Fruit Roll Up

Flanked by hills falling into the sea, Santa Cruz offers plenty of quad-busting road rides. But for those…

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Flanked by hills falling into the sea, Santa Cruz offers plenty of quad-busting road rides. But for those preferring a little more leisure for their legs, there’s a mostly flat 20-mile (round-trip) road ride that leaves right from town and travels to a few sweet spots: a bakery (with local brews!) and a berry farm. Morning is the best time to go, before the northwest winds get started. Park on Shaffer Road on the west side of town and follow the unnamed bike path paralleling Highway 1, passing farms and ranches until you reach Wilder Ranch State Park. Make a left and pedal past the old Victorian homes of this former dairy farm. At Coast Road head right and follow it for about .5-mile until it dead-ends at Highway 1 where you’ll cross the street and cruise the shoulder. The Pacific roils to your left as you coast by ranches and two beaches worth a detour: Wide and windswept Laguna Beach (5.6 miles in) and the arch of Panther Beach (6.6 miles in) are prime spots to take a breather. Stop in Davenport at Whale City Bakery Bar & Grill (8.4 miles). Its outdoor patio is an ideal setting for savoring an olallieberry croissant or Santa Cruz Ale Works IPA. Or steamroll your way to Swanton Berry Farm (10.3 miles). Here you can snag some free samples of eight different types of organic jam, including crowd favorites strawberry citrus and blackberry. Eat a chocolate-dipped strawberry, a piece of pumpkin pie, or whatever it takes to refuel for the return trip. (There’s a 10 percent bicyclist discount!) By now those northwest winds have likely picked up, which is good news for you. With a tailwind, you’ll practically sail back to Santa Cruz. 

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