Tour Information

  • Registration
  • Bring
  • Bike
  • Body
  • Logistics
  • Food
  • Camp
  • Hotels
  • Route
  • Weather
  • General

Registration

  • What are the fees for the 2017 tours and what do I get?
    • For Sierra to the Sea, the tour fee is $875 which includes, most meals (see Food below), SAG support and route information, camping sites, 2017 jersey and water bottle.  Depending on the selections made during registration, there are additional fees that may apply. There is a bus transportation fee of $55 from the hotel in San Jose to the ride start at South Lake Tahoe and $35 fee for bus transportation from the ride end in San Francisco back to the Fairfield Inn and Suites hotel in San Jose. Advanced bus reservations are required. If you transport your bicycle in a Bike Case (either hard or soft), there is also a $30 fee for storage and handling. There is no additional fee for transporting or storing collapsible cardboard bike boxes.
  • When does registration open?
    • Registration will open January 17, 2017 6:00:00 pm PST. Note that this tour usually fills fast.
  • How do I register?
    • Registration will be conducted online at this website starting January 17, 2017 6:00:00 pm PST. Once the tour is full those who register will be placed on our standby list
  • Can I register more than one person at a time?
    • No, you can only register one person at at time using our online registration form. We recognize that some groups of individuals will want to go on the tour if they go together. In the Comments and Special Request section at the bottom of the registration form, please make a note of the names of the others in your group. If one person in the group registers before the tour is full, we will make every effort to get the others, so identified, into the tour, provided they also register within a few hours.
  • When are the fees due?
    • When you register you can pay online using a credit card using our secure service. Payment can also be sent by check. If payment is not received within 7 days of submitting your registration, you may lose your place.
  • What is your cancellation policy?
    • In the event that circumstances require that you cancel your participation in this year’s Tour, please notify the Registration Coordinator as soon as possible.  Please review our 2017 Cancellation Policy.
  • How many riders?
    • Sierra to the Sea is limited to approximately 130 guests, which with the addition of our volunteer Staff totals to some 155 bicycling enthusiasts. We all wear names tags, so by the end of the week you will have swapped cycling adventures with many new friends.
  • What about those taking the bus?
    • The bus departs Saturday from:

      Fairfield Inn and Suites
      1755 North First Street
      San Jose, CA 95112

      During your Sierra to the Sea tour registration, you may reserve a seat on a chartered bus which will take you and your luggage to South Lake Tahoe, our first overnight camp and the ride start, and also from the ride finish in Golden Gate Park to San Jose. The bus will leave at 9:00 AM sharp for the trip to South Lake Tahoe. There are bus fees for transportation from and back to San Jose. Note that there is no refund for these bus fees if you cancel your reservation.

  • What if I don't want to take the bus from San Jose to South Lake Tahoe or from San Francisco back to San Jose?
    • Guests are welcome to get to the ride start on their own, whether driving or cycling and/or do the same after the ride end. 
  • When do we sign-in for Tour?
    • For Sierra to the Sea, information on check in will be provided later.
  • If I am on the Standby List, what are the chances I will get into the tour?
    • It depends on how close to the top of the standby list you are (based on time of registration). If those who register do not send in their money within the allotted time, we start to add people from the standy list. If any guests cancel we also add people from the standby list. It is not possible for us to know how often these things happen.
    • If the standby list is not too large, and if the individual is patient enough they usually can get into the tour, but that might not happen until close to the tour date.
  • Where do I get my route sheets?
    • All riders need to check in at South Lake Tahoe were they will receive printed route sheets.
    • Preliminary PDF versions of route sheets will be posted prior to the tour.
    • Ride With GPS Route links will be available prior to the tour for download to your smart devices.

