Popular Rides from Petaluma
Here are some of our favorite rides from Petaluma, all beginning near the corner of Petaluma Blvd. and "B" Street. The links are to maps created using www.ridewithgps.com. In addition to printing a route slip (or loading the route to your phone or GPS device), we recommend consulting a good cycling map, such as the one put out by the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition. Have fun!
10–30 miles, small to moderate hills
- Carrie's Beginner 15-Mile Loop Great beginner route, a couple of small hills included.
- I St. Loop 10 miles of scenic countryside. Best ridden on weekends or after the morning commute is over since many cars use the "I" Street Extension in the early morning to get to the freeway.
- Chileno Valley-Spring Hill Loop A classic. Preferable route is clockwise, as the bad road surface on Spring Hill is more manageable in that direction. Around 28 miles. You can also opt to turn around anywhere along Chileno Valley Rd. and head back to town, making it a ride of any distance you like. Watch out for the increasingly numerous potholes on Spring Hill Rd.
- Novato Loop A 30-mile loop to Novato, which returns to Petaluma along the bike path / frontage road system opened in 2019. Stop for coffee at Dr. Insomniac's.
- Wilson Hill Loop Intermediate. A couple of good climbs in 20 miles, and a nice winding descent back to town on "D" Street. Good in either direction – but if you start out on "D" Street, wait till after the morning commute.
30–50 miles, moderate to steep hills
Our Tomales Loop A Wheelmen staple. About 45 miles with a stop at the Tomales Bakery. We do this at least once a week, in every season. There are ways to make it longer and steeper (take Wilson Hill/Marshall Wall to Hwy 1) or shorter and flatter (just take Bodega to Tomales Road both ways); consult a bike map to see all your options.
Freestone Loop Another popular bakery ride, also about 45 miles. We're showing you the clockwise loop, which is preferable on a Sunday, since you'll be going in the opposite direction of the RVs returning from the coast. Other days, you might prefer the counter-clockwise loop, and get your climbing out of the way on the way to the bakery! Recommended for more experienced cyclists: Burnside Rd. is steep in some spots, and there is some fast traffic on the short section of Bodega Hwy. Nevertheless a spectacular ride, with great views of Mt. St. Helena from the top of Burnside Road. This ride can be made almost completely flat by just taking Bodega - Valley Ford Rd. both ways. Note that Wild Flour Bread in Freestone is open only Friday through Monday, and usually closes for a couple of weeks in January.
- Novato via Wilson Hill We have several routes to Novato. Here's one that's 42 miles, throws in a nice climb over Wilson Hill Rd. to start, and adds some (optional) meandering in the Bahia and Blackpoint areas east of Novato for good measure. Dips into downtown Novato for a stop at Dr. Insomniac's (link above).
- Marshall Out-and-Back This ride travels along beautiful and remote Marshall-Petaluma Rd., first in the valley along Walker Creek, then over the "Marshall Wall" to the village of Marshall. Plenty of climbing (3300') in 41 miles, but you can shorten it to 35 miles (and skip a big climb) by turning around at the top of the ridge rather than descending to Marshall. No bakery stop on this one, but you can get your fix (and add about 10 miles) by completing a loop through Point Reyes Station or Tomales, if you like.
Over 50 miles, for experienced cyclists
Petaluma-Occidental Loop This is a beautiful metric century (around 61 miles) taking you through Sebastopol, Occidental, and then through some coastal hills and home through the idyllic farmland of Chileno Valley. Covers some of the same area as the Freestone Loop above, but more climbing and about 15 more miles. Your best stop is the Union Hotel or Howard's Cafe, unless (if it's on Friday-Monday) you want to press on to Freestone (see Wild Flour Bread, above).
- Samuel P. Taylor Loop This 63-mile ride takes you south into Marin County, sampling the beautiful path through Samuel P. Taylor State Park, and the San Geronimo, Nicasio and Lucas valleys before heading north through Novato.