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  1. #1
    Pepperoni Power ROJA's Avatar
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    Low-key road rides in the Santa Barbara area...

    Hi folks. I am coming down from the Bay Area to spend a few days in the Santa Barbara.

    I would love some recommendations on a few rides in the 20-35-mile range without a ton of climbing. Ideally along scenic routes with light traffic and some wineries along the way. We will be doing this on our tandem.

    I saw these and they look cool: http://www.sbbike.org/region/rides/rides.html

    I have a Garmin Edge 305, so if you have links to rides on Motionbased that would be even better because I could follow the route on my Garmin.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Senior Member rallison's Avatar
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    I've done write-ups of all the local SB climbs. Here is an easy way to browse through them:

    ToughAscent Climbs Map

    Edit: Oops, I misread your post and thought you were looking for climbing. Well, if you do decide to climb, follow the link above. If not, the Santa Ynez valley is very nice - you could do roads like Ballard Canyon or Foxen Canyon and do wine tasting along the way.
    Last edited by rallison; 10-06-10 at 09:12 PM.
    ToughAscent.com - My Rides: http://www.toughascent.com/blog/

  3. #3
    Pepperoni Power ROJA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rallison View Post
    I've done write-ups of all the local SB climbs. Here is an easy way to browse through them:

    ToughAscent Climbs Map

    Edit: Oops, I misread your post and thought you were looking for climbing. Well, if you do decide to climb, follow the link above. If not, the Santa Ynez valley is very nice - you could do roads like Ballard Canyon or Foxen Canyon and do wine tasting along the way.
    Rallison- Your annotated Google map and blog are amazing! Beautiful pictures and great detailed descriptions! You are right that we probably won't be doing any massive climbs on the tandem, but your blog inspired me so much that I might bring my single road bike to sneak away for a quick ride or two. Any top 2 or 3 rides from your list that you would recommend that are within a short drive of SB and can be done in a couple of hours? Thanks!

  4. #4
    umd
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    There are no wineries in Santa Barbara proper, but there are tons up in the Santa Ynez valley. You can start in Solvang and ride out through Buelton to Santa Rosa Road. Another good one from Solvang is to go up Ballard Canyon Road and/or Foxen Canyon Road. There are some climbs along these roads, nothing is flat around here, but nothing excessive. There are tons of wineries along all of these.

    If you want to do rides closer to the Santa Barbara area, a great ride is Mountain Drive. It's a little bit of climbing to get to it but once you are on it it is gently rolling. You ride along the foothills and get great views. Some of the best without actually going into the mountains. Another good ride is to do the 192. It's a bit narrow with traffic through SB but once you get east of Mission Canyon it's pretty nice. You can actually start at the Mission, go up Mission Canyon to Foothill (192) and then take that all the way out to Carpinteria. You can turn around and come back along the route, or you can ride back through Carpinteria and along the coast.

    Edit: Regarding your last post, if you bring your single and can sneak away for a good climb, you have to do Gibraltar. For the full effect, start at the dolphin fountain (State and Cabrillo), wind your way to Mission Canyon, up Mountain Drive to Gibraltar, then keep going to Camino Cielo and La Cumbre peak. It's about 13 miles and 4,000 feet. If you have time it's a beautiful ride across the ridge and down Painted Cave/Old San Marcos, but if you are time crunched you can just head back down Gibraltar.
    Last edited by umd; 10-06-10 at 10:20 PM.

  5. #5
    Pepperoni Power ROJA's Avatar
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    UMD- Thanks for the recommendations. I will check these out!

  6. #6
    umd
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    Let me know when you are here, if it fits in my schedule I may be able to show you around.

  7. #7
    Senior Member rallison's Avatar
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    Thanks, glad you appreciate the effort I have put into the blog. It takes a while, but I enjoy doing it (and it is a good way to remember a ride later on).

    As for what I would recommend..

    Luckily for you, SB has some of the best climbing around. Here are my thoughts on the different climbs:

    Figueroa - my personal favorite climb (east side ascent being the favorite of the two ascents), but probably too long of a ride given your constraints. It is about an hour to drive out and park in Los Olivos, then the loop is 40+ miles. If you find the time, though, it is an incredible ride. Additionally, there are tons of great tasting rooms in Los Olivos if your wife wanted to do wine tasting while you rode. To make it shorter, you could always climb up the west side ascent (note: the first two miles of this ascent are very steep..bring climbing gears) and descend back down the same way. Doing so would mean about 32 miles of riding with about 8 miles of climbing.

    Gibraltar/Camino Cielo - If you are staying in SB, this is the climb to do. A very solid, relatively tough climb with tons of great views of SB. Scenery right along the climb is not as good as it could be due to a relatively recent fire, but the vegetation is starting to come back. If you can, climb all the way to La Cumbre Peak (along Camino Cielo) for some incredible scenery and views.