What to Bring

  • How much baggage can I bring on the tour?
    • Two duffle bags limited to 40 pounds each. No hard suitcase or backpack frames. Tour baggage is subject to being pushed, pulled and piled in its weeklong truck ride, so a sturdy duffle bag is a must. In the unlikely event of rain, all campsite gear will be covered; but unless your duffle bag is waterproof, you may want to put your gear in plastic sacks inside your duffle bag.
  • Are tents and sleeping bags provided?
    • No, each rider who chooses to use a tent and sleeping bag must provide their own.  Late in the week we spend two nights near the ocean, where overnight dew makes a tent welcome.
  • What kind of bike will I need?
    • We recommend a well-maintained multi-speed road bicycle with triple chainrings. Some riders ask if they can get by with a double chainring. A strong, skilled rider could do the entire route with a double ring and many do. However there are a lot of variables in that equation. The weight, fitness and age of the rider, quality of the bike, the size of the rear cluster, any added loads on the bike, miles that day etc. Each rider will need to make their own judgment taking into consideration these factors. See the tab above on preparing your bike before the tour.
  • What else about the bike?
    • We strongly recommend two water bottles or hydration pack. You may want to consider a handlebar bag or other carrier for jacket, sunscreen, camera, route/cue sheets, etc. See the tab above on preparing your bike for detailed information.
  • Are there items that should NOT be brought on the tour?
    • Items NOT to bring at all include: Ice chest, coolers, lawn chairs, camp stoves, boom box radios and anything in a glass container.  Please avoid bringing fragile or breakable items, including electronic gear, as we load and unload about 300 bags every day.
  • Do you have a checklist of other items to bring?
    • We will provide that in the tour package that will be emailed to registered guests before the tour.

 

Preparing Your Bike for the Tour

    Here is some information to help you prepare your bicycle for a trouble-free and enjoyable tour. Our bicycle mechanic will be available each afternoon to work on bikes needing adjustments and repairs, but we strongly recommend that you bring your bike to the tour in top condition. Begin your preparation a few weeks ahead of the tour, so you have time to track down any special parts you might need, to try out new parts or adjustments, or to allow for the busy summer schedule of you local bike shop. You can go over your bike yourself, or you may want to arrange to have the professional eyes and hands of your local mechanic take a look at, or tune up your bike.

Start by cleaning the bike, checking that the hardware is tightened properly, then performing an inspection.

Check the tires for wear:

  • Are there deep nicks or cuts in the tread or sidewall?
  • Is the tread worn enough to be flat across the top instead of its normal rounded shape?
  • Is the casing (sidewalls) discolored or frayed? If so, replace your tires now for the best ride quality, solid grip in the corners, and to avoid flats.

Inspect the wheels:

  • Do the wheels spin freely without excessive noise (not freehub noise, but rough bearings)?
  • Are the wheels round, or do they have flat spots?
  • Are the wheels laterally true? (The spinning wheel should pass through the brake pads without much side to side movement, certainly they should not hit the brake pads.)
  • Are the rim sidewalls/braking surface in good condition? Last year 2 people on tour had to get new wheels during the tour as their rims were so worn that they wore all the way through with a little more braking. Rim sidewalls wear from braking, a new rim is flat, a worn rim becomes concave from wear on the braking surface – take a look and feel.
  • Quick releases should open and close smoothly, (they may work better with a couple drops of lube.)
  • Many people are riding specialty wheels and that use special spokes, nipples, and tools for truing. If this is the case for your bike, you may want to bring a couple of extra spokes with you in case one fails. I can replace broken spokes if you supply them.
  • Inspect the brakes:
    • Check the pads for wear, make sure there is enough pad left. If in doubt, change them out.
    • Brakes pads should be equidistant from the rim, and when applied contact the rim in the center of the braking surface – they should not be too high where they could damage the tire, or too low (extending below the braking surface)
    • Brakes should be smooth to operate and levers should not go all the way to the bar when the brakes are applied.

