There’s never been a better time to celebrate spring by bike in California. The winter rains (and snow in higher elevations) have spurred the growth of hundreds of native wildflowers species in certain areas all over the state. Birds are nesting. Temperatures are rising. Spring in California is unparalleled during its annual renewal of natural beauty, so here are some of the best ways to experience the transformation of the seasons by two wheels.
The Oasis at Death Valley
Despite its world-renowned status for oven-like heat in the summer, Death Valley has ideal riding temperatures in the springtime, averaging around 80 degrees Fahrenheit most days. For those looking to get a head start on those cycling tan lines, try something different. Bring your mountain or road bike to the lowest elevational point in North America and explore the Death Valley National Park’s dunes, rugged terrain, and spring bloom. After a full day of desert discovery, we recommend resting tired heads at the Oasis at Death Valley – a uniquely situated resort which offers all the amenities of your typical luxury accommodations, but located in the largest National Park in the lower 48 states. Not only that, in April, children under the age of 18 can stay and eat for free. More information about where to ride in Death Valley can be found here: www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/bikingandmtbiking.htm.
Yosemite National Park
From the desert to the mountains, Yosemite is another unforgettable place to visit during the spring months. Inside the park, there are 12 miles of mostly paved road, which is a great way to take in the grandeur of Yosemite Valley. However, for those looking for longer routes, venture outside the park to Tioga Road and Glacier Point Roads, but as these roads are closed in the winter, be sure to check they’re open to bicycles (and cars) before visiting. Depending on snow removal dates and times, Yosemite usually offers a “bikes only” period around late April, early May, for cyclists to enjoy the 17-mile climb to Glacier Point car-free. Discover more about bike routes in the Yosemite region here: www.traillink.com/trail/yosemite-valley-trails.
California Wine Country Tour
Spend early June sipping exceptional wine, touring wine country by bike and staying at some of California’s most beautiful accommodations? Where do we sign? The VBT Biking and Walking Vacation company offers an all-inclusive, van supported, five-day bike tour through some of the most idyllic landscapes the Golden State has to offer. There’s plenty to take in during this trip, including visits to Sonoma and Napa county vineyards, Redwoods State Natural Reserve and even breakfasting at The Tides Restaurant, made famous by Alfred Hitchcock’s film “The Birds.” The daily average ride time is 2 and a half to four hours, covering 18 to 44 miles. Unsure on your fitness level? Don’t worry. E-Bikes are available for those looking for a more leisurely experience. More information on the tour activities and route descriptions can be found at: www.vbt.com/tours/california-wine-country-the-pacific-coast.
Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu
One of the great things about PCH (and there are plenty) is its adaptability when it comes to distance. Whether you chose to take the famous road to the turnoffs into the Santa Monica mountains and explore the canyons of Latigo, Mulholland or Yerba Buena, or stay along the coastal route for a scenic ride along beaches immortalized in countless commercials, tv shows, and movies. Plan to stop at the famous seafood restaurant Neptune’s Net for lunch. Established in 1958, the restaurant was made famous in several films including Point Break and The Fast and the Furious. After the devastating wildfires last winter, the Malibu hills, and surrounding areas are glowing green and yellow with new foliage and wildflowers thanks to the rainy season - a beautiful testament to the resilience of nature. Check out some of the more popular routes in Malibu here: www.mapmyride.com/us/malibu-beach-ca/.