Golden Gate Ride & Retreat

May 23, 2014 - May 26, 2014

Walker Creek Ranch, Petaluma, CA

The Hazon Golden Gate Ride & Retreat is a fully-supported fundraising ride and community experience, now in its 5th year. Enjoy delicious local food, educational workshops, and fun outdoor activities while learning about and supporting Jewish environmental causes. This year’s Ride takes you along the edge of Tomales Bay and Point Reyes National Seashore, across the Golden Gate Bridge, and into San Francisco.

Come to Ride, Crew, or for Retreat/Shabbat Only

  • Join us as a rider, and enjoy two days of cycling through Sonoma and Marin counties.
  • We are always looking for some great crew members who support the cyclists on the road.
  • Or, you can come for the retreat/shabbat only and still participate in weekend programming.
Rider Fee Schedule

$150:  Until Dec 31
$199:  Jan 1 – Feb 15
$250:  Feb 16 – Mar 31
$325:  After Apr 1
View all fees and fundraising details.

Pedaling for a Healthy Planet

The Ride & Retreat raises money for Hazon’s innovate programming across the Bay Area, including our Food Festival, educational initiatives, and sustainable practice toolkits for Jewish institutions. The Ride & Retreat also supports projects & programs of our partners across the region.

Join the people of the bike!
For more information, contact the Bay Area office at

Schedule Overview

Friday: Registration is from 3-6pm at Walker Creek Ranch.  Friday evening, choose between varied prayer options and celebrate Shabbat in a diverse and pluralistic Jewish community.

Saturday: Take part in a variety of session offerings including: yoga, naturalist-led hikes, meditations & additional prayer services. Head out on a leisurely cycle through the countryside. Learn about the local ecology, Jewish agricultural wisdom, food justice, sustainable agriculture and more! After dinner, join the entire community for a musical Havdallah dance party, followed by orientation/prep for the days of riding ahead.

Sunday: First day of riding. Choose from three route options: 40, 60, or 80 miles.  Bike a loop from Walker Creek Ranch through Petaluma.  Upon arrival back at camp enjoy a yoga class, tour the on-site educational garden, meet the Ranch goats, and relax.  

Monday: Bike either the 40 or 60 mile routes, ending across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Join the closing celebration and travel home by 3 pm.


Lodging and Accommodations

The Ride & Retreat includes three overnights. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights we will stay at Walker Creek Ranch, an environmental education and retreat center in Petaluma.  There are a variety of housing options. Prior to the Ride weekend, you will complete a logistics form that helps us place you with suitable roommates. Families will always be housed together.

Basic housing at Walker Creek is dormitory-style cabins that are equipped with solid wood frame bunk beds and are carpeted and heated. There is a semi-detached bathhouse. Those with basic housing must provide all linens.

Semi-Private lodges are available with for an additional charge of $115. Each lodge has 3 to 9 bedrooms, with a shared bath and common area. Those that upgrade will have all linens provided.

Tenting is available on-site for those who wish to bring their own tent. You will use the same bathhouses as those in basic housing.


The ride includes nine meals from Friday dinner until Monday lunch as well as rest stops along the bike route. All food is kosher. Meals will be vegetarian with the exception of Friday night dinner, which includes fish. Where possible we strive to use food that is locally produced and/or organic.

On the cycling days, we plan rest stops every 15-20 miles along all routes. Each rest stop has a variety of snacks, typically including energy bars, granola, salty chips, and fruit as well as water and energy drinks. We aim to provide organic and healthy snacks while recognizing the need for high-energy food for cycling. Each rest stop has shade and rest rooms. One or two rest stops serve as a lunch stop, which also includes sandwiches and other food, prepared by our host camp.

Weekend Retreat / Shabbaton

Hazon also welcomes non-Riders to participate in the Retreat/Shabbat activities with the Hazon community.  All are invited to enjoy the delicious local meals and take part in the weekend’s programming. Through engaging prayer, hands-on learning, and immersion in 

the natural world, participants are encouraged to develop more meaningful relationships with their own Jewish identities, while building a strong community.

Highlights include:

  • Diverse Jewish community of all ages, backgrounds, Jewish observance and practice.
  • Varied Shabbat service options including egalitarian, traditional, family-focused & alternative.
  • Wellness sessions including yoga, naturalist-led hikes, meditation, qi gong and more!
  • Opportunities to learn about the relationship between Judaism and the environment.
  • Musical havdalah dance party- bring your instruments!
  • Organic, kosher & consciously-prepared food.
  • Learn about the inspiring work of Hazon and its partners.

See the 2011 Ride Retreat Program [PDF]. We plan to offer a similar program for the 2014 Shabbat Retreat.

The Route

Hazon’s Golden Gate Ride has much to offer both the novice and experienced cyclist.  The Hazon community is diverse, with riders of all skill levels from across the Bay Area and beyond.

Cyclists may elect to ride the following mileage options:
Sunday - approximately 40, 60 or 80 miles
Monday - approximately 30 or 50 miles

Route descriptions, maps, mileage, and topography specifics for each route are now available on our Route Information page.

