Words by Yuri Hauswald @yhauswald
Photos by Alex Brookhouse of Capo Clothing.
At one time in Petaluma’s history, it was considered to be the center of the chicken universe. True story. Hundreds of chicken coops dotted the pastoral landscape, and with the booming Gold Rush population in San Francisco, there was an eager and ready market for eggs, which meant that profits for the locals were, literally, coming home to roost. Speaking of roosting, there are miles of empty, bucolic roads that twist and turn, that dip and dive through the rolling, verdant farmland that surround Petaluma and are ideal to ride a bike on, even if the road surfaces are less than perfect.
There’s been a little ride happening in the Egg Basket of the World for the past five years which takes its name from one of the feathered fowl that used to roam these hills. I’m talking about the Bantam Classic. Born from a desire to honor the Belgian Classics by riding some of the “worst” roads our county has to offer, and to celebrate the vibrant cycling community, the event has become more a party than a bike ride. Now don’t get me wrong, with the likes of Katerina Nash, Barry Wicks, Alison Tetrick, Geoff Kabush, and Levi Leipheimer all having attended, and in some cases won it multiple times over the years, the ride IS hard. And fast. But oh so fun when you finish to my mom dancing atop Spring Hill Road dressed in a chicken suit. And that’s where the beer comes into play thanks to local libation purveyor, Lagunitas Brewing Company.
You hear that? That’s the Bantam crowing. If you like bantams, bikes and beers, heed the call of the Bantam next year. I guarantee you will have a good time.