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Lodging Providers Show Monterey County Is a Bike-Friendly Place

Coming to Monterey County and bringing or renting a bike?  You’ll get a special welcome here!
See How and Where to Get a Lodging Discount from lodging providers participating in the HER Helmet Thursdays Project.

Experiencing Monterey County on a bicycle brings you closer to the natural world here, and it also fosters unique connections with people visiting our local communities. Tourists here come from all over the planet. They expand our perspectives, and we are grateful for how they enrich our lives, through serendipitous or planned interactions. How did I learn tips about biologico labeling, preparing me for a 2008 trip to Italy? From the Italian businessmen who were shopping for organically grown produce alongside me at a Carmel Valley market. In Monterey County, it’s easy to make…

World community connections

  • Where did I learn that Russian children’s song? From a Russian woman on a bench near Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf.
  • How did I gain new understanding about modern Scandinavian social life? By listening to a couple from Denmark, who explained social programs and their impact while we shared supper in a Pacific Grove restaurant.
  • And who gave me a more realistic perspective on feeling tech clueless? The couple from Los Angeles, fresh-out-of-college computer science grads in high-level IT jobs, who shared their own bewilderment with me over wine at a lovely Carmel inn.

All these exchanges were unplanned, and all took place right here in Monterey County, without my traveling anywhere—except for leaving home on my bicycle!  Throughout this site, get acquainted with some of them via photos and snippets of their travel tales.

Our visitors who love to bike come from France, Germany, Holland, Italy, and just about every other country. And of course, you’ll see that American tourists as well are delighted by the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail, the flat streets of Salinas, and other places to bike in Monterey County.

I love our tourists, as most locals do. And Monterey County’s lodging providers are expressing our affection and gratitude for our visitors in a brand new way, through the HER Helmet Thursdays project.

BYOB/Bring Your Own Bike…

or rent one in Monterey County, and get a discount on your Thursday night lodging!

Yes, just BYOB or rent a bicycle for one day or longer from any Monterey County bike rental location, and lodging providers listed in the HER Helmet Thursdays project will give you a Thursday night discount.  To learn how it works, read “How to Get a Lodging Discount.”

There’s a unique pleasure in announcing the charter participants below, early leaders in the “H”/Hotel/lodging category of the HER Helmet Thursdays project. These ecology-economy leaders support their guests in leaving their cars at their place of lodging, at least some of the time. (That was a topic of discussion at a local city council meeting in 2009 that was part of the inspiration for HER Helmet Thursdays! See “Wheel the Earth,” the Monterey County Weekly’s Earth Day 2010 op-ed piece.) This means guests have more opportunities to experience our beautiful area in an up close and personal way, and to make more of those interpersonal connections too.

Above: Lisa Hoch of Germany on her first exploration of the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail.

Lodging leaders in a bike-friendly county

In alphabetical order, here are the first 14 leaders, charter participants in the lodging category of the HER Helmet Thursdays project
(This post was previously published December 10, 2010.  Since then, additional lodging providers have been added. To find them quickly, scroll to the end of this post.)

Want to make your trip even more economical?  Check out all the other HER Helmet Thursdays participants in those listings!  Make use of the many types of discounts for  cyclists in Monterey County–savings on educational attractions, entertainment venues, restaurants, wineries, and more.  If you don’t bring your own bike, but rent one here instead, the many HHT discounts for people who bike can quickly make up for the cost of a bike rental!

