Author Topic: Trip planning help? San Francisco - Santa Barbara  (Read 5893 times)

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Offline omgitzme

Trip planning help? San Francisco - Santa Barbara
« on: March 15, 2011, 01:16:16 pm »
I'm new to bike touring & I've been coming to this site for awhile now - I wanted to do as much planning on my own before asking here for advice.

I'm 23, female, from Boston, and I'm planning a trip out to San Francisco for mid-late May or mid-late June. It'll be my first trip to California AND first bike trip. So, I'm planning a couple of weekend bike camping trips out here in Mass (on the Cape and inland) and will start cycling to work (10 miles each way) when the weather gets milder.

I plan to take 2 weeks, fly into San Francisco, spend a night or two at a hotel or hostel to see some of the city, then take the train to Santa Cruz. From there I'll start the trip. It's about 300 miles from Santa Cruz to Santa Barbara. Is that doable for a beginner? Weekend trips will hopefully be a way to gauge how many miles I can do with the gear - but I want to get your thoughts! I also want to spend some days exploring the area / hiking / sightseeing / chilling, which is why I'm going to take 2 weeks for the trip, so I'm not pressed for time.

Or.. other ending cities/towns? I could always stop biking somewhere in the middle, rent a car and drive to Santa Barbara, do some biking on the Channel Islands, and fly out of Santa Barbara back to Boston.

Any advice or suggestions are appreciated! Of course I will be buying the Pacific coast map, I recently bought a Massachusetts one as a test-run.

Offline valygrl

Re: Trip planning help? San Francisco - Santa Barbara
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2011, 08:04:54 pm »
Hola omgitzme,

Your planning is perfect (seriously!), except there isn't a train to Santa Cruz.  If you're seeing a way to make a reservation, you're seeing a train-bus connection.

I would recommend you take BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) from San Francisco to Daly City, and ride from there, or just ride from the city.  You can take your fully loaded tour bike on BART, just roll it on with you, no boxing or other BS.  Costs about $5-10.  From Daly City, you can ride to the coast in an hour or less and be on the Pacific Coast route at Pacifica.  There's a hostel in Pigeon Point, which is a lovely location, and I hear it's nice (haven't stayed there) - if you want to break up your trip to Santa Cruz.

If that doesn't sound good, have your bike shipped to a shop in Santa Cruz and train/bus to SC from SF without your baggage, because otherwise it's going to be an insane hassle.  You could easily site-see in SF without a bike, as it's got the best public transportation on the west coast.

I did Daly City BART to Santa Barbara in 7 days, without site seeing, and I'm an experience tourist and avid cyclist -  so your timing sounds good.  

I recommend you pack light, as there are plenty of services.

Have fun!!!!

Edit - try to camp at Kirk Creek campground in Big Sur - few services, but great view.

Offline omgitzme

Re: Trip planning help? San Francisco - Santa Barbara
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2011, 09:15:17 pm »
Hah - thanks for all the tips. I guess I just absolutely misunderstood the iridethebus.org site! Your transit instructions are AWESOME and that sounds like the best way to go about it. :)

Also thanks for the hostel/camping recommendations - I will definitely need a place to stay south of Daly City.

Offline aggie

Re: Trip planning help? San Francisco - Santa Barbara
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2011, 10:55:05 pm »
You could take CalTrain from SF to San Jose.  You could then ride from San Jose to Santa Cruz.  Not sure of the route but I'm sure it's possible.  (You will have some climbing to do out of San Jose.)  Or you could take Amtrak from Oakland to Salinas.  It's about a 10 mile ride from Salinas to Marina which is between Santa Cruz and Monterey.  There you could join up with the Pacific Coast route. 

It's an easy 1 week ride.  I forget the actual mileage but if you average 50 miles per day you will make it.  This leave plenty of time to explore the area where you stop. 

Offline valygrl

Re: Trip planning help? San Francisco - Santa Barbara
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2011, 12:18:05 am »
Yes, you totally can ride from Los Gatos to Santa Cruz, but it's a pretty sizable hill, as big as anything else you'll do on the rest of the coast, so if you're seeking big hills, let me know and I'll post a safe route for you - there are several unsafe routes that look OK on paper, and a couple of safe routes that are not obvious. 

I used to live in Santa Cruz, by the way and have ridden over the coast range a bunch of ways, not trying to come off as a know-it-all, just adding my local knowledge.  :)

Offline aggie

Re: Trip planning help? San Francisco - Santa Barbara
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2011, 09:13:48 am »
The route from Salinas to Marina lacks the big hill from San Jose to Santa Cruz.  You'll go through much of the same farmland that you go through from Santa Cruz to Marina. 

Offline valygrl

Re: Trip planning help? San Francisco - Santa Barbara
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2011, 10:50:56 pm »
Looks pretty serious - check it out on Cal Trans.  There's a link on this site in the closures forum.

For a REALLY hard detour - check out Nacamiento Road.  You'd have to skip Big Sur by going from Monterrey into the Carmel valley, then over the big steep mountain west of Ft. Hunter Liggett.   Not sure if it dumps you out mid-closure or just south of it.

bummer.

Offline cgarch

Re: Trip planning help? San Francisco - Santa Barbara
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2011, 01:16:22 am »
The closure is between Carmel and Big Sur. That is indeed the detour around the closure. It's a good one but will take several more days. I'll post the detour in the closure post.

Craig

Edit: I've posted the detour in the temporary closure post. The detour dumps you out at Kirk Creek CG, some 30 miles south of Big Sur. If you can get back out to the coast, it is a fine time to ride CA1 as there will be zilch traffic. Too bad though, it's raining now . . .
« Last Edit: March 18, 2011, 01:03:21 pm by cgarch »

Offline omgitzme

Re: Trip planning help? San Francisco - Santa Barbara
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2011, 08:45:57 pm »
DAMMIT. Thanks for the update. I'm keeping tabs on the closures thread.