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Bike Mania 

Events leading up to Sunday's Tour of California

Bike to Work Day is May 10, and what better way to put your pedal where your mouth is? All this talk of cycling is wonderful, but if the United Nations has taught us anything, it's that talking gets one nowhere without putting one's foot squarely in one's pedal strap. Energizer stations will be placed around the North Bay with snacks, goodies and other encouragements for those who undertake the challenge to ride, not drive, to work.

May 10 also sees a Radio Shack-Nissan-Trek meet-and-greet reception at the Trek Bicycle Store (512 Mendocino Ave., Santa Rosa). Members of the team will be on hand for autographs and to field questions, mingle and sip beer and wine from 5pm to 7pm. Defending Tour of California champion Chris Horner and teammate Jens Voight are confirmed guests, and if others on the team decide to roll along, it could mean seeing Andy Schleck, Fränk Schleck or Fabian Cancellara. The evening is a benefit for the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition; tickets are $15–$20.

At NorCal BikeSport (425 College Ave., Santa Rosa), Levi Leipheimer and Tom Boonen are guests at a Tour of California party on May 10 from 7pm to 9pm. Other members of the Omega Pharma-Quick Step team are expected to show up, with food from Riviera Restaurant served while the DJ spins funk and soul 45s. RSVP is required at 707.573.0112.

Also on May 10, at Windsor Bicycle Center (830 McClelland Drive, Windsor), members of the Rabobank team will be on hand for a signing and meet-and-greet at 6:30pm. Beforehand, the shop hosts a bike-home happy hour with beer and food at 4:30pm. Admission to both events is free.

After shaking hands and marveling at powerful thighs, head over to Courthouse Square in Santa Rosa on May 10 to hear Americana phenomenon Carrie Rodriguez and the Whiskey Thieves play a KRSH-FM-sponsored kickoff concert at 6pm.

Rest up and get your shocks dialed in, because Friday, May 11, is prime for party hopping. D'Argenzio Winery (1301 Cleveland Ave., Santa Rosa) hosts a Tour of Wine from 3pm to 9pm. Cyclists, wine, bocce ball and live music from Hand Me Down round out the evening. Twenty bucks includes six wine tastings and two slices of pizza.

The grand pre-race event is the Santa Rosa Soiree, the Tour of California "starting line" gala with legendary Tour de France announcers Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen. Participating teams, dinner, wine, live music and a DJ-ed afterparty are all promised at the soiree, which takes place at Sonoma-Cutrer Winery from 5pm to 10:30pm (shuttles run from the Wells Fargo Center, 50 Mark West Springs Road, Santa Rosa). Tickets are $200.

After all the parties, Saturday, May 12, offers chances to burn off calories. The Life Time Granfondo offers three courses (25k, 50k and 100k) for any rider, beginning and ending at Cloverleaf Ranch (3892 Old Redwood Hwy., Santa Rosa). The race begins at 8am and registration is required.

There's also the Sonoma Napa Granfondo in Sonoma, beginning at 9am and allowing riders the chance to pedal with the Garmin-Barracuda pro cycling team in routes of 11, 50 or 75 miles, beginning and ending at the Sonoma Plaza. Registration is required.

And of course, Sunday, May 13, is the big day. Stage One of the 2012 Tour of California starts at 10:50am, and is expected to finish at around 3–4:15pm.

While the professionals are out on the course on Sunday, enjoy the party in downtown Santa Rosa. The Lifestyle Festival features live music by Brothers of Siren and Frobeck as well as beer, wine, free bicycle valet parking, a yoga class, activities for kids and food. The festival takes place from 9:30am to 4:30pm.

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