1. Cooler weather is more amenable to climbing, so this can be a good time of the year to explore the Santa Cruz Mountains. Take the Highway 9, Skyline Boulevard and Bear Creek Road loop starting and ending in Boulder Creek. Many sections of this route have been re-paved over the past two years, which makes for some very smooth riding. You’ll find some great vista points in the upper reaches of 9, as well as sections of Skyline and upper Bear Creek. Just make sure that you do this loop in a clockwise fashion and head north on 9 from Boulder Creek and avoid climbing UP Bear Creek, which has very poor sightlines for uphill vehicles.
2. If you want a longer ride with less climbing, there’s a nice ramble that starts in Corralitos (home of the famous market) and takes you on a loop that reaches Aromas at its most southerly point. On this route you have a combination of sea views, farmland, and rural enclaves along with the Santa Cruz Mountains as a scenic backdrop. If you don’t want to do the full 53+ miles of this loop, there are plenty of options for you to shorten the distance by taking a cut-off along the way.