Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


August 8, 2012

San Francisco bike tour: Scents, sounds and sights


By the time we got back to Alamo Park, my diehard New York-ness was giving way to a new love for all the quirkiness that is San Francisco, while Bay Area native Timothy was enamored of local lore he'd never known. Best of all, we felt as if we'd truly experienced the city in a personal way.

To cap off our visit, Canny offered tips on culinary treats in the neighborhood.

Smitten Ice Cream, a few blocks down the street, turned out to be the perfect choice. Our taste buds practically jumped up and down with joy when greeted with the freshest and most flavor-packed ice cream imaginable - olive oil (yes!) for me, salted caramel for Timothy — made from scratch in 60 seconds with a liquid-nitrogen-powered ice cream maker. (Hey, we earned it with all of our biking!)

Before our trip was over, we also sampled several options north of San Francisco. Topping the list was a stop at Velo Vino Napa Valley in St. Helena. The name sums it up: a haven for lovers of wine or bicycles, or both.

It's the creation of Gary Erickson, who made his name by developing Clif Bars (named after his father) to sustain himself over long bike rides. Typically those long rides end in celebration with a glass or two of wine. You start to see the connection.

After Clif Bars started filling the jersey pockets of cyclists everywhere, Erickson turned his passion for sipping wine into a passion for making wine. The next logical step: Velo Vino, where visitors can simultaneously taste Clif Family Wines and ogle all of the cycling photos and memorabilia mingling with wine glasses and Clif Family Farm products. On the morning we were there, winemaker Bruce Regalia stopped in and chatted with other tasters.

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