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  1. #1
    Vanned. worker4youth's Avatar
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    From Santa Barbara to Solvang

    Hi all,

    This december, I am planning on doing a 1 day tour from Los Angeles to Solvang. I've done LA to Ventura and Ventura to Santa Barbara before, but I have never done the Santa Barbara to Solvang. Are bikes allowed on the 101 on this stretch? What is the San Marcos Pass like? Is there a good shoulder I can use? Any help will be greatly appreciated.

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    Bikes are allowed on 101 north of Goleta (just north of SB) up until the HWY 1 turn off. I've been looking into a similar route and it looks like you have to go north to Lompoc and then east to solvang, I could be wrong aobut this though. You can also go over San Marcos path on HWY 154, but I don't reccomend doing this because HWY 154 is steep and has heavy traffice going 60mph and in most places extremely small to no shoulder. I have seen an ocassional cyclist on it though.....I guess it depends how good your nerves are.

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    cycling fanatic Ken Brown's Avatar
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    I have driven over San Marcos Pass and I agree that it would be scary on a bike.

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    I did SB to Lompoc, using the Kirkendall and Spring Pacific Coast route (as part of a longer tour). Hwy 101 is mostly OK, there is a tunnel, it is a little scary but not too bad - it's short. I would recommend an early start, it got pretty headwindy later in the day.

    By the way - how many miles is that?

    Cheers,
    Anna
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  5. #5
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    I was also tossing this idea of doing a very short tour into Solvang and the surrounding wineries, but first taking the Amtrak Surfliner from L.A. to Goleta. Anyone here ridden Refugio Rd, just west of Goleta, between Refugio State Beach up into Solvang?
    I have ridden southward from Lompoc to Santa Barbara on Hwy 1 & the 101 and it was pretty hairy coming across that bridge with just 12 inches of shoulder, just north of Gaviota State Beach.

    EDIT: I just found this on Refugio Road. Sounds like a fun route......now my level of interest for this tour just increased by 10 fold...

    http://www.epinions.com/trvl-review-...39B3B838-prod5
    Last edited by roadfix; 11-15-05 at 11:44 AM.
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  6. #6
    Vanned. worker4youth's Avatar
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    Thanks guys! I guess Lompoc is the only solution. That probably adds 20 miles? So total, it will be about 140 miles. Maybe if I ever do this a second time, on a cyclocross or mountain bike, I'll try Refugio road.

  7. #7
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    I wouldn't take 154/San Marcos Pass, no shoulder at all. My group of 4 got rear-ended by a station-wagon a while back. No serious injuries, but being on the inside of a blind corner with cars hugging the inside is scary.

    The route I suggest is the one on my commute (most scenic) starting from downtown S.B. at the beach (intersection of State St. & Cabrillo):

    - W. Cabrillo west from downtown S.B. towards City-College
    - it turns into Shoreline going up the hill past City-College
    - curves right and turns into Meigs drive.
    - at top of hill at traffic-light, take left on Cliff Drive
    - go about 2-miles, then down long straight hill, go straight at 3-way intersection at bottom
    - road becomes Las Gaviotas and goes past the Brown Pelican restaurant on the beach on the left.

    - climbs up hill towards Hope Ranch community (very scenic, lookout point on left at top of hill)
    - take left at top of hill on Marina Drive which takes you through Hope Ranch, quite a nice ride, I do loops through here for hill workouts and sprints
    - stay on this main road it winds through and becomes Robles Drive, Las Palmas Drive. Near the end, you'll see a lake and the La Cumbre Country Club's golf-course:



    About 100m after this, you'll exit through the main-entrance of Hope Ranch.

    - take left on Via Senda (if you hit La Cumbre road and go over freeway, you've gone too far, turn around)
    - take immediate left 30m later onto Modoc Road. Goes downhill about 3/4 mile, at bottom look for...
    - bike path on the left side. There's a crosswalk on the road that points to it and it's across from ... Encore drive I think..
    - bike path goes past some equestrian grounds and crosses Nogal Drive and dumps you onto Nueces Drive.
    - go to end and there's a small foot bridge that takes you over a creek onto Nueces drive on the other side into Goleta

    - Nueces comes to an end at 3-way intersection, left onto Arroyo Road, which ends in 100m
    - take foot bridge at end across and over and the bike-path continues.
    - follow this bike-path for another 3-4 miles all the way out to the S.B. airport
    - dumps you out at Goleta Beach, take left over bridge towards the beach
    - immediately after the bridge, take a 270-degree right turn back onto the bike-path
    - stay left and turn left at 3-way intersection on path within 100m (watch for downhillers)
    - go up hill towards UCSB

    - bike path ends at UCSB campus, take road directly ahead and go past Stephen Hawking's building, then bike-path resumes behind it in front of Engineering-II (you can tell engineers designed this building)
    - stay right on bike path and it takes you around the edge of UCSB campus without making you forcing you to deal with too much traffic.
    - it'll crosses Stadium road near the tennis courts and parallels El Colegio road
    - path ends in about 1-mile at the two dorm towers Francisco Torres
    - take right onto Storke Road
    - left on Hollister Ave at big shopping centre
    - take Hollister to the very end to the Sandpiper golf course (road on left in front of golf-course takes you to the Baccara Resort where Britney got married)

