Author Topic: Route from Norther California to Souther California  (Read 5154 times)

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Offline litog

Route from Norther California to Souther California
« on: June 05, 2009, 05:08:08 pm »

My brother and I will start training for a ride this week or so for a ride in September.  We were considering taking highway 1 from San Francisco to LA, but we had concerns about safety along several streches that are narrow with a cliff on the sides and possibly no barrier.  Since I will be pulling a trailer, a friend suggested taking highway 395.  So were considering taking HWY 395 from Gardnerville, Nevada to Glendora, CA.  Has anyone ridden down 395 from NV to Souther California?  Any inputs, comments, or things I should look for?  Are there plenty of shoulders?  And how is traffic?  Is it pretty flat are is there alot of climbs?


Offline aggie

Re: Route from Norther California to Souther California
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2009, 07:17:51 pm »
Most of 395 is pretty good for riding but there are a few spots where the road doesn't have much of a shoulder and there are some pretty good climbs.  Heading south out of Garnerville/Carson there are some small climbs.  After your cross into California the road becomes much narrower and after Walker there is a long climb up to Devil's Gate.  You then descend into Bridgeport.  Then you will start climbing again up to Conway Summit.  You then descent to Mono Lake and then start to climb again up to Deadman's Pass.  You'll then more or less descend to the Mammoth lakes area.  I'd say the road then gradually declines into Bishop (more or less).  After Bishop the road seems relatively flat until you get to Ridgecrest.  There is a small climb then a descent to Hwy 58.  From Hwy 58 to Victorville, where the 395 ends, there is a shoulder but lots of traffic.  Up to that point I'd say the traffic is light to moderate.

In my opinion the road is pretty good for cycling from Conway Summit to Hwy 58.  Most of the road has a pretty wide shoulder, although there are spots where it is much narrower.  The scenery is pretty good from Garderville to close to Ridgecrest but after that it is high desert bland.  I wouldn't want to ride it after Hwy 58.  Instead I'd take Hwy 14 south from Ridgecrest to Mohave.  There may be more traffic but the road is better.  After Mojave you can get off the main road and take other roads into Lancaster.  Then if you want you can do some good climbs up the mountains and then descend into the LA area.

Offline valygrl

Re: Route from Norther California to Souther California
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2009, 08:13:47 pm »
SF to LA is great, no need to avoid it.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Route from Norther California to Souther California
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2009, 12:40:47 am »
Take HWY 1.  It's one of the best routes in the world.  There were only a few places that seemed sketchy to me.  We were hauling trailers, too, and realized cars were very cautious around us.  We think this is because they thought we were hauling babies!  Also, parts of 395 can be brutally hot.  I don't know about when you'll be there, but I was in Bishop in July and it was 110 degrees.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline cgarch

Re: Route from Norther California to Souther California
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2009, 01:46:10 am »
Nothing wrong at all with Hwy 1, as the other poster noted. Presume you are not from CA so where do you plan to start? Traffic south of Carmel is not that bad. Shoulders are generally good most of the way and even in the tight spots the traffic simply doesn't move that fast. September is the perfect time of year as well - minimal fog, if any, and the most of the vacationers are gone after Labor Day.

I like the 395 area, especially around Bishop, and the eastern face of the Sierra is quite spectacular, but I wouldn't miss the truck traffic. 395 seems out of the way too. Again depends on where you're starting . .

Santa Rosa, CA

Offline raybo

Re: Route from Norther California to Souther California
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2009, 11:18:08 am »
I've ridden Highway 1 from SF to LA several times.  While there are places with narrow or no shoulders, they are places the cars don't go all that fast, either.

Be sure to have a mirror so you can see the RVs coming up behind you.  If need be, pull off the road (onto the dirt) to let them pass.  While you should be fine in September, for extra safety don't ride on the weekend through Big Sur.

I've written two journals of my rides from SF to LA:

In 2004:

In 2009:

I purposely took several pictures of the road to show shoulder size.

Have a great time,

Visit the on-line bike touring archive at

Offline aggie

Re: Route from Norther California to Souther California
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2009, 06:33:00 pm »
I rode from SF to LA last year along the coast during the Labor Day week.  I rode the Big Sur area during Labor Day weekend and didn't have any problems with traffic.  I also pull a trailer.  The only place where I found the road to be a little sketchy was the Devil's Slide area between Pacifica and Half Moon Bay.  Caltrans is building a tunnel to avoid the slide area so it is a construction area.  The road at this point has no shoulder, is uphill, and has lots of traffic.  Also the route through Malibu was like being on a freeway.  Lots of fast moving traffic and cars parked on the shoulder.  Other than that it was a beautiful ride.  If I had a choice of routes I take the coast but there is a lot to be said for 395.  It just depends on the type of weather and scenery you want.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2009, 01:13:43 pm by aggie »