Brake for Nicasio

Here’s a road ride that will check some important things off your "gotta have" list. Beautiful coastal scenery:…

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Here’s a road ride that will check some important things off your “gotta have” list. Beautiful coastal scenery: Check. Pit stop in a small, friendly Marin town: Check. Mostly level with a couple of climbs: Check. This moderate pedal in western Marin packs an amazing amount of scenic backcountry in just 25 miles. Start in the tiny town of Nicasio, home to a small white church and rockin’ vintage roadhouse. From there you’ll cycle a large, counter-clockwise circle; Nicasio Reservoir is the first point of interest with its shallow, slate-colored water reflecting the surrounding West Marin hills. Winding along the Point Reyes-Petaluma Road, you’ll reach Point Reyes Station in 10 miles. Take your pick of specialty snack options: Bovine Bakery’s handmade organic pastries, Cowgirl Creamery’s triple-cream cheeses, and—on Saturday mornings during summer—fresh produce from the all-local, all-organic farmers market. When you’re ready, continue south a few short miles along Highway 1 to Olema and hang a left on Sir Francis Drake. This is the first climb higher than a couple hundred feet. Cruise into Samuel P. Taylor State Park and take the “Bike Path”, signed just before Platform Bridge Road. This 4-mile section is a car-free highlight, running beside Lagunitas Creek and into the heart of the park. The most heavily trafficked part of the ride comes next and is not ideal for inexperienced bikers. A final climb out of San Geronimo Valley and back into Nicasio Valley completes the circuit. That’s the scoop on this loop!

Park in the town of Nicasio by the roadhouse. Notice the two-hour parking sign. Head north on Nicasio Valley Rd. In 3 miles, turn left on Point Reyes-Petaluma Rd. After 6 miles, turn right to stay on Point Reyes-Petaluma Rd. After 10 miles, you’ll reach Hwy 1 (aka Shoreline Highway.); turn left and into Point Reyes Station. Continue south on Hwy. 1. After 12 miles, turn left on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. in the town of Olema. After about 14 miles, look for a brown “Bike Path” sign and take the trail (it’s only dirt for a few hundred feet before becoming paved). Follow this trail through Samuel P. Taylor State Park for 4 miles. After 20 miles, turn left on Nicasio Valley Rd. Reach Nicasio after 25 miles.

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