    - continue on Hollister towards right over 101 freeway, and left at frontage road Calle Real
    - Calle Real goes about 2-miles before you have to get on the highway, there's an entrance about 100m before it dead-ends
    - you only have to be on the highway for about 5-miles until you can get off at El Capitan State Beach.
    - go left under the highway down to the beach and find the bike-path on the edge of the campgrounds.
    - this bike-path will take you another 3-miles to Refugio Beach. Then you have two choices, route-A or B:

    A) At this point, you can get back on highway-101N and go about 15-miles until you reach Buelton, then right on 246 to Solvang (left on 246 takes you to Lompoc). There is a short tunnel at about halfway on this stretch, it's pretty short, about 50m and you can sprint through it when there's an opening in traffic if you don't want to be on the narrow shoulder through the tunnel. The tunnel curves left, so you should be OK on the outside right, but I usually sprint through. Or...

    B) you can take Refugio road straight up the mountain from Refugio beach and bypass the highway section. It's a long steep climb of about 3500ft. Does take you past Reagan's ranch (wave to the security cameras). At the top, stay left on Refugio Rd, and there's a packed dirt road that takes you down the back side to Solvang and dumps you out on 246 near the Santa Ynez airport. But don't take this dirt-road unless you have at least 27x1-1/4" or 700x32c touring tyres. Mild knobbies would be best. If you have the equipment and the time (takes about 1-hour longer than highway route), this is a much more scenic and enjoyable way.

    Have fun!
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 11-15-05 at 01:28 PM.

  8. #8
    40 yrs bike touring
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    Refugio Road is a great way to travel to Solvang from Santa Barbara if you are willing to do the 3000 ft plus climb and can handle the dirt/rock section from the top towards Solvang. Doable even when officially closed.

    Road info at:http://www.countyofsb.org/pwd/roads/closure.htm

  9. #9
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    B) you can take Refugio road straight up the mountain from Refugio beach and bypass the highway section. It's a long steep climb of about 3500ft. Does take you past Reagan's ranch (wave to the security cameras). At the top, stay left on Refugio Rd, and there's a packed dirt road that takes you down the back side to Solvang and dumps you out on 246 near the Santa Ynez airport. But don't take this dirt-road unless you have at least 27x1-1/4" or 700x32c touring tyres. Mild knobbies would be best. If you have the equipment and the time (takes about 1-hour longer than highway route), this is a much more scenic and enjoyable way.
    arctos and DannoXYZ, exactly the info I was looking for....Thanks!
    Last edited by roadfix; 11-15-05 at 01:30 PM.
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  10. #10
    40 yrs bike touring
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    Here is a bike ride with photos from Solvang to SB over Refugio Road.

    http://www.touringonbikes.us/solvang...ta_barbara.htm

  11. #11
    40 yrs bike touring
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    Correction: Not over Refugio Road!
    http://www.touringonbikes.us/solvang...ta_barbara.htm

  12. #12
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Yeah, that's Alisal Road which goes around the back side of the mountains. It still requires you to be on the highway for a major stretch. But much, much less climbing and more gradual of only about 800ft compared to the 2500ft of Refugio road.


  13. #13
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Is there a hiker/biker campsite in the Valley preferably near Solvang?
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    Yeah, that's Alisal Road which goes around the back side of the mountains. It still requires you to be on the highway for a major stretch. But much, much less climbing and more gradual of only about 800ft compared to the 2500ft of Refugio road.
    Are bicycles allowed on 101 between the hwy 1 turnoff and Alisal Road? What kind of condition is alisal road in?

    --Dan

  15. #15
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Here's a couple of campsite listings. Some are private so you will want to call ahead:

    http://www.hikercentral.com/metros/42060.html
    http://www.magicyellow.com/category/...olvang_CA.html

    I'm not sure about the official biking status of the section between Hwy-1/101 intersection and Alisal. I've always ridden up and down that stretch without any problems. Since Alisal and Old Coast Highway meets 101 at a right-angle intersection without an offramp, I suspect it's not a freeway, so it's fair game. You might want to contact the nearest CHP station to verify.

    If you're going TO Solvang, the gradual climbing is actually from where 101 turns inland from Gaviota Beach to go north. Really easy grade about 4-6%. Alisal hits 101 right at the top of the hill and there's a truck rest-area on the shoulder. It's pretty much all downhill on Alisal to Solvang.

    If you're LEAVING Solvang and taking Alisal to get out, it's going to be a gradual climb with a sharp increase in grade the last mile or so. Then it's a long downhill on the highway towards the ocean.

    Alisal's fully paved, but it's a dead-end road, so not many cars and not much maintenance. There's some cracks and potholes, but nothing that's difficult to navigate. This picture from the write-up is pretty representative of the narrowest, steepest section. It looks like the downhill section about 100-200m away from the 101 intersection.



    The upscale (very) Alisal Ranch right outside of Solvang is one of the places where JFK & Jackie honeymooned.
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 11-15-05 at 10:36 PM.

