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  1. #1
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    Road Cycling in Santa Barbara

    I'm going to be visiting Santa Barbara (from Switzerland) for the month of April and was hoping to get some training in at that time. Does anyone have any suggestions for obtaining a decent road bike for that time? The only rental place I could find that had roadbikes (bikes-to-go) claims to be sold out, and the selection on craigs list (for something to try and sell again before I leave) also seems somewhat lacking. Any other places I should be looking at? I may just decide to bring my bike with me, but was hoping to avoid the hassle of taking it on the airlines.

    While I'm at it, does anyone have suggestions for routes or groups to ride with? I know, google and strava should be my friends here, so please forgive me for being lazy and asking the forum instead! Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Greetings and welcome in advance to SoCal.

    I'm afraid I can't help you with rentals; I'd suggest just shipping your own bike but perhaps others will have some advice for you.

    Lots of great riding in Santa Barbara/Ventura/San Luis Obispo Counties; and April is usually the best of the best IMHO.

    As for routes, check the local cycling clubs for a start..

    Santa Barbara County: http://www.goletabike.org/
    Ventura County: http://www.cibike.org/
    San Luis Obispo County: http://www.slobc.org/

    I hope you enjoy your time in Santa Barbara; I wish I could be more helpful.

    -Tom in SoCal

  3. #3
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    There is an extremely active cycling community in SB. If you don't get the help you need, feel free to contact me and I'll try to help out. The reason I am not more forthcoming with information right now is I imagine you are riding at a higher level than I, so I would have to do some research to get you the information you need.

  4. #4
    Slacker ZippyThePinhead's Avatar
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    I don't live in that area-- I'm more than 150 km from there-- but my advice would be to try contacting bicycle stores in that area.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Chaco's Avatar
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    Here's a nice ride I took last time I visited the area: http://app.strava.com/rides/1071882
    If you want to do a lot more climbing, expand the Strava map so you can see the street names in the hills, and look for Gibraltar. You can take that road up in the higher hills for miles and miles.

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    Thanks for all the suggestions! Definitely looks like there's a big community there. I'll be in contact with some of the bike shops about a rentals, and, if nothing else, heading up Gibraltar at some point!

    Let me know if anyone finds themselves near Zurich -- I'd be happy to take you out on a few rides.

  7. #7
    Senior Member andrace's Avatar
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    There are a some shops in town, but I'm not familiar with their rental policies, if of course they do rent bikes.

    I have no idea what it costs to travel with a bike internationally, but it's probably a lot cheaper than renting for a month.

    There are many group rides if you enjoy training with a group, and plenty of roads to explore and train solo.

    http://www.bicicorsa.com/rides/index.html

    Send me a private message with any questions, and if you want someone to show you around town.

  8. #8
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    Rentals, all sorts. Rides, only some of the best in the country. Ride up and down the coast. Ride over the gorgeous coastal range. With only some of the best views of valley and sea. Yes, the Gibraltar climb is challenging and packed with all types of scenery. Once, saw a guy riding a cruiser bike with a trailer, hauling ass down the switchbacks. People climbing rocks. Some hanging out on the mountain.

    Head on up to Solvang. For a short ride, you can ride the Amgen TT course. Eat some apleskeivers.

    Great riding community in Santa Barbara. Montecito has excellent restaurants. Man, it's going to be great.

    Good riding to you.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the responses! Really looking forward to the trip. I spent a bit of time in NorCal (great cycling), then moved to Switzerland and, while the cycling here is best described as incredible (especially for riding in the mountains), I'm looking forward to some coastal views again. Thanks everyone for all the route suggestions, they sound great. And definitely no shortage of clubs to try out! Hopefully I'll run into some of you over the next month.

    With regards to rentals, I found a handful of places. The prices are typically comparable to to cost of international transport ($400 on most airlines), but I've also got some couple-day stopovers on the way back with no opportunity for cycling that add a lot to both the price and (especially) the hassle. Renting definitely seems easier in this situation, even if it means leaving my much-loved bike neglected for a month. If anyone from the future stumbles across the thread with the same question, here are three places that I found for rentals:

    http://www.fastrackbicycles.com/
    http://www.sbfitnesstours.com
    http://sbbikestogo.com/

    Price/quality seemed similar at all places: ~$350/mo for a decent frame with 105 components. I just went for the place that had my size available.