Read the individual property’s HER Helmet Thursdays (HHT) listing before claiming your discount.
  1. Carmel Mission Inn, Carmel – 10% off; see their HHT listing
  2. Carmel River Inn, Carmel – 50% off or best available rate; see their HHT listing
  3. Courtyard by Marriott, Salinas – 15% off; see their HHT listing
  4. Cypress Inn, Carmel – 30% off;  see their HHT listing
  5. Forest Lodge, Carmel – 30% off regular rack rate;  see their HHT listing
  6. InterContinental The Clement Monterey, Monterey– 20% off;  see their HHT listing
  7. Jabberwock Inn, Monterey – 20% off;  see their HHT listing
  8. Lamp Lighter Inn, Carmel – 30% off regular rack rate; see their HHT listing
  9. Los Laureles Lodge, Carmel Valley – 20% off;  see their HHT listing
  10. Monterey Fireside Lodge, Monterey – 10% off;  see their HHT listing
  11. Monterey Hostel, Monterey50% off;  see their HHT listing
  12. Monterey Hotel, Monterey30% off or best available rate;  see their HHT listing
  13. Residence Inn by Marriott, Salinas – 15% off;  see their HHT listing
  14. Sanctuary Beach Resort, Marina – 20% off the rack rate;  see their HHT listing

In addition to the information you’ll find in their HER Helmet Thursdays listings, here are some personal insights about these properties and the people who make them so special.

Meet the 14 Charter Participating Lodging Providers–the Earliest Leaders!

(Looking for an up-to-date list of all HHT lodging providers? Begin by scrolling to the end of this post.)

Intercontinental The Clement Monterey

On Cannery Row, InterContinental The Clement Monterey, pictured above, is on the waterfront, luxuriously sandwiched between the Monterey Bay and the Cannery Row bike path.  The Clement’s Cathy Faber, a longtime local resident, has an eye out for how The Clement serves tourists and also for how it can best serve the local community.

Renowned violinist Laurel Thomsen, born and raised just a few blocks from The Clement, welcomes the hotel into the HER Helmet Thursdays project.  The Clement offers valet parking not only for cars, but bicycle valet service, too–reducing traffic in Laurel’s native New Monterey neighborhood.

Credit for photo below:   Monterey Fireside Lodge

Monterey Fireside Lodge

Tucked away up on 10th Street, conveniently located just off Highway 1, is the Monterey Fireside Lodge. This motel is between Monterey Peninsula College and the Naval Postgraduate School and is just up the street from El Estero Lake (location of the popular Dennis the Menace Park).  It’s also a very close bike ride to Del Monte Beach, the wharfs, and downtown Monterey.  Such proximity makes this an especially welcome participant in HER Helmet Thursdays.

If you are biking up 10th Street on a pleasant day, don’t be surprised if you see innkeeper Shin out with a smile as she lovingly tends to the landscaping work on her property. Thanks to her, guests and passers-by see beautiful flowers like those on her property above.  This delightful lady, and her son, Steve Bauer-Schmidt, are usually personally on duty at the Monterey Fireside Lodge.

Credit for photo below:  Monterey Hotel

In Old Monterey, historic property the Monterey Hotel.
The Monterey Hotel

is located on Alvarado Street–right where everything is happening downtown, yet super close to the bike/multi-use path and Del Monte Beach!   You step off the bustle of Alvarado Street and enter the Monterey Hotel, and you can immediately feel the tranquility and charm established by Nancy Morales and other staff.  On being invited to join HER Helmet Thursdays, Nancy first thoughtfully considered bicycle parking (this is a historic property with special considerations).  After confirming the ease of arrangements for cyclists with her staff, she responded with confidence:  “Yes, cyclists and their bikes are well accommodated here!  We’d be glad to participate in HER Helmet Thursdays.”

Monterey Hotel is a sister property to the Carmel River Inn.

Carmel River Inn

Fortuitously located, Carmel River Inn is near the new bike path that separates bikes from cars on the stretch from Carmel Valley Road to Rio Road and, and the inn was one of the very first project  participants.  Upon joining, Maureen Doran of the Carmel River Inn commented, “We’d be delighted to be an early leader!  We love cyclists.  We get lots of them who stay with us en route down the Big Sur Coast.”  The property is close to all the “mouth of the (Carmel) valley” businesses, yet is set apart in a quieter locale, just off and to the west of Highway 1.  Maureen’s caring for cyclists extends beyond our county’s borders too.  With company property in Cambria also, she was well prepared to confirm that my own past experiences in Cambria remained relevant, when asked to share suggestions with Naval Postgraduate School Cycling Club members before they headed down the coast on one of their longer rides.  Hospitality leaders like Maureen are such a terrific resource in helping visitors not only locally but as they journey on.

