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  1. #1
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    Planning my first tour. Question about the CA coast from SF to Santa Cruz

    I'm thinking about making my first trip taking 3 days starting at my house in Sac. working my way to Vallejo and catching the ferry over to the City then up around to the GG bridge then down the coast to New Brighton to meet up with the family and friends for our annual camping trip. It looks like some sections of Hwy 1 from SF to Halfmoon bay are a little tight with no shoulder and not so bike friendly. Anyone with experience with this? The other route Google bike tool puts me on is all city. I get enough of that on my commute.

  2. #2
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    There's a section called "The Devil's Slide" that is notorious for being narrow, hilly and having a lot of traffic. I did it a few years ago, on a weekday morning, it was under construction and while slightly hair raising, didn't last long. I think it was a lot less than half an hour. Other than that, I can't recall anything too bad.

    If you really want to avoid it, you can head down the peninsula on the Bay side, and ride over the mountains further south, Old La Honda Rd (out of Woodside) is a good crossing (Hwy 92 is not). But you do add a pretty significant climb that way, and it's more urban, though there are nice ways to get through it, but it's been too long for me to give you good directions.

    Hopefully someone with more recent experience will chime in here - I heard some rumors about it being better now, but don't know for sure.

    You could also call a bike shop in the area - The Bicycle Outfitter in Los Altos is touring oriented and somewhat nearby, or any bike shop in SF should know.

    I highly un-recommend using Google Maps - buy a Krebs map http://www.krebscycleproducts.com/T2.html and although they do show Hwy 17 between Los Gatos and Santa Cruz as legal, it is death, so don't be tempted to use it.
    ...

  3. #3
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    ride in a straight line and wear a visibility vest it's fine. You'd be amongst 1000's who do it every year.

  4. #4
    Banned. Bekologist's Avatar
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    An alternate route south out of SF that avoids DEvils' Slide is the 'old highway 1 route' between pacifica and montara.

    it was written up in a SF bike guide book as 'the planet of the apes road'. Pacificaslim from BF led me on it this summer, its a great ride. I can give you basic directions if needed, but suspect googling 'planet of the apes bike ride' might get a hit.


    here's a link to the planet of the apes route sheet from "short bike rides in and around SF" a great book BTW......

    google books view planet of the apes ride
    Last edited by Bekologist; 11-09-10 at 07:03 AM.

  5. #5
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    Thanks.
    I really want to stick to the coast. Sounds like the tight section is short lived so I'm going to give it a go.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayr View Post
    Thanks.
    I really want to stick to the coast. Sounds like the tight section is short lived so I'm going to give it a go.
    Outside of Big Sur, you're not going to miss much if you have to detour away from the coast for a few miles... My guess is that Bekologist's route ends up being a much more pleasant ride!

  7. #7
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    I've ridden the route you propose, except the Devil's Slide section, several times. I live in SF and used to live in Santa Cruz. I've also ridden from SF to Sacramento a couple times.

    The only unsafe section of the ride will be from Pacifica to Montera. I've never ridden it as it is shoulderless, uphill, heavy traffic, and straight down if you make a mistake. The dangerous part isn't very long but since I live here, I have my wife drive me past it before I start. While I doubt anyone will actually do this, I'd recommend a bus or taxi for the few miles that are dangerous (south end of Pacifica to north end of Montara).

    Be sure to note the times of the Vallejo ferry. There are hills just north of Vallejo and getting to the ferry on time can be a challenge.

    Once past Devil's Slide, the ride has acceptable shoulder the entire way. Here is a journal entry that describes the Montara to Aptos (just south of New Brighton Beach) ride I did.

    Ray
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  8. #8
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I rode it in 1992. I remember being scared from people's warnings about The Devil's Slide, and then feeling as I was on it that it wasn't a big deal. I rode from Seattle to Santa Cruz. Most of the route felt very safe, with nice shoulders. There were several sections where the route went off the highway. Those roads were narrower with no bike lane, but very lightly travelled. There were sections along the entire route which felt less safe - no shoulder, busy traffic. You just have to deal with them and be prepared to bail to the side of the road anytime you don't like what's about to happen.

    On that ride, the worst section was in the redwoods of northern California. There were sections with no shoulder, giant trees abutting the road (no place to bail) and consruction making the riding slow and bumpy - usually on uphill sections where I was going slowly anyway.

  9. #9
    Member dstke's Avatar
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    Here's an alternate route to Santa Cruz

    My wife and I use this route, much more enjoyable and less traffic. Only tricky part is a quarter mile section on 280 but it's open to bikes and there's a good shoulder.

    http://www.mapmyride.com/ride/united...o/595558998238

  10. #10
    Senior Member curbtender's Avatar
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    If you want to get some more riding in, the Carquinez/Zampa bridge has a path and there is a bus that can get you across the San Rafael bridge.
    http://goldengatetransit.org/schedul...-Schedules.php Route 42.

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