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Route Rap: Day 4 of the Epic Climate Ride California Wine Country

Here’s a sneak-peek of this year’s Climate Ride California 2014 from our Ride Director Blake Holiday where he tells us about Day 4 – the final day from Napa to Sacramento. We’ll ride from the verdant Napa Valley to Fairfield, then ride through Davis, and on to Sacramento where we’ll all meet up for the final few miles to the steps of the California’s State Capitol!

It’s the final day of our epic cycling adventure from San Francisco to Sacramento, and after 3 spectacular days on the road, we’re nearly there. Timing is key today because we have more than 70 miles to cover and if we all stay on track, we’ll make it just in time to gather right on the steps of the California State Capitol. Please listen to the advice of our expert staff members today – they are there to help make sure you stay on the schedule and make it to end to enjoy the festivities.

Today’s ride is perhaps a little easier than the previous 4 days but it’s a bit longer – 77.8 miles from point to point and it’s mostly flat and downhill. Hopefully, you’ve saved some legs after 3 days of riding through Wine Country!

After a delicious hot breakfast at Skyline Wilderness Park above the town of Napa, we head out in the foothills for the first 6 miles, and then make a right turn to head up the ‘big hill’ of the day. It’s a 3.6-miler and it’s a bit narrow and steep, but you can make it! We’ll have our support vehicles stationed at the bottom of the hill for any shuttlers – we can’t drop you off right at the top, but the shuttles will let you skip the hill and still enjoy the rest of the day.

The downhill on Wooden Valley Road is truly amazing as we descend through forests of oak trees and rounded hills into the Suisun Valley. This is one of California’s hidden gems so we’re really excited to be riding in this area. Keep an eye out for cars, be sure to pay attention to all posted signs, and ride single file please.

At Mankas Corner, a quaint old piece of California’s bygone days, you’ll have a choice of visiting either Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company at Mile 21.8, or Ledgewood Creek Winery just down the road. There’s only time for one, but whichever you choose, you’ll taste some locally-produced items and fill up on water and snacks. These are both awesome small businesses that support local rides and events, so be sure to thank the staff for hosting us!

From there, we pedal through the outskirts of Fairfield for the next 8 miles or so before riding on Pleasants Valley Road – one of the most scenic stretches of the entire trip – all the way to the town of Winters where we start to head East toward Davis – the riding through this section is flat and there are several sections of dedicated bike lines. It’s quiet, rural, and scenic – just like we like it!

As we approach Davis – one of the most bike-friendly towns in the world! – traffic tends to get busier, so watch out for cars and please follow all the usual rules of the road like stopping at stop signs. Eventually, we arrive at the US Bicycle Hall of Fame in Central Park (Mile 60.8) where our picnic will be. Our team will have out a great selection of tasty picnic items to refuel and be sure to head into the Museum to see the exhibits! The downstairs is completely full of an amazing collection of historical bikes – including one that seats six! Climate Rider Dave Kemp (DK for short) is a board member of the Museum and he’ll be on-hand for tours and questions.

From Davis, it’s only another 15 miles or so into Sacramento – including about 4 miles on the causeway next to Highway 80 – which isn’t the most scenic section, but it’s not long and it’s the only way to get to downtown and the Capitol. This is where timing becomes important. You should be leaving Davis by about 1 pm so that you will meet up with everyone later to ride to the Capitol together. It’s a bit too easy to kick-back in the park, enjoy the sunshine, and forget you’re on a schedule, but definitely watch the time!

After lunch, it’s a few quick flat miles to the causeway, and the bike path will drop you off in West Sacramento. Again the streets start to get busy, so be sure to pay attention and focus on riding. At Mile 74.6, we’ll pedal for a bit on the River Walk Trail along the lazy Sacramento River before crossing the big “Golden Bridge” into downtown.

Just over the river, you’ll arrive at Old Town Sacramento – which has many historic shops and stores to check out. Here, we’ll wait for everyone to arrive so we can all ride up to the Capitol together. If you arrive very early, you may have time to check out a little bit of Old Town – it’s a pretty neat place with general stores, costume shops, and ice cream parlors. This is a great spot for photos, and for meeting up with local friends and family who want to join us for the final triumphant stretch!

At 2:45 pm, we’ll gather everyone together for the final mile – I’ll be there with my cowbell ringing – so let’s make some noise as we begin the final mile of the trip! We’ll ride in a big peloton that will stretch for several blocks along the State Mall, so please take over the far right lane and stop for all traffic signals.

Once we arrive at the front of the building, we’ll walk our bikes across the lawn to the right and to the South Steps where we’ll hear from inspiring speakers. Be sure to invite family, friends, and colleagues – the more the merrier and the bigger impact we’ll have! The talks will be at 3:30 pm at the South Steps of the Capitol Building.

After a group photo, we have just one more mile to Southside Park in south Sacramento where we’ll find the luggage trucks and you can reunite with your gear. We hope to have several food trucks at the park so you can grab something for dinner.

From there, you either stay in Sacramento for the Advocacy Day (Wed, May 21 – To sign up and/or to find out more information, please email Ryan with CalBike), or book transportation back to San Francisco with our partner Alpine Cycling Connection. It’s about a 1.5-hour drive back to San Francisco in the bus. The bus will depart Sacramento at 7 pm and arrive back in San Francisco at about 8:30 pm at Mission Bay Park, 290 Channel Street near AT&T Park. There you can get your bike and gear and head home!

So that’s Day 4…it’s quite an adventure and a fitting end to a terrific week. So ride safely out there everyone, and have fun!