  16. #16
    Vanned. worker4youth's Avatar
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    Danno, thanks for the excellent info! You say there is no off ramp to Alisal road? How do you get on it from the 101?

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Hey, you're welcome! Alisal just meets 101 with a right-angle 3-way intersection at the very end of the truck rest-area right before the downhill on the back side. It's barricaded off to cars, I think there may even still be a stop-sign. Just ride around the barricade and that's it!

    Also if you're leaving Solvang using Alisal and going down the highway towards the ocean, you have to cross both sides of the highway. They might even have a center-divider now. So about 2-miles from the end of Alisal, you can turn right onto Old Coast Highway which has a usable 4-way intersection with 101. But you still have to cross both sides of the highway to get across. Then the 800-ft climb to the top in about 3-miles. On the downhill, be careful of the wind. It gets going really fast. So pack all your gear in the rear bags and roll up the front ones if you can. The bike can get out of control if the wind hits you just right at 40mph.
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 11-15-05 at 11:31 PM.

  18. #18
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    Yeah, that's Alisal Road which goes around the back side of the mountains. It still requires you to be on the highway for a major stretch. But much, much less climbing and more gradual of only about 800ft compared to the 2500ft of Refugio road.
    Hey, thanks for that map! That gives me a nice option of a loop from Goleta, going up 101 and onto Alisal, into Solvang, camping overnight somewhere, exploring the surroundings the next day, down Refugio Road, and camp at Refugio SB before hopping back on the Amtrak back to L.A. the following afternoon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fixer
    Hey, thanks for that map! That gives me a nice option of a loop from Goleta, going up 101 and onto Alisal, into Solvang, camping overnight somewhere, exploring the surroundings the next day, down Refugio Road, and camp at Refugio SB before hopping back on the Amtrak back to L.A. the following morning.
    Watch out, I didn't find Amtrak to be very "hoppable" - you have to box the bike and make sure the beginning/end stations allow luggage on/off.

    cheers,
    anna
    ...

  20. #20
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl
    Watch out, I didn't find Amtrak to be very "hoppable" - you have to box the bike and make sure the beginning/end stations allow luggage on/off.

    cheers,
    anna
    Thanks. But actually on the Amtrak Surfliner, running between San Luis Obispo and San Diego, bikes are allowed to be 'rolled' in, unboxed, in the same passenger car. I rode one up with my bike from L.A. to Pismo Beach in central CA a couple months back, and only $26.
    Believe me, if I had to box my bike, this very short trip wouldn't be worth the trouble.....I'd rather find the extra two to three days to simply ride my bike from L.A. and back....
    Last edited by roadfix; 11-16-05 at 11:02 AM.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fixer
    Hey, thanks for that map! That gives me a nice option of a loop from Goleta, going up 101 and onto Alisal, into Solvang, camping overnight somewhere, exploring the surroundings the next day, down Refugio Road, and camp at Refugio SB before hopping back on the Amtrak back to L.A. the following afternoon.
    I don't think you want to take Refugio out of Solvang because that'll be uphill on the dirt section; the steepest part of the whole loop. You also end up going 101-north fighting a headwind the entire time and you have to go uphill from the beach to Alisal.

    I'd suggest camping at Refugio beach first, then take Refugio over into Solvang. Check out the sites there and camp. Then take Alisal out to 101. Remember that Alisal hits Old Coast Highway before 101, so you want to go left at that 3-way intersection. This route direction makes the entire 101 section downhill with a tailwind.
    Last edited by DannoXYZ; 11-16-05 at 09:55 PM.

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    Senior Member thomson's Avatar
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    Danno and others did a superb job with the explanations and maps. I would just like to add that it is legal to ride bicycles north to Avenue of the Flags/Santa Rosa (the offramp says one or the other, I canít remember, in any case there will be a sign indicating that bicycles must exit). Once you exit, go left over the bridge and turn right (north) at the T. About a mile is Highway 246, turn right and go about 3 or 4 miles into Solvang.

    There is a full service campground at Avenue of the Flags and 246. It is a bit on the pricy side at $23 for a weekend night. But it is quite comfy. I do prefer camping at Refugio ($5 a night) but that leaves you a bit away from Solvang.

    Some mentioned the tunnel. I ride through it but I know a lot of people that walk their bike on the narrow sidewalk.

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    Does anybody have any suggestions for other 2-3 day tours starting out of Santa Barbara?

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    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    You can go south. First stop would be Port Hueneme. Then go inland up to Ojai the next day. Then on the 3rd day, take the backroads 150->192 to come back to S.B. About 60-miles a day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Fixer
    But actually on the Amtrak Surfliner, running between San Luis Obispo and San Diego, bikes are allowed to be 'rolled' in, unboxed, in the same passenger car. I rode one up with my bike from L.A. to Pismo Beach in central CA a couple months back, and only $26.
    Wow, THAT is the best news I heard all day.. I think I'm about to ride my bike from SF to LA, and if I run out of time (gotta make it to LAX to catch a flight) I will hop on the train. SUPER!

    Anna
    ...

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