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Wine-ding your way along Monterey County’s bikeways

Assembly Bill 394 has been approved. Whazzup with that? “New law means Monterey says, ‘Hey Napa, Sonoma and wine lovers: We belong with the big boys‘”!

The pleasures of cycling from winery to winery

There are celebrated cycling routes through many European wine regions. You’ll find biking to wineries popular in many other places too, such as Napa and Sonoma in Northern California.

Expect an increasing number of wine-lovers on bikes pedaling the Central Coast as well. Why? 

Because of the early leadership of wineries offering HER Helmet Thursdays discounts to people who bike or bike-and-ride to their Monterey County vineyard or tasting room! Scroll down for a list.

Whether you bike to a winery, beer garden, brew pub, or other destination where you’ll enjoy alcohol, check out “Alcohol and bike safety” below. Wouldn’t want you to get a BUI!

River Road Wine Trail Feb 2014

The happy trio above–David Schmalz, Katie Pofahl, and Kevin Miller–were biking Monterey County’s River Road Wine Trail in January 2014. They loved it so much, they made three more bike-to-wine trips before the Spring Equinox.

First things first: Alcohol and bike safety

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

Refer to California DMV code 21200.5, which indicates a BUI fine of not more than $250 as of June 2015. A DUI is far more costly. Regardless, it’s equally uncool to be under the influence whether you’re biking or driving.

Does that mean you can’t bike for transportation if you enjoy alcohol?  Au contraire!

What’s important is to use the same good judgment about when it’s safe to get behind those handlebars that you would use about getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. Consider the chart provided by the DMV; click here, then scroll down.

Savor the wine, and savor the day.

Sip and savor the many flavors of Monterey County grapes. Enjoy too a meal or snacks, sometimes provided at the wine venue itself. Or pack a picnic, as Scheid in Greenfield invites you to do. Or dine at a neighboring bike-friendly spot.

To find neighbors of some of the wine venues listed below, check HER Helmet Thursdays highlights in the Carmel and Carmel ValleyGreenfield, Salinas, and Soledad tips. For Monterey and all other locations, check the Quick Reference Guide on the Listings/FAQs page.  (By the way, here’s a special bike-and-ride tip: If you’re using a Monterey-Salinas Transit bus, look for some solar-powered “Next Bus”signs in South County.)

After enjoying a lovely time of wine, food, and relaxation, when you’re ready to travel, hop on your bike. Even fabulous wine can’t surpass the natural high of cycling, especially when you’re surrounded by the beauty of Monterey County landscapes and seascapes. That’s one of many good reasons that these wine leaders encourage you to bike to their locations!

For more safe biking tips, see the Riding Skills, Safety, and CA Bike Laws section of Tips for Bicycling Monterey County.

Who are the first wineries

in the HER Helmet Thursdays project?

The Pierce Ranch Vineyards tasting room at 499 Wave Street, just above the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail (bike/multi-use path), often has wonderful live music. Ask about their next music dates.

Bike for Wine


The 9 places listed below are the first such places among over 200 Monterey County businesses and organizations participating in HER Helmet Thursdays.
Bike or bike-and-ride to these wine venues on a Thursday and get a discount on tasting room fees and other wine sales.
Click on names for details, including discount percentage.

1. Cima Collina Winery Tasting Room, Carmel Valley

2. De Tierra Vineyards Tasting Room, Carmel

3. Hahn SLH Estate Winery, Soledad

4. Heller Estates Organic Vineyards, Carmel Valley

5. Paraiso Vineyards, Soledad

6. Pierce Ranch Vineyards, Monterey

7. Scheid Vineyards Estate Winery and Tasting Room, Greenfield

8. Scheid Vineyards Tasting Room, Carmel

9. Zeph’s One-Stop, Salinas

Volunteers can help invite more wineries. With AB 394 bringing new attention to Monterey County wines, this is an especially good time to expand the wineries component of the HER Helmet Thursdays project.
Wondering how to tote purchased bottles of wine  on a bike?

Click here for shopping-by-bike tips. There are also bicycle wine racks made by Signal Cycles of Portland and others. 

Picnic in Greenfield

Scheid Vineyards’ Greenfield location, below, features an organic chef’s garden, regulation-length bocce court, and horseshoes area.  Sounds like the makings of a fun day!  Enjoy the converted century-old barn, have a picnic, and linger among the grapes.

Below: Heller’s winemaker Rich Tanguay sometimes bikes to work. You can tell which days by the big smile on his face when he arrives!

Crossroads bike-and-ride MST stop DSC00142That’s right, there’s even a bike-and-ride option of the Grapevine Express!
Zephs bartender

Seated at the wine bar at Zeph’s One-Stop, you can gaze over Salinas Valley fields, where so much of America’s food is grown. Zeph’s bartender above was showing Zeph’s bike friendliness to pros and others at the 25th Anniversary Sea Otter Classic; click here to see more from that scene.

More wineries welcome

It’s a pleasure to introduce this unique component of the HER Helmet Thursdays experience.  Special thanks to Aaron Magenheim of the Signature Irrigation family for suggesting this addition to the project.  Aaron is a Monterey County native whose family has supported local bicycling from way back; they helped prepare the track for the very first Sea Otter Classic, in 1991.

While the above wineries are the first, other wineries are welcome to come into the HER Helmet Thursdays project too.

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.

Sign them up! Or encourage them to sign up online (click here) or by phone

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