This was our second VBT trip and it met or exceeded our expectations in every regard. The previous trip was also rated Easy/Moderate (Bordeaux Dordogne in France) and in comparison, I’d call this trip Moderate/Easy but definitely very doable. The most challenging section is from Bodega Bay to the turn-off to the Russian River and over to Healdsburg. The weather was pretty miserable – foggy and rainy but the leaders provided multiple options so everyone had a great day. While my husband rode the whole way, I took advantage of the ‘van bump’ eliminating the first 4 miles and the longer hills which made it a perfect ride for me. The rides into/out of Sonoma were the least enjoyable but not anything to do with VBT. It’s just the poor condition of the roads mean it is very bumpy and pretty bone-jarring in places. All of the rides are extremely scenic and there was ample time to get off our bikes and take pictures. The wine tastings weren’t all that great but that wasn’t a big deal as I wasn’t interested in tasting and riding.
Using Ride with GPS was a real game changer in comparison to our other trip. We used the voice cues for the turns using wireless headphones (only one earbud) and it totally took the stress out of trying to figure out where we were going. What a great system!
The accommodation in Sonoma and Healdsburg was wonderful and OK in Bodega Bay (there really aren’t many options and it’s only a single night). The final meal at the H2 Hotel in Healdsburg was fantastic. Lunches along the way were good but the cool weather detracted from the enjoyment of the picnic-style meals.
And as always, it’s the leaders who make or break the trip and Justin and Darryl were exemplary. They took excellent care of the group making sure our bikes were in perfect order, stragglers were accounted for (that would be me….) and the daily riding options were extremely well described so everyone had a perfect day. I would highly recommend this tour. If you’re worried about the Moderate rating consider using an e-bike. 6 people used them on our trip; they sure looked like a lot of fun and made hills disappear!