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  1. #1
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    planning first time ride from SF to santa barbara, need info, recommendations

    hi all, me and a few buddies are planning a ride in the late spring from SF to santa barbara, and i am looking for some tips, info, and opinions for our trip. things id like to know in particular include:

    past experiences from other forum members who have made the ride, or a similar ride

    what were some of the common mechanical breakdowns other than flats that we experienced

    how long did it take to make the trip?

    we are looking for hotels/motels that have laundermats. any suggestions for good places to stay?

    any other thoughts and info would be really appreciated.

    i ride regularly, but mostly mtb, and i commute on a single speed. i average about 60-100 miles per week depending on how much mountainbiking i am able to get in. ive done 30 mile rides through the sierra mountains on my mtb, and regularly will do 20 mile rides on my singlespeed through the bay area. im in pretty good shape, but how much training should i do to prepare myself for this type of ride?

  2. #2
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    First off please use capital letters at the beginning og your sentences. It makes longer posts a lot easier to read.

    You might want to pick up a copy of Bicycling The Pacific Coast


    The hostel at Fishermans Wharf is an excellent place to start your tour.

    The hostel at Montara is very nice. The room I got was easily a $200+ view if it were a hotel room. I think we paid $90 for 2 people.


    Considering joining Warmshowers. There are a few host along the way. But none in Big Sur last I checked. Big Sur is going to be EXPENSIVE if you get a hotel. Detjeens is fairly reasonable. Kind of rustic but I enjoyed it.


    Breakdowns are going to be up to you and your bike. Be aware that once in the Big Sur area there us not much there so learn to take care of the basics.


    How long it takes is going to be up to you but a week to ten days is probably a fairly comfortable pace. The coast is hilly, very hilly. The hills are not all that long but they are steep. So practice your hills. If you have not done any tours at all, you should probably get in a weekend tour near you home to iron out the bugs.

    People ride this route on a single speed but I would not recommend it unless you are used to riding hills all day long with one gear.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  3. #3
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    You can get a good idea of what to expect by reading some of the journals here:

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/c...octype=journal

    There's a pretty good hostel in San Luis Obispo, too.

    http://www.hiusa.org/sanluisobispo/

    Others along the route include Cambria, Montara, Pescadero, Santa Cruz, and Monterey.

    http://www.hiusa.org//california/

    Many tourists just take a lunch break at a laundromat and do their laundry as necessary if the weather is poor, but it's possible to get by just by hand washing your stuff in sinks and letting it air dry overnight or on the bike as necessary. In warm, dry conditions, I often just put the wet clothes on and let them dry as I ride. Synthetics are the best for this. Most people take way too many clothes and gear on a first-time tour, you can get by with two pairs of riding shorts (even one if it's warm weather) and a change of off-bike clothing.

    Many of the private campgrounds along the way also have cabins, though they may be more expensive than a hotel stay.

  4. #4
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    I would avoid the hostel in Santa Barbara unless you can get a private room. I did not feel comfortable in the dorm. Left and got pretty much last room in town due to move in day at college. We paid nearly $200 for the room but it was money well spent in comparison IMHO.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  5. #5
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Another thought on hostels, they book up early so make your reservations early. I tried to get a private room in Monterey and they were already booked up over 6 months out.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by LONO100 View Post
    what were some of the common mechanical breakdowns other than flats that we experienced
    I broke a chain on the first day of my ride down the coast to L.A., but I'd say that's fairly uncommon.

    how long did it take to make the trip?
    Five days of pedaling from my house in Mountain View to Santa Barbara. I stopped in Santa Cruz, Big Sur, San Simeon, Pismo Beach, and Goleta/Santa Barbara.

    we are looking for hotels/motels that have laundermats. any suggestions for good places to stay?
    For a five day trip, you don't really need a laundromat. You can easily wash cycling shorts, socks, and polypro underwear in the sink when you get to your daily destination then leave them to hang dry in the bathroom. Have a second set to wear the following day, just in case the stuff you washed isn't completely dry.

    BTW, don't bother staying in San Simeon unless you plan to visit Hearst Castle. Cambria is only a few miles further down the road and much nicer. If you do go to Hearst Castle, the night tour is very cool but you'll end up riding home in fog that's thicker than pea soup. I literally had a difficult time finding my way out of the parking lot... and I had GPS!

    how much training should i do to prepare myself for this type of ride?
    Here's what my ride looked like, with links to the data from my Garmin Edge 705:

    Day 1: Home to Santa Cruz, 67 miles, 4400ft of climbing
    Day 2: Santa Cruz to Big Sur, 74 miles, 4500ft
    Day 3: Big Sur to San Simeon, 68 miles, 5200ft
    Day 4: Rest day @ Hearst Castle, 8 miles, 260 ft
    Day 5: San Simeon to Pismo Beach, 56 miles, 2000ft
    Day 6: Pismo Beach to Goleta, 90 miles, 4200ft

    I spent 6-8 weeks training for the ride. Mostly just riding around with all of the stuff I intended to carry on tour. I was riding 100-150 miles/week and made sure I could do back-to-back days of around 50-60 miles (@ 14-15mph) with 3000ft of climbing. The third day was tough due to the amount of climbing and the fifth day was tough due to unseasonably high (90+ degree) temperatures.

    BTW, for those interested:

    Day 7: Goleta to Oxnard, 53 miles, 1200ft
    Day 8: Oxnard to Los Angeles, 60 miles, 1700ft
    Day 9: To Union Station, 1.2 miles, 59ft + 22mph uphill sprint to avoid getting hit by a bus!

  7. #7
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    wow, thanks for all the great info everyone, much appreciated.

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