Photos: The Grand Cru ride to Petaluma, Lagunitas Brewing, and the Willowbrook Ale House

We recently rode in our second two-day Grand Cru ride from San Francisco to Petaluma and back to visit Lagunitas Brewing and other breweries along the way.

We rode out from the Embarcadero through North Beach towards the Golden Gate Bridge loaded with supplies and camping gear.



The obligatory shot of the Golden Gate Bridge from Chrissy Fields


Our first stop was Iron Springs Pub and Brewery in Fairfax.  I had a Kent Lake Kolsch.  I was a little surprised to not receive it in a Kolsch glass.. but getting it this way probably meant more beer for me.


A flight of beers from Iron Springs


We rode off from Fairfax, to climb White Hill


Then we rode through Nicasio.  Beautiful green hills, blue skies and cows.


The group, riding along Nicasio Valley Rd


It’s It at the Cheese Factory.  I was looking forward it all morning.


Rolling out after a short ice cream break


Petaluma – The Willowbrook Ale House.  Had a really good burger lately? … With fries?


We saw the remnants of a police chase and car crash from our campground.


We headed to Lagunitas Brewing and got a flight.


At the bottom of the glass: “BEER SPEAKS”


This dude had a 4 wolf moon t-shirt.  And a 3-wolf belt buckle.


A great burger… with fries!  I wasn’t even hungry.  I just got it because I had to.


This is Bud, rocking the mic.


Poor Eric – his tent was broken.  Looked more like a bivy.


Dog outside of the bathroom


Aeropress coffee with Scarlett City Roasting beans.  We had the Nicaragua Los Papales.  (It was fine as a strong aeropress brew but at home, I find the beans to be slightly boring.)


We had brunch at Henny Penny’s before heading back south to San Francisco.  In searching for information about this place online, I learned that in 2003, the owner of the restaurant was robbed in his home and died of a heart attack during the robbery.  9 of the 10 suspects in the robbery have been arrested..


Back to lighter stuff – this chili pepper sauce has the YouTube logo on it.  I don’t know why.  Apparently they have a lot of YouTube videos, including this one that ends with 1) a guy spinning a box of hot sauce bottles 2) a different guy kissing a hot sauce bottle


We all headed south to Novato to stop by Moylan’s Brewery.  Most of the group stayed there and then stopped by Marin Brewing before catching the ferry back to San Francisco.  We elected to ride all the way back to the city.  Once we got back, we rewarded ourselves with a burger and onion rings at Gott’s.  and a white pistachio shake.


Tour de Biere 2012

Here are a few pictures taken during Tour de Biere 2012, a ride we put together via The Grand Cru that raised money for the East Bay Bicycle Coalition and visited multiple East Bay breweries.  There aren’t bikes in these; they’re from our ride up Market St in Oakland.  I’ve posted pictures of the bikes, beer, and riders on this Grand Cru page.



The Boys and Girls Club of Oakland


El Taco Panzon Taqueria in West Oakland.  They are no longer open.  Yelp reviews are here.


Waterbar Oysterfest 2011

Some photos from the sold-out Waterbar Oysterfest 2011

I believe these are fried oyster sliders from Farallon?








House-made chinese sausage, oyster on a lettuce leaf by Prospect





a white fixie/single speed with a fatted calf sticker was parked outside




Epic roasthouse served a cornmeal-fried oyster with a slice of beef on a chive-buttermilk biscuit topped with.. I don’t remember.  It was delicious though – my favorite bite of food there.





the woman in the black shirt was the oyster eating contest winner – 73 in 3 minutes!





and there was a feast afterwards – corn, potatoes, shrimp, mussels and clams with half a lobster





holy crap this was so good.  trying to remember its contents: a crumby crust with an espresso-chocolate mousse topped with a layer of caramel mousse topped with vanilla whipped cream, caramel corn, and chocolate





view of the bay bridge from waterbar






Monterey Bay Aquarium


I was able to make a quick visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium last month.  It was pretty awesome and the staff are super-nice (thanks Casey and everyone else!)


