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Bicycling Castroville – plus North County HER Helmet Thursdays spots

Along with Castroville tips, this post also highlights North County’s first HER Helmet Thursdays spots. For a complete list of the first spots in Castroville, Moss Landing, and Pajaro giving these discounts on Thursdays to people who bike, scroll to the end of this post.
“You mean you haven’t biked Castroville yet?  What are you waiting for?”
This Class I path at Castroville  is a great place for kids to learn bike skills, as many area parents know.
Mom can jog, and I can ride.
No cars on this bike path, barely anybody at all.
It’s way fun!

And just across from the path is a bilingual Spanish-English bike shop!

Tony’s Bike Shop & SkateboardsNEW LOCATION January 201510917 Merritt Street (in Cabrillo Plaza, behind the Trolley Car), Castroville; 831/272-8409. Usual hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday; phone them for any updates.  (As of 1/6/15, no website.)

The shop is named after owner Saul Soto’s dad, Tony. The bike shop was first located here…

Castroville - Tony's Bike Shopthen moved to a spot in the same shopping center, here…

Tony's Bike Shop - Castroville - Oct 18 2013

before moving to Tony’s current address, 10917 Merritt Street, behind the trolley car, in the Cabrillo Plaza.

Among new and used bikes at Tony’s Bike Shop, you’ll find mountain and road bikes,  custom lowriders, BMX, fixies, and more.

Se habla español!

Looking for a bicicleta? Owner Saul Soto of Tony’s Bike Shop, Castroville is one of Monterey County’s best resources for Spanish speakers who bike! Hear him below (at left), chatting with a customer.

Ask Saul also about bicycle swap meets

Ask him when the next date is! On 3/29/15, a bicycle swap meet was organized by Saul and held in the parking lot by Tony’s Bike Shop. People brought or got used or new bicycles, bike parts, biking accessories. There was free vendor space for everyone.

What’s up with Castroville?

Founded by Juan Bautista Castro in 1863, Castroville is Monterey County’s second oldest town. It is widely known as the Artichoke Capital or the Artichoke Center of the World.

Every year, thousands of people have flocked to Castroville’s Artichoke Festival, an event that boasts such local history as Marilyn Monroe being Castroville’s first Artichoke Queen in 1948.  There’s a parade you may want to bike in, musical entertainment, ag art competition, field tours, farmers market, arts and crafts, cooking demos, wine tasting, and more.  Don’t miss the fun! However, note that as of 2014, most of the festival will take place at the Monterey County Fairgrounds & Event Center. The parade may still take place in Castroville.  Contact Denise Amerison and Artichoke Festival for updates. 

Year-round,  touring cyclists biking on Highway 1 can enjoy a fun refueling stop in Castroville, with its unique small-town flavor.  And many cyclists from the Monterey Peninsula make Castroville their destination for a day’s bike outing, since the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail stretches all the way to Castroville.

Along the way here in North County, you may be welcomed by Kermit the Frog, as these Santa Cruz County touring teens were. Click here to learn more. Monterey County Weekly’s 2015 Editors’ Picks say Kermit’s appearance on Molera Road, Castroville—most every Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. -2:30 p.m. is the Best Reason to Bike to Moss Landing and Beyond.

Bike-there direx tips

Whether you’re biking or doing the bike-and-ride, you may find it helpful to refer to the bike-there tips for a Castroville HER Helmet Thursdays location. Below are the first participants. (Note that Merritt Street is Castroville’s “Main Street”–the street with the “Welcome to the Artichoke Center of the World” sign hanging overhead.)

Artichoke Inn, Birrieria & Restaurant Estilo Coalcoman, and Mariscos Nayarita (north end of Merritt Street)

Hanabi Japanese and Round Table Pizza (in Castroville Station shopping center, off Merritt Street)

Deliciosos Tacos Castroville (south end of Merritt Street)Deliciosos Tacos Castroville

Below, Marisco’s Nayarita on a karaoke night.

Mariscos Nayarita Castroville

Sylvia Barrientos was the first Castroville leader to put her business (Round Table Pizza)  in the HER Helmet Thursdays project.

Castroville Station bike rack locations

Making a stop at Castroville Station?  Bike racks are located under the stairway, next to the laundromat, and nearby, close to the other stairwell.

Two bike racks next to Hanabi

Hanabi, another HER Helmet Thursdays spot

Bici! Bike! – Spanish and English bicycling info

Castroville is 88.4% Hispanic/Latino, which  makes it a great place to find others who can speak Spanish with you.  Don’t speak Spanish? Great place to learn!

Download a summary of California bike laws in Spanish and English, and share them with people you meet.

Leyes de ciclismo de CA – Laws for bicyclists in CA (Spanish, English) – Summary

Or share a flier about Spanish-language resources available on this site:

SPANISH 2-to-a-pg flier re Spanish resources

Make some Castroville memories

Castroville is near and dear to my heart, because the first beloved friend I made in Monterey County–back in 1976, when I moved to the Monterey Bay region–lives in the Elkhorn neighborhood.

