Napa Valley Bike Tours
To the north of the San Francisco Bay, area is a county called Napa, created in 1850 when California was granted statehood. The first settlers grew a variety of crops, but over the ensuing years, many realized Napa’s potential for growing grapes. George Yount was the first white resident in the Napa area, and built the first log cabin. Some time in the 1860s, he planted the first grapevines. Take one of the Napa bike tours through Rancho Caymus in Yountville where he lived.
Napa Valley Attractions
People admire the Napa Valley Wine Country with more than five million individuals visiting annually. There are an abundant variety of wineries for visiting available in the area. In addition to being located in the beautiful countryside of California, a top tourist destination both nationally, and internationally, Napa Valley is world renowned for its wineries. Napa Valley is located just an hour north of San Francisco, California. In Napa Valley more than two hundred wineries create wines amidst the gorgeous scenery. The valley is a mere thirty miles long and is between one to five miles wide. Apart from sampling the wines, people visit the area in order to obtain the advantages of its similarly famed gourmet dining establishments and a vast amount of additional activities such as golfing, spa healing, and rides in hot air balloons. Wine tours are a fantastic way to have a vacation adventure in amazing California.
An individual can check out the winery of Francis Ford Coppola, and sample the amazing selection of wines available, or the Chandon vineyard, and estate, to research the wine making process from grapes to the bottle. In addition to the wine, the tours visit many of the greatest restaurants, which are famous in the region, and the Culinary Institute of America. Gourmet chefs will outnumber you, and you will definitely obtain fantastic meals no matter where you go in this region. If theology, religious art, or touring the occasional modern or classical art gallery are in your list of interests, then you’ll find various opportunities to explore your tastes in Napa.
If you prefer more contemporary attractions, then there are local events such as community gatherings, festivals, dances and other celebrations, as well as clubs, arcades, opera, or the theatre. Families, couples, or just single wine aficionados can enjoy Napa Valley year round. Summer brings the lush countryside to life, despite the heat, it’s hard to miss out on seeing Napa in full bloom; autumn season Napa wine tours are beautiful, with cooler climates, and beautiful foliage; aspiring is paradisiacal and practically poetic for anyone who loves this season for touring or vacations. The two main routes for travel in Napa are the Silverado Trail and Highway 29. When visiting the valley you may want to take the more leisurely, scenic route of Silverado Trail and head home via Highway 29.
The main highway going through cities in the region is Highway 29. Highway 29 takes you precisely past a few of Napa Valley’s very famous dining establishments and wineries. This is a gorgeous drive; yet the highway may be really busy at times, particularly on the weekends, and during prime tourist seasons. The Silverado Trail corresponds to Highway 29, is further east. This route isn’t as crowded as Highway 29, but it does not pass through the cities of Napa Valley.
Maximize Your Vacation With Napa Valley Bike Tours
The most precious souvenirs you’ll take home from any vacation are the memories you keep. And when you spend a day on a bike tour with all five of your senses engaged, you’re guaranteed to take away memories that will last a lifetime! Among the Napa Valley wine-tasting tours you’ll find, we think you’ll agree that visiting local wineries by bike is definitely one of the best organized tours in the world and fun things to do in Napa Valley.
The Napa area is quite small and covers less than 800 square miles, 90 square miles of which are water, which is used to irrigate the many world-class vineyards that thrive there today. There are only five major roads that run through the Napa valley. You could choose to travel along one of those on your Napa valley bike tours, or seek out some of the less traveled routes.
Any of the Napa valley bike tours are designed for flexibility. If you only wanted to take on bike tour during your stay, there are many choices of places to see and you will find most of the tours are an easy, pleasant ride. You can bring your own bike along if you are taking a local vacation, or you can choose to hire a bike at one of the many tour offices.
Many places will arrange your tour for you, including bicycle rental and first class accommodation in one of the many hotels in the Napa region. If you want to include one of the Napa valley bike tours along with a wine tour, that’s easily arranged. Although mixing cycling and wine would spell disaster for me!
If you don’t know the Napa area, a good idea is to take one or two of the Napa valley bike tours with a guide, and then go off and do your own thing for the rest of your vacation. There is every choice and permutation; you will be able to find the perfect vacation easily and you could even choose to stay in nearby Sonoma for a couple of nights.
A popular choice is to take one of the tours through Bale Grist Mill State Historic Park on one of the many trails, or visit the Bothe-Napa Valley State Park.
Cycling or motorcycling are the best ways to look at the fabulous Napa Valley scenery and visit its cities without worrying about parking space (or the price of gas!) Many new bike trails are being developed as cycling the Napa area has become a popular pastime. Taking the Silverado trail is only recommended for experienced cyclists though, as it is heavily trafficked and hilly, with many twists and turns.
The most popular trails are through the original settlement of Yountville, where many Napa bike tours meet, and go through American Canyon, Napa the state capital, Calistoga or through beautiful St. Helena.
Combine one of the exhilarating Napa valley bike tours with a guided tour with some of the famous wineries in the district, will make you want to return often. Make sure you have some strong panniers on your bike so you can take home a couple of bottles of the area’s most famous wines, to enjoy after your Napa valley bike tours.
