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Sacramento to LA

Old 07-30-07, 07:18 PM
  #1  
michaelrkn
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Sacramento to LA

I'm riding from Sacramento to LA in three weeks. I bought an Adventure Cycling (www.adventurecycling.org) map, which basically has me going down Highway 1 all the way. I've heard that 1 can be kinda dangerous, though, and I'm wondering if anybody knows of any other routes, or suggestions about where to find other routes, I'd be really interested to hear about them. Also, if anybody has done part or all of that ride and can comment on its safety, I'd really appreciate some advice. Thanks.
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Old 07-30-07, 08:11 PM
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The Smokester
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You are right about lots of Highway one although often starting early in the morning and quitting by noon can reduce the traffic problem. One advantage of 1 is that most of it is pretty cool with a prevailing tail wind at this time of year.

There are some other options. One is to make your way through the Sacto Delta, perhaps connect with the northern end of the Iron Horse Trail in Concord (about thirty miles long), and come down through the Pleasanton/Sunol Regional Wilderness region. Then over by the Calaveras Reservoir on Calaveras Road and onto the streets of eastern San Jose. Eventually connect with the Monterey Highway (running parallel on the western side of Highway 101).

Work your way south and then easterly over to Hollister getting to quieter roads as soon as possible with the objective of getting onto Highway 25. Follow 25 to Paso Robles (PR). At this time of year 25 could be quite hot but not as hot as the Central Valley and most of 25 is pretty rural.

I have not done beyond PR but know from others that it is quite feasible to get west over to the PCH (Highway 1) from PR using 46.

Looking at Google Maps it doesn't seem that there is an easy and direct biking way to get to San Luis Obispo from PR without resorting to 1. It is also possible to go south-east but that will get you into the Central Valley. Maybe others can fill in the route further south from PR.

Not sure my suggestion is "better" but just food for thought.
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Old 07-30-07, 10:18 PM
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eastbaybob
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I've done this in a car but never on a bike. Head south from Sacramento until you hit Firebaugh, then take the 33 until you hit the ocean at Ventura. I've done the 33 by car lots of times, not lots of traffic and the scenery is also lacking at points (most points) but I have always found it a pleasant drive (in a car).
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Old 07-30-07, 10:52 PM
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valygrl
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Oh, I used to live in that area and ride & drive all those roads. I would totally head to SF and take Hwy 1. I think Smokester's route sounds OK, but I wouldn't stay in the central valley as eastbaybob suggests - those farm roads are nasty - lots of pesticides, hot, flat, boring, and with fast traffic and no shoulder. The pacific coast route is gorgeous, has great camping, beaches, and is only super trafficy on the weekends. Just don't be between Monterey and Big Sur on a weekend, and you will be absolutely fine.
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Old 07-30-07, 10:53 PM
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valygrl
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by the way, i've done that hunk of hwy 1 four times.
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Old 07-30-07, 11:41 PM
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jamawani 
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Highway 25 and Highway 198 from Hollister to Coalinga are beautiful and empty.
BUT - - I did them in the winter and in the spring - never later than the end of May.
This time of year they are brown and broiling. Riding thru Paso Robles and the Carrizo Plains down to Ventura is great in the spring or late fall. But I wouldn't want to do it in the summer. (If you do this ride - take Hwy 58 - empty - not Hwy 46 - extremely busy.)

If you bike thru the Delta towards Vallejo - you'll be having strong headwinds. I suggest taking an Amtrak Capitol (you can take your bike on board without boxing) to Oakland - then hopping a ferry over to Baghdad. Ride up the Embarcadero to the Golden Gate Bridge - maybe stay at the hostel at Golden Gate on the Marin side - and start your journey from there.

As for traffic - follow the three basic cyclist rules.
1. Avoid holidays.
2. Ride as much as possible on weekdays.
3. Start early in the day.
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Old 08-01-07, 06:47 PM
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SanDiego
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I did Monterey to Santa Barbara a couple of months ago.

Dangerous, but worth it for the view.
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Old 08-02-07, 12:09 PM
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I just finished riding (last week) my first tour ever on part of PCH from San Francisco (Daly City) to Morro Bay (near SLO) following the Adventure Cycling maps for most of the way. The only really sketch part is the Devil's Slide portion that wraps around Montara Mountain between Pacifica and Half Moon Bay where you have almost no shoulder and was very foggy (low visibility) the morning I rode (but I heard, from a local, there is a alternative route around). Yes, between Monterrey and Big Sur can have sections of small shoulders, but most of the traffic was going around 25-35 mph and giving wide berth when passing. If you get one of those eyeglass mirrors, you can monitor the rear pretty well. Definately worth the risk for the Big Sur section.
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