Carmel Mission Inn

Nearby is charter participant Carmel Mission Inn. Love to go shopping–in a place where your companion can relax on a bench in a colorful garden?  Carmel Mission Inn’s Cindy Romanello will assure you, this is a smart location for shoppers!  Carmel Mission Inn is right next door to the Barnyard Shopping Center and its flower gardens–they are even joined by a convenient path.  And the property is also near the Carmel Rancho and the Crossroads.  Shopping for your mom or another loved one?  Cindy, who delights in having her mother as her best friend, can provide you with tips about shopping for loved ones–and enjoying the restaurants, too–in the Barnyard and wider neighborhood.

Watch a video of Ride2Recovery riders at Carmel Mission Inn, which they stopped at on their Golden State Challenge 2012.

Both of these two mouth-of-the-valley properties, Carmel River Inn and Carmel Mission Inn, are in proximity to the historic Carmel Mission.  And there’s good news for cyclists in this neighborhood!   Two bike shops are located there now:  Rob and Nettie Sommerlot relocated their Carmel Bicycle shop to Carmel Rancho II, and there’s a new Bay Bikes shop in the Barnyard, a companion shop to the one Devin and Stacey have on Monterey’s Cannery Row.

Photo above courtesy of the San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission.

Los Laureles Lodge

Out in picturesque Carmel Valley, the Los Laureles Lodge–one of the rest stops on Sea Otter Classic’s popular Gran Fondo Carmel Valley Route–is also a HER Helmet Thursdays charter participant.  Need tips about biking in Monterey County?  Mike Terry at Los Laureles Lodge is a cyclist himself, so you may want to ask him about his favorite routes.  Many avid cyclists, along with the Gran Fondo’s recreational riders, do love riding Carmel Valley Road.  And there are very special HER Helmet Thursdays restaurants in the vicinity, too!  As Mike would advise you though, do practice good personal safety tips while biking on Carmel Valley Road.

Credit for photo below:  Los Laureles Lodge

Los Laureles Lodge
The Cypress Inn

In  Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel’s historic Cypress Inn, jointly owned for over 20 years by actress and animal rights’ activist Doris Day, Dennis LeVett, and the late Terry Melcher, was another of the first to join HER Helmet Thursdays.

Watch as Amanda LeVett introduces viewers, via Youtube, to the Pet-Friendly Cypress Inn.

Cypress Inn’s Nancy Slade saw the wisdom in HER Helmet Thursdays immediately.  She also knew that Amanda LeVett is very much on the lookout for what the LeVett Boutique properties can do to lighten their carbon footprint.

Indeed, two of Cypress Inn’s sister properties, the Lamp Lighter Inn and the Forest Lodge, joined in time to be charter participants too!

The Lamp Lighter Inn

The Lamp Lighter is the Carmel lodging property nearest Carmel Beach and the Pebble Beach gate.  My first stop at the Lamp Lighter left me completely charmed by their gracious innkeeper Inge Dewi and the lovely setting.  “Please, won’t you stay for some wine and cheese?” Inge beckoned.  Two of her guests promptly engaged me in a fun–and reassuring–conversation about the challenges of modern technology (they are SoCal IT professionals mentioned above).

The Lamp Lighter is the last lodging provider as you head down the hill to Carmel Beach, and there is an obvious awareness of living in harmony with its beautiful surroundings.  How so?  Check out the the Lamp Lighter’s Earth-friendly practices.

The Forest Lodge

Ever been en route to a Forest Theatre performance and noticed the charming cottages nestled in the trees, just kitty-corner from Devendorf Park and across from Carmel Plaza?  You’ve spotted the Forest Lodge!

