Cheese Factory Ride
This is a regular Easter Sunday Ride, suitable on any spring Sunday morning, but especially nice when the Marin Headlands are green and the poppies are starting to bloom.
The Marin Cheese Factory (Pt. Reyes-Petaluma Road, near Nicasio) via Mount Tamalpais and the Marin Headlands.
This is an informal ride route suitable for either small groups or large, since the Cheese Factory can accommodate groups of any reasonable size for lunch.
Head north to Hwy 280 via Charleston/Arastradero Roads. Take 280 to 19th Ave. to 101 north over the Golden Gate Bridge. Be sure to watch out for cross traffic on 19th Avenue. We often stop at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge at the Vista Point to use the bathrooms and regroup. Head north on 101 over the hill to Mill Valley/Stinson Beach/ Highway 1 exit north of Sausalito. Take Hwy 1 over Mount Tamalpais to the summit of Mount Tamalpais. Just follow Highway 1 north from Mill Valley and bear right on Panoramic Highway, right again on Pan Toll Road and follow signs to Mt. Tam. Do not cross the double yellow line or you may get a ticket!
Our favorite regrouping place is the summit of Mt. Tam. I suggest bringing a thermos of coffee or tea, and a pair of binoculars. If you have a little energy to burn, scoot up to the Fire Lookout for the best views of San Francisco Bay you will find anywhere.
It is only a five or ten minute walk up and a quick run back down to the parking lot. When you are ready to go on, take the turnoff north on Ridgecrest Blvd. north to the Fairfax-Bolinas Road that rejoins Rte. 1 at the north end of Bolinas Lagoon, just across from the Bolinas turn-out. This skips the regular Highway 1 traffic, and is a road that most riders have never taken.
The towns along Highway 1 are - Bolinas (sign only) - Olema (ride straight on) - Point Reyes Station (straight on through town, stay on Hwy 1) - Marshall. From Point Reyes to Marshall is about 9 miles.
Just north of Marshall bear right off 1 up the hill on the Marshall-Petaluma Road. It is 11 miles to the Wilson Hill Cut-off; turn right and ride 3 miles to the Pt. Reyes-Petaluma Road. Turn right, go past the firehouse and stop at the Cheese Factory for lunch on the lawn. Buy bread, cheese, etc., watch the ducks and enjoy the Sunday sunshine! (If it's raining, go back to Olema for lunch.)
After you've eaten, visited with friends and napped in the sun return the rest of the way to Hwy 1 ( and back to the Golden Gate) on Pt. Reyes-Petaluma road or go home by turning left on Nicasio Valley Road (by Nicasio Reservoir) via Lucas Valley Road to 101 south. (Other alternates possible).
The following are some basic group ride protocols for anyone:
Be ready to leave on time. Show up with your tank full, your tires checked, with proper clothing and a bike which is safe to ride. Don't hold up your fellow riders because you did not prepare for the ride properly. Also, be prepared to help your fellow riders with any problems on the road.
- Safe speed: The safe speed for road conditions will differ from rider to rider. You are responsible to pick a pace that is comfortable and within your ability. There will be plenty of opportunities to regroup. Do not ride beyond your limits in an attempt to keep up with other riders!
Do not follow too closely! Ride in staggered files on the freeway, and leave a safe distance between you and the next rider. It is very important to avoid following too closely on the secondary roads.
- Passing: If you are prepared to ride faster than the rider in front, put your blinker on and pass. If you see a rider behind you preparing to pass, move over and give plenty of room.
- Stopping: If the group stops, be sure to pull off the road completely. When the group starts, be sure to look over your shoulder for approaching traffic before you pull out to follow the person in front of you.
- Breakdowns: The sweep riders and riding friends may stop and provide assistance. It is not safe for then entire group to stop for one rider.
- Taking off early: There are plenty of opportunities to take bail-out routes and head home early. It is appreciated if you let the ride leader, others in the group or sweeps know that you are planning to take off early so we don't wait around and go looking for you.