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Old 07-16-08, 12:33 AM   #1
wcoastbikr
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Santa Barbara Biking

Hello all,

So I'm from the south bay, Torrance/Redondo Beach area. Well I have a quick question. My sister got accepted to UCSB and is going to be going there this fall. So I'm planning to visit every now and then when she does start. And I was thinking of bringing my bike up there when I do, but I'm not very familiar with the area at all. I've done some searches on the area and really don't know what I'm looking at.

So my question simply is, what are some nice bike paths? Also what should I avoid? I'd prefer to be where traffic is at a minimum. Anything over looking the ocean or nice scenery is a plus. And something that's long is always a plus.

Thanks!
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Old 07-16-08, 06:40 AM   #2
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Do you like to climb?
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Old 07-16-08, 07:05 AM   #3
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There's a free map by local government agency: Traffic Solutions, a division of Santa Barbara County Association of Governments. Try their phone 805 963-7283. I believe that at UCSB, there is a bike shop on campus. They'll be glad to help. UCSB 805 893-2661.

While you're in the Santa Barbara area, there's a lot of riding to do in the Solvang area.
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Old 07-16-08, 07:13 AM   #4
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So, in general, the thing to remember about Santa Barbara is that it is a very thin strip of land between the ocean to the south and the mountains to the north. It's only about 2 miles "thick" and about 20 miles long from Goleta on the west end to Montecito on the east end. The 101 freeway bisects the area horizontally, making a northern area between the freeway and the foothills and a southern area between the freeway and the beach. Nothing is particularly flat, theres always some kind of hill or rollers going on, but there is a fairly flatish area near the freeway corridor. There is a raised plateau at the southern end of town called the "Mesa", a hilly area to it's west (actually in Goleta) called "Hope Ranch" where the 10mil+ estates are, and another hilly area to the north east called the "Riviera".

There are two main east-west roads that run through the area parallel to the freeway, one to the north through the foothills (aptly named "Foothill" in Santa Barbara, but changes to "Cathedral Oaks" in Goleta), and another to the south. The southern road is the main street through the downtown area, named "State Street". It starts from from the beach, running northwest, crosses under the freeway (for a time it is actually north of the freeway). Once it gets uptown, it kinks and switches to due-west, crosses back under the freeway, and changes to "Hollister Avenue" in Goleta.

Ok, so with a little basic geography out of the way, if you just want to do flat, long rides, you have to run east-west near the freeway corridor. If you stray from that you start running into lots of hills. You can ride west past Goleta on the freeway, or you can ride east out of Santa Barbara, through Montecito, Summerland, and Carpinteria. After Carpinteria, you can get on the freeway for a few miles until it gets off onto PCH, which you can take to Ventura. Most of the group rides in town start from downtown and head east to various destinations.

If you like to climb, there are a lot of good routes through Hope Ranch, the Riviera, and the back roads behind the Riviera. Foothill road (also called "192") is very rolling if you take it all the way to Montecito. Actually, eventually Foothill ends but the "192" route continues laterally all the way to Carpinteria on different roads. There is a really nice road the forks off of the 192 behind the Riviera called Mountain Drive". This is a really nice lightly rolling road but fairly winding, and it snakes over town and provides lots of great views. This is a must-do ride even if you don't like climbing. Around the same area as the start of Mountain Drive is Gibraltar, which snakes up the mountins to LaCumbre peak, nearly 4000 feet. The road starts at about 800 ft. elevation, so the climb is about 3000 feet, but if you started from the ocean you get the full effect. Gibraltar can be taken up and down, or you can go up and across the ridge and drop down into Goleta.

Oh, I should add that despite the "Santa Barbara" in the name, UCSB is actually pretty far to the west of Santa Barbara, near the westernmost edge of Goleta.

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Old 07-16-08, 08:08 AM   #5
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Woo...thanks for all the information. I'm still pretty new so hills may be a bit challenging for me. Probably the most climbing I've ever done is Palos Verdes, which I'm ok with. But that "Mountain Drive" still sounds pretty awesome. How does that compare to Palos Verdes?

