“R” Category Welcomes the Wineries

The “R“/Restaurants/food and beverage service category of HER Helmet Thursdays welcomes the wineries!

Perhaps you’ve had the pleasure of biking the celebrated cycling routes throughout many European wine regions.  Or maybe you’ve been one of the many wine-lovers traveling to Napa and Sonoma vineyards by bicycle.

Because of the early leadership of three local wineries, you may expect to see more such cyclists in Monterey County, visiting our county’s wineries by bike.  Check them out, along with some new winery participants, in “Wine-ding your way along Monterey County bikeways.”

Dan Johnson invites violinist Laurel Thomsen to a Cannery Row tasting room.

HER Helmet Thursdays welcomes the wineries

Dan Johnson was the first to catch the vision, when he worked at Baywood Cellars. He was followed promptly by his friend Josh at Pierce Vineyards, then Stefanie at Scheid Vineyards–wineries leading the way in Monterey County’s HER Helmet Thursdays project.    See “Wine-ding your way along Monterey County bikeways” for photos.

HER Helmet Thursdays is a long-term ecology-economy sustainability project to encourage more bicycling.  (It is not a short-term discount promotion.)  In less than a year, the number of participating businesses and organizations has tripled.

HER? For women?  No, this is for male and female cyclists.

HER  refers to Mother Earth, who benefits from more people cycling!  H-E-R is also an acronym for  Hotels (and other lodging), Educational attractions and entertainment venues, and Restaurants (and other food and beverage service—which is right where the wineries fit in!).

Avid cyclist and Monterey County native Aaron Magenheim of Signature Irrigation suggested adding wineries to the project.  Project coordinator, Mari Lynch, thanked Aaron for his great idea and immediately invited three local wineries—and all said yes, we want to be part of supporting more biking in our county!

So, what’s the helmet about?  Walk in with a bike helmet on Thursdays at any “E” or “R” spot and—bingo!—get a discount, just because you biked there.  (For “H”/hotels/lodging, there are different arrangements:  no need to bike there, just BYOB/bring your own bike, or rent one from any Monterey County bike rental location for a discount on the Thursday night stay.)

The first three wineries

These Monterey County visionaries—foreseeing a popular cycling route along the Monterey County vineyards trail—blazed that trail by giving discounts on all wine sales, including tasting room fees, to cyclists on Thursdays.

This project isn’t just for the Monterey Peninsula though, it’s for all of Monterey County!  Also in the HER Helmet Thursdays project is Scheid Vineyards’ Greenfield location, a lovely spot for Greenfield residents or visitors and a terrific destination for any avid cyclist.

HER Helmet Thursdays charter participant locations (from all H-E-R categories) already include Big Sur, Carmel, Carmel Valley, Castroville, Del Rey Oaks, Gonzales, Greenfield, Marina, Monterey, Moss Landing, Pacific Grove, Salinas, San Ardo, Sand City, Seaside, and Soledad.

Wineries throughout the county are encouraged to participate, regardless of how remote their tasting room/wine sales location may be.  Together all participants in this countywide project help build a reputation for Monterey County as one of the most bicycling friendly places in the country, attracting new visitors here—and in a way that helps our economy and helps the environment.

Drinking and bicycle safety

Wondering about wine drinkers weaving along the bikeways?  Cyclists are reminded on the Bicycling Monterey site that if you consume alcohol, just as intoxicated drivers are subject to a DUI (driving under the influence) ticket, cyclists are likewise subject to a BUI (biking under the influence).   Refer to VC 21200.5 in this overview of California bicycle laws.  The California Department of Motor Vehicles indicates a BUI fine of not more than $250, whereas they state that the cost of a DUI can total $8,240 or more.   Regardless, driving under the influence isn’t cool, whatever your mode of transportation.

Does that mean you can’t use a bicycle for transportation if you enjoy alcohol?  Au contraire! One simply uses the same good judgment about when it’s safe to get behind those handlebars as when it’s safe to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.  And for more ideas on staying safe while cycling, see the “Personal Bike Safety” section of Tips for Bicycling Monterey County.©

How can other wineries get involved?

While the above three wineries—Baywood, Pierce, and Scheid—were the first, other wineries are now encouraged to come into the HER Helmet Thursdays project too.

Creating and launching the project is Mari Lynch’s gift to her home county of 30 years.  Charter (first-year) participants pay no fee to participate.  Those who are joining in the project’s second and third year will be happy to learn that the no-fee policy continues.

All wineries with a tasting room or wine lounge in Monterey County are invited to participate.  Please do not wait for a direct personal invitation.  Contact Mari Lynch , 831-375-6278.  If you prefer, simply refer to “How to Participate–for Businesses and Organizations” and sign up online.

A healthy environment is critical to healthy crops, including great grapes, and great wines.  And the HER Helmet Thursdays project is one more step toward sustaining the environment—and economy—of Monterey County.  Questions?  Please give Mari a call.