Amy and I spent a few days on the California coast last week. We loaded up the truck with three friends, four bikes, one horse, and on Tuesday morning drove over to Point Reyes Station (PRS), located at the southern end of Tomales Bay.
Before departing for the coast I did an internet search of cycling in the PRS area.
Not satisfied with the info I found on-line, I contacted our friend Ralph, who lives in Martinez, and asked him which rides to do and which bike to bring. He suggested I bring my ‘cross bike, as there are plenty of “mixed terrain” rides in the the area. He was right. (More on that later).
We decided to ride into town after unloading our gear at the Point Reyes Country Inn & Stables. Amy, Margie, Greg and I pedaled the one mile into town to pick up a bicycle map of the area and other supplies (beer). One good thing I discovered in my on-line research is a new bike shop in PRS: Black Mountain Cycles. (Check out Mike’s excellent blog).
The four of us walked into BMC and I asked the proprietor (Mike Varley) about cycling maps and which rides to do. As he was talking I was thinking to myself ‘this guy looks familiar’. I think I blurted out something like, ‘you look familiar. Do we know each other?’ He said, ” is your name Jeff”. It happens that Mike and I used to ride together in the mid ’80’s; Reseda-to-the-Sea, the Bishop 7500, the Ultimate Kamikaze, Mammoth Kamikaze, to name a few.
We did some catching-up while Mike gave us the shop tour. He used to work for Bridgestone and then spent thirteen years with Haro. The topic of his employment with Haro came up when I spotted a Haro off-road tandem. I said, ‘I didn’t know Haro made tandems’ and he replied, “they don’t, it’s a one-off I designed for myself.” (Perks of the trade.) I also learned Mike designed the Mary SS (the bike Jason and Tasha just purchased). Other things to drool over at BMC are vintage bikes from WTB, Steve Potts, Ritchey, and Ibis. It was nice to see an old friend living the dream.
I started on Hwy 1, turned left on Sir Francis Drake Blvd, and had a short climb to the Bolinas Ridge Trailhead. The first half of this beautiful trail (double track) is in exposed grassland with wonderful views of Tomales Bay to the north, and Pine Mountain to the east. The second half is in dense Redwood forest, with occasional views of the Pacific Ocean and Bolinas Bay. The trail is what you would expect from a ridge trail, a lot of up and down with a couple of stiff ascents thrown in to keep you awake.
My plan was to climb Mt. Tamalpais. But when I reached the junction for Tam the State Park had closed the road TO ALL USERS, dashing my hopes for a Mt. Tam epic. At this point in the ride I needed water. I descended Bolinas-Fairfax Rd. and rode to the town of Bolinas. I refilled my Camelbak and worked my way back to Pt.
Olema Valley Trail
After a short ride on the highway I hooked up with the Olema Valley Trail. The OVT is a five mile singletrack that parallels Hwy 1. I wouldn’t go out of my way to ride this trail, but as part of a larger “mixed terrain” loop it’s a nice addition. The remainder of the ride was on Hwy 1 back to PRS. After five hours in the saddle I was thirsty, hungry, sunburned, tired, and very happy.
On Thursday Amy and I set out for the Inverness Ridge Trail loop. From the town of Pt Reyes we climbed Limantour Rd., a gentle tree covered ascent that would lead us to the Inverness Ridge Trail.
Inverness Ridge Trail
The IRT has a little of everything; fast fire road, hike and bike singletrack, and flowing chaparral-canopy singletrack. It connects Limantour Rd to Mt. Vision Rd. in about three miles.
Amy on Mt. Vision Rd
Mt. Vision Rd was one of the highlights of the trip. From the top of Mt Vision Rd. we were rewarded with amazing unobstructed views of Point Reyes and the northern coastline. And if that wasn’t enough, the road down was almost as nice as the view: A paved one lane road with many Ebbets Pass-like switchbacks with no traffic. Heaven!
Pt. Reyes from Mt. Vision Rd
PRS is a keeper. I wouldn’t mind making this a yearly excursion.
Addendum: Amy also got to ride her friend’s horse on the beach after the riding her
mountain bike on the IVT loop. She was a happy camper.