Thanks!
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Old 07-16-08, 08:14 AM   #6
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Woo...thanks for all the information. I'm still pretty new so hills may be a bit challenging for me. Probably the most climbing I've ever done is Palos Verdes, which I'm ok with. But that "Mountain Drive" still sounds pretty awesome. How does that compare to Palos Verdes?
Never been on Palos Verdes. Mountain Drive isn't much of a climb, it is rolling/moderate climbing to get to it. It is only at about 700-800 feet elevation.
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Old 07-16-08, 08:38 AM   #7
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Woo...thanks for all the information. I'm still pretty new so hills may be a bit challenging for me. Probably the most climbing I've ever done is Palos Verdes, which I'm ok with. But that "Mountain Drive" still sounds pretty awesome. How does that compare to Palos Verdes?

Thanks!
About the same. Neither has a tremendous amount of climbing and both have some of the most spectacular views around. Depending upon which of the routes you take to get to Mountain Drive, it can be a little steeper to get there however.
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Old 07-16-08, 10:50 AM   #8
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One of my regular morning routes includes Mountain Drive. I just did it so that I can show you the profile. You can look at the MotionBased data, and click on Elevation to see the profile. This is riding along Cathedral Oaks/Foothill, Mountain Drive, through Montecito, along the coast, and back up State/Hollister.
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Old 07-16-08, 11:46 AM   #9
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One really nice ride is the "Hope Ranch Loop", which starts just off of Modoc Road up from Hollister and before the freeway. You go through Hope Ranch on Las Palmas Drive, and it changes names several times as it traverses this posh and attractive area before dropping down to the beach. As a Major League option, before descending to the beach, you can veer over and take a half-mile climb called Sea Ranch Road, which is guaranteed to put hair on your knees. It's one of my favorites.

Even without Sea Ranch Road, the Hope Ranch loop is a standard ride for cyclists in Santa Barbara. It's only a few miles, merely rolly, but is well worth working into a longer ride through town.

My other favorite is Old San Marcos Road, which goes from Cathedral Oaks up to Highway 154. It's a decent climb with a couple intense switchbacks. Crossing 154, the road becomes known as Painted Cave Road and it qualifies as Very steep. You come out at Camino Cielo, spanning the mountain tops, and can drop down Gibraltar (mentioned elsewhere in this thread) back to town. Alas, Camino Cielo and Gibraltar are badly torn up, making the descents fairly grueling on a road bike. But one suffers as a tradeoff for the great climbing and gorgeous views.

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Old 07-16-08, 12:06 PM   #10
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One really nice ride is the "Hope Ranch Loop", which starts just off of Modoc Road up from Hollister and before the freeway. You go through Hope Ranch on Las Palmas Drive, and it changes names several times as it traverses this posh and attractive area before dropping down to the beach. As a Major League option, before descending to the beach, you can veer over and take a half-mile climb called Sea Ranch Road, which is guaranteed to put hair on your knees. It's one of my favorites.

Even without Sea Ranch Road, the Hope Ranch loop is a standard ride for cyclists in Santa Barbara. It's only a few miles, merely rolly, but is well worth working into a longer ride through town.
+1 on Hope Ranch, but there is no single "Hope Ranch Loop". There are so many roads that wind around that area, there is no standard way to go. It's like a maze too, easy to get lost if you don't know your way around. I know it very well and I've gotten stuck in a loop a few times Here is data from a ride I did last night that included one slightly modified variant of a common loop that I do. Note that we entered through a side entrance, at Via Tranquilla, and left through the country club parking lot. I don't really like riding on Las Palmas, its basically just like any other major road and defeats the purpose of riding through Hope Ranch in the first place.

