Some stretches of road seem like they were paved more with bicycles in mind than cars. Take a scenic ramble on a mostly gentle swath of backcountry through two of Sonoma’s premier wine-growing regions—Dry Creek and Alexander valleys. This 20-mile road bike loop, suitable for all abilities, includes plenty of optional winery and snack-break stops en route. Simi Winery in northern Healdsburg is a great place to start and finish. Pedal among vineyards tinged with burnt-orange and brick-red leaves. One of the first wineries you’ll pass is Ridge Vineyards, claimed by some to make the best Zinfandels on the planet. A few minutes down the road is Dry Creek General Store, an eclectic establishment that sells everything from hardware and live bait to Italian-style deli sandwiches and ice-cold beer. Continue over Lambert Bridge and onto West Dry Creek Road for an idyllic 5-mile ribbon of asphalt surrounded by vineyards, country homes, and green-and-gold hills rippling around the valley. Cross Yoakim Bridge and make a gradual climb out of Dry Creek Valley onto Canyon Road before dropping into Alexander Valley and passing through Geyserville. You’re on the home stretch! It’s only a few miles farther to the end. Wind things down back at Simi where 70-year-old redwood trees shade the oldest tasting room in the state (and one of Alfred Hitchcock’s favorite haunts). Sample flagship Chardonnays and the award-winning Landslide Cab. Way to roll.
TIP: No road bike? No problem—let the folks at Wine Country Bikes set you up with some high-quality and well-maintained Trek bikes. They’ll ensure you’re sitting pretty for the ride.
Wine Country Bikes has a great map of the Dry Creek and Alexander valleys. Park at Simi Winery (16275 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg; 800-746-4880).To start the ride: Go south on Healdsburg Ave. for a couple of blocks and make a right on Grove St. and shortly after a right on Chiquita Rd. Go 2 miles until reaching Lytton Springs Rd.; make a left and go 2 miles to Dry Creek Rd. Make a right on Dry Creek Rd. and ride .75-mile to Lambert Bridge Rd.; make a left and go 1 mile to West Dry Creek Rd. Make a right on West Dry Creek and ride 5 miles. Make a right on Yoakim Bridge Rd. and go 1 mile. At Dry Creek Rd. make a right and then a quick left onto Canyon Rd. Go 2 miles up and over Canyon Rd. and make a right on Geyserville Ave. Follow Geyserville Ave. 5 miles as it parallels Hwy 101. Make a left on Lytton Springs Rd./Healdsburg Ave. and continue for 2 miles to Simi Winery.