I live in San Diego, but my favorite riding area is the CA Central Coast, San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach and Cambria.
1975 Albert Eisentraut - 2006 Moots Compact: Campy Chorus - 2007 KHS Solo-One -2010 Van Dessel Drag Strip Courage - 2013 Alchemy Xanthus: Campy Record
Buy some rain gear. I ride most of the year on the coast.
2011 Giant Defy3 Composite
2012 Specialized Hardrock
Let's look at this another way - when the world runs out oil, where will the best cycling reside? I still think SoCal has it going on. NorCal isn't bad either, except for the extreme concentration of hipsters.
I would add a desired quality for best road cycling place: minimal negativity toward cyclists.
The SF bay area meets many of your requirements - scenic, mix of flats and hills, moderate temps... Decent cycling infrastructure, local bike coalitions, clubs, etc. Not lightly populated, though. The fog and winds during summer can sometimes make summer feel like winter, but that is when you are close to the bay/ocean.
There are plenty of cyclists here, but increasingly, there is also a lot of negativity toward cyclists. I've lived in the bay area my whole life and I think the negativity toward cyclists has really increased in the last 10 years. Hikers and horseback riders complain about mountain bikers and motorists/pedestrians have endless complaints about cyclists riding too fast on paths, cyclists on roads without bike lanes, cyclists riding on the road when they "should be on the path," cyclists going through stop lights, not riding single file, not being visible enough, being obnoxious with bright spandex, startling pedestrians as they pass, being obnoxious with their "on your left," loud bell-ringing, etc. If you read any news story about a cyclist in local bay area papers, there is often a ton of anti-cyclist comments that are pretty disturbing to read. Even though most people would not make generalizations about all women, all asians, etc., they think nothing of making generalizations about "all cyclists." Sure, we are all wannabe racers who blow through lights...
In Marin, there is a small town (Nicasio) that many cyclists ride through on their way to west Marin. There is actually a posted sign requesting cyclists to be quiet as they bike through the main road through town. I've never seen a sign requesting cyclists to be quiet anywhere else.
Despite my complaints about the growing antipathy toward cyclists, I realize that the bay area is much better than many other areas of the country for riding. A good friend of mine who rode a lot and grew up in the bay area moved to Ohio and called me to complain about all the motorists who yelled out their window to "get on the sidewalk."
I really liked biking in Santa Cruz, CA where I lived for awhile. Not too densely populated, good riding temps year-round, beautiful coast rides to the north and south, many beautiful forest/redwood/hilly rides, mtb rides - all of these accessible from home, without having to drive to ride.
Reno is underrated. I live less than 5 miles from a 7.5-mile climb and a 16-mile climb. Both are only 5%, but there are some shorter, steeper ones within 20 miles.
You can also keep rides flat if you're into that sort of thing.
Summer isn't too hot. If it is, Tahoe is cooler and it's not far away. Winter is cold, but rideable. Snow doesn't stick on the roads for long. The worst thing is the wind.
Road conditions are generally good with shoulers or bike lanes on most roads. If you get bored, there is tons of good riding within a reasonable driving distance.
California has too many cars, too much smog, and too few interesting routes.
Back East, I can leave my door and be on a hundred different routes with no traffic.
Variety is key.
Vermont is nice.....for 5 months of the year.
Do what I do. Get an RV and follow the good weather. This year wintered in S. Fl, spring TX gulf coast and hill country, early summer Rockies, summer NW WA Olympia area, late summer Pacific coast and then?
Retired 75 YO. Got my sub 5 ET century at 50 and sub 7 RT at 75. Just want to finish at 80. USNR, USAF, USCGA - riding 2014 Zenetto Steath ZR7.1 Carbon
Back in 2005, we drove from Le Claire, Iowa (where we had completed our first UMCA 24-hour race) to Boulder, Colorado (where we did the Last Chance 1200K Randonnee). On the way, we stopped in various places to ride.
So, after leaving Le Claire, we would have driven into Davenport, and then if I recall correctly, we followed the Mississippi south to Keokuk where we turned west and drove to Rock Port and then across the Missouri to Brownville.
We stopped in Brownville, Nebraska and got the bicycles out, and cycled some of the Steamboat Trace Trail, which was a decent trail, then we crossed the Missouri River back into Missouri and cycled a ways into Missouri.
The thing I liked about that area were the quiet relatively flat roads.
Some photos from that part of that trip ...
(Click photos for more)
Hilton Head, South Carolina. It's beautiful, it's a vacation spot, so no one is rushing and generally drivers are relaxed. There are bike paths, but I would avoid those, they are packed with beach bikes.
Also the sand is firm, so put on some bigger tires and you can cruise the beach early morning like a demon.
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Current Rides: 2012 Cannondale CAAD10 3
1988 Raleigh Talon (my dad's)
Cycling Fan - NCAA DII Runner - Looking to finally join the cycling community
I haven't done any cycling trips so my experience is pretty much limited to my own region of SE Minnesota and Western Wisconsin. When the weather is nice it's not a bad area since depending on which direction I go I have my choice of flat, hilly, gravel, rolling hills, rail trails, and MUPs.
I can believe the wind being bad. When I was there my cousin was telling me that there was a bridge construction project that had gone through several contractors who had given the project up due to the wind being too much of an issue.
in the bike lanes come monday mornings by motorists as a reason to totally disregard any california destination? they hand out the boxes at gas stations with every fill up.
Last edited by ooga-booga; 05-14-14 at 11:23 AM.
i'd rather be alive wrong than dead right
rider changing a flat, stopping to take a picture or rest break or even those whom have slowed enough to fall below their trending average speed. the local media has kept this pretty
hush-hush for obvious reasons and the problem is slowly spreading. don't be a victim. avoid california. the life you save just might be your own.
i'd rather be alive wrong than dead right