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The Ultimate Sunday Bike Ride: Bonny Doon, Santa Cruz

Early morning fog in the trees on the climb up Boony Doon Road.

Fair or foggy, this loop up to Bonny Doon has much to offer, starting with fabulous coastal vistas along Highway One, then testing your stamina with one of the more challenging climbs in the region and ending with a fast descent into back into Santa Cruz.

Our map below show a start point in Santa Cruz, which affords a good, long warm-up, as the most difficult part of the climb comes at the very beginning. If you're coming down from San Francisco, park north of Davenport at Scott Creek to get the legs loose. However you warm up, you'll turn inland at Bonny Doon Road.

One way to get prepped for this ride is to check out this YouTube video of the Boony Doon Road climb made during the 2009 Tour of California. It shows the attack initiated by Carlos Barredo of Quickstep,  with Thomas Peterson (Garmin) and Santa Cruz's Ben Jacques-Maynes(Bissell) joining in. Astana's Levi Leipheimer attacked a bit later up the road in a dazzling display of grit to take the KOM. As he and Peterson headed back in Santa Cruz, Peterson won the stage in an uncontested sprint with Levi, who had distanced himself sufficiently from the rest of the field to take the overall leader's jersey.

After passing through Bonny Doon continue heading up Pine Flat Road until it meets Emprire Grade for the long, fast descent into Santa Cruz. Empire becomes High Street and shortly thereafter you'll turn right on Bay Drive and about a mile late you'll reach Highway One and the start point.
map of the Bonnydoon bike ride.