4. Where to Shower and Change

Return to Tips for Bicycling Monterey County portal page.

“Cycling? But we have plans tonight!

“A bike ride sounds nice, but I don’t want to get all sweaty…”

Who doesn’t need to find a shower? People lodging at one of Monterey County’s hotels, bed and breakfasts, hostel, etc., or at an RV or campground park, who can head back there for a shower and change as needed. Or folks Camping in Monterey County at a campground that includes shower facilities, such as Veterans Memorial Park in City of Monterey. Or people participating in a Gran Fondo or other cycling event where the organizers have post-ride showers arranged. Or touring cyclists participating in the WarmShowers.org program. 

But if you’re simply here on a day trip, or are a local bike commuter or other person who just wants to be fresh on arrival at your destination, where can you shower?

If you have plans after your bike ride that require being freshly showered, don’t assume you must pass on biking. Check out the wide range of places below where you can shower and change. The examples offered here are among many such places in Monterey County. Let these ideas get you started on coming up with your personal best solution; then go on and enjoy your bike ride!


Internationally acclaimed harpsichord technician Carey Beebe of Australia was pleased to discover the Monterey Sports Center pool. MSC has a day-use fee option, so whether you want to swim, shoot hoops, whatever—or just shower—anyone can use their facilities. Carey (pictured above) travels to Monterey County each summer since 1999, to work at the Carmel Bach Festival. Carey is out biking daily from one elegant venue to another. That means he bikes the big hill (which happens in both directions) between Carmel and Monterey. No wonder he finds the MSC pool so refreshing!

Some of the other places on this page also have swimming pools, warm-water pools, and such as MSC does. Ask them about those options if your desire for water therapy includes a wish for a swim, sauna, steam, etc. 

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For a day-use fee

The City of Monterey Sports Center is open to visitors. Seven days a week, you can use their showers (along with their pool, cardio, gym, etc.) for a reasonable fee.  They also have a warm pool where you can soak tired muscles. Check the current facility hours and holiday closures. This is a large and well maintained facility. There are bike racks, with video surveillance, out front.

 

Bike parking at the City of Monterey Sports Center

Many other fitness clubs in the county also offer a day-use fee. Check with each location for updates. 

Here’s one example, and it’s not far from the Monterey Bay coastal trail: Fitness Evolution at 2000 Garden Road, Monterey. This public fitness club on Garden Road is between two well-known landmarks: Monterey County Fairgrounds & Event Center and the Monterey Regional Airport.  Here are bike-there tips: Coming from Wharf #2 or Naval Postgraduate School, bike north along the bike path, parallel to Del Monte Ave, and heading in the direction of Embassy Suites (tall hotel), altho you won’t go that far. Watch for Casa Verde Street—there is motor vehicle traffic crossing at this spot on the trail. Watch for the schoolgrounds, Bay View Academy, across the street; that’s the corner of Del Monte Ave & Casa Verde Street. You’ll see Monterey Fish House near that intersection too. Exit the bike path there, crossing the street at Del Monte Avenue and Casa Verde. Continue up Casa Verde about .4 mile until you reach Fremont Ave. There will be a gas station on your right (the first hill on this route is just before the gas station–and wasn’t that a very short, cinchy uphill jaunt!). At the gas station at Fremont Ave, you’ll see the Monterey Fairgrounds marquee straight ahead in the near distance.  Continue straight ahead to that t-intersection at the fairgrounds, then make a right at the stop sign onto Fairgrounds Road.  Continue to the traffic signal at Fairgrounds Road and Garden Road.  Make a left onto Garden Road.  You’ll be traveling in painted bike lanes here, and there’s even a nice bench beneath a tree for a rest stop if you need to stop and make a phone call or have a snack. Very soon though, you’ll reach the fitness center at 2000 Garden Road. This is an easy trip from the coastal trail for nearly any person who bikes; and know that the return trip to the coastal trail is even easier—the biggest hill (when you may not even work up a minor sweat) on this route is on Garden Road en route. On the return trip, when you’re wanting to stay fresh, the ride is super easy!

Other parts of the county likewise have such options. One example in South Monterey County is the YMCA in Soledad. Contact that and other YMCA locations for details, including their options for day use fees.
For a spa services fee

You may be surprised at how reasonable the cost can be for some spa treatments; prices can be as low as $20-30.  So make an appointment, enjoy that spa treatment, and you are then welcome to enjoy other spa facilities, including showers.  You’ll probably love it there so much that you’ll want to make a repeat visit on another day for more extensive pampering.

Among the local spas are some HER Helmet Thursdays spots , such as The Spa at Bernardus Lodge, Carmel Valley; the Vista Blue Spa at the Monterey Plaza Hotel, Monterey; Aquablue Day Spa in Salinas; and Spa on the Plaza, Monterey.