Cycling Support

We have a short route briefing on Thursday and Saturday nights ahead of our riding days for all riders. Every rider receives a cue sheet with the turns of their chosen route, and all routes are marked with spray paint. When needed, we have additional signage or crew members to ensure that you do not miss tricky turns.

There are rest stops are located approximately every 15-20 miles along the route, fully equipped with bathrooms, shade, water, energy drink and an array of snacks.

Each route is led by a lead rider who knows the route, and a “sweep car” follows behind the last rider of each group. We also have volunteer Ride Marshalls, who are seasoned cyclists and can lend a hand.

In addition, we have two mechanic vehicles who are available on the route and at rest stops. Our mechanics are on the ride to help with flats and mechanical issues. They are not here to provide tune ups to participants – you must do that on your own before the Ride.

We also have a team of volunteer medics who are available at each rest stop and a paramedic vehicle available in case of emergency. When deemed necessary, we also have a police presence for busier roads.

Who Comes to Hazon Retreats?

People are drawn to Hazon Rides for a wide range of reasons. Some participants are serious riders, others have just picked up cycling to participate in the Ride.  Some participants come to the Ride looking to find a Jewish community that works for them and others come from well established Jewish congregations and enjoy connecting their faith and tradition to a natural place and sustainable practice. Some participants are life long environmentalists who want to enjoy and safeguard our natural world and others are looking for some first steps toward becoming more environmentally conscious. We have always had a wide range of participants who cannot resist returning every year. For our fifth Golden Gate Ride, we are anticipating close to 150 people!

Coming on Your Own

Many people register for the Ride on their own and meet people through training rides as the Spring progresses. Cycling is a very social activity. Friends, couples, individuals and family groups regularly participate. In past years, there have been large numbers of people coming to the Ride on their own and many different family permutations. The California Ride is a great opportunity to meet new people.

New Riders

communityYou do not need to be super-fit when you register, but you do need to train, especially in the two months leading up to the Ride. Last year almost all our Riders completed the Ride, including a 12-year-old and a 71-year-old. If you have never done 50 miles or more on a bike in a day, this is a great opportunity to do so in an incredibly supportive environment.  Hazon offers weekly volunteer-led training rides in the Bay Area that all participants are encouraged to join.

A first-time Rider wrote in 2011: “I thought the routes were great – they were well marked, I knew where I was going, they were beautiful, and I felt safe.”

You really can do it, and it will feel great. If you’d like help, read our extensive training tips.


If you do not want to ride, you should definitely sponsor other riders and encourage your friends to join the Ride. Equally important, Hazon needs people to help out during the Ride. The Crew make the ride happen, everything from staffing rest stops to cheering riders.


Teams are a great way to come to the Ride with friends or family, or to recruit groups from your school, synagogue or neighborhood. Every year, teams bring colorful energy to the ride, with matching helmets, custom jerseys, creative names and great team spirit.

Here are a few reasons you might want to bring a team to the Golden Gate Ride:

  • You want to get to know other people at your institution. Teams often spend time riding together, which is a great way to meet people and try something new.
  • You want to bring creative Jewish programming to your community. The GG Ride offers a brand new way to engage with the Jewish community and Jewish values that resonates for many people.
  • It’s a program that people of all ages can attend. Your team can include parents, grandparents and kids of all ages, and the Ride has room for them all.
  • It’s a great way to recruit your friends. Want some ride buddies for the road? Form a team together, and make it a group project.
  • You can apply for a Mini-Grant for your project or organization. Bringing a team to the ride is a great way to introduce your program/event/project to the community, and get support for your work. More mini-grant information here.

Each team member must pay a registration fee and raise the minimum pledge amount for their registration category. Participants are welcome to join a pre-existing team, or start your own when you register online.  (And don’t worry, you don’t all have to ride together – in fact, you’ll likely all cycle at different paces.  But you can cheer in the members of your team at the finish line!)

Teens, and Young Riders Families

This has been an incredible opportunity for me (and for so many other parents here) to share in our kids’ lives. Thank you so much for that – it’s incredibly unique.
—Rachel Rosen


Each year on our Hazon rides, a few teens ride and raise money as part of a bar or bat mitzvah project. The teens bring ruach, energy and inspiration to the Ride, as riders and as crew. They often bring their families to the Ride, and many times the experience is just as transformational for the parent as for the teen. Teen participation is genuine to Hazon’s commitment to inclusively, broadening the range of voices and experiences that make up the Ride community.

Hazon’s Golden Gate Ride & Retreat has hosted a team of teenage riders and crew from the Jewish Community High School of the Bay in San Francisco and Milken Community High School in LA.  This year we are hoping to include over 30 teenage riders and offer a comprehensive teen program during the weekend retreat.  Youth must be at least 12 years old to ride.

Young Families

For parents of young children, we are happy to customize your ride for you!

Family Registration

Two parents with children under 4 can register for $500, which includes semi-private housing for the weekend, with a shared living space with other families, including a refrigerator. Parents have a combined $1200 fundraising minimum, but can switch crewing and riding each day.

