Posted by marilynch
April 20-23: 27th Annual Sea Otter Classic, a Celebration of Cycling
The 27th Annual Sea Otter Classic, a Celebration of Cycling that includes world-renowned racing and much more, takes place April 20-23, 2017.
SeaOtterClassic.com was redesigned for the 2017 season with the result that some links below to the SOC website may now lead to “no longer found” pages, and other links may appear irrelevant.
For example, the page formerly known as “Visit Monterey County” is now found (as of 3/8/17) under SOC’s “Riding Your Bike” info. There, scroll down to “Riding Monterey Trails & Backroads [a misnomer]” to find SOC’s tips formerly titled “Visit Monterey County.”
TIPS: (1) If using the SeaOtterClassic.com search window in 2017, you’ll often find that—as with the example above—a search hit there won’t immediately appear correct, but if you scroll down that “hit” page, you’ll usually find the desired information on a subpage. (2) You might also find it helpful to instead use a search engine, such as Google, and type:
site:seaotterclassic.com [and whatever you’re searching for, such as dogs, e.g., “site:seaotterclass.com dogs” ]
Tips below were for 2016, but most will remain relevant for 2017. For updates, visit SeaOtterClassic.com —including SOC’s newsletters in the media section. You may also want to check in with Sea Otter on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Short link to this post: http://bit.ly/SeaOtterClassic
Find helpful tips here? Make a contribution.
Sure, walk your bike in the pedestrian bridges and such. Why? Because approximately 75,000 attendees are expected at Sea Otter Classic!
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Reminder: SeaOtterClassic.com was redesigned for the 2017 season with the result that some links below to the SOC website may now lead to “no longer found” pages, and other links may appear irrelevant.
Sea Otter Classic
Monterey County’s world-renowned Celebration of Cycling!
In 2016, SOC races are not all about lycra! Check out the Brompton World Championships. Men and women will race “in sport jackets, ties, and collared shirts (or the equivalent).” Also new in 2016 is the first-ever at SOC eBike racing.
Sea Otter Classic isn’t just about racing. Far from it! Read on…
Sea Otter Classic week is a fantastic time to visit Monterey County, and for locals as well as tourists to feast on the biking scene! You’ve heard about the county’s Car Week? Well, this is Bicycle Week, with Sea Otter Classic and Bicycle Leadership Conference both taking place this week.
You thought Sea Otter Classic was just about racing? Incredible races, sure! And Sea Otter is much more than just racing. It’s a bike fest, with festival activities for all ages (yup, kids too), Gran Fondo recreational rides, North America’s largest bike exposition, and more. With about 75,000 attendees, you might think of it as one big bike party!
That’s right, an estimated 75,000 bike-lovers attend Sea Otter annually—about 10,000 pro and amateur athletes and 65,000 other bicycling enthusiasts. Sea Otter Classic is a Celebration of Cycling for people of all ages interested in all types of bicycling.
Below are dozens of tips for Sea Otter Classic as well as tips on CA bike laws, Monterey County sidewalk biking ordinances, and much more to help make SOC week a great time for all!
- Sea Otter’s Expo has been breaking their number-of-exhibitors records year after year. As of 3/24/16, there are already 419 exhibitors registered for the 26th Annual SOC.
- Look for exhibitors here, and check their booth number.
- Then locate their SOC home on the Expo map.
- Bring a reusable bag to haul your swag. Single-use plastic bags are no longer allowed in most of Monterey County, including unincorporated areas of the county, such as the SOC venue, Laguna Seca.
Click here for a few Expo scenes from April 17, 2015.
Below: “Thanks, Dad, and I can see just fine: I see the world will be a better place when more people bike!”
Anneka Esborg often comes with her father, Erik Esborg. People for Bikes will again be in the same area in 2016. Look for them at Booths 204, 205, 206, and 207.
Below, dozens of tips
to make the most of your
Sea Otter Classic experience!
Find useful info here? Contributions in any amount are appreciated.
Short link to this post: http://bit.ly/SeaOtterClassic
Welcome to bike-friendly Monterey County!
