California Central Coast Bike Tour
Stage 1: Paso Robles
Our tour begins when we meet in the morning in Silicon Valley city of San Jose. After a brief introductory meeting, we board a train in San Jose for a transfer to the Wine Country town of Paso Robles.
Upon arrival in Paso Robles, we take a warm-up ride through the rolling orchards and vineyards surrounding Paso Robles. Tonight's stay is at the historic Paso Robles Inn, where each deluxe room has its own private spa tub fed by thermal hot springs. Distance: 32 miles.
Stage 2: Paso Robles to Avila Beach
After breakfast in Paso Robles, our first full stage takes us over the coastal range to the Pacific Coast and the harbor town of Morro Bay. The stage's feed zone is at the water's edge, where you can watch the fishing boats, sea birds and harbor seals. After Morro Bay, the route travels past several extinct volcanos to San Luis Obispo, then south to the sheltered Avila Beach, with its long stretch of white sand. Lodging tonight is at the Avila Lighthouse Suites, at the edge of the beach. Distance: 54 miles.
Stage 3: Avila Beach to Santa Maria
After breakfast in Avila Beach, we make a short ride back to San Luis Obispo, giving us access to the scenic inland country foothills that lead to the town of Arroyo Grande. A winding route over the rural back roads takes us through the valley farming town of Nipomo, and finally to Santa Maria, our destination for the day. Our lodging for the night is the historic landmark Santa Maria Inn, just loaded with decades of Hollywood history. Look for a star on your door—that means a Hollywood celebrity once slept in your room. Distance: 48 miles.
Stage 4: Santa Maria to Santa Ynez
After another hearty breakfast, we cycle out of Santa Maria Valley and inland once again through the rolling pastures and oak studded hillsides that recline beneath the majestic San Rafael Mountains. Here we are treated one of the Top Ten bike rides: Foxen Canyon and Ballard Canyon. Remote and scenic, this route rolls past quiet pastures and wineries with unobstructed views of the surrounding mountains. Our first town to visit is the Danish Solvang, known for its quaint Scandinavian architecture and Old World hospitality. The feed zone is at the Bulldog Cafe, a famous hang-out for cyclists. Look for the photos of pro cyclists on the walls, as Solvang is a favorite winter training ground for pro cyclists. After soaking in the karma of the Bulldog Cafe, we then roll towards our destination for the night: Santa Ynez, an even tinier hideaway. Our lodging for the next two nights is the elegant and luxurious Santa Ynez Inn, a Victorian bed and breakfast. Distance: 48 miles.
Stage 5: Santa Ynez "Rest" Day
Stage 5 in Santa Ynez is officially a "rest" day. But since cyclists on a multi-stage tour know that riding on "rest" days is a good idea, there are a few rides to choose from. You may choose to join a casual ride to explore more of the local area. You may wish to revisit Solvang and its myriad shops and tasting rooms. You may decide to test your climbing legs on a local climb. Or you may truly want a rest day to luxuriate at the Santa Ynez Inn's spa. Distances: 15-50 miles.
Stage 6: Santa Ynez Promenade
The final stage of the tour is a morning promenade on another great little route: Santa Rosa Road. This little gem rolls along the southern edge of a river valley, with mountains on our flank and orchards and vineyards to keep us company. We'll pull into one of the wineries for a feed zone, then we retrace our path back to Santa Ynez. A private coach awaits to transfer us to Santa Barbara, where connections to rail or plane travel back home. Distance: 36 miles.