And here’s a fun surprise: Both Spa at Bernardus and Spa on the Plaza not only offer their HER Helmet Thursdays discount for cyclists on Thursdays, they asked to offer their discount for people who bike seven days a week! BTW, if you’d like to follow these four spas on Twitter, to see what’s up, follow:  @spaontheplaza20 (Spa on the Plaza); @BLspa (Bernardus); @montereyplaza (Vista Blue); and @AquablueDayspa.  But don’t be surprised if their Twitter accounts are inactive at times.  I find that only a fraction of HER Helmet Thursdays businesses and organizations are on Twitter, and those that are often Tweet infrequently; they are too busy taking care of their guests!

If you’re bicycling Pebble Beach, for a spa services fee at The Spa at Pebble Beach, you can enjoy use of the showers, steam room, sauna, jacuzzi, pool, and tranquil solariums. If you instead prefer to spend your day trip allowance on an elegant meal at the Lodge, you can still bike there and arrive fresh. How? A free shower is located nearby. Phone me for location.

For free (or nearly)

Perhaps you have a strict travel budget and prefer a bare-necessities shower/change spot, so you can save every dollar for your night on the town. If so, here’s one alternative for you: The City of Monterey has designated a special clothes-changing location for the public (look for the brown sign that says “Changing, Loading, and Unloading Permitted”). This is a parking lot along the bike path just above the Coast Guard pier, and it’s used by divers too.

Okay, I’m slipping off these  sandals.  They’re great for biking, but I think I’ll wear spikes when I waltz in to the Whaling Station.

In addition, there is a clean, dry restroom nearby–adjacent to San Carlos Beach and the Diver’s Memorial.

And in-between these two spots, there is an outdoor shower where you can rinse off a bit too.

But what about a thorough shower? There is a coin-operated shower inside the public restroom on the parking lot of the Coast Guard pier. It’s funky, and there’s only one shower (though it does have a bench, being disabled accessible), and only one hook for clothes. Still, it’s an option that many people appreciate. Prices subject to change, as anywhere, but last  ime I checked, the coin-op shower was 50 cents for 3 minutes, $1 for 6 minutes. Hours were roughly sunrise to sunset; then the coin-op shower gets locked up for the night. Look for it here:

By the way, are you looking for Bayview Deli & BBQ across from the little coin-op shower—a place whose food was popular with Monterey County’s most renowned chefs? As of February 1, 2015, Lenny and Valentina took their culinary skills to a new location and have a new business name: Bon Ton L’Roy’s Lighthouse Smokehouse, 794 Lighthouse Ave, Monterey. Their new spot is a HER Helmet Thursdays participant, just as their former place was; and in summer 2016, many bike racks were added along Lighthouse Ave.

Watch those parking signs

Are you doing a bike-and-ride with your personal vehicle? If you happen to choose the parking lot at the Coast Guard pier as a place to park it, be careful not to overlook the fact that this is a “pay to park” lot.

Above Coast Guard trio serving in Monterey, pictured on the Coast Guard pier, June 19, 2010.

Some local parks and local beaches have shower facilities, such as Carmel Beach on Ocean Avenue and Scenic Road in Carmel-by-the-Sea. For some Monterey County beach locations, see “Bike to the Beach—and Care for What You Love.”
A special tip for bike commuters:

Community Hospital’s Marina clinic is an example of an employer who recognizes the benefits of biking to work. And they not only have indoor bike parking for employees, but also showers.

If your workplace does not have a shower, inquire at spas or gyms near your workplace about a special deal for a bike commuter shower-only rate.

Work downtown Monterey? While there’s no shower in it, there sure is room to change your clothes in downtown Monterey’s Portland Loo.

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That sign is a little misleading. It doesn’t mean no bicycles, it means no bicycle riding on Simoneau Plaza. (Please walk your bikes on that City of Monterey plaza—as with most plazas.)

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Other clothes-changing locations…

may be available to you at educational institutions, such the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Monterey Peninsula College, the Naval Postgraduate School, Hartnell College, California State University Monterey Bay.  If you are participating in an event at one of those institutions, ask about shower and changing facilities for bicyclists. By the way, if you’re off to the Navy School (NPS), or CSUMB, you’ll discover that they have some of the best bicycle parking in all of Monterey County. See Back to the Books and Bikes for more tips about colleges in Monterey County.

Off the beaten path…

If you are planning a route that includes Tassajara Road, you may enjoy the incredibly unique bathing facility of Tassajara Hot Springs. This is most definitely a “shower-and-change” location extraordinaire, a reward for anyone who cycles that winding route.  You can’t just drop in; however, you may book a day-use reservation at Tassajara; see the notes in Camping in Monterey County.

This page was previously published on February 5, 2010 with some subsequent updates.