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.


Union City to Mountain view, Grand Cru, and back

A few weeks ago, I decided to ride from the East Bay to Mountain View to meet up for a Grand Cru ride.  I checked out the maps and decided that I could start a ride from Union City BART and ride a manageable distance (with ALC training in mind) including the round trip from Union City to Mountain View and the Grand Cru ride itself.


The Learning Tree, a preschool located on Paseo Padre Parkway at Fremont Blvd


I used Map my Ride to do the route.  It’s a little ad-heavy but has been generally improving.  I think I prefer bikemap but for some reason Map my Ride worked better this time.




Riding on the overpass over Thornton Ave


It was around this point that I ran into some bike trouble.  My pannier, though built very nicely, doesn’t have a hook at the bottom to keep the base in place.  And it’s a rather long (tall) pannier.  As I was standing and swaying around a bit to get up the incline of one of these overpasses, the pannier got caught on a spoke and made a pretty horrible-sounding crunching sound.  I stopped and discovered that the wheel reflector had broken off (no big deal), a few spokes were bent (sorta big deal) and a fairly large hole had been ripped in the bag (a sorta big deal).  Luckily I had one of those delta cargo nets and a spoke wrench.  I put the cargo net on the outside of the pannier and then trued the wheel enough so that it was ride-able  and finally set off again.  It didn’t seem like a good start to the ride, though.




Marshlands Rd


By this point, it looked like the wheel and pannier were holding up, so I continued.  This photo is from Marshlands Rd, which travels along the marshes and leads to the Dumbarton bridge.  The road kind of sucks for cycling – the asphalt is super bumpy.. but at least it’s isolated from most vehicular traffic.






the pannier with the netting was not very pretty.




dumbarton bridge bike lane


I’m glad that the Dumbarton bridge has a separate bike lane.  But it’s not very much fun to ride over.  Traffic is fairly loud as the cars are traveling highway speeds and it’s quite dusty.  The lane is decently wide though and I appreciate that there’s a large barrier between bikes and vehicular traffic.  On the east side of the bridge on the south side of the bay, there looks to be remnants of a pedestrian walkway that is no longer in use.




I rode through East Palo Alto en route to Mountain View.




A bridge to Ravenswood open space preserve


Here’s where the map (based on google maps) got a little sketchy.




The bike trail from Bay rd to Weeks St


Google maps has this trail marked as dark green.  It was okay for me to ride over since I have 27 and 32-sized tires but it was a bit uncomfortable and I was a worried that the rest of the ride along the shore would turn out to be like this.  It’d be fine for a mountain bike though.




pumping station


The bumpy trail eventually led to a paved trail and all was good again.




I think this is from Palo Alto Baylands Park.




It’s a super flat area but a bit windy and doesn’t have too much variety.  Some of the riding was along the San Francisco Bay Trail.




After a short ride on the Stevens Creek Trail, which was pretty nice, I arrived at the meeting point for the start of the grand cru ride: The Tied House Brewery & Cafe.




we rode up moody rd, which was a bit of a climb.  I’ll post more pictures from that portion of the ride on the grand cru website.




after the ride and a burger and beer, I headed back for Union City.

I had just turned off of Stevens Creek Trail at this point.




google bike

I decided to take a tour through the Googleplex.  These little bikes were everywhere.  They’re apparently free to borrow for getting around the campus.




a google chrome bike




more google bikes near the main lobby




marshmallow and spaghetti pyramids!  I was a little excited to see this.




at the end of Marhlands Rd, a bit before sundown


The rest of the ride wasn’t that interesting.  I was feeling a bit uncomfortable from riding such a long distance on my commuter, and between back fatigue, leg fatigue and the headwinds, I was ready to be home.  I put my head down and pushed through the rest of the ride.  I made it back to Union City BART before the sun went down and all in all did about 80 miles.  It was definitely an interesting ride but not one of my best.