Alison's Top 10 Things to Do in Sonoma County

Alison Tetrick, Professional Cyclist

May 19, 2016

Although I am professional cyclist, and my “home office” involves the scenic and sometimes bumpy roads of Sonoma County, I can’t spend every waking hour on my bike. Who would want to do that?  Ouch. There is so much more life out there, especially where we live! It turns out after you get off your bike, you actually have time to do other great things in Sonoma County. 

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One of the main reasons that I ride bikes is to explore and enjoy my surroundings, which includes the food, views, wine, and culture.  Life is best spent on two wheels in my opinion, but I like those two wheels to take me to beautiful and yummy places. Here are my favorite local pastimes and places I like to visit, or things I like to do, when I am not racing my bike. 

  1. Farmers Market: I like to use my bike as a vessel of transportation to cruise down to the local farmers market.  Petaluma’s farmer’s market just started again this weekend and I am so excited!  Find out where your local farmer’s market is! Bring a basket!

  2. Oysters: Oysters are a fun Northern California delicacy, and I have even been known to stop at an oyster place even during my rides! Most interesting ride food? Yes!  Even though it is Marin County, my favorite is Marshall General Store.

  3. Image titleWine: You can’t talk about what you like about Sonoma County without talking about the wine tasting options. I love Healdsburg for an easy wine cruise by bike or a lap around the square for wine, shopping, and eating. If you want an enjoyable and stylish stop with easy access on your way in or out of the wine country, I like Ramsgate!

  4. Cat: I love my cat.  I know I love her more than she loves me, but I do love spending time with my cat.  Pets are the best. 

  5. Cheese: Living in Petaluma, I need to brag about the wonderful cheese produced here in our many local creameries.  One of the joys of riding through the county is to see and talk to the happy cows, sheep, and goats throughout the hillside and the years.  Have you heard of the Sonoma Cheese Trail? Yes, that’s worth a visit.

  6. Reading: I love reading or listening to a great book or podcast.  I just finished reading Don Quixote since I was traveling in Spain.  My favorite podcast is NPR’s This American Life.  Bike riding and all my airplane flights offers time for solitude and reading.

  7. Beaches: Even if it isn’t always the warmest on the coast, I enjoy the rugged beaches of Northern California.  A great picnic spot is Dillon Beach, or heading North to Goat Rock or picking up seafood in Bodega and exploring the options of Bodega Head. 

  8. Jenner: A hidden café on the Sonoma coast is Café Aquatica in Jenner, with delicious farm to table cuisines, eggs served all day, and good coffee.  I make this a destination for my rides, and get to enjoy all of the Sonoma Coast on Highway 1 along the way, and loop back through the Bohemian Highway among the giant trees. 
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  9. Punch: Whenever I need a fashion pick-me-up, I go to Punch in Downtown Santa Rosa.  This has to be one of my favorite boutiques and it offers the perfect combination of a rugged bohemian chic flair with comfort and style. 

  10. Mi Peublo: This is my favorite Mexican restaurant to treat myself to post long ride.  I usually pick the carnitas taco salad and a mango chili margarita. They have several locations to plan accordingly! 

Ok, there is actually 11!

Breakaway from Cancer: I wouldn’t want to ride my bike without having a purpose and a reason to raise awareness.  I work with Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer and help promote important resources available to those affected by cancer. 

Yes, you might notice a trend. My local habits seem to be completely revolving around food, fun, and wine!  Well, it does!  I consider it a reward for riding my bike so much, and also I absolutely love the local produce, cuisine, and resources that our county has. Just like balancing a bicycle, life is about balance as well. I can’t wait to see you at the Amgen Tour of California! This will be a great place to sample some local flair as well as watch the race. Join me!