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

Many of our neighbors from Santa Cruz County love exploring Monterey County by bike. And we Monterey residents love biking Santa Cruz County too!

Scroll down to see examples of some neighborly inspiration we gain from one another.

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 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.

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 Santa Cruz County (formerly People Power Santa Cruz), Project Bike Trip, Bike Church Tool Cooperative, Bike n Hike challenge, Santa Cruz County Cycling Club, 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.

And Monterey County inspires Santa Cruz, with such things as our 18-mile Monterey Bay Coastal Trail, the Sea Otter Classic, and the HER Helmet Thursdays Project.

Our Santa Cruz County neighbors had the first Ciclovia/Open Streets event for the Monterey Bay, on West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz on October 7, 2012. It has been proposed that Salinas be the location for Monterey County’s first Ciclovia/Open Streets event! Click here to learn about both.

Let’s get connected! 

We both look forward to the day when our counties are better joined by the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail network.  Keep the faith, and do more:  Show up to celebrate completion of another segment.

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.   The first folks in this gallery biked from Santa Cruz County into Monterey County.

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).

Historic buildings of Monterey–the former capital of Alta California under Spain and Mexico–are cool.  But I’m on summer break, off to enjoy some music!

This assistant principal from Santa Cruz County had biked from home to Monterey County and is pictured below on Hartnell Street in downtown Monterey.  He was pedaling still farther south, en route to the Carmel Bach Festival.

Hey, I bike commute to work from Watsonville nearly to Carmel.  Definitely looking forward to a vastly better option than this busy route on Highway 1.  The only way I feel safer in this stretch right now is biking on the left side, like a pedestrian.  Not exactly a great solution!  The completion of the Sanctuary Scenic Trail can’t happen fast enough to suit me!

This Santa Cruz County resident makes the need crystal clear.

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 the Monterey County bikeways, in Santa Cruz County, or elsewhere on the Central Coast.  For bike maps, click here.

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