    See you on the road!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Nachoman's Avatar
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    One of my favorite rides is Foothill to West Mountain Dr. to Gibraltar to El Camino Cielo to Painted Cave to N. San Marcos Rd. Have fun!
    .
    .

    Two wheels good. Four wheels bad.

  11. #11
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    You seem to have found what you're looking for but another option, particularly if you will be flying into Los Angeles, is to rent the bike in LA. Helen's does high quality rentals and they have a shop on Lincoln Blvd. in Venice and the main store in Santa Monica, both of which are on the way if you will be driving from LAX to Santa Barbara:

    http://helenscycles.com/articles/hel...ntals-pg97.htm

    Cheers!
    Last edited by KevinSCo; 03-20-12 at 02:19 PM. Reason: Add comment

  12. #12
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    Fyi -- Helen's appears to be quite a bit more expensive than the price you quoted!

  13. #13
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    You might also check Rincon Cycles in nearby Carpinteria. No idea what kind of bikes they rent or if they're adequate, but I stop by pretty often to pick up little things when I go out there to ride. No website: 805-684-9466

    Pleasant ride from Carpinteria to SB following the well marked "coast route" or for more challenge, follow the 192 through Montecito then Santa Barbara.

    This page has a few really basic bike route maps of southern SB County:
    http://www.trafficsolutions.info/bikemap-south.htm

  14. #14
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    Here are some thoughts from a Santa Barbarian...

    Insofar as bike rental is concerned forget it. It will be difficult to find a good rental at a reasonable price. You are better off bringing your own bike, especially if you are going to be here for a month.

    There are a number of riding options. Strava and Mapmyride are your friends. Isofar as group rides are concerned if you are a relatively serious rider the group rides are:

    Tue & Thur Junior Worlds - 8 am - Meet at the Dolphin Fountains at the junction of Cabrillo & State St. - A hilly 35 Mile loop to Carpinteria and back w. ~ 2k ft. of climbing. Brisk pace which turns into a race when we hit the hills. Roughly 20 riders, and many of us add extra miles (usually climbing Gibraltar). This ride does regroup, so if you get dropped, or drop us, you won't be on your own.

    Saturday Lake Ride - 8 am - Meet at the Dolphin Fountains at the junction of Cabrillo & State St.- A very hilly 65 mile loop out and around Lake Casitas and back along the ocean. Most of the racers in town do this and it is fast, especially when we hit the two climbs (~ 2 miles & 1 mile long @5%). It does regroup at the top of the second climb about 20 miles in.

    Sunday (Worlds) - 9:10 - Meet at the East Beach Bath House - Same as Tue & Thu but much faster, especially when the domestic pros are riding. Good news is most won't be here in April. This ride does regroup, so if you get dropped, or drop us, you won't be on your own.

    There are lots of great loops in SB besides the Carp & Lake Ride loops. Up Gibraltar, over Camino Cielo, and down Painted Cave/Old San Marcos, or in reverse, is ~ 37 miles w 5,500 ft. of climbing. Ocean and valley views each way.

    Beyond SB there are some nice rides in Solvang (Cat Canyon and Drum Canyon loop our of Los Olivos), or Mt. Figueroa (roughly a 1 1.5 hour climb depending on how strong a climber you are).

    PM me if you want more info but that should get you started. Dave Lettieri at Fastrack in Santa Barbara is a good source of local info as well. Hope that helps.

  15. #15
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    I live in Ohio but go out there every March for a couple of weeks to train and in fact, leaving tomorrow. I started with riding around SB and the climbs up Gibraltar and Painted Cave are fantastic. Good group rides too but after a couple of years I checked out Santa Ynez Valley/Solvang, which is 35 miles from SB over the mountains. Never go back to SB unless to ride the previously mentioned climbs. Roads around Solvang are quiet and other than a few small towns (Los Olivos, Los Alamos, etc..) all out in the country with lots of vineyards. Several professional cycling teams train in the area. The climbs up Figueroa (The Fig), each way are classic. Ride out to Jalama Beach is a good ride through wild California. Check out Harris Grade, Tepusquet Road, Cat Canyon, Drum Canyon (very rough) the ocean side of Refugio is a great climb up to the site of Reagans ranch adn then take a nice paved road up to a satallite display with views of the ocean on one side and the valley on the other...amazing and I'm jacked to be going again. You can rent a bike here too: http://www.winecountrycycling.com/html/bike_rental.html SB roads are busy so I base out of Solvang instead.

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