One way Monterey County shows its bike-love is by the hundreds of spots countywide that provide discounts, on Thursdays year-round, to males and females who bike. That includes on Sea Otter Classic’s Opening Day!
Check out the list of participating businesses and organizations:
Things to know
about Sea Otter Classic 2016
- Sea Otter reports that one of the top SOC hotline questions is “How do I get there.” Here ya go: directions, parking, and tips for those who prefer to ditch the car.
- Festival hours, including the Expo, are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thurs, Fri, and Sat; and 9-4 on Sun. A very few Sea Otter activities may be scheduled to begin shortly after 5; click here for detailed schedules on the Sea Otter Classic website.
- A new smartphone app debuted at SOC in 2015. Read about it in the 3/19/15 Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (BRAIN). See “Sea Otter goes high tech with smartphone app,” and note the closing remarks about Monterey County Parks infrastructure updates and public WiFi. (To save time and data, it’s recommended to download the app before coming to Laguna Seca.)
- Races? Oh, yeah! Amateurs as well as pros may register to participate in most races. You may be curious to read some stats about the evolution of Sea Otter racing; click here.
- Not a racer? SOC races are exciting for spectators too. Check registered riders lists, such as Women’s Downhill, to watch your favorites–both amateurs and world-class professionals. You can see who’s participating in the Gran Fondo recreational rides too.
- Recreational riders: Participate in Sea Otter’s Gran Fondos, fully supported recreational rides. The Gran Fondo is for adults, and, when accompanied by parent or guardian, all routes may be appropriate for riders ages 12-17 as well.
- Recreational riders: New in 2016 is the Raleigh Open Road Tour.
- Girls age 8-13 can register for one, two, or three days of Little Bellas Day Camp at the Sea Otter Classic, led by pro rider Lea Davison and her sister Sabra Davison. Scholarships available–don’t delay.
- Women’s outreach has become integral to Sea Otter. Click here to stay up on 2016 outreach to girls and women who bike.
- Boys and girls age 12 and under find plenty of free activities for kids all four days at the Sea Otter Classic. Check the Kids Outreach section.
- The Festival & Expo section of the Sea Otter Classic website includes everything from free yoga classes to the Sierra Nevada Beer & BBQ Garden.
- Dog Policy and tips on kennels, pet-friendly lodging, and dog-friendly beaches are included on the Sea Otter website.
- Have questions? Sea Otter has answers.
- If you are participating as an athlete for the first time, see Lee McCormack’s tips, “Your First Sea Otter: What to Expect.”
- SOC recognizes the growing interest in electric and electric-assist bicycles. New for 2016 are e-bike races. (And if you’re riding an e-bike elsewhere in Monterey County, refer to local regulations in Bicycling Monterey’s bike rentals section; click here, then scroll to “What about non people-powered bikes?”)
- Volunteers: Want a free 4-day Festival Pass, and other benefits? Contact Sea Otter about volunteer opportunities. Wonder if they have enough volunteer spots? In 2014, for example, there were two thousand volunteers!
- Children: Sea Otter very much welcomes children; besides the fun of outreach to kids activities, children 12 and under are free every day.
- Military: Are you a military veteran recovering from a service-related disability, a retired veteran, or active duty personnel? Check out Sea Otter’s Veterans Program regarding discounted or complimentary passes for you and your family members every day.
- Athletes: If you’re registered as an amateur or pro racer at Sea Otter, or to participate in a recreational ride (i.e., Gran Fondo, Mountain Bike Tour, or Open Road Tour), your admission is free every day.
- And of course, you may purchase a one-day or four-day Festival Pass.
Help Sea Otter walk more lightly on the land, and sea
In case you missed it in the Expo notes above: Bring a reusable bag to haul your swag. Single-use plastic bags are no longer allowed in most of Monterey County, including unincorporated areas of the county, e.g., Laguna Seca. This reduces litter and helps keep plastic out of the Monterey Bay and other waterways. (Hey, we don’t want any sea otters choking on plastic!) Ask local White House Champion of Change Sarah Mae Nelson of the Monterey Bay Aquarium if you’d like to learn more. Sarah is on Twitter @snelson4618.
