May 7, 2019
The Paso Robles landscape is ideal for cycling with wide open back roads, untamed trails, and ideal weather.
In honor of National Bike Month (May), we checked in with a couple of Paso Wine Country’s cyclists and learned about a couple of biking hot spots.
May is National Bike Month! What do you ride and how long have you been riding? I have an assortment of bikes in my garage, bikes that reflect the mood I’m in for the day I choose to ride (Road, hybrid, hard tail MTB, and full suspension MTB). I’ve been on two wheels almost literally my whole life. I shocked my Mom and brother one day when they came home from the market and saw me riding my older brothers bike down the driveway at three years old. Yes, three years old with no training wheels. So I’ve been riding for 47 years.
What about cycling keeps you pedaling more? As a kid, I always simply enjoyed going fast. But now, as an adult it is still the speed, but more so the controlled chaos that removes me and my mind from the cumulative stresses and pressures of life, whether it be home, work or simply watching too much world news, it can all become too much sometimes. That’s when I need my “mental cleansing”. The wind, speed and physicality of two wheels helps me relax and blow off all that negative energy and allows me to be a better husband, father, and manager. The longer I go without riding, the grumpier I tend to be. So, I not only ride for my own benefit, but for the benefit of those around me as well.
Do you only ride for leisure or have you ever ridden competitively? I wouldn’t call my riding “leisure”, it’s more of an escape from all that consumes me, so I’m usually pushing pretty hard. I used to race BMX as a kid, then got lured into enduro style Grand Prix racing on dirt bikes throughout California, Nevada, and Arizona when I was in my 30’s and 40’s and training on the trails of POZO and Black Mountain. After a few big “get off’s” racing moto, my doctor finally advised me that my spine would never recover if I didn’t stop abusing myself right now. I of course ignored my doctor and immediately signed myself up for the Virginia City Grand Prix in Nevada at the age of 43. Even though I had raced this event before and was very comfortable going into it I ended up severing my ACL during that race. I still finished in the top 200 riders out of the 500+ entries, but three weeks later I enjoyed ACL replacement surgery which laid me up for some time. My doctor told me that riding bikes would be the best thing for my recovery so I quickly reintroduced myself to serious riding once again. I’v been peddling hard ever since that first day of recovery.
Describe your perfect Paso wine country day on a bike. On the road bike, from my house near Bronco Burger, it would be the grinding climb of Kiler Canyon or Peachy Canyon Road with the sweet down hill descent down to Vineyard Drive out to Templeton then a slow roll home. Santa Rita Road on my hard tail is also a favorite. 🙂 On the Mountain Bike I enjoy hitting the Irish Hills / Johnson Ranch single tracks in SLO or a quick 2-3 laps at Stadium Park in Atascadero.
Road bike or mountain bike? How does the experience on either bike equate to wine growing or making? I like both equally, but if I have to choose, I’d take the Mountain bike over the road. They’re both very technical.
What gets you back in the saddle after harvest? I’m always in the saddle…
Do you have a favorite cycling movie? What wine pairs with that movie? Why? It’s not a cycling movie, but an adventure motorcycle movie instead. Long Way Round w/ Ewan Mc Gregor. Paired with Malbec because their both earthy.
May is National Bike Month! What do you ride and how long have you been riding? I’ll ride anything with 2 wheels and handle bars. My son gets really annoyed when I steal his BMX bike and take it for a joy ride down the hill. Riding bikes has consistently brought joy in my life since I was a little kid.
What about cycling keeps you pedaling more? Going faster!
Do you only ride for leisure or have you ever ridden competitively? Leisure only. I do like to pop a cold one and cheer on the pro’s though.
Describe your perfect Paso wine country day on a bike. I usually plan a route out the night before. It’s good to start early in the morning when it’s cool and I might see some wild turkeys. I like a good hill climb 5 or 10 miles to get to the top of something, stop, and look around, then hold on tight for the ride back down! A coffee and pastry is a nice way to finish it off.
Road bike or mountain bike? How does the experience on either bike equate to wine growing or making? A gravel bike is my choice for Paso Robles. A gravel bike is like a blend of 75% road bike with 25% mountain bike. It’s perfect for exploring the hills and back roads of wine country whether there’s pavement or not.
What gets you back in the saddle after harvest? Harvest puts me in the mindset of being efficient and working hard for long hours over several months. When it’s over, the workload tapers but I still have this mindset. When I finally do get the weekends back, I am motivated and feel the need to continue working hard. If you keep the harvest mindset then it’s easy to get back in the saddle or accomplish anything you set your mind to.
Do you have a favorite cycling movie? What wine pairs with that movie? Why? Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It’s more of a Wild West outlaw movie than a bike movie. There’s a famous scene where Paul Newman (Butch Cassidy) does goofy stunts on an old-timey bike for his friend Etta Place. The Burt Bacharach song “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” plays through the entire scene. Honestly, my wife really likes this movie so she’s more likely to let me open a bottle of wine if I put it on. An old Riesling with flinty and kerosene notes pairs best with an outlaw train-robber movie!