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San Francisco to Santa Cruz trip HWY 1 - terrain questions

Old 08-05-09, 10:50 PM
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San Francisco to Santa Cruz trip HWY 1 - terrain questions

Hi,

I know it's not a tour, and most people do it in one day. My friend and I are planning to do the trip nice and slowly over 2 nights and 3 days, stopping to camp on the beach, as a final summer trip before school starts.

My question is about the terrain. Are the hills pretty intense? I only ask because I'm tempted to try the trip with my fixed gear.

I'm also posting this in the "ss/fixed" thread, but I figured that a lot of people in this thread have made the trip and remember the terrain.

Thanks a ton!
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Old 08-06-09, 12:46 AM
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from Pacifica to Half Moon Bay is up and down. Seems to me if you're macho enough to do it you wouldn't have to ask. Being stuck in a fixed gear on all those marvelous downhills seems silly but that's just me.
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Old 08-06-09, 06:22 AM
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It's rollers most of the way - not flat but not steep, but a few short moderate hills. Other than Devil's Slide, which is a fairly noticable hill.

FYI, you might want to check out the camping regulations, I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to just sleep on the beach - you might get hassled by cops. I think there are several camping options and a hostel at Pigeon Point.

Have fun!
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Old 08-06-09, 07:54 AM
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Fixed gear + camping gear + Hwy 1 = Not the most fun I can think of
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Old 08-06-09, 02:12 PM
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There is a pretty substantial hill at Daly City, too; it's not steep, but surprisingly high. I just did this ride and remember Daly City and Pacifica to have substantial hills, and a mixture of rolling terrain and flats from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz.

By the way Devil's Slide has a reputation as being a very dangerous road due to high speed traffic and no shoulder. When we were passing through we happened to meet a local cyclist who took us around it on Old Pedro Mountain Road (more of a trail than a road) which is passable on a touring bike but best on a mountain bike. It's a nice ride, very remote and peaceful, more strenuous than the highway but much much safer.

There's a group hiker/biker campsite at Half Moon Bay State Beach where you can camp without a reservation, it's cheap - $3 to $5 each. Ask around when you get to the park. From there to Santa Cruz is a nice 40 miles, makes a relaxed but full day. After Half Moon Bay there's no stores or restaurants until Davenport so make sure you have food and water. Also just before you enter Davenport look for Swanton Berry Farms on your left, they have a great cafe with coffee and strawberry deserts for sale. Cyclists get a 10% discount. Look for the cyclist guestbook! Have fun.
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Old 08-06-09, 08:23 PM
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I think I know the cafe you're referring to in Davenport. If it's the same one I am thinking of, it's a bar/cafe/pastry place?

Anyway, thanks everyone for the advice. I'll look into the Devil's Slide area.
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Old 08-06-09, 09:20 PM
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Devils Slide is no big deal as far as traffic IMHO. It is steep! But not that long of a climb.





The hostel at Montara is a great place to spend the night.




Be sure to stop at Half Moon Bay Airport Restaurant for breakfast. You won't need to eat for the rest f the day!


Last edited by spinnaker; 08-06-09 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 08-07-09, 11:41 AM
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I think I know the cafe you're referring to in Davenport. If it's the same one I am thinking of, it's a bar/cafe/pastry place?

Not a bar. It's not actually in Davenport, but just before it. It's a farm, and when you go up the driveway there's a bunch of barns and then a little building, and you go inside and it's an awesome comfy self-serve cafe where you can buy coffee and strawberry deserts and jam. There's also a jam-tasting station set up. Look for the signs on the highway.
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Old 08-10-09, 01:19 PM
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devil's slide

Avoid riding on Devil's Slide during peak traffic. There is no shoulder, and at most points on the slow SB up-hill, you only have about 6-12 inches of ride-able road width outside of the actual car traffic lane. During peak traffic you'll have cars passing uncomfortably close (based on personal experience). The "shoulder" widens up a bit when you get near the top (where the new bridge and tunnels are being built).

Devil's Slide story: During my last SF-LA bike tour, my friend and I were grinding our way up the grade when we came up to a van parked in the construction lane near the new bridge. A woman and her two dachshunds were waiting for us; she passed us on the way up and "feared for our lives," insisting she pack up our bikes in her van and give us a ride to Montara. Not to look a gift horse, we agreed, and conquered Devil's Slide the easy way.

It's definitely not as dangerous as our self-appointed guardian angel imagined, but it's definitely not a lot of fun either, especially during peak traffic. I really can't see it being fun on a fixed-gear bike though, but of course it's your ride, not mine!
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