Sea Otter wants to help you bike to or around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, if your schedule and stamina permit. How? Visit SOC’s Ditch the Car webpage for tips. And the Parking page includes tips for bikes as well as vehicles.
Every mile of biking beats a mile of driving! That’s true for the health of our planet, as well as for personal health. Like Sea Otter, the City of Monterey and other local cities encourage transportation alternatives. Check out Monterey’s info on the environmental impact of cars.
If you’re able, please bike or bike-and-ride as much as possible throughout the four-day festival and your entire time in Monterey County. Sea Otter knows: This is an especially fabulous time for bike-lovers to visit Monterey County, including enjoying the bikeability of the neighborhoods surrounding many popular attractions.
While your biking is benefiting the Earth, there are other benefits to you, among them: Visiting history spots, farmers markets, and shopping districts by bicycle means you can avoid any traffic jams, get free and close parking, and have much more fun.
Monterey County support for people who bike
One way we show our love for people who bike is providing Tips for Bicycling Monterey County.
Another way is by providing additional resources to help you and your buddies stay safe and legal while having fun!
- Be Cool Be Safe – bike law summary
- Leyes de ciclismo de CA – Laws for bicyclists in CA (Spanish, English) – Summary
- About sidewalk riding
- About distracted driving, and biking
- Want the full 411? See California Bike Laws, including Monterey County sidewalk ordinances; plus Riding Skills and Safety Tips
And remember: Monterey County’s special “red carpet” for people who bike will be out on Thursday, Sea Otter Classic’s Opening Day.
Hundreds of Monterey County businesses and organizations—participants in The H-E-R Helmet Thursdays Project—encourage bicycling by offering discounts, on Thursdays year-round, to males and females who bike. And you bet. That includes on Sea Otter’s Opening Day. We wouldn’t think of making that day a restricted date! We’re thrilled all the extra cyclists are here.
Download the list of participating spots: HER Helmet Thursdays – Quick Reference Guide – as of 4 April 2016 (For the most current list anytime, visit the Listings/FAQs page.)
What’s The HER Helmet Thursdays Project? It was created and launched in Monterey County, as a public service, in 2009. This long-term ecology-economy sustainability project is also appropriate for other geographic locations. It is the first such discounts-for-bicyclists project in the U.S. and remains the nation’s largest. Click here to learn more.
Overnight lodging and camping, plus showers for day visitors:
- Hotels on SOC site
- Hotels, hostel, and other lodging providers in the HER Helmet Thursdays project (this site)
- Camping at Laguna Seca (SOC site)
- More camping in Monterey County (this site)
- Shower and change locations for day visitors (this site)
Coming early? Staying after? More things to do
- Master Calendar for Bicycling Monterey County includes activities and events for visitors and locals of all ages.
- Going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium? MBA encourages you to bike to reach the Aquarium.
- The National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, the Monterey County’s seat and its largest city, encourages biking. They are a HER Helmet Thursdays participant, and at Steinbeck Center, that means admission discounts on Thursdays for people who bike. The nearby Steinbeck House is also a HER Helmet Thursdays participant; this boyhood home of John Steinbeck is a great place for lunch or tea.
- Among Bicycling Monterey’s tips are specific tips for biking local communities, such as Carmel and Carmel Valley, Castroville, Greenfield, Pebble Beach, Salinas–including the Alisal/East Salinas, and Seaside.
- For more local attractions, and the bikeability of surrounding neighborhoods, scroll down the 2017 SOC’s “Riding Your Bike” page to “Riding Monterey Trails & Backroads” [a misnomer for that page]; there you’ll find SOC’s outline of Monterey County tips. And on the Bicycling Monterey website, you might start with Where to Bike.
- Consider a side trip to Pinnacles National Park on the Wednesday before or Monday after Sea Otter. Pinnacles is just east of the Salinas Valley, and the park’s west entrance is in Monterey County. Click for FAQs. You can bike at Pinnacles on surface roads or in the campgrounds; the trails are for hiking only. Spring is a favorite time to hike, rock climb, or just sit and meditate with beautiful panoramic views. During Sea Otter week, you’ll likely still see spring wildflowers.
