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"Big Sur is the California that men dreamed of years ago." (Henry Miller).
Ride from Big Sur to Santa Barbara: crashing surf, elephant seals, tucked-away wineries, hillsides covered with live oak; Pebble Beach and William Randolph Hearst's castle. This phenomenal 7-day bicycle tour includes epic bike rides that are the stuff of legend - internationally acclaimed routes with names you'll recognize: Carmel, Mount Figueroa (a guest favorite), Solvang. Ride up to 80 miles on some days, at your own pace and always with our outstanding van support. Stay at elegant and truly unique lodgings, dine on fresh regional cuisine, and enjoy afternoon samplings at award-winning wineries.
Meet in San Jose. Ride 17-Mile Drive through Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach.
Meet us in San Jose, California. Head out to bicycle one of the most famous roads in the region: iconic 17-Mile Drive. Stunning coastal vistas unspool as we ride past Pebble Beach’s fabled mansions and golf course, through pine forest and along the oceanfront, passing the reefs and tidepools of Bird Rock, the white sands of breathtaking Fanshell Beach and the famed Lone Cypress tree. Watch for deer, black cormorants, brown pelicans and California sea lions. Spend tonight in Carmel-by-the-Sea, where Clint Eastwood once held office as mayor.
Ride from Carmel-by-the-Sea to Big Sur.
Monday, ride Big Sur’s weathered coastline. Follow the dramatic knolls and tumbled rock headlands of the Cabrillo Highway: enormous live oaks, green-and-gold hillsides, pale sand dunes and the blue Pacific Ocean. Ride across Bixby Bridge, a historic open-spandrel arch bridge that brought automobile travel to Big Sur by connecting it with other remote coastal towns. Today’s route offers 65 incredibly scenic miles. Stay tonight at Treebones resort, in rustic ‘luxury yurts’ (the lodgings are deluxe; bathrooms are a short walk away.) Enjoy award-winning sushi and spectacular views from your perch above the ocean.
Ride to Cambria. Visit Ragged Point and relive the 1920s at Hearst Castle, the 'Enchanted Hill.'
Ride south today into picturesque Cambria on a spectacular road carved into the seaside cliffs. Stunning seascapes open around every corner as we cycle south, pausing to visit one of only two beaches in California where elephant seals come ashore to mate and teach their young to swim.
In the afternoon, enjoy a guided tour of journalism baron William Randolph Hearst’s opulent home in San Simeon - Hearst Castle. Lodging for tonight is at Cambria’s Burton Inn, an elegant Old-World style property.
Ride south along the coast, through tiny towns like Harmony and Cayucos.
Today's ride is a mix: sweeping curves of coastline dotted with surfers and beachgoers; rolling fields and pastures. Live oak. Racehorses and honest-to-goodness cowboys. Feast on a midday lunch at a park in Morro Bay with spectacular coastal views of Morro Rock. Continue bicycling south to the white sands of Pismo Beach, halfway point between San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Pedal Foxen Canyon to oh-so-Danish Solvang, host to start and/or end-points of the Amgen Tour of California.
On Thursday, cycle the placid region east of Santa Maria. Follow Foxen Canyon, a quiet farm road, past fields of row crops, ranchland, and vineyards, through canyons and past wineries into the Santa Ynez Valley. Bicycling magazine's editor described a ride through this area thus: “The perfect ride...happened in California’s Santa Ynez Valley while testing road bikes for our annual Editor’s Choice Awards story.The bikes were amazing, the scenery idyllic. Winter’s epic rainfalls had left the hills and vineyards an almost tropical green. At one point, riding five-up on a road with no traffic, I dared to bring it up. ‘Is this really happening?’ I asked the group. ‘This is almost like another world.’ ” No wonder the Amgen Tour of California professional bike race often features Solvang as a host city.
Spend the next two nights at the plush Ballard Inn in the heart of Santa Barbara's wine country. Visit some of the tasting rooms that abound here and savor the region’s succulent dining.
Ride Mt. Figueroa and/or explore Solvang.
Friday offers the challenge of completing one of the classic bike rides in the Central Coast area—Figueroa Mountain. This route often makes an appearance on the yearly Amgen Tour of California's road race. A local newspaper, the Southern California Bicyclist, hails the region as “our very favorite riding area.” It’s also home to the Solvang Century, the most popular century ride in southern California. The movie “Sideways” featured many of the wineries and winding roads you’ll see. This afternoon, explore and enjoy Danish-themed Solvang, with its authentic Danish bakeries and International cuisine.
Ride to secluded Jalama Beach; enjoy a final celebration before heading to our drop-off points in Santa Barbara.
Saturday, ride 43 miles west from our inn to the Pacific Ocean. Cycle a country road past fields of vineyards and wineries, then a final spectacular stretch along a splendid road to the beach. This is the only paved road to the ocean for 20 miles in either direction. It's blissfully peaceful. Cross untouched ranchland; pedal through canopies of huge California live oak trees; climb hills boasting splendid coastal views. Finish at a park on the beach with views of sandstone cliffs and breaking surf as far as the eye can see. Enjoy a final celebratory lunch, then we'll van back to Santa Barbara for your homeward journeys.
As an optional extra, a person traveling solo on any inn-to-inn trip may reserve a room for his or her exclusive use. This will guarantee you a private room and private bath every night. If you're willing to share a room, there is no extra charge for coming solo, no matter when you sign up for the tour - even if you wind up with a private room by default.