The Forest Lodge is a unique lodging provider, with sleeping accommodations for 18 guests, which means a group of friends or loved ones can reserve the property and experience it as all their own!  The property has quite an interesting story behind it.  Read this article by Mary Brownfield  in the Carmel Pine Cone, “From linens to pens, Forest Lodge gets a new green life.”  Amanda LeVett’s perpetual desire to “go green” is a desire finding fulfillment at these Carmel properties.  Mary quotes Amanda:   “You start noticing things that can be done greener.  Every week it builds and builds.”

So I wasn’t surprised when Bobby Richards accepted my invitation to participate in this project to support more bicycling–yet one more step in making all these properties greener.  Visit the websites for Lamp Lighter and Forest Lodge and see what Bobby is overseeing there with regard to caring for HER/Mother Earth.

All three of these LeVett Boutique properties are a convenient bike ride to Carmel Beach, along with the many shops, restaurants, and art galleries that make Carmel-by-the-Sea so popular with visitors.

Credit for photo above:  Lamp Lighter Inn

The Courtyard by Marriott and
The Residence Inn by Marriott

These neighboring Marriott properties in Salinas are also charter participants in HER Helmet Thursdays.  These Monterey County Marriotts are in because of the local leadership of Deanna Carlsen.  She was immediately clear that she wanted the properties to be eco-eco pathbreakers, building a more bike-friendly county.  Thanks to Deanna’s dedication, the necessary commitment was promptly secured, and HER Helmet Thursdays is pleased to include these local Marriotts as charter participants.

The two Salinas Marriotts are located in north Salinas, and you may be aware they are prime locations for shoppers and also for anyone hopping off Highway 101.  What you may not know is that they are not that far from Oldtown Salinas and the National Steinbeck Center, and they also have bike lanes nearby that run alongside Salinas Valley farmland.

Salinas Valley strawberry field at sunrise (Photo courtesy of Jan Valencia)

Check them out!  Visit the web pages for the Residence Inn by Marriott and the Courtyard by Marriott.

The Sanctuary Beach Resort

Maybe you’ve been on a road trip, which has been fun–to a point.  Now you are weary of occasionally having to dodge other cars and their sometimes distracted drivers. You’re ready for a break!  Wish you could travel to the Monterey Peninsula along a peaceful bike highway?  You can!

Guests at the Sanctuary Beach Resort have easy access to this dedicated bike/multi-use path, apart from cars, on which to bike from their place of lodging all the way to Pacific Grove’s Lovers Point.

Photo above courtesy of Leo Kodl.

Jeff Perrine has often biked in suit and tie to Sanctuary Beach Resort.  

With such beauty all around, it’s natural to be mindful of protecting the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary it fronts–and the air, earth, and water beyond this gorgeous place–for future generations.  See Sanctuary Beach Resort’s green initiatives.

The Monterey Hostel

Something for everyone!  From the solitude of Sanctuary Beach Resort  to the New Monterey neighborhood of the Monterey Hostel, there is something to suit a variety of moods, tastes, and budgets in the lodging category of HER Helmet Thursdays.

Enjoy fixing breakfast with new friends?  You can do that in the kitchen of the Monterey Hostel!  The hostel also hosts monthly potlucks and travel shows, along with holiday dinners, providing yet more ways for locals and visitors to get acquainted.  Check out their events.

Hostel manager Aaron Levy is a bike enthusiast, and he helps the hostel cater to cyclist guests in various ways.  These include such measures as having bicycle lockers, and making sure coffee and breakfast fixings are ready so cycling groups wanting to head out early in the morning can get that early start.

Credit for photo below: Monterey Hostel

Whether biking on the trail or trailing on a bike,

like this young guy with his family by the Monterey Hostel, there are lots of fun times to be had on a cycling vacation in Monterey County.

The Jabberwock Inn

Near the hostel is a fun place with a delightful touch of whimsy, along with warm cookies and milk at bedtime:  the Jabberwock Inn!

