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  1. #1
    Bike touring webrarian
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    A detailed guide for bicycling from San Francisco to Los Angeles

    I live in San Francisco and have family in Los Angeles. I ridden from SF to LA half a dozen times and I wanted to write a detailed guide for others who might be considering this ride.

    You can read the guide here.

    I'd be interested in any comments or suggestions for improving it.

    Be warned that it is long.
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  2. #2
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Have done a pre internet trip via Hostels and Camping .. it was circa 85 I think .

    but it doesn't count.. no online pictures (Just film, 35mm)

  3. #3
    djb
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    thanks for taking the time to put it all down, will be of help to someone.

  4. #4
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    On an editing note, the info switches to a bold font around the Day 8 header and never returns to the "normal" font which makes everything more difficult to read. A few random notes, organized by day..

    Day 1
    In Pescadero, Duarte's Tavern serves good breakfast as well as decent burgers and sandwiches for lunch. Their soups and pies are well-known in the area. Norm's Market/Arcangeli Bakery in Pescadero makes decent sandwiches. Their artichoke garlic bread, however, is terrific especially if you can get a loaf straight from the oven! Their bruchettas are also very good. They have a nice picnic area around back.

    After stopping for lunch in Pescadero, I prefer using Cloverdale Rd. and Gazos Creek Rd. rather than riding along the coast, though you'll miss the Pigeon Point Lighthouse. The inland route is warmer and has much less traffic than you'll see on the coast, though both roads are popular with motorcyclists on the weekends.

    Costanoa Lodge near Pescadero offers an (expensive) lodging option between SF and Santa Cruz. I thought they used to allow camping, but don't see anything about it on their current website. You'll have to stay in their lodge, cabins, or tent cabins I guess. They claim to have a store and restaurant on-site.

    Day 2

    Swanton Rd. is another nice detour away from the coast if you're getting tired of traffic.

    I've eaten at several of the restaurants in Davenport and never been impressed; I try to avoid this town when possible. The Davenport Roadhouse offers lodging, but you're probably better off staying in Santa Cruz if possible.

    Day 8

    In the Santa Barbara area, I stopped at Goleta. Stayed in the Motel 6 on Calle Real. Just around the corner from Old Man Mountain! I was there in September 2009 and the place appeared to have been recently renovated. Price was reasonable. Walking distance to restaurants and shopping.

    Bicycling the Pacific Coast recommends camping at Gaviota State Beach, which looked pretty unappealing from what I could see. Refugio looked idyllic, though small.

  5. #5
    Bike touring webrarian
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    sstorkel,

    Mind if I add the above comments to the guide?

    Also, I fixed the missing HTML. Thanks for taking the time to note it.
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  6. #6
    Senior Member Doug64's Avatar
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    Nice work! Great job of describing the route, and the points of interest. It will be very useful for folks doing the Coast Route.


    "In theory, you can ride in either direction: south from San Francisco to Los Angeles or north from LA to SF. But, going north is a bad idea for 2 reasons. First, there is a prevailing southern wind on the Calilfornia coast. Going north would be riding all day into a strong headwind. Second, going south puts you on the ocean side of the road, which provides much better views. Start in San Francisco and go south."

    Typos are in bold. I believe it is primarily a north and west wind in the summer. A north wind blows in a southerly direction.

    For folks coming in by Amtrak to Oakland the ferry is the easiest way to get to SF.

    "Limekiln has showers but no hiker/biker fee discount, so is more expensive".
    They had a hiker/Biker area and rate when we stayed there a couple of years ago. We joked that it was a $10 room with a $1000 View.

    This is one of the biker sites. It was surprisingly quiet under the highway. It was one of our favorite camping spots on the Pacific Coast Route. There was a metal love seat on the bridge abutment overlooking the Pacific.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    Mind if I add the above comments to the guide?
    Please, do! That was my intent in providing them. FYI, you're also more then welcome to point to my Strava data from the credit card tour I did in 2009. You can find the links in this post. Might be useful to someone?

