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  1. #1
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    Riding From SLO to LA

    I reposted this from the Southern California region section:

    Hello, this is my first post on this forum, so I apologize if this is the wrong section.

    Anyways, I am planning a ride from San Luis Obispo to Long Beach for this Wednesday, and could use some route advise. This will my first ride of this length (I have never done over about 65 miles before), so we will try and take it slow (3 or 4 days)... Well here is the route I have so far:

    http://www.google.com/maps?saddr=483...&z=13&lci=bike

    The sections I am concerned about right now is the stretch between Santa Maria and Santa Barbara: should I take the Lompoc route or follow the 101?
    Also, the section between Carpenteria and Ventura: should I take Hwy 1 or the Lake Casitas route?

    I am mainly looking for the quickest, but also safe route.

    Any help is super appreciated!!

  2. #2
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    i used the adventure cycling pacific coast route and found it very useful. your route is a subset of that route.

    if i remember correctly, from SLO i went through lompoc over a road that was called "seven mile grade" and had little traffic. i think the name of the road might have been changed since 1994. then out to 101 and through santa barbara. all in all i felt the route was very safe. and enjoyable.

  3. #3
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    I've done the Orcutt - Lompoc route two ways - northbound on the 1 (IIRC, it was a long time ago), southbound on the back road, which is Harris Grade Rd. Harris Grade is very hilly, scenic and traffic free. I preferred this. But if you want to reduce (not avoid, though) the hills, you can on the Cabrillo Hwy (Hwy 1). Hwy 101 is a freeway, I would avoid that.

    For Carpinteria to Ventura, both ways are good, it's just a choice of coast (flat) or mountain. Coast is flat and pretty dull around there, inland is a lovely climb & descent. Santa Barbara is ridiculously bike friendly, any bike shop in town should be able to get you a local bike route map (free probably) or I bet they have one on line. There's a ton of fun riding around there if you have time for detours.

    This guy posted the Adventure Cycling maps on his site, click the gmap link after "Pacific Coast" and zoom in to the parts you are interested in.
    http://tsteven4.qwestoffice.net/
    ...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by pnob32 View Post
    The sections I am concerned about right now is the stretch between Santa Maria and Santa Barbara: should I take the Lompoc route or follow the 101?
    Also, the section between Carpenteria and Ventura: should I take Hwy 1 or the Lake Casitas route?

    I am mainly looking for the quickest, but also safe route.
    I've done the SLO to Santa Barbara section both ways. I felt that they were both safe and the route that jumped on and off of 101 was definitely quicker. Going via Lompoc there was a significant climb before the Vandenburg entrance and then a longer climb shortly after leaving Lompoc. Going along the 101 route was much flatter and therefore faster. The sections that were on 101 had adequate shoulder widths so I always felt safe - but it can be a bit noisy with all the traffic. OTOH, the Vandenburg - Lompoc - Gaviota route had little traffic which made for more pleasant riding.

    Beyond that point I've only taken the coastal route so can't give a comparison.

  5. #5
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    I've ridden the route through Lompoc and onto Santa Barbara via Highway 1 and then 101 several times.

    I prefer Harris Grade Road into Lompoc and, as you will see from all the writing on the road, so does everyone else. The miles from Lompoc to 101, what hueyhoolihan called the "seven mile grade" is one of my favorite rides south of SLO. It is a steady but mostly mild uphill on a wide shoulder through ranching country criss-crossed with creeks. The 2 mile straight down to 101 is a rush on a loaded touring bike!

    I'd stay off 101 for as long as possible. It is a freeway with lots of cars and trucks and isn't pleasant to ride on.

    The part of 101 that you do have to ride on, through the Gaviota Pass and then down to the Hollister Rd exit is neither fun nor pleasant.


    Be aware that there is a bike/walking path that connects Gaviota and Refugio Beaches, though it is often closed for (no) repair. To get on it, you exit just past the rest stop in Gaviota Pass toward the State Park. It will get you off 101 for a couple miles.

    The road from Carpinteria to Ventura, along 101, is not something for the faint of heart. For some of it, you are riding on local or frontage roads. But, for about several miles, you have to ride on 101 itself and the bike lane is right next to traffic. It is harrowing bike riding and I have only ridden it once. The first time I rode down to LA. Ever since, I have gotten friends who live in Santa Barbara to drive me down to Ventura and started riding from there. I don't know what the route that bypasses 101 is like, but I'd take it to avoid the part on 101.

    If you are interested, this journal page describes the ride from Lompoc to Santa Barbara.

    It is a great ride. Have a good time.

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

  6. #6
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    Pnob32,
    First, I would take the Lompoc route as well as the 101 between Carpenteria and Ventura, both are pretty safe and they are definitely the quickest. Yes you have to ride on the highway for a few miles, no big deal, there is a wide shoulder and not much debris.

    And now a word about food:
    I would pick some up in Lompoc even if you have a 7 mile hill ahead of you, there is nothing to eat between Lompoc and Gaviota. Same thing once you get past Carpinteria, there is not much till you get to Ventura. Pick some food up before leaving Oxnard (around Channel Island Harbor) because there is not much till you get to Malibu, once you cross over Trancas Rd. you'll see a market on the left.
    A special note. There is a small restaurant/market called Neptunes Net right at County Line Beach (across the road). It is about 1 mile north of Leo Carrillo Beach. Grab something to eat there and watch the surfers.
    Last edited by Grumpybear; 12-12-11 at 07:03 PM.

  7. #7
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    I can recommend the Sycamore Canyon campground about 5 miles south of Pt. Magu, north of Malibu as a nice place to spend the night. There aren't any stores around there, so you have to bring food but there are showers and a hiker/biker site. Though, you have to check and see if it is still open given California budget problems.

    View from my tent at Sycamore Canyon:



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

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    This guy posted the Adventure Cycling maps on his site, click the gmap link after "Pacific Coast" and zoom in to the parts you are interested in.
    http://tsteven4.qwestoffice.net/
    Thanks for this website! Really cool thing he's done with the Google map...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grumpybear View Post
    Pnob32,
    A special note. There is a small restaurant/market called Neptunes Net right at County Line Beach (across the road). It is about 1 mile north of Leo Carrillo Beach. Grab something to eat there and watch the surfers.
    Haha that is a really decent place to eat... Always used to go there after surfing County Line or Topanga

  10. #10
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    Woo! Made it to Long Beach (mostly) safely last night!! Thanks for all the help, it was an amazing ride and an epic trip. Also got really lucky and missed some bad weather...

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