Santa Barbara Wine Country Weekend Bike Tour – Overview

Santa Barbara Wine Country Weekend Bike Tour - bike route map

A Classic California Bike Tour in Santa Barbara Wine Country

Why Solvang? Why Santa Barbara County?

Why pick the sleepy Central California town of Solvang in Santa Barbara County for a bike trip? Simply, because it's a great place to cycle! Nestled in the peaceful Santa Ynez Valley, an abundant variety of quiet country roads make possible all different sorts of enjoyable biking rides. Long stretches of asphalt extend through coastal farming valleys. Winding back roads roll past the Santa Ynez Valley wineries. Rolling black ribbons ramble through cattle grazing land to the rugged Pacific Coast. Twisted roads climb steeply into the nearby mountains to challenge even the strongest professional rider. Solvang cycling is as diverse as the bicycling population.

Excellent Climate

If California has great cycling weather, Solvang's weather in Winter, Spring and Fall is nearly perfect: not too hot, not too cold, not too wet. There are an average of 340 days of sunshine per year. In fact, Solvang in Danish means "sunny fields".

Solvang Weather
Month Av.
High
Av.
Low
Sunny
Days
Mar
68 F
46 F
24
Apr
69
49
27
Oct
75
53
29
Nov
70
45
26

 

The Choice of Professionals

With the great combination of terrain and weather, it's no wonder that Solvang is a favorite training ground for several professional cycling teams. The pros typically hold their first training camp of the year here, in January. It's not unusual to see a famous pro rider on the road or relaxing in a local coffee house. The Amgen Tour of California professional race holds a time trial in Solvang just about every year.

Solvang: The Heart of Santa Barbara Wine Country

Finally, Solvang is a great town to visit. It was founded by Danish people from the Midwest who yearned to create a little Denmark in California. What evolved is a picturesque community with Danish-style architecture, including windmills. Many Danish foods, bakery products and crafts are seen in town today. More recently, an ever growing number of wine tasting rooms have been opening, a testament to the excellent wines produced in Santa Barbara County. Dining in Solvang is a real treat—food lovers really appreciate Solvang and the nearby towns of Santa Ynez and Los Olivos, and there's nothing quite like enjoying a great meal after a long day in the saddle.

All these ingredients combine to make an ideal spot for a cycling trip. In Winter, it's a welcome getaway from the chill and an opportunity to get in some pleasurable early season training. Any time of year, it's a relaxing weekend getaway and a chance to enjoy the scenery, wineries, and dining opportunites.

TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor Review 

Big Sur/California Central Coast with UDC was terrific

I just returned from a 6-day cycling trip with Undiscovered Country Bike Tours. This was my first organized bike tour, and it met, perhaps exceeded, my expectations.

The tour went from Monterey, south on California Route 1 all the way to Cambria, and finally inland to Paso Robles.

My Excellent rating is based on the following:

1. Routes. This seems like a no-brainer (just go south!), but it's not. The routes were designed with ample time for stopping for photos along the spectacular coastline, and also offered extra challenges for riders who wanted more. For example, on Day 2, we had the option of a difficult 7 mile climb up Nacimiento Road, off Route 1. Not all riders opted for this, but the fact that some riders did it, did not cause any problems for the full group. Also, the route on the optional day's ride was very challenging, and a lot of fun, and it was different from the coastal riding we had been doing up to that point.

2. Guides. We had Laura and Daryl as our guides. A married couple, they took turns each day with one driving the van and the other cycling with us guests. They are California natives, they know the roads and each other very well, but they especially made all of us happy all throughout the whole trip. They took care of every detail - whether it was a small adjustment on seat hight, making sure our luggage was in our rooms, or encouraging us to push ourselves on challenging parts of the ride, they were there, and happy to do it.

3. Bicycles. From the outset, I felt confident that I was in good hands with using a bicycle from UDC. After initial registration for the trip, I received a package with a tape measure and a schematic drawing of a bike, to provide my bike measurements. My setup is slightly unusual, which UDC noticed, and checked with me to verify. Upon arrival, the bike was perfectly fit, with just some minor saddle adjustments necessary, since I brought my own saddle from home. The Scott bikes were in good mechanical condition, and we had no mechanicals during the entire trip. My friend rented a Garmin - it was a great idea for someone to try out using a Garmin, if you don't already own one. The unit came pre-loaded with all of the routes for the trip.

4. Accommodations. All of the hotels we stayed in were top-notch.

5. Food. Breakfast and dinner were included as part of the trip price, and the restaurants were all terrific. In Big Sur we didn't have any choice, but we were already staying at Big Sur Lodge, *the* place to stay. The dinners in Cambria and Paso Robles were terrific, and this is from a New Yorker!

6. Transportation. The tour ended in Paso Robles. Included in the trip price was Amtrak train fare back to Salinas, with transfer to Monterey. This was the only part of the trip that was not perfect. It is not UDC's fault that Amtrak was an hour late. However, I would have preferred if UDC listed the trip as ending in Paso Robles, and then giving us the option of Amtrak back to Monterey. If I had to make a choice, I probably would have preferred to rent a car earlier in the day, and go directly to LA or SF for flights back to NYC. Hindsight is 20/20 though! In this domain, I could be nit-picky and make my rating a 5-1/2.

The biggest compliment I can give is that the day after the tour, my friend and I logged on to their website to see what other tours were available that we could do next year.

Thanks UDC, and thanks Daryl and Laura!

TripAdvisor Review September 2013

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Details

Days 3
Nights 2
Starting
Location
Solvang
Nearest
Airports
Santa Barbara
Activity
Levels
3-5  
Price Per
person
from $894
Single
Supplement
from $186

Scheduled Tour Dates

select a date below to make a reservation

Date | Price pp | Spaces

11/15/2014 | $894 | 8+

Private Guided Tours

for 4 or more cyclists

Self-Guided Tours

for confident cyclists - no guides or group meals