  8. #8
    Senior Member Brennan's Avatar
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    You're about eight months too late for me, but I'm sure a lot of people will find your guide useful. I've added a link to your guide at the end of my blog post about the tour. Maybe it will help push it up the google search results.

    http://roamblog.blogspot.com/2013/07...-sf-to-la.html

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
    ...
    For folks coming in by Amtrak to Oakland the ferry is the easiest way to get to SF...
    While not as pleasant or scenic as the ferry option, it is slightly easier to get off Amtrak at Richmond and take BART to The City. Once off Amtrak in Richmond, one need only take the stairs down to the BART station; it doesn't get much easier than that. Also, BART runs much more frequently than the ferries (and it now allows bikes at all hours). Unfortunately, I think the only Amtrak trains that go through Richmond that will allow one to take a bike off are the Capitols, so this isn't the best option for those who are coming in from far afield unless they are stopping over somewhere along the Capitols line.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    While not as pleasant or scenic as the ferry option, it is slightly easier to get off Amtrak at Richmond and take BART to The City. Once off Amtrak in Richmond, one need only take the stairs down to the BART station; it doesn't get much easier than that. Also, BART runs much more frequently than the ferries (and it now allows bikes at all hours). Unfortunately, I think the only Amtrak trains that go through Richmond that will allow one to take a bike off are the Capitols, so this isn't the best option for those who are coming in from far afield unless they are stopping over somewhere along the Capitols line.
    FWIW, it's also easy to transfer from Amtrak to CalTrain in San Jose. You can take CalTrain all the way to San Francisco. If you're looking to avoid the Devil's Slide section of Highway 1, there are several options for exiting CalTrain on the peninsula and riding over to the coast. My favorite is to start from the California Avenue station in Palo Alto. You can then follow the "Portola Valley Loop" ride out to Old LaHonda Road, climb up and over Skyline, then take Highway 84 downhill toward the coast. If you're not afraid of a bit more climbing, you can follow Pescadero Rd. from Highway 84 to the coast, stopping in the town of Pescadero for lunch.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    FWIW, it's also easy to transfer from Amtrak to CalTrain in San Jose. You can take CalTrain all the way to San Francisco. If you're looking to avoid the Devil's Slide section of Highway 1, there are several options for exiting CalTrain on the peninsula and riding over to the coast. My favorite is to start from the California Avenue station in Palo Alto. You can then follow the "Portola Valley Loop" ride out to Old LaHonda Road, climb up and over Skyline, then take Highway 84 downhill toward the coast. If you're not afraid of a bit more climbing, you can follow Pescadero Rd. from Highway 84 to the coast, stopping in the town of Pescadero for lunch.
    Maybe Devil's slide will be a desirable route now that the cars are being tunneled and the conversion to a bike path with ped. facilities is due to be completed in a couple months. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/D...272.php#page-1
    Quote Originally Posted by Link
    The coastal development permit that Caltrans received stipulated that the trail must be open to the public within a year of the opening of the tunnel, which means the county has until March 27 to finish the work.
    I still wonder how this trail conversion is going to avoid the regular winter damage that closed the road so often in the past. Perhaps the cause of the frequent road failures wasn't winter storms and falling boulders so much as the constant pounding of motor vehicles opening cracks in the surface that then allowed for drainage damage. I guess we'll know in a few years.

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    Though you recommend against the San Marcos Pass route through Santa Barbara County, the older roads built before Hwy 154 over the Pass still exist and are nearly traffic-free. This fellow took one of them: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p...id=278070&v=1R

    From N-S, Stagecoach Road leaves 154 shortly after the east end of Lake Cachuma and goes all the way to the summit of the pass. After about a mile of descending on 154 on a section with good shoulders, the Old San Marcos Pass road heads off to the right and descends steeply, with tight switchbacks, down to Goleta to rejoin the main PCH route.

    It should be possible to make it from Oceano to Lake Cachuma in a day, especially if the normal strong tailwinds make an appearance, and you follow the Santa Maria-Garey-Foxen Canyon route.

  13. #13
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    I live in San Francisco and have family in Los Angeles. I ridden from SF to LA half a dozen times and I wanted to write a detailed guide for others who might be considering this ride.

    You can read the guide here.

    I'd be interested in any comments or suggestions for improving it.

    Be warned that it is long.
    Nice raybo. I will keep reading but wanted to make comments as I read along.

    I would recommend the hostel at Fisherman's Wharf. Very clean quiet and safe. There is a lockup for your bicycle.

    Don't miss the turkey sandwiches at Arguello Super Market in San Francisco before you leave. Almost worth a trip just for one of their sandwiches.


    Reservations for Montara are not required but are highly recommended. This hostel books up EARLY like months ahead of time. Lockup for bicycles appears to be an old ammo bunker.

    The breakfast at Half Moon Bay Airport is HIGHLY recommended,
    Last edited by spinnaker; 01-19-14 at 05:48 PM.
    "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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