While I wrote most of the descriptions that are included in the HER Helmet Thursdays listings, I want to acknowledge my dear childhood friend Margaret Wolf–a Lewis Carroll lover.  Margaret was so inspired by the Jabberwock Inn that she asked to compose their listing description.  Be sure to read the Jabberwock’s detailed listing and see if it doesn’t make you want to visit, too.

As for me, I learned what I know about the Jabberwock from having the pleasure of meeting innkeepers John Hickey and Dawn Perez, “coincidentally,” at HER Helmet Thursdays charter participating restaurant the Sandbar and Grill on Wharf II. Stop by the Jabberwock and enjoy a visit with them yourself.

The Jabberwock Inn

Credit for photo above:  Jabberwock Inn

Additional help for cyclists from MoCo lodging providers

We have hotels with bicycle valet parking, and hotel shuttles that are happy to transport you and your bike as a bike-and-ride option.  We have a hostel with bike lockers and even a campground at the site of a renowned cycling racetrack (home of the Sea Otter Classic).   And with cycling amenities, it’s reasonable to inquire if they are offered no matter where you’re staying.  Whether or not a lodging provider has heard about this one-year-old project yet,  most will be glad to do anything they can to help you!

These supports and more demonstrate that the Monterey County hospitality community welcomes cycling visitors with special enthusiasm.  And the lodging segment is just one part of our cycling-supportive county:  see the HER Helmet Thursdays listings for extra bike-friendly educational attractions, entertainment venues, restaurants, wineries, and more!

Other tips for bicycling here

Refer to Tips for Bicycling Monterey County, the free online guide provided on this site, to learn more about the bicycling friendly nature of Monterey County.  Then call one of our lodging providers and make a reservation to come visit soon!

And if you’re a local, checking out the websites of these lodging providers may just entice you to slip away for a relaxing Monterey County staycation, making one of these MoCo spots your home-away-from-home.

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If you are a Monterey County lodging provider and would like to participate too, see:

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This post was previously published December 10, 2010.  Since then, additional lodging providers have been added. Check out the updated list below, current as of July 1, 2015.

o   Carmel Mission Inn, Carmel; see their HHT listing details

o   Carmel River Inn, Carmel; see their HHT listing details

o   Courtyard by Marriott, Salinas; see their HHT listing details

o   Cypress Inn, Carmel;  see their HHT listing details

o   Embassy Suites Monterey Bay, Seaside; see their HHT listing details

o   Forest Lodge, Carmel; see their HHT listing details

o   Hofsas House Hotel, Carmel; see their HHT listing details

o   Hotel Pacific, Monterey; see their HHT listing details

o   Hyatt Regency, Monterey; see their HHT listing details

o   InterContinental The Clement Monterey, Monterey; see their HHT listing details

o   Jabberwock Inn, Monterey;  see their HHT listing details

o   Lamp Lighter Inn, Carmel; see their HHT listing details

o   Lighthouse Lodge & Suites, Pacific Grove; see their HHT listing details

o   Los Laureles Lodge, Carmel Valley; see their HHT listing details

o   Monterey Fireside Lodge, Monterey; see their HHT listing details

o   Monterey Hostel, Monterey; see their HHT listing details

o   Monterey Hotel, Monterey; see their HHT listing details

o   Monterey Tides, Monterey; see their HHT listing details

o   Motel 6 Castroville, Castroville; see their HHT listing details

o   Old Monterey Inn, Monterey; see their HHT listing details

o   Portola Hotel, Monterey; see their HHT listing details

o   Residence Inn by Marriott, Salinas; see their HHT listing details

o   Sanctuary Beach Resort, Marina; see their HHT listing details

For any additional updates of lodging participants, plus other participants (educational and entertainment spots, restaurants, wineries, spas, and more), please refer to the HER Helmet Thursdays “Listings/How to Get Discounts/FAQs” listings page.

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