Here are a few shots from the Open Sea exhibit and the giant Mola Mola sunfish.










Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption

My friend Sam and I stumbled across a “Sacred Places” walking tour by SF City Guides (@SFCityGuides) the other day and decided to follow along for a bit:


st. mary’s cathedral from gough st


the tour started on the front steps of the cathedral and soon moved to the inside.







there’s a quite diverse representation of figures in front of the cathedral




looking straight up from the center




looking back at the entrance





we walked by a few other churches after seeing the cathedral and then stopped into a buddhist temple.  then, we parted ways with the tour group and took muni to hang out in golden gate park.


wine country, clif bars and wine at velo vino for the climate ride

This past Saturday’s ride was very nice.  Very different than my Mt. Diablo ride.   We participated in a fundraising ride for Clif employees riding in the Climate Ride from New York to DC.  Clif sponsored the staging at Velo Vino ( a new wine shop/tasting bar with Clif wines, Luna and Clif cycling apparel, olive oil and snacks, Clif food products, coffee, and soon, food) and of course provided nutrition for the ride – bars, shot blocks, shots, rocs, and so on.  

Long shadows of bikes on bike rack on car

I hadn’t been to St. Helena in quite some time – not since my family came out for a visit maybe two years ago.  Here’s the front Velo Vino sign, pre-landscaping.  This place is super new.

It was an unexpected surprise to see Gary, the Clif founder there to support the ride.  Melissa and Christine talked about the Climate ride and then our route for a bit, then Gary chimed in with a few words.

Lots of nice folks from Clif, Backroads, and Berkeley Ironworks.  Velo Vino is turning that grassy area into a backyard patio as I post.

A long line of cyclists through filtered light.  I expected it to be cold, but it was a bit warmer than expected – just about perfect for cycling.  It was probably about 60 when we started and it got up to maybe 70 during the day.  Sunny all around.  It was fun riding as a part of such a large friendly group.

There was a little bit of a slide on old howell mountain road.

Stopping to regroup at White Cottage Rd.  Gary led the first parts of the ride and, man, is he a strong rider.  The first part of the ride was all climbing.

We were aiming to do the longest of the routes at 63 miles but missed a left turn.  I think we were on Chiles Pope Valley Road at this point.

A beautiful open field

I took a little photo break and got this shot of a few california poppies.

Got this shot of Lake Hennessey while riding.

Riding alongside a rocky cliff.  Not used to this visual.  Pretty cool.

Lunch at Nichelini winery

Quite a lunch spread.  We realized we missed some turns and made it to lunch at mile 35 instead of mile 50.  This was great because there was plenty of food available but I wasn’t able to enjoy most of it because I didn’t want to spoil my stomach for the rest of the ride.


I took pictures of peoples parked bikes.  There were a bunch of fun ones.  I had to look this one up – an Albert Eisentraut frame.  He was a local Oakland guy.



A pink and grey Orbea with what looked like an aluminum/carbon frame


Marty’s Rivendell Romulus




Nichelini wine tastings


I hadn’t noticed this Surly Cross Check cable hanger before.

A fancy Ti/carbon Serotta


Cruising down Sage Canyon Rd.  This guy was pushing it on his Bike Friday.  The descent was so fun that we did it twice.  Actually, we wanted to make up some mileage so we did a little loop back along Chiles Pope Valley Rd, then a climb up Lower Chiles Valley Rd and then headed back down Sage Canyon Rd.


We had a bit of a fast paceline on the last few miles back along Silverado Trail rd.



Velo Vino threw in a wine tasting afterwards to celebrate.


Clif cork


Torta carnitas from the shop next door.  I didn’t realize I was so hungry until this was in front of me.


All in all, I got in 59 miles, which wasn’t too far off from our goal of 63.  The wine and the fast pace got us pretty sleepy.  I think we turned in at 8pm that night.  All in all, a really nice day.