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My other favorite is Old San Marcos Road, which goes from Cathedral Oaks up to Highway 154. It's a decent climb with a couple intense switchbacks. Crossing 154, the road becomes known as Painted Cave Road and it qualifies as Very steep. You come out at Camino Cielo, spanning the mountain tops, and can drop down Gibraltar (mentioned elsewhere in this thread) back to town. Alas, Camino Cielo and Gibraltar are badly torn up, making the descents fairly grueling on a road bike. But one suffers as a tradeoff for the great climbing and gorgeous views.
Old San Marcos is a great climb. Averages 8% for 2.9 miles, for 1200ft gained. Painted Cave is shorter but has the same gain, so is therefore steeper, although to get all the to Camino Cielo, it really tames down for the last half mile or so after the community at the top. Old San Marcos starts fairly gradually and gets steeper near the end. Painted Cave starts very steep and gets shallower in the middle with a few kicks up near the end (to the community). Camino Cielo and Gibraltar have had some parts repaved, but is still generally in very bad shape. I highly recommend going from the other direction, up Gibraltar and down the much smoother road surfaces of Painted Cave and Old San Marcos. There is also a good climb on the backside of the range called Stagecoach Road. It goes under the Cold Springs Bridge and past Cold Springs Tavern.
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Old 07-18-08, 07:00 PM   #11
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Carefull if you ride hope ranch, there is alot of blind turns, and thin roads.
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Old 07-18-08, 07:05 PM   #12
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Carefull if you ride hope ranch, there is alot of blind turns, and thin roads.
It's really not that bad, and very lightly traveled.
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Old 07-18-08, 07:54 PM   #13
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i nominate UMD for mayor of Santa Barbara.

Mrs. UMD, aka Kuf, can be the first lady.
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Old 07-21-08, 04:09 PM   #14
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i second UMD for mayor.
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Old 08-27-08, 12:32 PM   #15
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Well I'd hate to bump an old thread, but I figured it's better than starting a new one. So this question is geared more towards UMD because he seems to know the area.

I was wondering what do you think about this route? I don't really know traffic or the road conditions so was wondering if you could take a look at this and possibly change anything to what you prefer.

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sadd...,0.578156&z=11.

Thanks!
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Old 08-27-08, 12:41 PM   #16
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^^^ route looks ok, similar to one I do many mornings. But I would stay off of Hollister for the most part. You would be better off going along Los Carneros and Cathedral oaks, at least for one of the directions. That's the only change I would make. Were you planning on clickwise or counterclockwise, and what day of the week/time of day?
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Old 08-27-08, 12:43 PM   #17
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Oh yeah, so I'd also push out the other direction to through the university and along that bike path. It parallels th 217 for a while then backs against Rhoads and comes out onto Modoc over by the hidden valley gold course.
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Old 08-27-08, 02:33 PM   #18
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I was planning on doing it counter-clockwise. Is one way better than the other?

I changed the path to what I think you said:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&sadd...06609&t=h&z=15

I think I see what you mean about the bike path from the Uni next to the 217 and out to Modoc from the Google Satellite pictures.

As for time and day...I really don't know yet, definitely not during night. I'm not a fan of riding during night especially places I'm not familiar with. I'm not sure where I start either, I don't know where my sister's dorm is so I just put a rough starting point.

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Old 08-27-08, 03:12 PM   #19
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Hey UMD, doesn't the bike path at Sandspit & Ward Memorial/217 go all the way east to Puente drive? If so, then he could miss the traffic on Hollister completely.

E.on Mesa Dr to bike path
E. on pathway to Puente Dr. turn R.
S. on Puente Dr. to Via Huereto - turn L.
E. on Via Huereto to Via Bendita - turn L.
Via Bendita to Las Palmas - turn R. and you're back on the mapped route.

More scenic, less traffic. If the pathway goes all the way to Puente Dr that is...

Last edited by Rob P.; 08-27-08 at 03:13 PM. Reason: lost my directions
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Old 08-27-08, 03:42 PM   #20
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Hey UMD, doesn't the bike path at Sandspit & Ward Memorial/217 go all the way east to Puente drive? If so, then he could miss the traffic on Hollister completely.

E.on Mesa Dr to bike path
E. on pathway to Puente Dr. turn R.
S. on Puente Dr. to Via Huereto - turn L.
E. on Via Huereto to Via Bendita - turn L.
Via Bendita to Las Palmas - turn R. and you're back on the mapped route.

