Californian dream?

Questions about bike hire abroad and everything light bike related. No off-topic chat please

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PSM
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by PSM

I have a dream of cycling in California someday. Road cycling. (Or would you recommend trails/mtb?)

I have been cycling in Spain 18 times, of which 13 of these trips to Mallorca. It is great. But I'm tired of paella and bubbly beer. I want burgers and IPA. And be able to speak the language.

If I'm going to LA, where to stay to have good cycling. On less busy roads? And where would you live?

I turn 52 in January and consider myself pretty fit. 8)

Patrik from Stockholm

by Weenie


TobinHatesYou
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Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:02 pm

by TobinHatesYou

PSM wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:32 am
I have a dream of cycling in California someday. Road cycling. (Or would you recommend trails/mtb?)

I have been cycling in Spain 18 times, of which 13 of these trips to Mallorca. It is great. But I'm tired of paella and bubbly beer. I want burgers and IPA. And be able to speak the language.

If I'm going to LA, where to stay to have good cycling. On less busy roads? And where would you live?

I turn 52 in January and consider myself pretty fit. 8)

Patrik from Stockholm
What to expect in LA:

Good ocean views. Golden brown, rocky and grassy mountains/hills.
Mornings can be surprisingly cool with the "marine layer" / fog by the coast. Dissipates by 9 AM in the summertime, if not earlier. Then can get really hot.
Santa Ana winds are steady, strong winds during the summer.
A lot of climbing. Near the coast, climbs up to ~750-800m. Inland, bigger climbs.
A lot of "chip seal" roads, some very poorly maintained (not at all) over the years.
All the nicer roads will be busy with sports cars and motorcycles going very fast, especially on weekends. They can also be hostile toward cyclists.

If I were traveling from Europe to California to ride, I would probably pick Yosemite instead. Another option besides California would be Colorado.

If you do choose LA, I would probably stay in the Malibu or Santa Monica area.

Then again, I wouldn't plan on vacationing in the USA in 2021 because we're idiots.

jih
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Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:54 pm

by jih

For cycling in California, maybe try the bay area rather than LA. Or go all the way north to Point Reyes

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PSM
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by PSM

Thank you. :)

maxim809
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by maxim809

Haven't been everywhere yet but I've cycled through some of California's more well known roads (LA, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Lompoc/Solvang, SLO, Paso, CA HWY-1, Bay Area - Gilroy/SantaCruz/SouthBay/EastBay/SF, Marin/Sebastopol/Santa Rosa/Napa).

Still lots of California left to go but here's some bits...

In LA, closest to the airport is the famous Santa Monica mountains (Mulholland Drive). You can take CA-1 towards Malibu and find yourself close to several climbs. Personally, I like accessing from Agoura Hills / Thousand Oaks as these are quieter suburbs, but this takes you away from the city. Tons of famous climbs and routes to Google, but to give an example of segments... https://planetultra.com/mulholland-challenge/ (scroll down for RideWithGPS links and you can get a sense for all the roads and more available to make routes).

If you go more towards West Covina / Riverside (east LA) there's Glendora Mountain Road and Mt Baldy. These are sometimes used in the Tour of California. You can Google the name of these two and plenty of videos / routes. GMR is cool..just have to deal with people racing cars /motorcycles sometimes. I wasn't a huge fan of Mt Baldy (long, straight, kinda boring... eventually turns to ice/snow at the top so that's kinda cool... and a bombing fast descent on the way back). Note these two roads connect so there's some variety with the loops you can make. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKNFC0fOVfg

Some people might disagree with me but overall, LA cycling wasn't my favorite in CA. Not as much variety, city traffic to deal with if you're not close to the mountains, the climbs are hot, exposed, scenery is mostly desert-like in summer. There's an ocean view every once in a while if you're on the right side of the mountain. Best part of LA? Food's awesome... all my favorites are down there.

Where would I live in LA? Yikes. I'm not sure I have an answer haha. But if it were in the area, I'd choose Ventura County. Why? I'd be able to clip in from my home and take off towards Ojai, Santa Barbara (Gibraltar Rd) and Latigo Rd and it'd still be a sub 100mi loop. No need to throw my bike into a car. Beyond that it's a beach town, not as hectic, people are chill.

Edit: Not sure if you are firm on LA, but to leave you with something... a lot of the best routes are concentrated in NorCal: http://bestrides.org/ride-locator-map/
2013 Cannondale Synapse | 2015 LaPierre Pulsium | 2016 Pinarello Dogma F8 | 2016 Bianchi XR4 | 2019 Spesh Sprint

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PSM
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by PSM

Thank's!

