LISTINGS, How to Get the Discounts, and FAQs about HER Helmet Thursdays

Return to HER Helmet Thursdays information Quick Links.
Short link to this page:

Did you come to this page via the Facebook event page for opening day of the Sea Otter Classic, and think tickets are required?  No tickets necessary. HER Helmet Thursdays was launched 2009 in Monterey County as a public service. Questions? Phone calls are welcome.

Scroll down this page for:

A.  Listings: Quick Reference Guide, which lists all participating spots
B.  Listings: Venues Map, which displays most participating spots
CHow to get the discounts
D Frequently Asked Questions / FAQs

But first…

What is the HER Helmet Thursdays project?

People who bike (regardless of gender) get 10-50% discounts on Thursdays at participating businesses and organizations. Currently available from hundreds of spots  in 19 Monterey County cities and unincorporated communities. Discounts are from 12:00 a.m. til 11:59 p.m. on Thursdays year-round. Date restrictions may apply.
HER refers to Mother Earth, who benefits from more people biking!H-E-R is also an acronym for Hotels, Educational attractions and Entertainment venues, and Restaurants–the primary types of places that participate. Related places, such as wineries,  participate too.
Why the helmet? See FAQs below.

“I have gone to businesses on HER Helmet Thursdays, and they are always gracious. Thank you for making such a great program work!”–Sam Poteete

ksbw glove motion“No profit motive for its creator, Mari Lynch, just a vision to see more locals and tourists ride bikes.”–Ravi Kapur, KSBW

Contributions are welcome.

A.  Quick Reference Guide

Alphabetical listing of all participating spots.

Click the link directly below to download PDF:

HER Helmet Thursdays – Quick Reference Guide – as of 20 Feb 2017

How to use the Quick Reference Guide:
Before going there to claim a discount, click on their name to read that spot’s details. Many include bike-there tips too.

B.  Venues Map

This auto-generated map shows most—but not allparticipating spots.

Click link below to access map.

HER Helmet Thursdays – Map

How to use the map:
  1. You may want to first look over the Quick Reference Guide to get an idea of who you can expect to find on the map.
  2. Using the map can be handy if you want to choose a venue by geographic area. HER Helmet Thursdays spots are in 19 Monterey County cities and unincorporated communities/census-designated places, including Big Sur, Carmel and Carmel Valley, Castroville, Corral de Tierra, Gonzales, Greenfield, King City, Marina, Monterey, Moss Landing, Pacific Grove, Pajaro, Prunedale, Salinas, San Ardo, Sand City, Seaside, and Soledad. 
  3. Click any dot on the map. The first click provides basic info, as shown in the Monterey Museum of Art example below.
  4. Before going there to claim a discount, please be sure to “CLICK FOR FULL DETAILS.” Besides other important info, “full details” include bike-there tips for many spots–e.g., see Haute Enchilada in Moss Landing.

    Below: Example of basic listing info (“first click” on the map).

    Monterey Museum Of Art Pacific Street (Educational attractions)
    559 Pacific Street Monterey, CA, 93940
    831-372-5477 CLICK FOR FULL DETAILS
    Discount: 50%Restrictions: Alcohol excludedCLICK FOR FULL DETAILS

    Photo courtesy of Monterey Museum of Art, La Mirada and Pacific Street

    Monterey Museum of Art - HER Helmet Thursdays
  5. Additional notes about using the map. and other search tips,  are provided at the end of this webpage.

C. How to get the discounts

Please also refer to the FAQs below. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

How to get discounts on “H” = Hotels/other lodging

Mention HER Helmet Thursdays, and either BYOB (bring your own bike) or rent a bike for one day or longer from any Monterey County bike rental location. A bike rental can be for all day on Thursday or Friday. However, the discount is on the Thursday night lodging only.

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How to get discounts on

“E” = Educational attractions, Entertainment venues (including “Everything” else that doesn’t fit in the H or R categories!)

“R” = Restaurants, and other food and beverages, including wineries

Bike or bike-and-ride to an “E” or “R” place on Thursday, then mention HER Helmet Thursdays—and show your helmet.
  • About the bike-and-ride option: You must bike as far as your stamina and schedule permit. Please refer to FAQs below for examples.
  • If a place has bike valet parking or a hat-check room, you may leave your helmet with the valet or check room attendant. Simply ask them to write “helmet” or “bike” on your claim check, so you may show that to your server.
  • A few venues allow showing a bike pump, rather than a helmet, as alternative evidence you biked there.  If so, that option may be noted in their individual listing.

