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Lover's Point to Seaside on Monterey's new bike-or-walk trail.

Lover's Point to Seaside on Monterey's new bike-or-walk trail

The bustling waterfront facing the southern sweep of Monterey Bay is lively with wheeling gulls, joggers, and docking fishing trawlers, all set against the backdrop of the bay's blue-green waters. It's a great place for a bike ride--yet until recently, cyclists had to compete with autos for right of way. The still-emerging Monterey Recreation Trail now provides a safe and scenic separated path.

It lets you go from Lover's Point in Pacific Grove southeast to Seaside. In the lulls between winter storms, Monterey Bay can get some of its sunniest days-- free of summer fogs. As a bonus, streets are less jammed with tourist traffic.

While the route so far is only 4 1/2 miles long, it takes you by more than a dozen places of interest, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, Fisherman's Wharf, the Custom House. And the going is easy: the ride follows the level route of the old Del Monte Express scenic rail line, which ran from San Francisco to Pebble Beach and Del Monte Lodge from 1879 to 1972.

Start your ride at Lover's Point

For best views along the way, start here-- if you can find a place to park. If parking isn't available in the wharf area, you might prefer to begin at Roberts Lake, where parking is much easier, and make the trip in reverse.

At Lover's Point, windswept cypresses arch over sculpted rocks; at the sandy beach below, you often see divers coming into and out of the ocean. From picnic tables, you'll have good views of the bay's sweep; bring binoculars to scan for spouts of migrating gray whales or sea otters in the kelp.

Then hit the wide asphalt trail marked as a bike path and ride southeast past rocky coves; just inland are rows of Victorian houses. Soon you'll pass Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station, a row of shops in a renovated cannery building opposite, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium (open 10 to 6 daily; $7, $5 for students and seniors, $3 for ages 3 through 12).

In Cannery Row, the path broadens as it runs past the Edgewater Packing Company. There are drinking fountains nearby and bike racks here if you want to park and browse in the nearby shops. Heading southeast, you'll pass a renovated pier used by the Coast Guard and sportfishing boats, then the path becomes crushed granite (due to be paved soon) before reaching Fisherman's Wharf. You can't take bikes onto the wharf, but there's a rack nearby. Across the street is the tile-roofed Custom House (1827).

If you'd like to expand your ride, you can head south from there on Calle Principal to the town's storied historic heart.

The path curves east, past the marina and edging the greensward of Monterey State Beach, to duck under the tall eucalyptus arbor bordering the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. It ends near Roberts Lake, at the intersection of U.S. Highway 1 and Canyon del Rey Boulevard.

If you don't have your own bike, a handy shop along the trail is Bay Bikes, 640 Wave Street, in the Edgewater Packing Company, for rentals (helmet and lock included); you can also pick up maps, get free air for your tires, or borrow tools for repairs. Hourly rentals run $3.50 for a 10-speed, $4.50 for an 18-speed all-terrain bike, $7 for a tandem, $10 for a quadri-cycle. Hours are 9:30 to 5:30 daily.

Photo: At start of bike path on Love's Point, you're looking back across Monterey Bay toward well-maintained Victorians of Pacific Grove

Photo: No hurry in this surrey--two pedal, one just rides. You can rent these striped-top vehicles at Bay Bikes in Cannery Row

Photo: Boiler stacks typical of Cannery Row rise above Montery Bay Aquarium
COPYRIGHT 1988 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Date:Jan 1, 1988
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