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Trip, San Francisco to LA

Old 04-11-08, 05:36 PM
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Trip, San Francisco to LA

I am planning on riding my bike from San Francisco to LA on the 101. I was wondering if anyone had any helpful advice on the trip. What is the least amount of gear I will need? Where are some good places to stay and see? Can I stay in hostel the whole way and leave my camping gear at home?
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Old 04-11-08, 07:11 PM
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there's a book called cycling the pacific coast. that should give you a lot of good advice. I never did it myself, though I would love too. Have a great trip.

I think there's a portion of the trip that you really have to watch out for maybe around the Santa Cruz area where the roads get super narrow and you are only a few feet from some super steep cliffs. I hear this portion is also one of the most breathtaking part of the trip.
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Old 04-11-08, 07:34 PM
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Who this is strange. I am actually considering this trip myself among a few other trips this year. I am going to end my trip in Santa Barbara. There is really no need to go to LA.

I am also only interested in credit card touring so I would be interested in what others may add. If you do a search, there are a number of posts on this very subject.
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Old 04-11-08, 08:23 PM
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US 101 or route 1 which goes along the coast? My first suggestion is if you aren't doing so, consider route 1 instead since the stretch along Big Sur is a lot nicer cycling than 101. You won't find hostels close enough (see https://www.hiusa.org/usa-hostels/ca/ca-state.shtml for American Youth hostels page) but it is possible to ride without camping. The ~100 mile stretch between Monterey and Cambria is one to either ride in a single day or expect to spend some more $$ as lodging in that gap is a bit more expensive. If were to camp, you would find some nice hiker/biker sites. Others have already mentioned "Bicycling the Pacific Coast" and looking up various blogs. Here is mine from the last time I cycled from San Jose southbound through LA: https://www.mvermeulen.com/oneyear/usa.htm
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Old 04-12-08, 10:34 AM
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I believe there are portions of 101 that aren't open to bicycles. But, even so, take Highway 1.

There should be no problem doing a credit card tour, though, you will need to plan where you will stay near Big Sur, which has motels but they are often booked in advance. Also, once you leave Big Sur, there are no reasonably priced hotels until San Simeon (an ugly commercial strip a few miles south of Hearst's Castle). From Big Sur to San Simeon is about 70 miles and it includes 2 good sized climbs and lots of smaller "lumps." If you are camping, consider Kirk Creek, which has no showers but a hiker/biker site and is right on the ocean bluffs. It is about 50 miles south of Carmel.

The area just south of San Francisco on Highway 1 (between Pacifica and Montera) is called Devil's Slide and is a dangerous area for bikes. I live in SF and have never ridden, though I have gone down to LA several times. I get a ride to Montera, just south of this part of the highway, and start there. As for what you can do, try posting on Craig's List for someone to give you a ride, look for a bus with bike racks, or ride to Pacifica and get a cab. You can ride it if you like but I haven't met anyone who said it was safe or a good idea.

As for going south of Santa Barbara, you will have to decide for yourself. The ride north and south of Santa Barbara is on 101, a freeway with lots of cars and trucks going 70 MPH. It has a wide shoulder but is not the kind of riding I look forward to. Once you get to Ventura, it is uninspired until you get to Pt. Mugu, about 20 miles north of Malibu and LA. The ride from Pt. Mugu down to Malibu is quite nice but it gets increasingly traffic clogged as you approach Santa Monica/LA.

Here is my personal journal for my first SF to LA ride.

Here is a page with 40 links to bike touring in California. Not all of them deal with this route, in particular, but many of them do.

Have a great time. It is one of the world's best bike touring routes.

Ray
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Old 04-12-08, 12:10 PM
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[QUOTE=raybo;6506201
The area just south of San Francisco on Highway 1 (between Pacifica and Montera) is called Devil's Slide and is a dangerous area for bikes. I live in SF and have never ridden, though I have gone down to LA several times. I get a ride to Montera, just south of this part of the highway, and start there. As for what you can do, try posting on Craig's List for someone to give you a ride, look for a bus with bike racks, or ride to Pacifica and get a cab. You can ride it if you like but I haven't met anyone who said it was safe or a good idea.

Ray[/QUOTE]

And I have read on other posts that while you need to be cautious in Devil's Slide, it is really not all that bad. I'd like to hear from a number of folks that have actually ridden the area.

The distance between Pacifica nad Montara is only 9 miles. That is not very far to put up with a little danger.

Also I wonder if one could cut through McNee Ranch State Park.

Last edited by spinnaker; 04-12-08 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 04-12-08, 01:41 PM
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less than a mile of badness, i did it, wouldn't worry about it too much.

i agree w/ other posters - hwy 1 (pacific coast route) is lovely, a world-class touring route, hwy 101 is not a good bike route - all 80mph freeway.

it can be done as a credit card tour, but not that many hostels. i know of hostels in monterrey and cambria. plenty of hotels, though. but some of the camping is really nice - kirk creek in big sur is my fave.
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Old 04-12-08, 06:28 PM
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Hey VG thanks for the help on RMNP and thanks for the help here. I'm kind of swinging toward PCH. I like the idea of waking up early and have it be nice and warm and also little chance of rain.

I don't mean to steal the thread from mattie000 but hopefully my questions will help mattie too.


The hostels. Are they HI hostels? Do they make you have a card?

Is there any covered camping with restaurants near by? I know C&0/GAP has one or two places where all you need is a bag and a pad.
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Old 04-12-08, 07:32 PM
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How much of a hurry are you in? I came up from south of LA to past SF in three days. I watched a guy make it the 400 miles SF to LA in under 23 hours. We both used Interstate 5. Even where the 101 seems to be freeway grade it may be legal for bikes in spots. Call bike shops and clubs along the 101 and ask them. www.bikely.com may have several routes for you.
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Old 04-12-08, 07:59 PM
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I agree with others that Highway 1 is much nicer. 101 will be really hot. There's a back way from Monterey down to King City, then back by Lake Nacimiento to Paso Robles. From there I'd cut over on 46 to the coast and ride 1 to San Luis Obispo.
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Old 04-12-08, 09:08 PM
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the monterey hostel is YHA or HIUSA or whatever - you don't have to have a card, it just saves you $3. i stayed there, it was nice, and they have outdoor locking bike lockers.

the one in cambria is not yha, i think, i didn't stay there. if you just google for california hostels, there is on site that has a whole list. i don't have the link anymore.

as far as i know there is no covered camping, if it rains you will need a tent.

edit, p.s., you are welcome spinnaker!
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Old 04-12-08, 09:22 PM
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Hey, I rode from San Francisco to Santa Cruz a couple weeks ago (and turned around and rode back the next day. I believe people are talking about the Devil's Slide area between Pacifica and Montara. It's more than a mile of badness - closer to four, including a big climb - but it's not terrible. It helps to be there early in the day before traffic picks up. It's just a steep, winding section with no shoulder. Before I went around curves where following cars couldn't see me, I just waved hello to let them know I was there.

The scenery is breathtaking in that stretch, and then again after Half Moon Bay.

There are hostels, but they fill up quickly, so you may need to book well in advance. Two friends and I split a decent $69 hotel room.
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