Breaking down the best and worst parts of biking by the Bay.

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Behold the Recreation Trail, arguably the best and most beauteous strip of pavement known to bicycling. But the local beauties don’t stop there. And, unfortunately, they come accompanied by a number of shortcomings. Here the Weekly parks a look at both, with input from Kaki Cheung, Transportation Agency of Monterey County; Mike Baroni, Green Pedal Monterey; James Serrano, City of Salinas Transportation; Megan Tolbert, Monterey Green Action; and Mari Lynch Dehmler, www.bicyclingmonterey.com

BEST:

Birding by bike on the new Hatton Canyon River Path.

• Finding a $20 shiny beach cruiser with flames at the Carmel church rummage sale.

• Cruising the 29-mile Coastal Bike Trail from Castroville to Pebble Beach.

• Choosing your own adventure on www.mtycounty.com/pgs-parks/bike-path.html.

• Watching the tourists in surreys on the Rec Trail try to coordinate their pedal-pumping.

• Taking the best-ever detour off Del Monte Boulevard: The exhilarating C-curve Dunes Trail between the Del Monte Skating Rink and Monterey Beach Hotel.

Never hitting a hill during a 20-mile coast through Salinas.

• Discovering the little treasures – a shaded bench, a wildflower burst, a smile from a fellow biker – that you’d never catch in a car.

• Cruising Pebble Beach’s 17-Mile Drive without paying a toll.

• Popping your bike onto a carrier at the front of an MST bus.

• Handing your baby over to a valet at a bike-friendly hotel like the Inn at Spanish Bay, the InterContinental or Monterey Plaza.

• Breezily parking at Trader Joe’s while cars drive in doleful circles.

• Putting your $4.25-per-gallon gas money into the fun fund.

WORST:

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• Being car-doored in Seaside, where there are virtually no painted bike lanes.

• Taking small saplings hostage in an attempt to lock your bike in local downtown areas with no racks.

• Hitting a pothole on Franklin Boulevard in Monterey and taking a faceplant in front of a cute MIIS professor.

Breathing in the fumes from idling cars outside local K-12 schools – in the glaring absence of bike racks or programs encouraging kids to ride.

• Being driven off the side of the road, or nearly flattened on a left-hand turn, by oblivious drivers.

• Navigating the gap in bike routes from Salinas to the Peninsula.

Taking your life in your handlebars biking Highway 1 south, where drivers and bikers share a dangerously slender shoulder – and a mutual disdain.

• The lack of a Rec Trail-style lane along the (potentially) very bike-friendly Scenic Road in Carmel, which would only make the destination even more tourist friendly.

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