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Santa Cruzans–and Many Faces of Bicycling on the Monterey Bay

Maybe this guy will bike to Monterey County’s history spots another day. In 1776 Spain named Monterey the capital of  Baja and Alta California, and Monterey was later the Mexican capital of California, as told here. Biking to history combines fascinating with fitness and fun!

On the day I spotted him in front of Fremont Adobe, he was biking to the Carmel Bach Festival, and indeed many Bach Fest performances take place in historic spots—e.g., Carmel Mission, Royal Presidio Chapel.  And he’s not alone in biking to Bach. Australian Carey Beebe has biked to the Bach Fest venues for 18 years as of July 2016; click here to learn about Carey and how to get Bach Fest discounts for people who bike.

The man pictured by Fremont Adobe was an assistant school principal from Santa Cruz County. He’d already biked from his home to Hartnell Street in downtown Monterey when I saw him here, in front of one of three Parker-Lusseau HER Helmet Thursdays spots—this one the Parker-Lusseau housed in Fremont Adobe. Then on he pedaled, eagerly biking to Bach.

In this post, see many of our Santa Cruz County neighbors who love exploring Monterey County by bike. Of course, many of us Monterey County residents love biking Santa Cruz County too. Below learn about some neighborly inspiration we gain from one another.

Among Santa Cruz County folks biking Monterey County are the Aromas residents below, spotted July 9, 2016 alongside HER Helmet Thursdays spot r.g. Burgers  in the busy “Uptown Monterey” / Trader Joe’s shopping center in downtown Monterey.
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Below, some residents of Santa Cruz County who knew what would make an especially fun double-date in Monterey County: bicycling!

Have a teen who doesn’t relish the idea of family time these days? Consider following the lead of the family below.  They have a great formula for keeping their teenager interested in spending time with the fam. 

Or, maybe it was the teen who thought up the day’s activity.  From his smile, he’s clearly on to the fact that bike trips make for happier parents too!

Shown above on arrival in Pacific Grove, this Santa Cruz County family loaded up their gear for a fun day of family biking.

Dad and Mom, sharing the tandem, had baby up front and panniers of baby gear and such on the back.

Big brother cheerfully pulled a trailer, carrying jackets,  snacks, water, tire patch kits, and more.  In case they wanted to lock up the bikes and walk about, he’s even toting the baby’s  stroller–everything the family might want to more comfortably enjoy a spectacular day around the Monterey Bay!

Besides a cool way to hang with the fam, want to know more benefits of biking? Click here.

This Pacific Grove stretch of the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail–specifically, at Lovers Point–is targeted to be the southern end of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail network.

When the two-county project is complete, Monterey County and Santa Cruz County families and others will be able to bike a well-planned network from the San Mateo County line in Santa Cruz County to Lovers Point in Monterey County. (Click here for some progress reports.)

The family above isn’t alone in looking forward to this improved bikeway network!

Many Santa Cruz County residents, like the woman below and her visiting granddaughter, are passionate about the bikeways of Monterey County. I love biking their turf too!–my former home, and where biking first really won my heart.

This Santa Cruz woman biked down with her granddaughter, who was visiting from another state.There’s a Mutual Admiration Society here among the Monterey Bay area bike communities.  Plenty of Monterey County mountain bikers love riding Santa Cruz County’s Nisene Marks, Wilder Ranch, and other spots.  And lots of Santa Cruz mountain bikers love Monterey County mountain biking, including Fort Ord, Toro Park, and Andrew Molera.

There are so many great reasons to be out on the Monterey Bay area bikeways!  See a sampling at the end of this post.

Neighborly inspiration

Santa Cruz provides inspiration for Monterey County, with their Bike Church Tool Cooperative, Santa Cruz PedicabLight up the Night rides and bike light giveaways, Project Bike Tech (formerly Project Bike Trip), Santa Cruz County Cycling Club, Bike Santa Cruz County (formerly People Power Santa Cruz), and more. As reported by Roseann Hernandez in the 6/21/13 Register-Pajaronian, the south Santa Cruz County city of  Watsonville has the potential to be the next Bike City USA–thanks to the activity of the Bike Shack and so much more. Check out Bike Watsonville, a post that also includes North Monterey County bike-friendly spots. As evidenced by the 2016 Monterey County bike map updates, North Monterey and South Santa Cruz Counties (see the map’s region 4) are increasingly popular places to bike.

And Monterey County inspires Santa Cruz County too, from the Sea Otter Classic to the HER Helmet Thursdays Project and so much more. See Bicycling Monterey’s 32-section directory of Monterey County’s main bicycling resources / bike community leaders.

