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Bike to brunch in Marin: perfect pit stops for North Bay road rides.

It's no secret that Marin County offers great summertime bike rides--from easy pedals along the Tiburon bike path to gut wrenchers up and over the flanks of Mt. Tamalpais. But what makes these rides special isn't just the scenery: It's the food too. Throughout Marin, appealing eateries offer great places to park your bike and chow down.

Sausalito

First stop for folks riding through Marin from San Francisco, the town now has better bike lanes along Bridgeway Boulevard.

Caffe Trieste. A touch of North Beach along the Marin waterfront, this local favorite usually has a few bikes propped by the front door on weekends.

PEDAL PUSHER: Wood-fired pizza topped with portabellas and sausage ($2.50 per slice).

INFO: $; breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. 1000 Bridgeway Blvd.; 415/332-7660.

Tiburon

Most visitors to this picturesque bayfront town don't venture beyond Main Street. But cyclists know that the loveliest views are along either the approximately 10-mile Paradise Drive loop or the family-friendly 3-mile bike path bordering Tiburon Boulevard.

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Sam's Anchor Cafe. So what if it's in every guidebook? This venerable hangout still has one of the best decks on the bay, and the lively crowd is too busy with Ramos fizzes to notice you stretching your hamstrings.

PEDAL PUSHER: Matt's Tofu Scrambler (tofu, potatoes, bell peppers, portabella mushrooms, spinach, onion, and thyme; $10) or the everpopular Sam's Burger ($9.95).

INFO: $$; lunch and dinner daily, brunch 9:30-2 Sat-Sun. 27 Main St.; 415/435-4527.

Sweden House. If the boisterous throng at Sam's isn't your style, opt for the china-clinking calm at this cafe and bakery with an intimate bayside deck.

PEDAL PUSHER: Buttery pastries and cookies or the delightful Swedish pancakes topped with lingonberries, blueberries, and marionberries ($8.25).

INFO: $; breakfast and lunch daily. 35 Main; 415/435-9767.

Mill Valley

This is the starting point for the grueling climb up Mt. Tamalpais. Hang out in front of Peet's Coffee & Tea (88 Throckmorton Ave.; 415/381-8227) for coffee and the latest cycling buzz before you start. After the climb, relax at one of these cafes.

Champagne French Bakery Cafe.

The Mill Valley branch of this bakery-cafe chain has an enormous display case that tempts with eclairs and other decadent treats.

PEDAL PUSHER: Breakfast crepes with fresh strawberries and vanilla custard ($6.95).

INFO: $; breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily. 41 Throckmorton; 415/380-0410.

The Depot Bookstore & Cafe. Prop your bike on the bike rack or patio of this former train depot, and watch the scene unfold in the town's central plaza.

PEDAL PUSHER: The Cyclist Special, granola, fresh fruit, and nonfat yogurt ($6), or a bowl of vegetarian black bean chili ($5.50), which will keep your motor going for hours.

INFO: $; 7-7 daily. 87 Throckmorton; 415/383-2665.

Mama's Royal Cafe. A boat juts out of the front wall, a papier-mache kangaroo may greet you at the door--you could probably ride right in and nobody would notice at this wacky restaurant.

PEDAL PUSHER: Stegosaurus crepe (chicken, mushrooms, tomato, garlic, and jack cheese; $8.75).

INFO: $; breakfast and lunch daily. 387 Miller Ave.; 415/388-3261.

San Anselmo

Cyclists ride along quieter San Anselmo Avenue, avoiding the traffic-clogged stretches of nearby Sir Francis Drake Boulevard, before heading to West Marin and Point Reyes.

Marin Coffee Roasters. Just a short distance from some of Marin's most scenic roads (around Nicasio Reservoir, to Point Reyes Station, over Fairfax-Bolinas Road), this is the unofficial gathering place for Marin's serious cycling crowd--but it's also a good starting point for shorter rides. Catch live music here on weekends.

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PEDAL PUSHER: The place for carbs--bagels, brownies, cookies, fruit-filled scones, and muffins. Try a Seven Wonder Bar--graham cracker crust topped with bittersweet chocolate, coconut, toffee, and walnuts ($2).

INFO: $; 6 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. 635 San Anselmo Ave.; 415/258-9549.

Point Reyes Station

The country roads leading to this quaint town on Marin's western edge attract hordes of cyclists, especially on sunny weekends.

Bovine Bakery. Lines spill out the door of this tiny bakery. Hungry riders don't seem to mind; they wait patiently for the loaves of fresh bread and other baked goodies, then plop right down on the curb outside to munch.

PEDAL PUSHER: Moist and chewy vegan morning buns loaded with chunks of apple and other seasonal fruit ($3.25), or the muffin or scone of the day (about $2.50).

INFO: 6:30-5 Mon-Fri, 7-5 Sat-Sun. 11315 State 1; 415/663-9420.

Tomales Bay Foods. This renovated hay barn one block west of State 1 houses several sources for good eats--Cowgirl Creamery (artisan cheeses, some made on the premises; 415/663-9335), Golden Point Produce (415/663-1957), and Indian Peach Food Company (415/663-8478), which makes great soups, salads, and sandwiches.

PEDAL PUSHER: Indian Peach Food Company's Fulton Valley roasted chicken sandwich on fresh focaccia ($7), or a crusty loaf of its bread with a round of Cowgirl Creamery cheese and local, vine-ripe tomatoes from Golden Point Produce.

INFO: Hours vary: call for details. 80 Fourth St.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY THOMAS J. STORY
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Title Annotation:Outdoors
Author:Manley, Harriot
Publication:Sunset
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Aug 1, 2004
Words:836
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