Another special Castroville memory was attending my Girl Scout leader training sessions at Girl Scouts of the Central Coast (Northern Region).

And the yummy Mexican food in Castroville was a strong lure whenever my family was returning from backpacking in Yosemite.  Somehow, nearing Castroville, none of us could wait and eat supper at home. Instead, we just had to make a stop in Castroville!

Lizsandra bikes often in her hometown of Salinas. Her best friend, Alexis, lives in Castroville–which is why Lizsandra was here today, biking in Rancho Moro Cojo Community Park.
And here Lizsandra is visiting with her best friend’s mom, Grace Campos, proprietress of the popular Taco Mia (831/970-9883).

This Castroville cyclist, Max, and his dad were part of the 7/14/12 Rolling Riders fun in Salinas at the Kiddie Kapers parade, a California Rodeo Salinas tradition.  Max clearly has it figured out that high-visibility apparel and accessories are the way to go on many bikeways.

Questions about Castroville?

Who ya gonna ask?

Existing bike maps don’t help a lot for people biking Castroville for the first time. Contact Saul Soto at Tony’s Bike Shop, 10917 Merritt Street (in Cabrillo Plaza, behind the Trolley Car); 831/272-8409.

For general questions about Castroville…

Ask a librarian! Looking up information on the web is so common today that many people have forgotten about an extraordinary information resource, and one of our communities’ best assets:  reference librarians at local public libraries!  The Castroville library is at 11160 Speegle Street; (831) 769-8724.  Spanish speakers, ask for Irene, Yanet, or Cecelia.

Denice Amerison is another helpful Castroville resource, including about the annual Artichoke Festival and much more. Contact Denise by phone (831/633-2465) or stop by the North Monterey County Chamber of Commerce office.

Diego Tapia below) is well-versed with Castroville area routes…

He bikes from his home in Watsonville to his workplace, the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula.

View from the Class I bike path parallel to Highway 1, heading south of Castroville.

Help raise the bike-friendly bar in North County

There are over 200 businesses and organizations in the HER Helmet Thursdays project countywide.  Besides those Castroville spots mentioned above, there are North County spots in Moss Landing, including Haute Enchilada Cafe & Gallery and Lemon Grass Seafood Bar and Grill; and in Pajaro, at G’s Tacos and Real Colima I.

Don’t be confused that sometimes Pajaro (Monterey County) addresses are sometimes listed as being in Watsonville (Santa Cruz County).G's Tacos Pajaro AKA Watsonville address

Have a favorite Castroville or other North County spot not yet in the project?  Invite them! As of the project’s fifth anniversary, there is still no fee to participate.

And business owners and organization directors need not wait for an invitation.  Any H-E-R spot (hotel/lodging, educational or entertainment venue, restaurant, or related place) can join by signing up online or by phoning 831.375.6278.

Here is a list of the first North County HER Helmet Thursdays spots—in Castroville, Moss Landing, and Pajaro:

  1. Artichoke Inn, Castroville
  2. Birrieria & Restaurant Estilo Coalcoman, Castroville
  3. Deliciosos Tacos Castroville
  4. G’s Tacos, PajaroG's Tacos Pajaro
  5. Hanabi Japanese, Castroville
  6. Haute Enchilada Cafe & Gallery, Moss Landing
  7. Lemon Grass Seafood Bar and Grill, Moss Landing
  8. Mariscos Nayarita, CastrovilleMariscos Nayarita Castroville interior
  9. Real Colima I, Pajaro
  10. Round Table Pizza, Castroville
  1. Dave Clark says:

    Post a map of this bike trail. Thanks, Dave

    Dave: Contact http://tamcmonterey.org/programs/bikeped/index.html and let the bike/ped coordinator know you’d like their next edition of the Monterey County bike map to include all of North County. (I’ve put in that request myself, and the more people who let TAMC know about that need, the better.)

  2. TerryR says:

    Mari,
    This is a great post about biking in Castroville. Thank you! We just moved here, and walk on that path everyday, but now I definitely want to dust off the bike and get out further on the trail.

    I noticed that your link to the the Artichoke Festival is broken. The correct link is http://www.artichokefestival.org

    I rode my bike in the Artichoke Festival Parade a few years ago. What a HOOT that was!

    Thanks again!

  3. marilynch says:

    You’re welcome, Terry, and thanks for the broken link fix. Very helpful. :) http://marilynch.com/blog/using-this-site/be-a-community-reviewer

    See the Master Calendar for May 30-31, 2015 for info on the bike valet, etc. at the Artichoke Festival. http://marilynch.com/blog/resources/calendar-of-bike-related-events-for-monterey-county

    Feel free to write a guest post about biking Castroville anytime. http://marilynch.com/blog/about/volunteer-acknowledgements/local-bike-news-submissions-invited

    Biking the Artichoke Festival parade does sound fun! Also, you may be interested in biking in other parades, such as those mentioned in http://marilynch.com/blog/tips-for-tourists/biking-in-the-dark First Night Monterey organizers years ago asked to have a bicycling presence in that parade; perhaps sometime volunteers from the bike community will make that happen.

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