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Frequently Asked Questions

(The blue or “bold” black text below are all links–click them for more info.)
  1. How did The HER Helmet Thursdays Project get started? Monterey County Weekly asked that question too. And they invited Mari to write “Wheel the Earth” to tell the story.  (And the Weekly also teamed up with eleven local bike shops to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the project in 2014.)
  2. It sounds like a bike safety project for females! It isn’t, but it makes sense that it may first be perceived that way. The discounts are for all people regardless of gender. Listen to a 2-minute audio from KUSP, or read the transcript, “What’s up with the bike helmet buzz?”
  3. Does CA law require wearing a helmet? Only if you are under age 18, per VC section 21212. (For more about helmets, see “Riding skills, safety, Clifornia bike laws in the Tips for Bicycling Monterey County guide, and Bicycling Monterey posts such as this and this.)Cesar Chavez Greenfield student fitted with helmet 2012
  4. Then why the helmet in HER Helmet Thursdays?  A helmet avoids the need for a plastic card, coupon, punch card, etc. It was simply chosen as the evidence of bicycling, because it is a common accessory. See “It’s not about wearing a helmet.”
  5. Can I just drive there and have a helmet in my car, and still get the discount?  No. The project’s purpose is to encourage biking. Please read #6, 7, 8 for additional clarification.
  6. Do I have to bike to an “H/hotels/lodging” place to get their lodging discount?  No. You get a Thursday night lodging discount simply by showing you’re going to do some biking while you’re there.  See “How to get a lodging discount” for exactly what’s required.
  7. Do I have to bike all the way to an “E/educational/entertainment” spot or  to”R/restaurants and related places” to get the discount?  Not all the way, but it is necessary to bike at least partway there to get the discount.  It’s fine to use a bike-and-ride option partway. To get the discount, you’re only required to bike as far as your stamina and schedule allow. You’re on the honor system.  See examples of how the bike-and-ride option works in FAQ #26 below.MST - Cini closeup
  8. If we biked earlier in the day, can we get a discount that night? Only on Thursday night lodging. (See “How to get a lodging discount.“) It is not okay to bike earlier in the day and ask for a discount that night at an E/educational/entertainment”or “R/restaurants and related places” spot. Instead, it’s necessary to bike or bike-and-ride to reach that spot. (If you bike at night, you may want to refer to night riding tips.)
  9. I don’t like wearing a helmet! It isn’t required to wear a helmet to get discounts at E & R spots, just show one after you bike or bike-and-ride there. If you’re adamant about not wearing a helmet, one option is to buy an inexpensive one and just carry it along in your pack, pannier, etc.  If the cost of a helmet is what’s holding you back, check this out: a local Bike League instructor found that an economy helmet online can be as low as $3.95, as of 3/5/14 (see example). However, many of us much prefer to support local bike shops!
  10. Do I show my helmet at a fancy place?  Places with valet service or a hat-check room can jot “bike” or “helmet” on the claim check. You can show that to the staff member who will present your tab, and they can give you the discount.  See “May I take your helmet, Sir?” in HER Helmet Thursdays, Part II for additional tips.
  11. I want to dress more elegantly–but on a bike?  See the “How to dress” tips and “Inspiration” provided in “Bike Fashionistas.”Chic signaling
  12. Do the more formal venues offer bike valet parking, as for cars? Yes, most do!  Bicycle valet parking is part of our bike-friendly county. Call them ahead if you wish to confirm.Nick - cheery valet and savvy cyclist
  13. I’ve heard there are wineries in the “R/Restaurants/other food and beverage” category. You heard right!  See “Wine-ding your way along Monterey County bikeways.”Besides both elegant and casual restaurants, the “R” category also includes other types of places with sit-down food or beverage service. Among these are wineries, coffee houses,  bakeries, delis, and more.
  14. What about drinking alcohol and biking?  See “Safe biking and drinking” tips in “Wine-ding your way along Monterey County bikeways.”
  15. Any Seafood Watch program participants in HER Helmet Thursdays?   You bet! See “Bike for Sustainable Seafood.”I was once as skittish about fish as I am about new tech!
  16. Any places on the Monterey wharfs? Yes, Wharf II is unanimous, and there are also participants on Wharf I.HHT - Wharf 2 sign - DSC00331
  17. What’s in the “E”/Education/Entertainment” category? The  “E” category is flexibly defined–anything that may be considered educational or entertaining. Among participants are  such things as art, literary, and children’s museums; whale watching; concert venues; spas; and a few  surprises! For example, there’s a photo shop that touts how educational and entertaining their photography is,  and a family chiropractic practice that asked to be part of the fun–they said they educate their patients on healthy living! Questions?   Please contact Mari.Museum of Monterey 8 Jan 2012 (1)
  18. We’re going to the Steinbeck Center. Any places in Salinas?  You bet!  The National Steinbeck Center and the Steinbeck House are both HER Helmet Thursdays participants, but that’s just the start. You’ll also find Salinas lodging, dining, theater, and spa services in the HER Helmet Thursdays project. Check out the Bicycling Salinas section of this site.Taco El Jali Alisal at Madeira