Cables and housing:

  • Inspect the cables and housing for kinks, sharp bends, cracked ferrules (on the ends of the cable housing/casing), corroded cables, or frayed cables.
  • Good shifting and braking depends on smooth action of the cables, and cables and housing wear over time. Dirt works its way in there and degrades the cable and the smooth lining of the housing, which means increased friction and stickiness and troublesome and inconsistent shifting results. This is particularly the case with rear shifting.
  • For people who do a lot of riding I recommend replacing the derailleur cables and housing annually, and brake cables and housing every 2 years. Of course it will depend on your mileage, maintenance, and tolerance for poor shifting. If it's been a while have a mechanic replace your cables and housing and adjust your brakes and derailleurs. I replaced a lot of cables and housing last year, in several cases, they had been damaged in transport, so be careful not to bend and kink them when packing your bike.

Components:

  • Seatposts, stems, and handlebars should be free of cracks, kinks, or deep scrapes. Look particularly close at the handlebars where they are clamped by the stem to make sure there is no visible damage. Much better to replace the lightweight aluminum parts before they break.
  • This may be a good time to replace a tired saddle or old bar tape – the foam inside and the shell material can break down over time and be less comfortable.
  • Check your cleats for wear. Worn cleats are louder, release and engage poorly, and can break when excessively worn.

Drivetrain:

  • Worn chains, cassettes, and chainrings shift poorly and can skip under load.
  • Have a mechanic take a look at your drivetrain to asses its condition.
  • If a chain is heavily worn, it may be necessary to replace the cassette and chainrings at the same time. It's best to plan ahead with this so your shop has time to source proper gearing for you if they are out of stock and for you to test ride everything to make sure it is working properly.

Bringing a well tuned bike on tour will allow you to focus on the fantastic ride to San Francisco. If you have trouble with your bike along the way, come and see our bicycle mechanicin the afternoon after you ride in to camp so can get your bike running smoothly for the next day's ride.

 

Preparing your Body

  • How should I prepare my body for the tour?
    • Fitness - Those planning for this tour are likely well aware of their capabilities, and ability to enjoy multi-day events with significant climbing. This is just a reminder that, although the tour starts in late June, it is still early in the cycling training year for most of us. Cardio-vascular fitness, strength, respiration fitness and glycogen energy reserve capacity should be at their peak for our challenging first day.
    • Altitude - Another challenge is that the ride starts at 6,250 feet, and climbs to as high as 8,600 feet on day 1. Since most of us will be traveling from sea level to 6,250 feet less than 24 hours before the ride start, we will not have acclimated to that altitiude. Mild attitude sickness can occur for some at altitudes near 6.000 feet if the body has not acclimated to the lower pressure and reduced availability of oxygen. Symptoms of altitude sickness may occur as soon as 6 hours after arriving at atitude. The greater your fitness, the less likely you will develop symptoms. Regardless, the climbing will be more challenging than at sea level.
    • Training - A good baseline for SttS Tour fitness readiness is the ability to ride, a metric century or longer route, containing at least 3,000 ft. of climbing, on each of two consecutive days.

Transportation and Logistics

  • How do I get to the ride start in South Lake Tahoe?
    • At the time of registration you can purchase a transportation ticket from the hotel in San Jose. You, your luggage and bicycle will be transported. Bicycles must be boxed prior to transport in either a cardboard bike box or a bicycle hard case (extra fee for using a hard case), unless you wish to use blankets to protect your bicycle in our logistics truck (the preferred method). You will, however, need to sign a waiver to use this method.
    • You may also arrange your own transportation to the ride start and check in for the tour there on the Saturday evening.
  • How do I get back from the ride end?
    • At the time of registration you can purchase a transportation ticket back to the hotel in San Jose. You, your luggage and bicycle will be transported. Bicycles must be boxed at the ride end using the same bike box you used to transport your bike to the ride start. These bike boxes are transported along the tour route so they will be available at the tour end. Blanketed bike transportation is recommended from Golden Gate Park to San Jose.
    • You should complete your ride on the last day to arrive at Golden Gate park for lunch between 12:00 - 2:00 pm. All bikes need to be packed and loaded on our truck by 2:30 pm. Buses leave at 3:00 pm, arriving in San Jose around 4:00-4:15 pm, depending on the traffic.
    • You may also arrange your own transportation from the ride end if you wish.
  • Can I park my car at the hotel in San Jose while on the tour?
    • Yes, paid long term parking is available for hotel guests: $5.00 per night. Purchase at check in. Paid long term parking is available for non hotel guests: $10.00 per night. Purchase 6-17-17.
  • Can I ship my bike to San Jose from my home?
    • We do not have any provisions to accept shipment of bikes. If you want to ship your bike you may want to contact the hotel in San Jose and see if they will accept shipment before you arrive. Click on the "Hotels" tab above to see the hotel contact information.

