The daily short option averages about 35 miles, the "breakaway" options bring the average up to 47 miles.
Weather in Sonoma County is ideal for growing wine grapes: warm during the day and cool at night. Mornings tend to be cool and foggy, but the coastal fog usually lifts by midday. Fog can linger at the coast all day. High temperatures during Summer months average in the low 80s. Winter brings temperatures in the low 60s. The rainy season is from mid-November to mid-March.
When researching a trip, we seek out restaurants that serve healthy, fresh choices typical of California cooking. The Village Inn, our lodging for the duration of the tour, has a very good restaurant with menu choices typical of California. We will be having one dinner there.
Nobody goes hungry on one of our trips! One of the joys of riding several hours per day is getting to enjoy the dinner afterwards. We give you the choice of ordering anything on a restaurant's menu. Order appetizers, soup, salad, entree, dessert, non-alcoholic beverages. Please note - to ensure prompt service we sometimes order from a more limited menu. The only thing that isn't included is alcohol.
Continental breakfast is served at The Village Inn in the mornings.
We gather on Sunday at 9:00am in San Francisco, at the Holiday Inn Fisherman’s Wharf. Cyclists arriving by car can leave their vehicles at the hotel for an additional daily fee. Conversely, guests can drive to Santa Rosa (where the trip begins) and leave their vehicles at the Sonoma County Airport ($10 daily parking fee). If guests choose to drive to Santa Rosa, we can assist you in retrieving your car on Day 1 for parking at our trip hotel, the Village Inn.
The trip officially ends in the mid-afternoon on Wednesday, at the Village Inn in Monte Rio. Our team vehicle is available to return cyclists to the Santa Rosa Airport or the Holiday Inn Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.
It depends on how quickly everyone rides, but usually the last rider arrives at the finish between 2:30 and 3:00 PM.
Cycling shorts, cycling jerseys, cycling socks, cycling shoes, gloves, helmet (required), wind jacket or vest, rain gear (jacket, pants, helmet cover, shoe covers), sunglasses. For colder weather: arm warmers, knee/leg warmers or tights, full fingered gloves, shoe covers, beanie.
Hat, bathing suit, sweater or jacket, comfortable shoes, casual evening wear.
Sunscreen, lip balm, prescription medicines, chamois cream, toiletries, identification, medical insurance card.
If you still have questions, please take a look at our general Frequently Asked Questions page. It addresses questions that are common to all tours.
My wife and I rode with another couple who we hadn't met previously and were accompanied by one guide; it was one of the best trips we have ever had.
Guide and support - It's hard to believe that UDC could have another guide as good as Susan, there was nothing more she could have done for us (guide rating = 6 stars). She has all the skills and more right down to being a paramedic (very handy for patching up some scrapes that I brought upon myself). Riding with Susan on the rest day was a highlight.
Food - quality of all meals, snacks, restaurant ambience, American regional experiences (e.g., peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, ollaliberries, and so-called biscuits), right down to the electrolyte water was excellent. Lodgings - perfectly pitched and probably all rate high on TripAdvisor (we'd give them all 4-5 stars, especially the Burton Inn in Cambria but they were all of similarly high standard).
Bikes - I ride a TDF Cannondale EVO back home and was more than satisfied with our Scott Carbon Ultegras. Perfectly set up to our specifications, brought our own saddles just to be fussy, and rode well all week. The ladies had the uber-comfort frames with thinned rear stays and the boys got more standard racing styles - perfectly pitched! They even provided a USB stick with all the routes that could be downloaded to a Garmin.
Riding in company - UDC are very skilled at managing different clients with different preferences, speeds and so on. We were fortunate to be paired with a lovely couple of cycle enthusiasts and enjoyed their company as much as the ride, learning a lot about life in America, the various nuances of language and etiquette (and snow globes!) We breathed a sigh of relief every time we rode past a different tour company with dozens of people, phew!
Countryside and routes - Lovely little maps were provided every day at nightly briefings that clipped on to the handlebars. These were apparently the work of "Terry", who's a bit like Charlie of Charlie's Angels fame - omnipresent but never seen. The daily rides were very well chosen and reflect a lot of thought and planning. The option to do top ups and extras like the Nascimento hill and loops on the rest day ensured that everyone got their fill of good riding.
Value for money - worth every penny and apparently considerably cheaper than some other companies. I would be surprised if anyone else could deliver a better experience.
Wouldn't hesitate to recommend them and wouldn't hesitate to do another ride with them, including trying to match our schedule with Susan's.
TripAdvisor September 2012