Our Santa Cruz County neighbors were the leaders for the Monterey Bay tri-county region in hosting Open Streets events. The first Open Streets event for the Monterey Bay region was held on West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz on October 7, 2012; visit Open Streets Santa Cruz County for upcoming dates. In Monterey County, the first Open Streets took place October 6, 2013; see Bicycling Monterey’s Ciclovía Salinas section for history and more, including contact info so you won’t miss the next Open Streets dates here. For San Benito County, check with San Benito bike community leaders–Council of Governments and others–about any upcoming Open Streets there.

Let’s get connected! 

People who bike in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties both look forward to the day when our counties are better joined by the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail network.

You’ve heard it said, “The road to a friend’s home is never long.”  Well, the bikeway to a friend’s home is never long for some of our Santa Cruz County neighbors–even before the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail Network is completed.

Other Santa Cruzans, of course, do the bike-and-ride–bringing their own bike or renting one in Monterey County.

With downtown Monterey accessed by a bike-and-pedestrian gateway (historic Custom House Plaza and Alvarado Mall),  it’s easy to come off the bike path and explore Alvarado Street and all of downtown.

This Santa Cruzan is a regular in Monterey County. Sometimes he bikes from Santa Cruz to the Monterey Peninsula, other times he bikes from Santa Cruz all the way to a typical attraction for these more “serious” cyclists:  the Big Sur coast.

The teens pictured below are Pajaro Valley High students.  They were on a Project Bike Trip field trip and biked from Santa Cruz County to various points in Monterey County.  When they were happily biking the Seaside-to-Monterey stretch of the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail, you can tell their instructor was momentarily up ahead, taking a short break from reminding students about stuff like staying in their own lane.  Not surprising that the students were getting pretty relaxed–the freedom of Class I bike paths makes you feel like you really own it all.

The next photo is courtesy of Project Bike Trip.

Woot! Every place should have Class I bike paths.  We can bike without stressing about cars–look Ma, no hands!
For more Santa Cruz County teens biking Monterey County…

See Bike the Bay, an annual youth ride organized by Green Ways to School. Green Ways to School is a project of Bike Santa Cruz County (formerly People Power of Santa Cruz County).

Hey, I bike commute to work from Watsonville nearly to Carmel. Definitely looking forward to infrastructure improvements. Highway 1 gets busy.  The only way I feel safer in this stretch right now is biking on the left side, like a pedestrian. But that’s not only illegal, it’s dangerous as well; not really a solution! The completion of the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail network can’t happen fast enough to suit me.

This Santa Cruz County resident makes the need for infrastructure improvements clear. Click here for a May 2016 post about Moss Landing’s upcoming infrastructure changes, part of the route he takes.

Bring your bicycle when in Santa Cruz County too!

Biking in downtown Santa Cruz, just off the Pacific Garden Mall…. 

Canadian Sarah Factor
A native of Toronto and now resident of Brooklyn, Sarah visited on the Central Coast of California on 29 August 2011 (and again in 2013).  She tried out my spare bike, the old red Univega, on West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz.  Falling deeper in love with biking on the Monterey Bay, she is anxious to return.  What’s not to love! Biking here–either side of the bay–is fabulous.

Sarah first had to make a stop in Bonny Doon as she headed down the coast from her stay in San Francisco.  Why Bonny Doon?  Savvy Sarah knows about methyl bromide, methyl iodide, and all the other reasons to stick with her preferred organically grown strawberries, so she was anxious to stop at Swanton Berry Farm, having heard about Swanton en route. Being a bike-friendly kind of gal, Sarah spotted Swanton’s “discount if you bike here” sign too.  At that point on her trip, she was doing the bike-and-ride (bikes toted on car rack to pack in more miles on her all-too-brief Central Coast adventure).  She wants to return via bike next time though–for the pure joy of biking that stretch of coast, along with scooping up more of “the best strawberries I’ve ever eaten.”

Note that tatt? Yup, it’s the state of California. Kinda get the feeling Canadian Sarah has a love for Cali!

For an update on Sarah–and some wisdom born of experience that she offers to other people on bikes–click here.

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Many faces of bicycling in Monterey County

Such a variety of ages, fitness levels, and styles out on the Monterey County bikeways!  Here are some of the many different sorts of people you may meet out biking:

Join them on Monterey Bay region bikeways—in Monterey County, in Santa Cruz County, and in San Benito County too.  For bike maps for these and other California locations, click here.

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