Bicycling magazine got it right when it named Healdsburg one of the six best “cycling hotspots” for a cycling vacation.

Healdsburg is there with Banff, Alberta, Canada, Burlington, Vt., Charleston, S.C., Ketchum, Idaho, and Traverse, Mich.

One could quibble that Healdsburg, which Bicycling calls “an ideal staging ground for exploring Sonoma wine country by bike,” should not be the only Sonoma County city on the list.

Healdsburg is well situated for rides to the West County, the Russian River and the coast, to Cloverdale where the downtown always seems sleepy, and Chalk Hill Road to Windsor and Santa Rosa.

The magazine’s descriptions, at, are pure press release.

Maybe it is true in Ketchum, Idaho, that one can “turn in any direction and you’ll find either a ski lodge … or a $9K carbon beauty leaning against a deck.”

But Healdsburg is more than a “quaint town” with the attraction of gelato sandwiches, goat cheese and baguettes at the farmers market and sleeping off “your food coma” at the newest chic hotel.

Mo McElroy, the cycling-savvy executive director of the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce, is naturally delighted with the exposure.

And she is OK that it seems to be promoting tourism more than cycling.

“In the ski world, some people like the black diamond slope and some like the bunny slope with hot cocoa in the lodge,” McElroy said. “In cycling we can go over Kings Ridge or stop along the way and smell the tomatoes. It’s all good PR.”

Bicycling magazine does make note of the Healdsburg Farmer’s Market’s Tour de Vine, a 42-mile ride on Aug. 21, a benefit for Bicycles for Humanity.

And there are links to Bicycling magazine routes in Sonoma County. Just don’t look too closely. One misidentifies Cloverdale as Calistoga.

You can reach Staff Writer Bob Norberg at 521-5206 or

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