Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Healdsburg Memorial Bridge - Bike/Ped issue

Mayor Plass and Vice-Mayor Jones -

I just read an article in the Press Democrat discussing the closure of the Memorial Bridge from mid 2013 for 18-24 months, with complete closure for bikes/peds. The article was a bit fluffy so I am emailing you asking for more details.

My wife and I purchased a property on Limerick Lane 4 years ago and have been running a vacation rental business there over this time period. Despite recent record success with the business, we are shuttering the business for an even better opportunity - we are moving into the house fulltime at the end of August. However, we were shocked and dismayed to find out we will be cut off from downtown for a long stretch of time, we selected the location in large part for the easy bike ride to downtown, I will be shuttling my young son to preschool on the bike seat starting September.

The first article I read discussed access being "via Westside road". That would be in the vicinity of 1 5 miles for me via Eastside and Wohler Bridge. I am a strong fit cyclist but I'm not very interested in a 30 mile round trip just to go get a burger at Bear Republic, currently a 4 mile round trip. It now looks like more plausible options are being discussed. Options listed in the paper were a "shuttle" or usage of the railroad bridge.

I have a huge stake in the outcome and may make a special trip to Healdsburg (we are in San Francisco right now) to make public comment on this matter but I would like some context so I can prepare my comments.

As the owner of the vacation rental we made a lot of money from cyclists who rented our house and were not price sensitive. They would frequently leave us very expensive bottles of wine as parting thank yous. Cutting off the south of Healdsburg and Windsor area from bikes would divert a lot of tourism dollars out of the city. A lot of Santa Rosa Cycling routes use Healdsburg Ave to access Old Redwood, routes would now bypass Healdsburg completely. A stimulus program for the Dry Creek Store but bad for Oakville, Sheltons, Healdsburg Bar and Grill, the burrito places, etc... A shuttle would not service group rides like that which frequently have 50+ riders and usually include a lunch stop on the plaza. I think the town needs to figure out how to have "standard" bicycle access.

Pedestrian issues are also very important. The parking lot at Memorial Beach is frequently a zoo despite people who walk to the beach from town. Cutting off pedestrian access would make the beach a disaster. This also includes tourists who walk from the downtown lodging to the rafting company just across the bridge.

It would probably be possible to convince Caltrans to open 101 for bicycle access from Westside/Healdsburg to Old Redwood but this would only suffice for the hardier cyclist and do nothing for pedestrians. For reference, it is legal to ride on 101 in parts of Novato and from Geysers Road in Cloverdale all the way to Hopland. Any time there is no reasonable alternate route, bicycle access is allowed on limited access highways.

I am sure you have done a lot of research to this end, and it does sound like you are hoping to find a good solution, as well as make good (better!) accommodations on the completed bridge.

Thank You

John Murphy - 1184 Limerick Lane, Healdsburg, Ca, 95449

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

New joint in Healdsburg - "The Wurst"

Last weekend in Healdsburg we had the chance to try a new place in Healdsburg, a Sausage and Burger place called The Wurst I was drawn by the outdoor seating which is premium on a nice summer night in Healdsburg - but also by the $3.50 Microbrews on tap for Happy Hour. Suck it Zeitgeist. Little Sumpin on tap, beer garden, 9 diffe... on Twitpic The place has good brats and a "Smashburger". Owner Charles Bell was running around the place talking to people, talking up his pasture raised meats for burgers. I had to admit they were quite good, and I had a couple of Little Sumpin Ales on tap.
The prices were quite reasonable, and there is a decadent chocolate ice cream filled cream puff with chocolate sauce for dessert. Bonne Chance to Charles!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Cycling in Healdsburg

We already knew this - but Bicycling Magazine confirms it...

Healdsburg is one of the top cycling destinations there is!

Healdsburg, California
This quaint town is an ideal staging ground for exploring Sonoma wine country by bike. Start rides with a homemade energy bar at the Jimtown Store and end with gelato sandwiches at Bovolo. Book a tasting ride with Wine Country Bikes, or visit on August 21 for the Tour de Vine, during which you'll ride with local vintners and chefs and feast on goat cheese and baguettes at the farmers' market. Sleep off your food coma at the new eco-chic h2hotel, which offers earth-friendly amenities along with secure bicycle storage and a collection of hip Public bikes guests can take for a spin.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Michael Bauer on Healdsburg's Cyrus

Amusing column by Michael Bauer on Cyrus today in the Chronicle

Thanks for recommending Cyrus restaurant. We went Sunday night. Food was great, but I was pretty much finished at 10 p.m. (2 hours into meal) but unfortunately courses kept coming til 1 a.m. (and then we had to drive home). That was the longest meal of my life, and it definitely crossed my mind that hell could look just like that: course after course after course for eternity.

Bottom line - Cyrus is fantastic but you need to be in the right frame of mind to savor the whole experience. Fortunately, Healdsburg has you covered if you aren't!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Amgen Tour of California coming to Sonoma County May 17

The Amgen Tour of California Bike Race will come to Sonoma County May 17, riding from Davis to Santa Rosa. Last year they crossed into Sonoma via the Petrified Highway and Calistoga Road, on the North side of Santa Rosa closer to Healdsburg.

This year, they approach Sonoma via Trinity Grade, a nasty little climb that I've been up once, having descended the side they will be climbing several times in the Santa Rosa Cycling Club's Terrible Two Double Century.

When I climbed Trinity's backside, I came up from Napa on Mt Veeder Road, a gorgeous stair steppy type climb. The pros will be going up Oakville Grade, which I have never gone up, but have ridden down. Eagle Cycling calls it Without a doubt the toughest climb in Napa - ouch!

1) OAKVILLE GRADE (from Hwy 29) 650 ft/mi. Without a doubt the toughest climb in Napa. it's not that far but it starts out tough and gets alot tougher. You climb 650 feet in exactly one mile. No breaks, no shade, no fun. The first half isn't so bad and I can manage it sitting in the saddle using my 39/28. The last half increases in pitch and it's standing and grunting all the way at a 3.5 mph pace.

Trinity would be a great place to watch the race explode! Come to Sonoma and check it out. Make a weekend of it - there is still availability at Le Tournesol in the heart of the action!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Levi Leipheimer descending Pine Flat Road

If there was any doubt that Sonoma is cycling nirvana, check this out.

Levi descending Pine Flat by Roger Bartels.

I've been up this road a couple of times, it's a blast both up and down. It's also the scene of Ross' Epic Hillclimb to benefit Ross Dillon.

Of course, descending Pine Flat Road is peanuts compared to the Old Cazadero Grasshopper which is this weekend in Occidental.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Levi's Gran Fondo

Registration opened today.

And it's almost Sold Out already!

Register now at Levi's Gran Fondo