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Santa Monica to Malibu Canyons on PCH Question

Old 09-24-23, 10:32 AM
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Santa Monica to Malibu Canyons on PCH Question

We will be in Santa Monica in early October. In the past, I have gone to explore the canyons north of Malibu by riding the PCH from Santa Monica. I have found this route to be a bit scary despite my Varia Radar and rearview mirror, but as one of my friends from around here describes it, a "necessary evil."

Ideally, I would love to find a back-road way to get from Santa Monica to Malibu but I don't think that exists, does it?

Next idea is to leave Santa Monica super early/daybreak to get on the PCH (and off it!) before traffic becomes bad.

If all else fails and it's too dangerous, I can always pay Uber to drive me with my bike, but that seems kinda silly.

Advice??
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Old 09-24-23, 10:52 AM
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I think they improved the shoulder on PCH in many stretches.
Less morning traffic heading northwest at 9AM, with most dying-out by the time you turnaround at, say, Point Magu.
Otherwise, bypassing PCH means bigtime climbing up Topanga, Malibu, Rock, Las Flores, etc.
And getting buzzed by motorists eager to reach the 101 freeway, in the process.
My advice involves double rear blinkies and bright jerseys, while staying keenly aware of traffic behind you.
"Take the lane" well ahead of time by anticipating where it might narrow or where surfers park on the north side.
Same strategy returning to Santa Monica, when the surfers return to their automobiles. lol
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Old 09-24-23, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by roadcrankr
I think they improved the shoulder on PCH in many stretches.
Less morning traffic heading northwest at 9AM, with most dying-out by the time you turnaround at, say, Point Magu.
Otherwise, bypassing PCH means bigtime climbing up Topanga, Malibu, Rock, Las Flores, etc.
If you can get to Topanga you're passed the worst of it. I hate all of it but the narrow section between about Sunset and Santa Monica is the worst.
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Old 09-24-23, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by big john
If you can get to Topanga you're passed the worst of it. I hate all of it but the narrow section between about Sunset and Santa Monica is the worst.
So going up Temescal to Sunset and back down to PCH might make sense?
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Old 09-24-23, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas
So going up Temescal to Sunset and back down to PCH might make sense?
Avoid Sunset at all costs.
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Old 09-24-23, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by big john
Avoid Sunset at all costs.
Roger. Wilco.
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Old 09-25-23, 05:28 PM
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There is no way around it. The issue northbound is the poor condition of the shoulder and the issue southbound are the parked cars. If it is not a beach day (nice weekend), you should be fine heading south.
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Old 09-25-23, 06:45 PM
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There is a bit of a scary narrow construction section right now between Point Magu and Malibu where the vehicular travel lane and the bike lane merge and travel between concrete jersey barriers in both directions - 25mph speed limit. There are a couple of sections past that where you have to walk your bike on the pedestrian path because there is absolutely no shoulder.

I was out there last weekend, and rode from Camarillo to a bit past Point Magu, but that construction bit was enough to turn me around and send me back to the hotel. Got to say I rode on the PCH, though!
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Old 09-25-23, 07:56 PM
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I last rode PCH 40+ years when I was at UCLA. Everything stated here sounds about the same as then. As Mr. Natural would have said, t'was ever thus.
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Old 09-26-23, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by David_Harris
There is a bit of a scary narrow construction section right now between Point Magu and Malibu where the vehicular travel lane and the bike lane merge and travel between concrete jersey barriers in both directions - 25mph speed limit. There are a couple of sections past that where you have to walk your bike on the pedestrian path because there is absolutely no shoulder.

I was out there last weekend, and rode from Camarillo to a bit past Point Magu, but that construction bit was enough to turn me around and send me back to the hotel. Got to say I rode on the PCH, though!
Ugh does not sound great. Thanks for the info.

I am really only concerned about the PCH from Santa Monica (Will Rogers State Beach) to Topanga or Las Flores, I would probably get off the PCH on one of those roads.
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Old 09-26-23, 05:54 AM
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THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX Question....

Google maps says the 134 bus goes along the PCH. I am thinking it may make sense for me to just get on the bus and get off at whatever canyon road I want.

Comments from SoCal natives??
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Old 09-26-23, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by datlas
THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX Question....

Google maps says the 134 bus goes along the PCH. I am thinking it may make sense for me to just get on the bus and get off at whatever canyon road I want.

Comments from SoCal natives??
I'd try viewing the route on https://www.instantstreetview.com/
It would give you an good idea what it may be like.
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Old 09-28-23, 10:17 AM
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I don't think any of my local bike groups ride up the PCH. Most group rides always go down to South Bay or just skip PCH/Malibu entirely and ride over in Santa Barbara. It's just not worth the stress.
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Old 09-29-23, 12:32 PM
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Thanks all for the comments. Will be coming in a few days and likely will try to avoid PCH and do a combo of riding local and Uber/bus to get from Santa Monica to Malibu. Bummer that there is no back-road option but that’s life.
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