- In Bicycling Monterey’s bike maps section, you’ll find a variety of local (and other) bike maps. These include the newly updated in 2016 countywide bike map from Transportation Agency for Monterey County. And here’s a unique map for people who bike in Monterey County; click on any of those hundreds of HER Helmet Thursdays spots to access bike-there tips for many of these hot spots for males and females who bike.
- Use Bicycling Monterey’s bike-and-ride tips if you’re using a transportation booster like the Monterey-Salinas Transit buses, the Monterey Airbus, Amtrak, or even your own vehicle’s bike rack to reach your Monterey County destinations. BTW, the downtown Monterey transit plaza has a Portland Loo. There’s plenty of room to take your bike inside while making use of the loo.
- Monterey Regional Airport tips.
- For more fun things to do, check the media and other resources at the end of this post, or contact me.
Tips for Bicycling Monterey County–a comprehensive guide
Refer to Tips for Bicycling Monterey County, a 20-section guide, including these and more:
- California Bike Laws, including Monterey County sidewalk ordinances; plus Riding Skills and Safety Tips
- Bike Rentals and Tours
- Bike-and-Ride Options
- Bicycle Valet and Other Bike Parking
- Bike Security, with Unique List of Places to Go
- Where to Bike in Monterey County
- Bike Maps and Other Tools for Finding Your Way
- Tips for Serious Cyclists
Who ya gonna call?
For questions about Sea Otter activities, contact the Sea Otter Classic team.
For general questions about biking in Monterey County, contact Mari Lynch, (831) 375-6278, a Monterey County resident since 1981.
Can’t reach Mari immediately and have an urgent question?
Other reliable help is available from Jan Valencia and Frank Henderson (below), plus contacts listed on Bicycling Monterey’s Main Resources/Monterey County Bike Community page.
Sea Otter Classic is for all ages
Sea Otter Classic is for singles, couples, and families of all sorts. It’s for a gal pal getaway, for hanging with the guys, for rallying your fitness buddies for renewed inspiration, or for kicking back with your neighbors for some party time. Many even make it a family reunion destination. Why not? Locals know SOC promises an action-packed four-day festival, and bike-loving visitors find it a great time to visit Monterey County!
SOC has activities of interest for toddlers to elders. Examples: Sea Otter Village activities. Click here for pictures of children at Sea Otter, and click here for moms and babies at Sea Otter. What? You think elders don’t bike? Monterey County has plenty of evidence to the contrary. Click here for examples–and know that you’ll find many of those faces at SOC too.
Make Sea Otter a part of your family’s history
The local family pictured below even made racing Sea Otter part of their homeschooling graduation requirements. Dad also helped prepare the track in 1991 for the first Sea Otter Classic, then called Laguna Seca Challenge.
Kira, Aaron, and Sieg Magenheim
At the 10th Anniversary Sea Otter Classic, 2000.
For an update on the family, click here.
Photo courtesy of Kay Magenheim
Local news sources
What’s the buzz?
Looking for live music venues or other nightlife suggestions?
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.
Want recommendations on where to go? Start here: “Best of Monterey County Bike-Friendly Award Winners.”
Monterey County Herald is the daily, a Digital First Media pub.
Carmel Magazine is a popular mag, along with 65 Degrees. These and more periodicals, including the Herald’s weekly GO! magazine and Carmel’s weekly newspaper, the Carmel Pine Cone, are available free on newstands.
Most of the above also have online editions.
Additional Monterey County Visitor Information
Monterey Bay Adventures, from the Monterey County Herald, features additional things to do.
Weather updates: http://www.twitter.com/NWSBayArea
Bicycle Leadership Conference
We know you’re looking in on the Sea Otter tips, planning to enjoy SOC while you’re in town too! And we have tips for Bicycle Leadership Conference attendees as well.
Some of the info in this post was first published in 2012 and has been updated, again, for 2016.
Feel free to contact Mari with questions.