  19. We’re not going to remain on the Monterey Peninsula, we like to explore other parts of the county too.  Wonderful! Although there are fewer participants in rural or more remote areas, there are indeed HER Helmet Thursdays spots spread all over Monterey County, including North and South County towns. (For example, one of the charter participants is San Ardo Cafe in San Ardo.) Also note that there are lists of the first HER Helmet Thursdays spots for each of these cities in their tips sections: Carmel and Carmel Valley, Castroville and other North County spots, Greenfield and other South County spots, Salinas, and Seaside.Birrieria & Restaurant Coalcoman - Castroville
  20. Which are the easiest venues to bike to with children? In Tips for Bicycling Monterey County, section 10, “Where to Bike,” you’ll find suggested routes that are all off-road/Class I bike paths, great for traveling with children.  There are lots of HER Helmet Thursdays spots along or near Class I paths.  The map makes such locations easy to find, or contact me. Also check out the Lighthouse Avenue spots, which includes information about sidewalk riding.Dad and daughters Wharf Marketplace April 2015
  21. Any more route tips? See bike maps section of the Tips for Bicycling Monterey County guide. Also see “Where to get additional route tips” in “Partner Up with HER Helmet Thursdays Ecology-Economy Leaders.”Salinas bike map
  22. We want to make a reservation. How can we estimate our arrival time? See “Estimating arrival time” in “Partner Up with HER Helmet Thursdays Ecology-Economy Leaders.”
  23. I’m a visitor and can’t figure out these locations easily. No worries, contact me for help. Other resources: bike maps, or local bike shops, or other bike community leaders.
  24. I’m a local and have bike-there tips to suggest. Great! Contact me.  I’d love to have your help, and to add you to the Acknowledgements page.
  25. We have expensive bikes that we like to keep an eye on all the time. Along with other bicycle security tips, the “Bike Security” section includes a large sampling of HER Helmet Thursdays spots that make this easy, with photos of many.Security - Golden Fish parking
  26. Can you give me examples about using bike-and-ride to reach an “E/educational/entertainment” spot or  to”R/restaurants and related places”?  Sure! Bike and ride MST Jazz Line downtown MontereyRemember that to get the discount, you must ride a bike at least partway there; and you may use a bike-and-ride option the rest of the way. You are to bike as far as your stamina and schedule allow; you’re on the honor system. Here are some examples: Bike rack - atop car kids - DSC00421(a) You live in Del Rey Oaks and want to take your kids to breakfast on Cannery Row. Take your bikes on a car rack or MST bus to the Class I coastal trail near the corner of Canyon del Rey and Del Monte, then bike the rest of the way to Cannery Row. (b) You live in San Francisco and want to explore John Steinbeck’s hometown.  Cool!  Take your bike on the train to Salinas, then bike around Salinas to the National Steinbeck Center, Steinbeck House, and other HER Helmet Thursdays spots, and still get a discount because you biked as well as used the train bike-and-ride option.  (c) You’re in Marina and want to have lunch in Moss Landing or Castroville.  Take your bike there on the MST bus, get a discount (e.g., at Haute Enchilada or Lemon Grass Thai in Moss Landing; or at the Castroville spots), then bike the return trip, with the wind at your back!  (d)  You have a bike rack and love biking around Carmel-by-the-Sea in the early morning, when the streets are quiet.  But you live in Salinas and don’t want to bike all the way there!  No worries, put your bike on your car’s rack, drive on over; then park your car at the outskirts of Carmel.  You can bike to breakfast, get a discount, and enjoy a beautiful morning of biking all around Carmel. (e) You want to explore South County, and you know there are HER Helmet Thursdays spots in Gonzales, Greenfield, King City, San Ardo, and Soledad. However, those destinations are too far to bike from your starting point. So bike-and-ride, e.g., using an MST bus or a personal vehicle. (f) You want to have a big shopping-by-bike day in Sand City and Seaside, including eating meals out. You know there are HER Helmet Thursdays restaurants in both towns. You’d like to be able to drive there so you can bike around to shop, make frequent stops back where you parked your car to unload purchases, then keep biking more. Sounds like my kind of shopping trip! And those discounts–available morning, noon, and night–will help pay for your shopping purchases.Crossroads bus stop - DSC00142
  27. My favorite places aren’t in the HER Helmet Thursdays project yet. Feel free to invite them; click here for instructions.
  28. My business [or organization] would like to be in this project, though we haven’t been invited. Outreach happens gradually in this long-term project, and there’s no need to wait. You are welcome to sign up now!
  29. How can we learn who the newest participants are? Among the ways to catch this news: (a) Follow @HERHelmetThurs on Twitter. That Twitter account’s primary purpose is to share news about participating businesses and organizations, including announcing new participants. (b) Check Thursdays on Bicycling Monterey’s master calendar. Beginning June 25, 2015, on the first Thursday after a business or organization joins the HER Helmet Thursdays project, that new participant will be highlighted on the calendar. (c) Subscribe to the Bicycling Monterey website; new participants are typically mentioned in the occasional news summaries sent to subscribers. (d) Contact me and ask who the newest participants are.