Food

  • Are all meals provided?
    • We provide all dinners except in Calistoga (plenty of restaurants). Dinners are provided by caterers and regularly receive rave reviews from our guests.  Breakfast is provided at the camping areas, except Calistoga.  Lunch is provided only in San Francisco.  Our route takes us through many towns with ample opportunities to buy lunch at restaurants, delicatessens, and grocery stores (One guest: "Every year, I bring a dozen PowerBars on tour...and then bring them home.").
  • I am vegetarian.  Will meals provide vegetarian options?
    • Yes, when you register be sure to select the diet restriction of vegetarian. There will be at least one entrée at each meal that will be a vegetarian dish.

Camping

  • Is camping included in the tour?
    • Camping is provided every night. You need to supply your own sleeping bag and tent.
  • Are there showers at the campsites?
    • All camping areas have showers with hot water but you need to bring your own towel, soap, shampoo and other toiletries. Casini Ranch in Duncans Mills has pay showers. Bring quarters ( $1 for approx. 5 min).
  • Are there places to wash clothes in the camping area?
    • Some, but not all, of the camping areas have a basin to hand wash clothes. Some riders wash their clothes while taking a shower. Most guests catch up on laundry at Calistoga where there is a public laundromat.
  • Can I charge my cell phone and GPS devices at the camping area?
    • Electric outlets are scarce but we will setup a charging station wherever we can get power but guests are responsible for leaving any devices unattended.
  • Where are the bikes kept at night?
    • We do set up racks for bikes, or campers may put their bike near their tents. Do not leave bikes on the ground where other campers might trip over them. It is best to bring a lock for your bike. Since your bikes are outside, you may want to cover your saddle to protect from the dew.
  • Is the camping area lighted?
    • No, only in the restoom areas. Bring a flashlight or a headlamp for when it gets dark.
  • Is all my gear transported to the next campsite each day?
    • Yes, we transport your two bags between each campsite. 
  • Is there a hotel option?
    • Yes, click the tab above on Hotels for more information.

Hotels

  • Will you shuttle me to hotels?
    • Transportation of an overnight bag will be provided to and from only the recommended hotels in Calistoga on Wednesday only. For all other days, each rider is responsible for his/her own transportation between campsite and hotels, including bicycles and overnight supplies. We recommend bringing a daypack into which you can stow these supplies at the campground so you can bicycle to your hotel on these nights and return them to the campsite in the morning.
  • Can you tell me more about baggage handling in Calistoga?
    • For Calistoga bags will be dropped at only the three hotels listed on Wednesday afternoon and will be picked up on Thursday morning (they must be ready by 8:30 am). 
  • Do you make motel reservations for me?
    • You are responsible for your own hotel reservations and payment.
  • Do you have a list of local hotels?
    • Here is the current list of local hotels for this year's tour. HOTELS

