For an easy ride that feels more like a country stroll (especially after a late-morning kickoff), try the mostly car-free West County Trail in Sonoma County. This wide paved trail connects Sebastopol to Forestville along an old railway; it’s 6 miles (one-way) of sweet country cruising through golden hills and rich ruby vineyards. The ride’s flat, and the trail’s currently festooned in red, rust, and mocha-colored leaves. Go in the next few weeks and the black oaks will be flexing their beauty, too. For a tasty lunch break, stop in Graton at the Willow Wood Market and Cafe, which serves up delicious treats—from fresh-baked banana bread to juicy chicken sandwiches, and amazing orange cream sodas to wash it all down. Afterward, continue rolling on the path past manicured vineyards and red barns before spilling into tiny Forestville, home to a couple of coffee shops and a Mexican takeout place. Head back the way you came, soaking in the late-afternoon light as it casts extra-golden tints on the trees and picket fences. This ride is easy on the thighs and the eyes.
TIP: No bike? No worries. Rent one from Sebastopol’s new and friendly shop, West County Revolution, right at the start of the West County Trail. They also have a complimentary color map of the trail and allow you to park in their lot. Sweet wheels.
Park at the West County Revolution bike shop in Sebastopol (6731 Sebastopol Ave., 707-829-2192) and pick up a map (or print one here). Follow Morris St., which leads away from the shop. Just past Laguna Park, look for the unsigned entrance to the trail on the right, at the corner of Eddie Ln. and Johnson St. Follow it behind the high school. It drops you off onto N. Main; go left for a couple hundred feet. Look for the trail on the right, at the corner of N. Main and Analy Ave. From here, the trail is marked until its end in Forestville. Keep an eye peeled for the trail as you travel the Occidental Rd. section. It comes up on the right, 1 mile from Hwy. 116.