Learn more about Teen programs at Hazon

Click to see Teen Rider Requirements

  • To be a rider, the minimum age is 12 years old before the first day of Ride. Interested in maybe signing up a younger rider? Please contact Drisana Davis.
  • Riders age 12-14 must ride with a parent or guardian at all times. This means that the parent and child will ride on the same route, at the same pace, and should remain within 50 feet of each other on the course.
  • If a guardian is accompanying a teen, parents must sign a notarized power of attorney giving the guardian the right to make medical decisions on behalf of the child. Download Consent Form.
  • Riders age 15-17 must ride with a partner, teen or adult, and stay within 50 feet of each other at all times.
  • Riders who are 17 and under and their parents/guardians must sign a Teen Harmony Agreement, which holds teens accountable for their behavior at the Ride.
  • Youth might choose to join the Hazon Ride as part of an organized group. In that case, youth between the ages of 12-14, must ride with a designated chaperone.
  • Riders and their parents/guardians or partners are responsible for staying together at all times. No youth rider is to ever ride alone. If found riding alone, the youth will be taken off route.

Click to see Teen Crew Requirements

  • Crew members who are 17 and under must be accompanied by an adult while on crew. If both parents are cycling, the parents are responsible for finding a guardian to be with the teen crew member during the Ride.
  • Youth who are 15-17 can choose to be on Avodah Crew or Ruach Crew, but still with a parent or guardian. Youth who are under 15 must be on Ruach crew.
  • If a guardian is accompanying a teen, parents must sign a notarized power of attorney giving the guardian the right to make medical decisions on behalf of the child. Download Consent Form.
  • Teenage Crew members and their parents/guardians must sign a Teen Harmony Agreement, which holds teens accountable for their behavior at the Ride.

Crew Participation

Crew members are essential to the success of the Hazon Golden Gate Ride.  They serve as the backbone of the event – bringing it to life, and providing a support system for the riders in every sense of the word.  Crew members join the Hazon community for the Shabbat retreat and are required to pay a minimal registration fee.  During the ride they help in a variety of ways – driving support vehicles, cheering and setting-up rest stops along the route (see specifics below).  Families with children are encouraged to register for ‘Ruach Crew’ and will be tasked with cheering and celebrating the riders.

Being part of the Crew isn’t simply helping out. It is an opportunity to challenge your own conceptions, limits, and beliefs about what it means to work together with other people. It is also demanding… expect long hours & hard work. It’s possible that you may find yourself working harder than those who are cycling. Nonetheless, you can take great satisfaction knowing that through your efforts, you’ve made the Ride possible.

“This is the third year my daughter and I have been on the crew for the Ride … always a fun, illuminating, connecting and inspiring experience!”
—Yael P


Avodah Crew - for adult and teen non-riders

Avodah Crew members will have the opportunity to indicate their preferred crew responsibility on a logistics form that will be sent in March. Avodah Crew is divided into the following categories.

Sweep Crew »

The SAG (Support and Gear) Crews are responsible for keeping track of the cyclists while they’re out on the course. This includes helping cyclists make it through particularly challenging intersections, chasing down lost cyclists, helping with basic bicycle maintenance, giving out extra water and food, and providing transportation to injured or worn out cyclists and their bicycles. Each day, a couple SAG Crew vehicles will be designated as the sweep crew for each route. This crew vehicle is responsible for keeping in visual contact with the last cyclist or group of cyclists on the course.

Each SAG/Sweep Crew consists of two people. Basic bike maintenance knowledge and equipment are also desired, but not required.  Finally, and maybe most importantly, the SAG Crews get to be out on the road with the cyclists, to cheer and motivate throughout the ride.

Rest Stop & Lunch Crew »

We will be offering a rest stop or lunch stop every 15 to 20 miles. The Rest Stop and Lunch Crews are responsible for setting up and taking down all of these stations and assisting the Cyclists as they arrive.

These Crews also perform the vital service of helping Cyclists keep track of time and making sure that all Cyclists stay on schedule to complete each day’s riding before the course closes down in the late-afternoon/evening. Each Crew will consist of at least 3 people and will be assigned to set up, staff, and take down one site per day.

Gear & Site Services Crew »

The Gear and Site Service folks are responsible for transporting everyone’s gear between overnight locations, making initial contact with our arrival destination, and supervising site clean up. These folks also work with Walker Creek Ranch to make sure that programming spaces are set up and make sure everything is ready for when the first cyclists arrive.

This Crew will be driving or riding in two rental trucks provided by Hazon. No special license is needed aside from a valid driver’s license and a clean driving record.

Medical Crew »

Persons with medical training including EMTs, nurses, doctors and physical therapists are needed at rest stops and at the end of each day.

Ruach ‘Spirit’ Crew - for parents & children

Ruach Crew is open for parents and children who are coming with a riding family member. Ruach Crew will assist our Avodah Crew but have reduced hours and responsibility. Parents will be able to focus on their children as their primary responsibility.

The main tasks will be to create signs, cheer riders, help riders navigate difficult intersections, decorate rest stops, and sort/distribute food and supplies. Ruach crew will not be asked to drive a car other than their own. Ruach crew will be able to take advantage of activities at Walker Creek Ranch and will be at the final rest stop in time to cheer in the riders as they arrive for the closing ceremony.