Pacific Coast Route Biking Map Section 4: San Francisco to Santa Barbara

By The Mountaineers Books

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Because the heavy motorized traffic tends to be even heavier in the summer, we recommend that you ride this route in the spring or autumn. May and September/October are the best months for riding. From the Golden Gate Bridge, the route heads directly to the coast via city streets. After rejoining SR 1, you'll encounter heavy traffic but here SR 1 has shoulders in most places. From Carmel Heights to San Simeon there are few services. This is a beautiful but demanding road with minimal shoulders traversing open grasslands and timbered slopes above the ocean. State and national campgrounds provide sites overlooking the beach. They are quiet in the off season but extremely busy in the summer. You'll encounter five major climbs along the border of the Los Padres National Forest; one of these takes you to almost 1,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean. The route flattens south of Harmony. From Morro Bay to Pismo Beach you'll leave SR 1 for local, county, and state roads with intermittent shoulders. At Oceano you'll head inland, then join US 101 and ride back to the coast. West of Goleta you'll leave US 101 and travel along business arterials to enter Santa Barbara.