    Old San Marcos/Painted Cave/Camino Cielo - Personally, I think I like this slightly more than Gibraltar (probably because it is more challenging), but both are great (also, Camino Cielo connects the two climbs). Again, great views along the way. You also get to pass by Painted Cave itself (a very small historic site with Chumash cave paintings...bring a flashlight though if you want to see them) and the cute, tiny community of Painted Cave. The OSM/PC section is very challenging - top 10 list for steepest 5 mile section of road in the US - but hey, challenges are fun. You can also ride this all the way to La Cumbre Peak if you have the time. If not, at least ride a few miles along Camino Cielo for great views. 7-8 miles from downtown SB.

    Refugio - A unique, extremely challenging and isolated climb. Virtually no traffic (although all of the above climbs are already pretty low traffic) with a very steep and challenging first couple of miles. Great views for the first few miles, transitioning to good views. Once you hit Camino Cielo, the grade drops but the scenery goes to 11 and is insanely beautiful (especially during Spring/early Summer). The descent is extremely horrible - horrible road surface and steep grades mean a slow, jackhammer-bumpy, brake-heavy descent. 25 minutes from downtown SB.

    Honestly, you can't go wrong with any of these. It all depends on what you are looking for - do you enjoy steep climbs or more moderate grades? Of course, even the easiest of the SB climbs, with respect to grade, is still steep when compared with most other climbs. Beyond this, read my blog entries for these 4 climbs to get a better feel for each one so that you can make a more informed decision.

    Also, the Gibraltar (ascending)->Camino Cielo (ascending and descending)->Painted Cave (descending)->Old San Marcos (descending) loop is arguably the ultimate climbing ride in SB. It will take you more than 2 hours though.

    When your weekend is done, let us know where you rode and what you thought of the area!
    Last edited by rallison; 10-06-10 at 10:56 PM.
    ToughAscent.com - My Rides: http://www.toughascent.com/blog/

  8. #8
    Senior Member rallison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by umd View Post
    If you want to do rides closer to the Santa Barbara area, a great ride is Mountain Drive.
    Yes, this too. umd, is Mountain still closed off to vehicular traffic near Gibraltar?

    Quote Originally Posted by umd View Post
    Edit: Regarding your last post, if you bring your single and can sneak away for a good climb, you have to do Gibraltar. For the full effect, start at the dolphin fountain (State and Cabrillo), wind your way to Mission Canyon, up Mountain Drive to Gibraltar, then keep going to Camino Cielo and La Cumbre peak. It's about 13 miles and 4,000 feet. If you have time it's a beautiful ride across the ridge and down Painted Cave/Old San Marcos, but if you are time crunched you can just head back down Gibraltar.
    If you do Gibraltar, this is a great combo. And, while I haven't actually met umd, he is extremely knowledgeable and I am sure would be the perfect guy to show you around.
    ToughAscent.com - My Rides: http://www.toughascent.com/blog/

  9. #9
    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by rallison View Post
    Also, the Gibraltar (ascending)->Camino Cielo (ascending and descending)->Painted Cave (descending)->Old San Marcos (descending) loop is arguably the ultimate climbing ride in SB. It will take you more than 2 hours though.
    http://connect.garmin.com/activity/47329786

    and

    http://www.strava.com/segments/360499

    I'm currently listed at #4 on the segment

  10. #10
    umd
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    Quote Originally Posted by rallison View Post
    Yes, this too. umd, is Mountain still closed off to vehicular traffic near Gibraltar?
    No, it's all open

  11. #11
    Pepperoni Power ROJA's Avatar
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    Hey guys- thanks for the tips. Ended up doing two rides.

    First was great- we started in Solvang and rode up Alamo Pintado (great apples at the orchard bought from the interesting older guy who has owned it since like 1960). Stopped to grab a couple of sandwiches in Los Olivos and then went up the hill on Foxen Canyon and down to the Firestone winery. Had a great time tasting and enjoying the views. Jumped back on the bike and turned around to head back south on Foxen Canyon (climbed back up the hill and cruised down the other side). Returned to Solvang via Ballard Canyon- very pretty and almost no traffic. Hit another winery along Ballard for a nice stop to taste wine and eat our sandwiches. Pretty hot day, but a really nice trip. About 24 miles total.

    Second ride was supposed to be along the ridge on Camino Cielo from Painted Cave (drove to the top of Painted Cave) to Gibralter and back. Did the first climb (quite nice in my opinion and very scenic) and my companion was miserable with the heat and the climb and the bugs and so discretion warranted turning around and heading to the hot tubs instead. Thought the ridge would be more rolling, but after climbing 800 feet in 3 miles (a bit harder on a tandem, especially with an unhappy stoker), didn't think that continuing down the next descent (knowing that we'd have to climb back up on the return) was a smart idea. Would have loved to do more riding in the hills solo. Next time.

  12. #12
    umd
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    Glad you had a good time

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