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The HER Helmet Thursdays Project was launched Thanksgiving week 2009 as a public service, with no fee charged to participating businesses and organizations, and no fee charged to people who bike. That’s still the case as Bicycling Monterey’s 9th year begins in May 2017.HER Helmet Thursdays 5th Anniversary poster JQ2Help maintain and expand this project by  making a financial contribution. Any amount is meaningful and appreciated. Or, contribute volunteer time or project supplies; contact Mari.

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Miscellaneous search tips

When you already know the name of the HER Helmet Thursdays participant, you can often access their listing on the web by doing one of the following:

1. Type in your browser’s find window, within quotation marks, the name of a place, followed by “HER Helmet Thursdays”

For example, try:

“Monterey Museum of Art”  “HER Helmet Thursdays”

2. Or, type in your browser’s find window: [and then the name of the participating spot]

For example, try: “Monterey Museum of Art”

How to access a browser’s FIND window? For Windows and Linux, type Control or Ctrl + F. Macintosh, use Command + F.)
Miscellaneous notes about using the map
  • If you notice a participating location absent from the map or showing up incorrectly, please let me know.
  • If you’d like help with the map, please contact me.
  • NOTE: Apple changed how it interfaces with Google maps. You may, for example, find that you can still successfully access HER Helmet Thursdays listings via the map when using a PC desktop or laptop but perhaps not via an Apple iPhone 4S!  Any remedy? For some folks, while not a convenient user interface, you may be able to get the desired results on your iPhone by using this method: Zoom in by doing a “reverse pinch,” or pinching on the white space underneath the map. Once you’ve reverse pinched, you may be able to do the usual:  Touch a red dot with your finger to access the desired information.
  • Troubleshooting the Apple-Google Maps access problem is pending available volunteer time. Contact me with questions–or better still, contact me if you are a smartphone wizard (preferably also savvy about Ruby on Rails) and may be able to contribute time to help make the map work better for smartphones.

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Please feel free to contact Mari, 831.375.6278.

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Special thanks to

Charter Participants.

These visionaries were the foundation

of The HER Helmet Thursdays Project!

Click here for a list of these early leaders.

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If you found info on this site valuable

Please consider making a contribution to help maintain and expand these resources.  Even the smallest contribution is meaningful and appreciated.