Sierra to the Sea Routes

  • How many rest stops each day?
    • Typically two. For day 6 route, we have only one stop. For the last day into San Francisco, with only 40 miles and towns along the route, there is no rest stop. Weather conditions might necessitate some changes to the daily rest stop plan.
  • How many SAG vehicles?
    • This year there will be two SAG vans that will be on constant patrol. There will be two additional vans that service rest stops.
  • How is cell phone coverage on the route?
    • Do not expect to be able to get cell phone coverge on much of the route, although you can usually get coverage in most, but not all, of the camping areas.
  • How do I contact the SAG vehicle while on route?
    • The SAG phone number will be on your route sheets and the back of your bike plate. If you are not in cell phone coverage, or the SAG vehicles are not in cell phone coverage, remain in a visible spot so the SAG drivers can see you as they come by. You can also send a text message to the SAG drivers which they will receive and respond to as soon as they enter a coverage area. You may also ask another cyclist to ride ahead to tell the next rest stop crew, who you are, where you are, and why you need help.
  • What is the daily mileage and feet climbed?

  • The 2017 route for each day will be as follows

      Day  

    Mileage

    Climbing

      Day  Mileage Climbing

    Saturday

    None

    None

    Thursday 58.3 mi 2,264 ft

    Sunday

    55.9 mi

    6,230 ft

    Friday 49 mi 2,696 ft

    Monday

    57.2 mi

    2,574 ft

    Saturday 41.7 mi 3,784 ft

    Tuesday

    86.9 mi

    2,450 ft

    Total 413 mi 24,519 ft

    Wednesday

    58.5 mi

    4,521 ft

    Daily average 61 mi 3,479 ft
  • How will I get maps or route sheets for each day?
    • Your rider packet, provided to you during registration, will have a daily map and a route "cue sheet" with turn by turn directions.  We also will have a blow up of the next day's map available in camp to review before that day's ride.
  • Are GPS routes available for the tour?
    • Yes. All registered riders will receive an authorizing link, and instructions for downloading current Sierra to the Sea routes directly to your compatible Garmin GPS based cyclometer. With this link, you will also be able to download the routes, with maps, to your Apple or Android cell phones. Watch for the email message containing the link and instructions in early June.

Weather

  • What will the weather be like?
    • The weather for the most part is clear in June, although showers are possible. Temperatures during the tour, however, can range from near 100 degrees in the Sacramento Valley to 35 - 60 degrees in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and along the coast. Bring appropriate cycling clothes to accommodate these temperature extremes.  Early in the week, most wear shorts, t-shirts, and sandals.  In Duncans Mills and Olema, evening and morning fog prompts many people to layer, wearing wool caps and gloves (One guest: "My only footwear are cycling shoes and river sandals; sandals are great in the heat, convenient in the showers, and with wool socks they are warm when it's cool out."). For current weather conditions click the link below.

Saturday, June 18

South Lake Tahoe

Sunday, June 19

Silver Lake

Monday, June 20

Coloma

Tuesday, June 21

Lake Solano

Wednesday June 22

Calistoga

Thursday, June 23

Duncans Mills

Friday, June 24

Olema

Saturday, June 25

San Francisco

 

General

  • Do you rent bikes for tour participants?
  • What if I have a mechanical problem with my bike?
    • For the Sierra to the Sea tour we have a superb mechanic along on tour.  He rides each day, but is available in the evening to help with many repairs.  Major repairs or replacement of specialized parts may require going to a bicycle shop.  Please have your bicycle in good condition before embarking on the tour. See the above tab on preapring your bike in advance to minimize issues you will face while on the tour.
  • Where is the picnic on the final day?
    • A picnic in Golden Gate Park will be free for all tour participants, see the map below.

    • For those being picked up at Old Speedway Meadow, your contact can navigate to

      357 Chain of lakes Dr East
      San Francisco, CA.


      As there is limited space at the Old Speedway parking area, please ask your party to orbit in the park until you are ready to load and go, then call them in to effect your extraction.
  • What if my question is not answered here?
    • Please click the Contact Us tab in the top level menu above to send us your questions.

Last modified: December 23, 2016
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