Passing Through

Frank PetersChallenging

Los Padres National Forest

San Luis Obispo to Santa Maria

Welcome to San Luis Obispo. Coming from the north? You’re probably due for a layover day. Or maybe you took the Pacific Surfliner from San Diego or Los Angeles.

Maybe you’re on a tight schedule, but however you arrive, take your time on this segment. It’s worth it – you’re entering wine country.

This route begins at the San Luis Obispo AMTRAK Station and takes you downtown before heading south. Linger in downtown SLO where the people-watching is excellent with the food and beverage to match. A favorite is the Granada Hotel and Bistro on Morro Street near Higuera. Consider holding court in their outdoor patio where you enjoy an excellent view of your bicycle as the world passes by.

But time passes and it’s time to get moving. As you follow the route south look for the latest off-road trail updates as SLO is busily expanding its bicycle routes across town. The route has you passing by Avila Beach, but you can go where you want, right? Take the beautifully canopied Bob Jones Trail to visit this charming beachside town. After lunch or a round of golf at the Avila Beach Golf Resort, you’ll be back on the trail that follows Hwy 101 into Pismo Beach. Spend the night here on the coast or press on to Santa Maria.

This segment positions you for the next day’s beautiful ride into the Santa Ynez Valley. Credit card tourists will want to bunk in for the night in Santa Maria as the next services are 35 miles into tomorrow’s route.

Santa Maria to Los Olivos

Today’s gorgeous and more challenging ride along Foxen Canyon Road takes you into lovely Los Olivos. By the time you get to Fess Parker Winery you’ll deserve a break; while you’re indulging note that your next winery is nearby at the Firestone Vineyard. Feel like splurging? Book your stay at the Fess Parker Wine Country Inn and Spa in downtown Los Olivos; you deserve it. Stay 2 nights and spend the next day riding the Santa Rosa Road route, from nearby Buellton to Lompoc while sampling its many wineries and breweries.

Over Refugio Pass

As of April 10, 2017 Refugio Road is CLOSED. Check Santa Barbara County road closures here.

Today’s your big ride – to get into Santa Barbara you must climb the coastal range, the Santa Ynez Mountains. This route keeps you away from the highway alternatives, you’ll be climbing this quiet mountain pass far from automobiles.

Start the day with Ballard Cyn Road, the scenic route from Los Olivos to Solvang.

The route ends at the Goleta AMTRAK Station.

Looking south along Refugio Road
Visit Circle Bar B on Refugio Road

Goleta to Santa Barbara

The route takes you through UC Santa Barbara and into Goleta Beach Park where you’ll want to linger at the Beachside Bar-Cafe. Careful – bike parking here has a lot to be desired. Once you’re ready to move on follow the peaceful off-road trail to Modoc Road and into Santa Barbara proper.

Santa Barbara to Ventura

Love great bicycle infrastructure? You’ll love this segment of your southbound journey as it takes you along the 101 Freeway on a new bike/ped path.

Ventura to Malibu

Say goodbye to the Central Coast as you head south along the Pacific Coast Hwy. PCH is a busy road with spotty accommodations for cyclists, so pick your travel time to avoid peak traffic.