FAQs

GENERAL

» Why should I choose Sonoma Valley Bike Tours?

We’re So Glad You Asked!

  • Our shop location in Sonoma rocks! Our full-service bike rental & touring center is located right at the head of a local bike path that leads to Sonoma’s quiet country roads. Within seconds, you’ll find yourself in the heart of the vineyards with 11 wineries within 5 miles for casual riders
  • Our team is singularly focused on catering to wine country visitors (that’s you!). We are NOT a local bike shop that happens to rent bikes on the side. We are the ONLY local bike rental & touring outfitter that is singularly focused on catering to wine country visitors who want to experience the local area and visit wineries by bike. We offer bike rental and touring options to meet the needs of a wide variety of riders – from casual tourists who want to pedal to local wineries to avid cyclists who want to get a workout ride in during their vacation. You’ll see the difference in everything we do, from our custom designed Bike Route Maps, Planning Guides, expert local advice and specialized services – all designed to provide you with the best possible experience.
  • You’ll benefit from our local connections & experience: We’ve been visiting local wineries by bike since 1987 and it’s fair to say that in that time, we’ve developed great relationships and have gotten to know many great off-the-beaten path wineries. We’re eager to share our knowledge to enhance your experience!
  • Reap the rewards of our local knowledge: Our Tour Guides and shop staff reflect a diverse array of local knowledge and expertise. Our team includes an entertaining mix of local history buffs, backyard botanists, ecological enthusiasts and even some garage winemakers! Everyone on our team shares a commitment to enriching your wine country vacation by imparting knowledge that will deepen your appreciation of the world-class wines that are made here. We’re pretty pleased with ourselves when you have a "That’s cool! I didn’t know that!" moment with us.
  • You can choose from a wide range the support options delivered by a great team: A key characteristic of everyone you’ll meet at SVBT is a shared commitment to doing everything we can to make the day you spend biking with us the single most favorite thing you did during your vacation. We love sharing the place we live, work and ride with visitors who want to see and taste the best of what this beautiful area has to offer.
  • You’ll ride on top-notch bikes: We buy a brand new fleet of Specialized bikes every year; our rental bikes are professionally maintained by our professional mechanic. We replace all of the stock tires with high-quality, puncture-resistant tires to greatly reduce your chance of getting a flat. And on the rare occasion you do get a flat or have a mechanical issue with your bike, we offer free roadside assistance along our signature routes.
» How long does it take to drive from San Francisco?

Depending on traffic, Sonoma is a 50-90 minute drive from San Francisco. Friday afternoon (after 3:00 p.m.) is the heaviest traffic due to Bay Area weekend getaway traffic.

» How can I get to your shop from San Francisco without a car?

Public transportation (via Golden Gate Transit and Sonoma Country Transit) is generally not recommended for a day trip, as the one-way trip takes close to 2 hours.

As of October 2015, the estimated Uber fare for the one-way trip from San Francisco is $90-140.

» What are the best options for biking with kids?

Sonoma has an abundance of quiet country roads that most families find ideal for a biking excursion. It should be noted that these roads are open to traffic (you will be sharing the road with cars) and most of the roads do not have a bike lane, but the roads are generally very lightly trafficked. Read more (and see) what the roads are like here.

» What is the weather like?
Average Monthly Temperatures

Average Monthly Rainfall


GUIDED BIKE TOURS

» How far will we ride on the bike tour?

On our guided bike tours, you will ride an average of 3 to 6 miles between stops at local wineries for tastings. The terrain is mostly flat to gently rolling. The total mileage is usually in the neighborhood of about 15 miles.

» How much should we budget for wine tasting fees?

Average tasting fees in Sonoma Valley are between $20-25. On our Classic Half-Day Tour or Cycling IN the Vineyards Tour, you will visit two wineries. On the Full-Day Sonoma Valley Bike Tour, you will visit three wineries.

» Why aren't tasting fees included in the price of the tour?

Wine tasting fees are not included in the bike tour price because 1) Tasting is optional (although our tours are wine-focused and most people who sign up for our tours do so with the intent of participating in the tastings) and 2) Your fees may be waived with minimum purchase (fee waiving policies/practices vary by winery).

» How many wineries will we visit?

On the Classic Half-Day Bike Tour or Cycling IN the Vineyards Tour, you will visit two wineries. On the Full-Day Sonoma Valley Bike Tour, you will visit three wineries.