Napa Valley Bike Tours – Frequently Asked Questions
- How long does it take to drive from San Francisco to Napa Valley? – Depending on traffic, Yountville is 1 hour and 15 minutes to 2 hours drive from San Francisco.
- How far will we ride on the bike tour? – Depending on the Napa valley bike tours company you have chosen, but on any of casual guided bike tours or self-guided routes, you’ll pedal an average of 3-6 miles between stops at boutique vineyards. The most popular routes designed for the casual tourist are between 10-16 miles. The are also longer route recommendations for experienced cyclists.
- What if i do not want to ride anymore? – Some Napa valley bike tours companies do offer tour guests a service of riding along in the support van if and when you no longer want to ride. Rental guests should be aware that most of the time, the tour operators are unable to provide pick-up service if you bike farther than you can ride back.
- Which wineries will we visit on our bike tour? – On most Napa valley bike tours, this is a difficult question to answer until 3-5 days before your scheduled tour. Yes, you want to make arrangements for the other days you will be in the valley but you will need to let your tour company where you have any appointments scheduled, and they will avoid duplicating those wineries on your bike tour.
- How much are wine testing fees? – Wine tasting fees range from $20-$30 at most of the wineries in the Napa Valley. Many wineries will waive tasting fees with a minimum purchase (varies by winery).
- Why aren’t tasting fees included in the price of the tour? – Wine tasting fees are not included in most tour prices because:
- Tasting is optional
- Your fees may be waived with minimum purchase (varies by winery)
- How many wineries will we visit? – This also on the company you have opted to experience your Napa valley bike tours. But usually the number is as follows:
- On a full-day (Classic or Cycling IN the Vineyards) bike tour you’ll visit approximately 3 wineries.
- On the Afternoon Bike Tour, you’ll visit about 2 wineries.
- Most Self-Guided Bike Tour and Rental guests visit between 3-4 wineries.
- What kind of bike should I ride? – Depends on the tour company, but by far, the vast majority Napa valley bike tours enthusiasts prefer to ride Specialized Sirrus hybrid. This touring bike offers all of the efficiencies of a road bike, while being comfortable for casual riders. For experienced cyclists we offer high-performance road bikes, which can be outfitted with clipless pedals for $6.
- Can i bring my own bike? – If you have your own bike, most Napa valley bike tours operators are happy to act as your “touring center.” That said, usually they don’t offer a discount for guests riding their own bike on their guided tours.
- Should I bring my cycling shoes? – It depends on what the goal of your ride is. If you want to “play tourist” and visit the wineries, cycling shoes are a bit “overkill” – especially on guided bike tours; not to mention, depending on the type of cleats you have, they can be downright awkward to walk in. However, if you’re planning to get a good workout ride in while you’re here, by all means bring your shoes. Most Napa valley bike tours operators have an inventory of pedals to match your cleats (for a $6 flat wrench fee). And, if you forget your shoes, they can offer shoes with standard SPD cleats available to rent for approximately $15.
- What should i wear on the bike tour? – Cool mornings make “layering” the best choice for most activities in the Napa Valley. Beyond that, your main focus should be comfort. Casual shorts or capri pants are recommend. Denim is probably the only fabric we recommend avoiding due to its thick seams. If you’ll be wearing long pants, keep in mind that the right pant leg will need to be cinched or rolled up to avoid getting caught (we have Velcro straps you can borrow, if needed). We recommend wearing closed-toe shoes or sandals that are securely strapped on your feet.
- What are the roads like on Napa valley bike tours? Are there designated bike paths to follow? – For most bicycling routes you will find a combination of cycling along lightly trafficked country roads and portions of some busier thoroughfares including Hwy. 29 and Silverado Trail where there is a 6-8 foot wide shoulder. Most Napa valley bike tours have been biking safely along these routes since 1987.There are no designated bike trails that are completely removed from traffic – although the Napa Valley Vine Trail Coalition is working diligently to change that! Visit vinetrail.org for details and to lend your support.For a biking experience that takes you off-road through the vineyards and away from traffic, check out the options with your tour company.
- What will the weather be like? – See the Weather page for average temperatures and rainfall by month.
- What happens if it’s raining? – Depending on the tour company, but most Napa valley bike tours do happen rain or shine. On days with light/intermittent rain, the tour operator can provide rain jackets to keep you dry and comfortable. In the unlikely event of heavy rain, your guided bike tour may be converted to a chauffeured van tour, and your Tour Guide will go out of his way to visit some special wineries that we wouldn’t have been able to visit by bike.
- Can I bring my children? – Trends on Napa valley bike tours show that most families with children enjoy the flexibility of a self-guided tour or bike rental, since you can choose your route and decide if/when to include winery visits along your route. While there are not always kid-centered activities available at the wineries, kids are usually welcome to play outside. Check with your tour operator.
In conclusion, for some it’s like a pilgrimage. For others, a retreat. For you it’s a remarkable week and an incredible ride. Off-route tastings that enlighten your palate. Gourmet meals that live up to the wines. Top-notch spas that relax and rejuvenate. And above all else, breathtaking sights in a remarkable place simply known as Napa Valley. Enjoy your Napa valley bike tours this year!
Visit the Trip and Tour category to explore more travel tours, tour companies and adventure trips available and fit your interests!