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Wine-ding your way along Monterey County’s bikeways

Whether you bike to a winery, a beer garden, brew pub, or other destination where you’ll enjoy alcohol, check out “Safety first” below, so you can be sure to avoid a BUI!

The pleasures of cycling from winery to winery

Maybe you’ve noticed the many wine-lovers touring Napa and Sonoma by bicycle, or even had a first-hand experience of the celebrated cycling routes through many European wine regions.

Watch for more people on bikes touring Monterey County’s wine country!  Why?  Because of the early leadership of  wineries offering discounts on Thursdays to people who bike or bike-and-ride to their location. (By the way, here’s a special tip for anyone using the bike-and-ride option of MST bus to South County wineries or other destinations: Solar NEXT BUS Signs in South County – Feb 2014)

The happy trio below–David Schmalz, Katie Pofahl, and Kevin Miller–started out 2014 biking Monterey County’s River Road Wine Trail and loved it so much, they’d made three more trips before the Spring Equinox. Out on that particular trail, Hahn SLH Estate Winery, Paraiso Vineyards, and Scheid Vineyards have the red carpet out for cyclists, as do other HER Helmet Thursdays wineries. See details below.

River Road Wine Trail Feb 2014

Safety first:  Alcohol and biking

If you consume alcohol, a plus about biking is that you can have a few extra drinks and not worry about a DUI (driving under the influence) ticket, right?  Wrong.  In California, you’d still be subject to a BUI (biking under the influence) ticket!

Refer to VC 21200.5 in this overview of California bicycle laws.  The California Department of Motor Vehicles indicates a BUI fine of not more than $250, whereas they state that the cost of a DUI can total $8,240 or more.   Regardless, driving under the influence isn’t cool, whatever your mode of transportation.

Does that mean you can’t use a bicycle for transportation if you enjoy alcohol?  Au contraire! Monterey County isn’t alone in wanting to enjoy the pleasures of cycling from winery to winery.

What’s important is to simply use the same good judgment about when it’s safe to get behind those handlebars that you would use about when it’s time to get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle.

Slow down, savor the wine, and savor the day.  And when you’re ready to go, hop on that bicycle and find yourself enjoying the day even more.  There’s little that compares with the joy of cycling in the fresh air,  surrounded by the beauty of Monterey County landscapes and seascapes.

For more ideas on staying safe while cycling, see the “CA Bike Laws and Personal Safety” section of Tips for Bicycling Monterey County.

HER Helmet Thursdays welcomes the wineries

Among over 200 participating businesses and organizations throughout Monterey County in the HER Helmet Thursdays project are these wineries who were among the project’s Charter Participants:

In the project’s second year, other wine-tasting spots decided to join the fun!

What’s this all about?

H-E-R? For women?  No, this is for males and females who bike.

If you’ve missed being introduced to the project:   H-E-R stands for Hotels (and other lodging), Educational attractions and entertainment venues, and Restaurants (and other food and beverage service—which is right where the wineries fit in).

Wineries who are among the early leaders are Monterey County visionaries—they can foresee a popular cycling route along the Monterey County vineyards trail. They are blazing that trail by giving discounts not only on tasting room fees but on all wine sales to cyclists on Thursdays.

Wondering how to tote along purchased bottles of wine when you’re on your bike?  You can do it with this bicycle wine rack made by Signal Cycles of Portland.  Or, check these shopping-by-bike tips.

The Pierce tasting room at 499 Wave Street, just above the bike path.


All participants are listed in a new clickable map/database. There you’ll find the new listing format for

  • Pierce Vineyards is just above the bike path, in the lovely little house at 499 Wave Street (look for the cross street of McClellan).
  • Scheid Vineyards is located at San Carlos & 7th  in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Looking for Baywood Cellars? Sadly, they have closed.

Save money by cycling to these wineries on a Thursday, or simply enjoy the gracious company and fine wines of these popular winemakers by visiting them any day of the week.


Besides their Carmel tasting room, also in the HER Helmet Thursdays project is Scheid Vineyards’ Greenfield location! In Greenfield, Scheid features an organic chef’s garden, regulation-length bocce court, and horseshoes area.  Sounds like a fun day  awaiting cyclists at this wine-lover’s destination!  Enjoy the converted century-old barn, have a picnic, and linger among the grapes.

Scheid’s lovely Greenfield location makes a terrific destination for avid cyclists.

Tip of the wine glass

This is just the tip of the iceberg.  While the above wineries are the first, other wineries are now encouraged to come into the HER Helmet Thursdays project too.

It’s a pleasure to introduce this unique component of the HER Helmet Thursdays experience.  Special thanks to cyclist Aaron Magenheim of Signature Irrigation for suggesting this addition to the project.  Aaron is a Monterey County native whose family has supported MoCo cycling from way back; they helped prepare the track for the first Sea Otter Classic!

How can other wineries get involved?

If you have a favorite Monterey County winery you’d like to see in HER Helmet Thursdays, please let them know that they need not wait for a personal invitation.

Welcome them to contact me, 831-375-6278.  They may refer to “How to Participate–for Businesses and Organizations” and there is an option to sign up online as well. Charter participants and all participants through the fourth anniversary date still pay no fee to participate; creating and launching the project is my gift to my home county of 30 years.


Dan Johnson  invites local violinist Laurel Thomsen to a local tasting room.

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