Calistoga Bikeshop offers custom bike tours in Napa Valley
In 2000, Brad Suhr, owner of Calistoga Bikeshop, cycled from Sunset Beach, New Jersey, to Seattle, Washington, in 49 days. When he arrived at his destination he was sore and tired, but he knew what he wanted to do with the rest of his life.
Until then, he had considered becoming a math teacher like his father or maybe a physical education teacher, personal trainer or massage therapist. But at that moment, it was clear to him that he would devote all his efforts to sharing the immense satisfaction and pleasure he had gained from riding a bike.
Born in New Hampshire and raised in Virginia, Suhr said biking has always been something he does for fun with his family. But by the turn of the century, the bike had become something more, not just for Suhr but for the whole country.
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During the same period, Suhr was working at a variety of different cycle shops from Cable, Wisconsin, to Gainesville, Florida, to Breckenridge, Colorado, and even Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, while refining his understanding of the bicycle industry and his cycling. skill.
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He married his wife, Sharon, in 2006, and the couple began looking for a permanent home where they could start their own business and raise a family.
One day, while browsing through an industry magazine, an ad caught his eye. A small bike shop was for sale in a town called Calistoga.
“I had never been to California and had no idea where Calistoga was, but from the description it sounded like a place we might like,” he said. “It was small and had a vibrant tourist industry, which I was used to, so we thought it might work.”
Within months, the couple had made up their minds, secured financing, and moved from Martha’s Vineyard across the country to purchase Calistoga’s only bike shop.
“One of the things we always heard about back then was that a bike path was going to be built ‘very soon,'” Suhr said.
“Of course we always hear that, but it seems a lot closer now than it was then. But even without a cycle path running through the valley, we found a lot of interest not only in our bike rentals and our tours , but also for the products and services of our pro-shop.
In the early years, Suhr and his team — including local mountain bike expert Marshall Hayman — ran van tours where participants were driven to specific areas and dropped off or picked up.
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But today, based on both demand and necessity, most tours have eliminated the need for van travel, opting instead for personalized self-guided bike tours.
“The Calistoga area is at the northern end of the Napa Valley, has the quietest roads for biking, and also has some of the most spectacular scenery in the valley,” Suhr said.
“Our self-guided tours offer unique experiences with no logistics that are relaxed, beautiful, and with all the details taken care of.”
In addition to providing a bicycle and helmet, the $89 fee includes booking up to three wine tastings, a personalized route map, and all wine purchases made during the tour returned to your accommodation at the end of the day.
The itinerary includes recommendations for lunch spots which could be a picnic at one of the wineries or a restaurant along the way, with participating runners wearing a wristband that will alert the host wineries of their arrival. E-bikes that are growing in popularity are available for an additional $50 per rider.
“Some people think using an e-bike is a bit of a cheat,” Suhr said, “but in reality, even though you can use them to climb a tough hill or catch your breath, people can train just as good when compared to a normal bike.It’s just how you use them.
For adventurous souls looking to explore the northern regions of Napa Valley, booking a personalized, self-guided bike tour can be an appealing option.
Not only do you get the chance to slowly take in the outdoor grandeur of one of the most beautiful destinations on the planet, but you can also get a little exercise in the process.
“We really found our home here,” Suhr said. “Not only do we love raising our three daughters in this beautiful place, but we’ve also found that the people who live and visit here are some of the friendliest and most outgoing we’ve ever met. It’s been a great run.
Photos: Step inside Calistoga’s only bike shop