Mikado De Champlain, Decathlon Cobra 600, Orbea Enol
From San Francisco on Highway 1
My friend and I are going to San Francisco for a conference in december, and we were thinking about taking our bikes and cycle south on highway 1, for a week or two. Has anyone done that? How is the traffic? How far can we hope to get in 1 week? We were thinking about staying in hostels on the way, so we can take our road bikes with only the minimum luggage, and do 120-150 km per day (unless it's quite hilly). Is it easy to find accomodation?
In a week at 75 to 100 miles a day gets you to Santa Barbara or LA. It's pretty hilly going through the Big Sur area with several drops and climbs; it gets windy. The traffic in December should be bearable but it could be a rainy month. Look out for the Winnebagos. The cliffs on the ocean side are steep and precipitous. Overall a great ride!
I am a displaced Brit and have lived in the SF area for 30 years and would be willing to offer advice as necessary. As the previous writer says the Winter is our rainy season and may even get as bad as an English Summer! :-) The main concern is the days will be very short and the road is quite narrow although with an adequate shoulder for cyclists. The scenery is spectacular and the terrain not too bad. It is hilly but, because you are right on the coast you rarely climb more than a few hundred feet at any one time. There is a nice hostel at Pigeon Point, about 60 miles South of SF.
I don't know this for sure, but I don't think you're going to be able to find a hostel every night of your trip. I know of one between San Francisco and Santa Cruz that is in a lighthouse. You could probably stay there your first night (it's about fifty miles South of San Francisco, http://www.norcalhostels.org/pigeon/).
That ride is mostly flat with a couple hills. Some parts have no shoulder at all, but the worst of those areas is a downhill strech that is very curvy, so you'll easily keep up with traffic.
No hostels to guarantee for every nite use.Pidgeon Point REQUIRES reservations.One in Santa Cruz, one I believe in Santa Barbara. Campgrounds are fine to use. December is VERY iffy weatherwise and when its cold and rainy out there its pure misery
Use Kirkendalls, Biking the Pacific Coast Hiway best guide available and sometimes on Amazon.com, where I got mine
No much tourist traffic in December, I rode it last October and NOV.weather was PERFECT and lite traffic, 10 days SF to Malibu but I was in no hurry. Sunny warm days but COOL nites
Hostels are slim to none for most of the ride, at least when you'll really need them. However, the hike and bike system is in effect for most of the warmer months- $2-3 dollars a night for a primitive site, usually with showers, and about every 25-60 miles along the way. I did it, I lived, and I damn well enjoyed it, but not in December, when most of the campsites will be closed.