» What is the picnic lunch like (Full-Day Bike Tour only)?

The catered picnic lunch that is served during the Full-Day Sonoma Valley Bike Tour is prepared by our talented friends at the girl & the fig. The mouth-watering spread includes an assortment of artisan sandwiches (selections include house-roasted turkey with cheddar & apricot fig chutney, salami with sliced pears, red onion confit and brie, roasted portabella mushroom with goat cheese and roasted bell peppers, and more…). Sandwiches are accompanied by green salad, fresh fruit and assorted nibbles (e.g. olives, chickpeas). On days when we have four or fewer guests on tour, we most often will offer a box lunch format where each guest individually orders their own sandwich.

» How much should we tip our Tour Guide?

The typical range is $10-15 per guest for Half-Day Bike Tours (Classic Half-Day and Cycling IN the Vineyards) and $20-30 per guest for the Full-Day Napa Valley Bike Tour. Gratuity is split between your Tour Guide and Van Support.

» Can I bring my own bike?

If you have your own bike, we’re happy to act as your “touring center” and provide free maps and advice. Sonoma is an awesome place to start your ride! We do not offer a discount for guests joining a guided tour and bringing their own bike.

» What should I wear on the bike tour?

Cool mornings make layering the best choice for most activities in Sonoma Valley. Beyond that, your main focus should be comfort. Casual shorts or cropped pants are recommend. Denim is probably the only fabric we recommend avoiding due to its thick seams. If you plan to wear long pants, tapered legs are advisable, or you may need to roll or cinch your right pant leg to avoid getting a nasty grease stain or getting caught on the derailleur (we have Velcro straps you can borrow, if needed). We recommend wearing closed-toe shoes or sandals that are securely strapped on your feet.

» Can I bring my children?

Many of the wineries we visit do not allow visitors under the age of 21 inside their tasting rooms; additionally, our guided tours are adult-oriented and wine-focused and many of the roads we ride on are not appropriate for younger riders. For all of these reasons, children are not allowed on our guided bike tours. We find that most families with children prefer the flexibility of a Self-Guided Bike Tour or Bike Rental, since you can choose your route and decide if/when to include winery visits along your route. While there are not always kid-centered activities available at the wineries, kids are usually welcome to play outside.

» What happens if it's raining?

On days when rain is forecast, we do require guests to report to the shop at the designated “Meet Time” for their scheduled tour. On days with light/intermittent rain, we can provide rain jackets to keep you dry and comfortable. In the unlikely event of heavy rain, we may offer to convert you to a chauffeured van tour instead and your Tour Guide will go out of her/his way to visit some special wineries that we wouldn’t have been able to visit by bike. We also offer the opportunity to reschedule or cancel for a full refund on rainy days.

SELF-GUIDED BIKE TOURS

» What's the difference between a Bike Rental vs. a Self-Guided Bike Tour?

A Self-Guided Bike Tour is a bike rental package that includes two key enhancements over a bike rental: 1) A delicious box picnic lunch prepared by our talented friends at the girl & the fig (which we can deliver to a winery along your route) and 2) Wine-purchase pickup service. The value of these additional features depends upon whether you’d like to enjoy a picnic at a winery (especially when you realize that wineries are not permitted to sell/serve food themselves) and whether you plan to purchase wine and might benefit from the wine purchase pickup service.

» Will you help us plan our route and schedule winery appointments?

We do not personally plan itineraries for our Bike Rental and Self-Guided Bike Tour guests; however, when you reserve a Bike Rental or a Self-Guided Bike Tour, your email confirmation will include links to both our Bike Route Map (illustrating our signature routes and the wineries located along them) as well our Planning Guide, which lets you know which wineries require appointments, which wineries allow picnicking and further helpful info. Once you’ve had a chance to review these materials, we welcome your call if you need further advice or want to run your plans by someone. We’re happy to help!

BIKE RENTALS

» Do you have a 30- to 60-mile route recommendation for avid cyclists?

Do we ever! Check out our Top 5 Routes for Avid Cyclists.

» Should I bring my cycling shoes?

It depends on your objectives. By all means, if you’re planning to get a good long workout ride in definitely pack your shoes and let us know what type of pedal system you use so we can equip your bike with the appropriate pedals. However, if you’re planning to visit wineries by bike, cycling shoes with cleats can be awkward and uncomfortable for walking around at the wineries. Also consider the other people you’ll be riding with; you may not need to clip in if you’re riding with less experienced riders.