Updated: Jun 4, 2022
by Lisa Montanaro of The Bike Campaign
May 23, 2022
There are many adjectives one could use to describe Yolo County, California. The area is blessed with beautiful weather, picturesque views, a thriving agriculture community, a world class university, and historic and charming towns. Next door to the state capital and at the gateway to some of the nation’s best wine regions, Yolo is overflowing with abundance. And there is no better way to experience that bountiful environment than on two wheels. With gas prices at a record high, riding a bike is not just an enjoyable adventure, but an economically smart one too. So, grab your helmet and get ready for some cycling adventures.
Davis: The Cycling Hub of the Region
Home to the US Bicycling Hall of Fame, Davis boasts as many bicycles as there are residents. With a 12-mile bike loop that passes through many areas of town and utilizes the fantastic Greenbelt and bike lane infrastructure, Davis is a bike riding mecca. And cycling doesn’t stop at its borders, as it is surrounded by some of the best cycling routes available, with lovely flat backroads passing farmlands and orchards. Add to that the presence of The Bike Garage at the Cannery, where you can grab local bike maps and access bike mechanics and instructors, and you know why Davis is known as a bike lover’s dream. If you crave a group ride, check out the Davis Bike Club, which leads rides a few times per week to different locations, and the Bike Campaign, which organizes fun bicycle events throughout the year.
Eastbound to the State Capital
For those interested in heading to the state capital on two wheels, head east about 17 miles from Davis on the bike path that runs alongside I-80 and crosses the Yolo Bypass. While it may not be the most pleasant of rides during the highway portion, it is safe as the bike lane is separate from traffic. You can stop in West Sacramento at the fabulous Tree House Café for delicious food in a charming outdoor garden, attend a River Cats minor league baseball game, satisfy your history buff cravings at Old Town Sacramento, or go all the way to the impressive California State Capitol building. And if you’re too tired to bike back to Davis, a bonus is that Amtrak permits bikes on the Capitol Corridor train. Check Amtrak for schedules and more information.
Due North to Historic Woodland
If it’s historic architecture you crave, head due north to Woodland, which is only about 10 miles from Davis. You can take Roads 98 or 102, both of which have wide bike lanes but a decent amount of traffic, or Road 99, which has a narrower bike lane but less traffic. Woodland has a thriving local food scene. If you are into a great cup of joe, try Morgan’s Mill, or newcomer Gallery Coffee Roasters, both of which have fantastic coffee and great atmosphere in historic spaces. Prefer a brew? Give Blue Note Brewing Company downtown a try. Just be careful not to drink too much so you can safely ride back to Davis (or get a designated driver and throw your bike in their car!). And a bonus is that a second location of The Bike Garage is in Woodland for any cycling needs, including bike mechanics. If you want to join a friendly group ride, check out the Foy’s Riders affiliated with Foy’s Bike Shop in Woodland.
Head South to Dixon for Baked Goods & Brews
Have a hankering for great baked goods or perhaps a local microbrew? Head 10 miles south to the town of Dixon and visit the fabulous Solano Baking Company to munch on yummy sweetness, or to Ruhstaller Brewery for an authentic brew-farm experience, complete with a hops field inhabited by adorable chickens. You can start south of the UC Davis campus and take Old Davis Road or head west on the Russell Bike Path and follow the beginning of the Davis to Winters route before veering south. Enjoy passing farms and orchards up close along the way, and don’t forget to bring a backpack or bicycle panniers to stow away some fruits and veggies from Pedrick Produce on the way back to Davis.
Go West to Charming Winters
For many Yolo County area cyclists, the 15-mile ride from Davis to Winters is considered the best and for good reason. The ride is beautiful with views of the Berryessa Gap beckoning you as you make your way to Winters while passing orchard fields and crossing the iconic Stevenson Bridge (known as Graffiti Bridge to most cyclists due to the cool graffiti that covers the structure). Start in Davis by heading west on the Russell Bike Path to the end, and then turn left onto Stevenson Bridge Road. From there, turn right onto Putah Creek Road and it’s smooth sailing all the way to Winters. Once you arrive in charming downtown, you’ll cross another historic bridge made of iron, and then make your way to the Steady Eddy’s, an uber bike-friendly café frequented by cyclists from all over Yolo County (as evidenced by the plentiful bike racks out front typically filled with bikes!). Winters also boasts wine tasting rooms and breweries for those seeking adult beverages, as well as a pedestrian-only outdoor dining area to enjoy food from downtown restaurants.
No matter which direction you ride, Yolo County offers excellent cycling adventures that will help you appreciate the natural beauty of the area and the great towns located in it. You can use Ride with GPS, a trusty app loved by many cyclists, or any maps app you’re familiar with, such as Google Maps, to help you discover and navigate routes. So, what are you waiting for? There’s never been a better time – or place – to explore life on two wheels!
This article was written by Lisa Montanaro, commissioned by The Bike Campaign. For more information about how to “Drive Less. Ride More.”, contact Maria Contreras Tebbutt at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.TheBikeCampaign.com.
Lisa Montanaro is the author of the book The Ultimate Life Organizer and is a freelance writer for print and online publications. She is currently revising her debut novel. When not writing, Lisa helps organizations and people be more productive. And when not working or writing, Lisa can be found on two wheels cycling!