Stueys
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by Stueys

I'll defer to a local but my favourite cycling so far in California has been (in order of what I loved);
-Marin headlands (across golden gate from San Francisco, marina area is a good base to stay). Cycling around Mount Tam gives you climbs through redwoods, ocean views all framed with golden gate and San Francisco in the background, it's epic
- Bay area, I've cycled around Palo Alto, lots of great routes behind Palo with redwoods, nice climbs, etc. Great riding
- LA, Malibu is a great base, lots of Canyons and good climbing. Only slight downside is most of the routes are linked by PCH which is busy but has good shoulders along much of it

If I had to chose one I'd get an airbnb around Marina in San Francisco and base myself there. Lots of great riding within easy reach and it's a nice place to be. Personally I'm not LA's biggest fan, I love north of LA but the city itself doesn't do much for me.

maxim809
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by maxim809

Stueys wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:21 am
If I had to chose one I'd get an airbnb around Marina in San Francisco and base myself there. Lots of great riding within easy reach and it's a nice place to be. Personally I'm not LA's biggest fan, I love north of LA but the city itself doesn't do much for me.
Nailed it... Marina / Cow Hollow's exactly where I'd stay if faced with a choice to visit anywhere in California for a cycling trip. Marin/Sausalito is great. And South Bay within reach has a ton of great stuff too. Lots of variety, great scenery, and I feel cars coexist with cyclists better in the SF area better than LA.
2013 Cannondale Synapse | 2015 LaPierre Pulsium | 2016 Pinarello Dogma F8 | 2016 Bianchi XR4 | 2019 Spesh Sprint

sethjs
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Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2011 4:02 pm
Location: San Francisco, CA

by sethjs

Echoing what everyone else is telling you. LA's got good riding in the northern part of the region - Malibu / Glendale. Santa Barbara has a few good rides. But the SF Bay area is dramatically better. More routes. Less cars. Cyclists everywhere. Great rides out of Palo Alto on the peninsula. Great rides out of Mill Valley, just north of the Golden Gate bridge. If I had to pick one spot? Mill Valley. Drive to Palo Alto every so often for some variety.

Oh and to be clear - Mill Valley is the town closest to all the riding people are telling you to access by staying in "Marina" (a neighborhood) in SF. From Marina you ride across the Golden Gate Bridge. Good access to Hawk Hill. But you need to always cycle through Sausalito to get to the great stuff (Mt Tam routes, coastal routes). Mill Valley's a small, quiet suburb where you're right in the heart of all of it - no bridge / no constantly passing through Sausalito.

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PSM
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by PSM

Thanks!

m3lodiaa
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by m3lodiaa

Phim Gaimons recent videos (called „my favorite climbs“) are pretty nice, he rides around LA. The roads always seem pretty empty and nice.

psg
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by psg

I live at the base of Mt Baldy in Claremont, which is technically on the edge of LA County, but is not typically LA. We have a very strong cycling community out here, and this is training grounds for a lot of really good riders (think Williams brothers, for example).

To answer OP directly, when I'm thinking of visiting a new place and doing my own thing, I like to cherrypick off of the itineraries of guided travel companies (say, like Contiki). The first thing that comes to mind is cherrypicking from the Rapha travel route that they used to run out here. I'm trying to find the official page of it, but their one week tour was something like this, and I was even able to find their routes on RidewithGPS:
START/FINISH
Los Angeles / San Diego

TOTAL DISTANCE
590 miles

TOTAL ELEVATION GAIN
67,000 feet

KEY CLIMBS
Stunt, Piuma Canyon, San Gabriel Canyon, Glendora Ridge Road, Mount Baldy, Palomar
Day 1: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31405624
Day 2: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31405625
Day 3: https://ridewithgps.com/trips/46924831
Day 4: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31405627
Day 5: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31405629
Day 6: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/31440624

Alternatively, I really love riding and altitude training in the Eastern Sierras (think Mammoth Lakes, June Lake, Bishop, Yosemite). There's a paperback book you can probably find on eBay that has every popular route you can imagine.

https://www.amazon.com/Road-Biking-Cali ... 0982615469

Oh, and if you want good beer and burgers, just ride in San Diego. :D

Edit:
Looks like this company picked up where Rapha left off. Oof, $5100...
https://www.raidcycling.cc/southern-california

borist
Posts: 89
Joined: Wed Sep 02, 2015 2:19 am
Location: LA, CA

by borist

Living in LA, I can say that there is some nice riding here... all the options mention above are great. However, it is hard to base yourself in one place - each of the options are not close to each other so you may need to drive if you want variety.

If you're coming for a holiday, the best option would be to get a car/van and spend time in a few locations around the state.. the best riding is away from the cities so this way you can visit a bunch of stuff without commiting to one place...

uraqt
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Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:53 am

by uraqt

all the blogs and mags say this is one of the best rides in the world.. I do the 60 every year and I agree it's great I think the 100 might be too long to do without support ... but you shuold be able to manage the 60 with a stop in occidental for food and water..

https://www.strava.com/routes/897597

https://www.strava.com/routes/969233


I think that sethjs is right stay in Mill Valley or north of Mill Valley a little and then you can ride down to SF or do any one of the great rides north of the Bridge.

C

AJS914
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by AJS914

m3lodiaa wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:39 pm
Phim Gaimons recent videos (called „my favorite climbs“) are pretty nice, he rides around LA. The roads always seem pretty empty and nice.
Follow Phil Gaimon on Strava and check out the rides he does.

by Weenie


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