“It’s a bunch of Sierra Valley folks sharing their beautiful ranchlands with two-wheelers!” says Doug Read, founder of the one of California’s quirkiest rides, Sierra Valley’s Tour de Manure.
Cyclists say they love the Tour de Manure first because of its spirited volunteers, then because of the scenery. After getting your T-shirt and registration in downtown Sierraville at the fire station, head out into the valley, where volunteer “Turn Cowboys” guide you along the course. Rest stops run by bicycle clubs and chambers of commerce offer the sort of hash that historic Sierra gold miners turned to after a long day's haul.
Just when you think you’re riding into a meadow-land outer space, a homemade lemonade stand appears, run by the Spencer family next to their Lost Marbles ranch out in the central Sierra Valley. Most of the ride is flat, but near the end there are a few hills and sometimes some headwind, so save that energy and be prepared.
At the finish line party in downtown Sierraville, firefighters don’t let cyclists — or guests — go hungry. They serve up BBQ chicken, tri-tip and beans by When Pigs Fly BBQ, along with pasta, salad, garlic bread, and homemade desserts. Los Dos Hermanos, the restaurant next door, brings over salsa and fresh chips. Bring your dancing shoes to step out to the tunes of the Michael Hogan and the Simpletones, this year featuring the transformative piano playing of David Fenimore.
START: At the Sierraville Firehouse, 102 Main Street, Sierraville. (Turn east on Calif. Hwy 49 at Sierraville’s blinking light.) It's a casual, un-timed start. You can get going anytime between 8 and 9 a.m.
PARKING: Volunteers will help you to find parking on the street or in special free private lots provided by neighbors.
REGISTRATION DESK: Opens February 1, 2024
COST: *$85 every day from Feb. 1 until May 18, then $110 until Tour day. Kids 12 and under are $35 — and $45 starting May 19. If there are any left, we'll accept registrations on Tour day. Last year we sold out in March, though, so don't count on getting a registration if you wait too long!
YOU GET: Sag Wagons, a T-shirt, directions, two aid stations, a lemonade stand, a very big lunch. Coffee and goodies are for sale at Smithneck Farms coffee shop across the street. Beer is for sale onsite at the fire station after the Tour by the Sierraville Recreation Association.
* Proceeds support those brave folks who pull you out of ditches and fight your fires — the volunteers of the Sierra County Fire Protection Commission. Your ticket is tax-deductible, PAID to the Eastern Sierra Firefighter Auxiliary, a nonprofit supporting the volunteer firefighters and EMTs of eastern Sierra County.