Don Nolan to Set Out on Bike-packing Adventure

B7920113 E2C4 4CB2 A015 228E143E9377 1Don Nolan, a cyclist and chef from Napa, is starting a 10-day ride on April 19 for a distance of 550 miles around the Bay Area to promote awareness of the beauty and abundant open space on the ridges that surround our densely populated urban communities. His route includes 370 miles of dedicated Ridge Trail, and the gaps in between.

Nolan is a veteran cyclist. He started mountain biking on the hilly terrain of Marin County in 1987.  After a year of intense training specifically on his route, Nolan decided he is ready to venture on his “dream ride.” This cycling adventure will begin and end in Santa Rosa’s Howard Park with Los Gatos as the midway point.

“The Ridge Trail is really about linking parks and uniting our communities…Preserving open space is what Ridge Trail does. Anyone can get involved in helping to preserve it. Individuals to get involved in their community’s decision-making process,” explained Nolan. 

To prepare for his adventure, Nolan trained for the trip by riding sections of trails, camping overnight, testing his new REI Co-op Bike and his camping gear all generously sponsored by REI Co-op, as part of their ongoing support of the Ridge Trail and their Rewilding Initiative.

“I have found a lot of areas that are very remote and still close to densely populated urban areas, I love riding my bike and getting outside in the open space” said Nolan. He expects to spend 2-3 days camping out and then one day in a hotel in places where campgrounds are not yet available. He expects to buy food daily to limit his weight. Nolan will climb or descend 5,000 to 6,000 feet in elevation every day to cross the ridges.  

Late last year he began discussing his ride with Ridge Trail Council. “I knew I needed a big team to support me on my ride,” said Nolan. Now he is looking for members from individual communities along the route, where trails do not connect, to guide him to the safest routes and even ride along with him for part of the time. 

“I did not want to commit until I was ready to go. After practicing the route for a year, I know what to expect … I ride alone so I can ride at my own speed. I like to challenge myself. I also enjoy the experience of my ride and the beauty along the way. Everywhere I go along the ridge lines are scenic views,” he added. Don hopes his ride helps more people learn about the Ridge Trail and all the great places to explore.

Don’s challenge is a reminder of the larger Ridge Trail challenge: piecing together a route mile by mile, enjoying the journey and protected places but also working around obstacles—and looking ahead to the ultimate goal of a completely connected 550-mile Ridge Trail. 

The Bay Area Ridge Trail Council is a nonprofit organization based in San Francisco connecting people, parks and open spaces in the Bay Area. 370 miles are currently open for adventure and exploration. The April 22 Ridge to Bridge event is sold out, but sign up at to find out about future guided hikes and rides. To make a donation to support Nolan visit To meet up with Don or provide support in other ways, contact Eileen Morris of the Bay Area Ridge Trail Council at (415) 561-2595 x 203.

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