Naturally Nicasio

Driving through rural West Marin County is one thing. But cycling it ... well, that's where you get…

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Driving through rural West Marin County is one thing. But cycling it … well, that’s where you get that “isn’t it great to live in the Bay Area” feeling. This 40-mile road ride takes in some of the best of Marin: rolling bucolic hills, sprawling farms, sparkling blue Tomales Bay, and some hills to test your legs. To make it even better? Starting and finishing at the award-winning Nicasio Valley Cheese Company, where you can taste and buy some of their amazing Swiss-Italian cheeses from a remodeled dairy barn. Ready for this cheese-wheel? Jump on your bike and head north! It’s 3 miles along Nicasio Reservoir and then 4.25 miles on Point Reyes-Petaluma Road (this part can be a bit busy with traffic; go early in the day). The premier part of the ride comes next: Hicks Valley Road. You’ll probably pass only the occasional pickup truck and other cyclists, and you’ll most likely be outnumbered by cows, who graze this bucolic land like something out of those “Happy Cows Come from California” commercials. After a few miles things get more challenging. The road climbs, and climbs some more, until you’re looking down on sparkling Tomales Bay and Point Reyes! Have fun on the descent and reach Highway 1 (hopefully early in the day!) to continue south to Point Reyes Station. This is another incredible part of the ride; if you have a clear morning, the sun reflecting off Tomales Bay with the hulking hills of Tomales Point in the background make a perfect wish-you-were-here holiday card. Finish back at Nicasio Valley Cheese Company, tasting a variety of their award-winning cheeses. The San Geronimo is delicious.

nicasiocheese-image-jpegPark on the side of the road, just south of Nicasio Valley Cheese Company (map). Ride north on Nicasio Valley Rd. for 3 miles. Turn right on Point Reyes-Petaluma Rd. and go 4.25 miles. Turn left on Hicks Valley Rd. and go 3 miles. At Marshall-Petaluma Rd. turn left and go 11 miles to Hwy. 1 (aka Shoreline Hwy.). Turn left on Hwy. 1 and go 9 miles to Point Reyes-Petaluma Rd. (just before reaching the town of Point Reyes Station). Go 3 miles to the Platform Bridge intersection, turn left and go 3 miles to Nicasio Valley Rd. Turn right and ride the final 3 miles back to your car!

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