4. Where to Shower and Change
“Cycling? But we have plans tonight!”
“A bike ride sounds nice, but I don’t want to get all sweaty…”
Maybe you’re lodging at one of Monterey County’s many fine hotels, motels, or bed and breakfasts, the hostel, or an RV or campground park. That certainly makes it easy to head back there for a shower and change as needed. Or, maybe you’re camping at one of our California state parks, federal forests, or county or city parks (see “Camping in Monterey County” on this site) and have access to a shower there; if so, you’re all set.
Or perhaps you’re here for a thoughtfully planned cycling event, like the Gran Fondo Bella Cipresso, with post-ride showers arranged. And if you’re a touring cyclist, you may be participating in the WarmShowers.org program.
But what about if you’re just here on a day trip?
Or a local commuter needing to be fresh on arrival somewhere?
Showers for day visitors, local bike commuters, and others
If you aren’t lodging overnight in Monterey County–or can’t get back to your local residence here easily–and you have special plans later for which you want to be all freshened up, guess you’ll have to pass on biking, right? Nope! You can still shower and change. Read on for a wide-ranging list of options.
Some of these places also have warm-water pools and swimming pools, so check with them about such options if your desire for water therapy includes a little soak time or swim time too.
Internationally acclaimed harpsichord technician Carey Beebe of Australia was pleased to discover the Monterey Sports Center pool. 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!
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.
While there’s no shower in it, there sure is room to change your clothes in downtown Monterey’s Portland Loo.
That sign is a little misleading. It doesn’t mean no bicycles, it means no bicycle riding on Simoneau Plaza. (Please walk your bikes.)
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. As of January 2012, HHT’s participants include 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 to cyclists seven days a week!
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’ll 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 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. At present, the Sports Center is open until 9:30 pm Mon-Fri, closing at 5:00 pm on Sat and Sun. This is a large and well maintained facility. And there are two large bike racks out front!
Plenty of bike parking at the City of Monterey Sports Center
Other fitness clubs in the county also offer a day-use fee. Gold’s Gym is one of those, and here’s an easy route from the coastal bike path. This public fitness club is located on Garden Road, on the stretch between the Monterey County Fairgrounds and the Monterey Peninsula Airport. Reaching Gold’s Gym is a pleasant bike ride with only two very short, easy hills en route (no hills to get you sweaty on the return to the bike path). Here are bike-there tips: Coming from Wharf #2 or Naval Postgraduate School cycle 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. You will pass the roller skating arena; and later, at Del Monte Ave & Casa Verde Street, you’ll see Monterey Fish House on your right (there’s a light at Casa Verde). Exit the bike path here, 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 Gold’s Gym. This is an easy trip for nearly any cyclist, and know that the return trip 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 the YMCA for details on their various locations and options for day use fees.
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.
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 will be helpful to some cyclists. The coin-op shower is 50 cents for 3 minutes, $1 for 6 minutes. Hours are roughly sunrise to sunset; then the coin-op shower gets locked up for the night. Look for it here:
Looking for that popular deli across from the little coin-op shower? As of February 1, 2015, Lenny and Valentina will move Bayview Deli & BBQ to a new location and will have a new name: Bon Ton L’Roy’s Lighthouse Smokehouse, 794 Lighthouse Ave, Monterey.
Lenny and Valentina’s cooking
is popular with the county’s most renowned chefs!
If you happen to choose the parking lot at the Coast Guard pier as a place to park a vehicle, be careful not to overlook the fact that this is a “pay to park” lot.
June 19, 2010
Off the beaten path…
If you are an avid cyclist and 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.
Other clothes-changing locations…
are part of educational institutions, including the Monterey Institute of International Studies, Monterey Peninsula College, and the Naval Postgraduate School. If you are participating in an event at one of those institutions, ask about their changing facilities for cyclists.
And if you’re off to the Navy School (NPS), you’ll discover that they have the best bicycle parking in all of Monterey County!