More scenic, less traffic. If the pathway goes all the way to Puente Dr that is...
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Oh yeah, so I'd also push out the other direction to through the university and along that bike path. It parallels th 217 for a while then backs against Rhoads and comes out onto Modoc over by the hidden valley gold course.
Yeah, thats what I was saying about the bike path. You actually take it past Puente and it goes alongside Moore Mesa Dr, you cross a creek and then it dumps you out on Arroyo Rd and Nueces Dr. The best way to enter Hope Ranch is through Via Tranquilla. All of the roads off Puente into Hope Ranch are actually blocked off, and no longer go through (despite what it shows on the map). You can still get through if you are willing to go through some sand/gravel and hop/go under the barrier. If you do go that way, Via Cayente to Via Vistosa is an easier barrier to get through and a shallower grade to climb up. Via Huerto is short but very steep. If you look at this map you can see I entered through Via Tranquilla and continued around some of the side roads for some extra distance. You can shortcut my route in several places, notably taking Via Tranquilla straight though to Las Palmas, or cutting across Via Cayente, Via Huerto, or Via Bendita. Those last 3 all have a few hills in the middle, whereas if you shortcut down Via Tranquilla its all downhill until Roble Dr. Regardless, I highly recommend entering on Via Tranquilla instead of Las Palmas, it avoids the worst of the traffic.

Just be careful as the roads through there all look the same and it is easy to get turned around. I got stuck in the Via Roblada/Via Bendita loop once and ended up doing I think 3 laps before I finally made the turn out


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I think I see what you mean about the bike path from the Uni next to the 217 and out to Modoc from the Google Satellite pictures.
Note that in my map above, I started from a fork of the bikepath you would not be on. You can see the route through Isla Vista and the University and along the 217 joining my other route just past Patterson here.

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I was planning on doing it counter-clockwise. Is one way better than the other?

As for time and day...I really don't know yet, definitely not during night. I'm not a fan of riding during night especially places I'm not familiar with. I'm not sure where I start either, I don't know where my sister's dorm is so I just put a rough starting point.
Counter-clockwise is probably a good way to go. I think that's a better way to go through Hope Ranch and it is safer to go westbound on Foothill (192) in the Mission Canyon area, although I prefer the rollers on foothill leading up to Mountain Drive rather than the long grind up Hot Springs. Alternatively, you can also turn left onto Sycamore Canyon (in Montecito) and right onto Cold Springs to get to Mountain drive and its a little more gentle. Time of day affects things too, you should try to stay off of Foothill during the rush hours if you can help it. As for the start... which dorm?

Edit: Let me know when you are going to do this and if it fits in my schedule I can hook up with you for it.

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Old 08-27-08, 04:59 PM   #21
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As for the start... which dorm?

Edit: Let me know when you are going to do this and if it fits in my schedule I can hook up with you for it.
Have no idea which dorm she's going to be staying in, not to big of a deal anyways. I think next week we're helping her move in. I want to go for a ride, parents will probably go out shopping/eating and I'll go out for the ride. I'm not sure if I'll go through the smaller streets, I have a good feeling I'd end up lost. I'll probably take the bike path up to Modoc like you mentioned, then just take Las Palmas Dr. Down to Marina and continue the loop I previous posted a link for.

As for meeting up, I have a feeling I would be at my Max HR through a large majority of that ride seeing how well you've do on your rides. I'm 19 and have only been riding for about 7 months...lol.

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Old 08-27-08, 05:06 PM   #22
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Have no idea which dorm she's going to be staying in, not to big of a deal anyways. I think next week we're helping her move in. I want to go for a ride, parents will probably go out shopping/eating and I'll go out for the ride. I'm not sure if I'll go through the smaller streets, I have a good feeling I'd end up lost. I'll probably take the bike path up to Modoc like you mentioned, then just take Las Palmas Dr. Down to Marina and continue the loop I previous posted a link for.

As for meeting up, I have a feeling I would be at my Max HR through a large majority of that ride seeing how well you've do on your rides. I'm only 19 and have only been riding for about 7 months...lol.
After this weekend I'm going to start tapering for Everest Challenge. The number of recovery/easy rides will increase dramatically.
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Old 08-27-08, 06:44 PM   #23
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After this weekend I'm going to start tapering for Everest Challenge. The number of recovery/easy rides will increase dramatically.
what about thursdays?
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Old 08-27-08, 07:16 PM   #24
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what about thursdays?
thursdays are my chance to torture you john.
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Old 08-28-08, 09:11 PM   #25
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Hey John, can you post your power file from today's torture?
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