took us back to the Santa Rosa transit center.