We've signed up for "Classic California Coast" ride organized by Heartcycle in October.
What can any California folks tell us about this itinerary?:
"From the tour start in San Luis Obispo, we will head west to Morro Bay where we will take a brief look at the Pacific Ocean before heading inland to our first night at Paso Robles. From Paso Robles, we will follow quiet inland valleys and oak woodlands to the Salinas Valley farming town of King City, deep in the heart of the "Salad Bowl of the World." The next day's ride will start off with an intimate tour of the lettuce fields before turning into the heart of the coastal ranges. We'll finish the day with a long downhill run through Carmel Valley before turning north to our lodgings in the Fisherman's Wharf area of Monterey.
Following a day of activities in Monterey (the wharf, aquarium, kayaking, and 17-Mile drive are all temptations), we embark on the highlight of the tour - the rugged Big Sur coastline. At 85 miles, this is our longest day (with quite a bit of climbing), but the scenery, the sea otters, and the prevailing tailwinds will all make this day seem too short. After a night in our lodgings perched on the cliffs at Ragged Point, an easy ride past basking elephant seals will bring us to a tour of Hearst Castle then on to Morro Bay, where we will spend our second rest/play day. A picnic lunch at Montana de Oro and a 30 mile hop bring us back to San Luis Obispo on the last day."
I am very familiar with this area as I live at Morro Bay. As you leave Morro Bay to go to Paso Robles there are three general options to get there. One is Hwy 41 from Morro Bay---bad---no shoulders and fast traffic. The second is to ride North on Hwy 1 to Hwy 46 and then go East---okay---good shoulders, great views... kind of a long slog. The preferred way is to go north from Morro Bay on Hwy 1 about 3 miles to OLD CREEK ROAD in Cayucos and go East... this is a country road winding up a valley to a very steep 1.5 mile hill that then connects you to Hwy 46 near it's summit---very pretty and generally very few cars! Where it hits 46 you then go East to Paso Robles. Another option to get into Paso Robles would be to continue East on 46 to Vineyard Road, go north on Vineyard to Peachy Canyon and then East on Peach Cyn (hills) into Paso-- very rural lovely road---- You might want to ask your leader about these options.
riding to King City---Not one of my favorite rides---can be windy---is fairly flat and dry--- King City to around Gonzales---lettuce---lettuce---lettuce...
Gonzales area to Monterey---great ride...hilly--- few cars and lots of scenery
Monterey to Ragged Point--- a long, long day but probably the most spectacular bike ride in Calif if not the US... hilly in places, extremely scenic--- carry food or have sag--- bring your camera--- most of this road has no shoulder and there are lots of tourists---motorhomes etc... generally they are polite---
Ragged Point to Morro Bay---easy day---flatish--- try stopping in Cambria at the French Corner Bakery for pastries and coffee if you are there in the morning---
Well, we have no say in the route. The ride leaders are supposed to be experienced local cyclists so, hopefully, they will pick fairly safe routes. This is not a tandem specific ride and we have not yet been working on climbing so I hope by then, we will be up to it.
I noticed your tour leaders have a 408 and 970 area code in their phone numbers on the heartcycle site. 408 is san francisco and 970 is colorado I believe. You might want to forward the maplink to them and ask what route they had in mind. Plenty of people would ride Hwy 46 all the way to Paso but I can gaurantee you that the Old Creek and/or Peachy Canyon sections are much more beautiful, rural and lightly traveled. It might be an option they could offer. Old Creek does contain one major hill... My wife and I ride it on our tandem in a granny gear without getting out of the saddle... Peachy Canyon has two or so significant hills...not as steep as old creek but they go on a ways... Wonderful fast downhills on Peachy Canyon
Also - Pat -we have yet to make our lodging reservations at the start & end of the ride. We have never been to SLO - where the ride starts & ends. Though locals seldom know about local lodging, do you know of reasonable lodging in the area? We will be flying into / out of SLO.
A few years ago I took some business trips to SLO.
Stayed one night at the Garden Street Inn, just south of downtown -- nice place. Not so sure how they'd do with a tandem as a guest, however. Stayed another night at a chain motel west-northwest of town when my flight home was cancelled -- ok, but no ambiance. Downtown SLO is a very busy place. Be sure to eat at least one meal at Mo's if you like ribs!
Are you flying directly to SLO? Delta?? The glorified puddle-jumpers which United used would not be able to take a full-size tandem; and it would be a push to get a take-apart tandem case into one of them, also. You might want to confirm ahead of time that they can handle a package of the dimensions you need. (And, if a number of other cyclists are also flying in, it could overwhelm the aircraft capacity ...)
I saw a LOT of cyclists on the streets and roads -- perhaps you could ship your bike to a shop for them to set up.
We have a take apart bike that we can send in a 26" x 26" x 10" case + a standard size hard side suitcase. When we have travelled in the past, we have not incurred any oversize / overweight charges. However, these things change daily & it's likely we'll have to re-learn the new rules.
There are rules, and then there are the planes where on one side of the aisle, the seats are both window and aisle seats (i.e. just one), and only two seats on the other side -- with a dinky cargo hold in the back, and carry-on volume limited to about the size of a bike helmet.
Good idea to check sizes, all the way to your destination, with the airline.
The route you describe sounds like a mix and match of the SLO 600 Kilometer Brevet. Wonderful route - some of the best cycling on the planet. Having said that remember that the wind in the Salinas Valley going north can be brutal.
Pat in SLO has got it right.
Anyone going to the Great Western Bike Ralley in Paso Robles? We will be there with two tandems and two kid stokers.
I'd check with the airlines but we have a co motion coupled tandem and have flown it in and out of San Luis obispo a number of times...no problem. I have also flown my single in a bike case in and out in the big hard case and no problem...so I think the tandem should get here fine in the standard suitcase size cases.
Lodging... let me give it some thought... Garden Street in is nice...they may have a website (downtown Bed and Breakfast) There are several larger standard motel type operations. There is a taxi operation with station wagon...I'm not sure if the motels would pick you up... let me check around for you. Do you know where you need to be at the start of the trip and whether the tour has a place for you to store your cases?
Food...Mo's is good for barbeque... Novo is nice for California New age fusion, McClintocks if you want a Bar that serves Steak and Hamburgers etc, Giuseppe's or Cafe Roma or Buona Tavola are all near downtown and are all nice, expensive Italian restraunts...
othere things to do...depending on whether and when you have free time....Farmers Market on Thursday night downtown, Theatre/Music may be on at the Performing Arts Center (at Cal Poly--check the web if interested) Movie Theatres downtown, Art Movie Theater is The Palm also downtown--- lots of shopping etc... Great State Park at Montana de Oro on the south side of Morro Bay... about fifteen miles from San Luis Obispo...
Just one more thought... anyone needing a Bike shop has three main options...
Wally's Bicycle Shop
CBO (Cambria Bike Outfitters or something like that)
All in the downtown area and all good. Wally is my personal favorite and knows tandems...if you want him to set it up in advance I'm sure you could work something out with him...altho if you are like me you probably put your tandem together by yourself...