The Coast Ride: An Epic cycling adventure that departs San Francisco from Golden Gate Bridge and over 3 days rides down the coast to Santa Barbara.
The coast ride has been an annual tradition dating back to the 1990’s, born out of a desire to simply ride. Keep the water on your right, and keep on pedaling. The original spirit of that ride was simple. In its first years, there were just a couple of friends that would embark on this odyssey, carrying whatever they needed, and figuring it out as they went. Props to all of those who have come before us.
For the last decade and a half, the ride has become a bit more organized, and the number of riders has steadily grown… and then it sky-rocketed. In 2014 we had over 130 riders! Unbelievable.
The 3 days en route to Santa Barbara are each very different, and the weather always promises to make each year a unique memory. We’ve had Thunderstorms complete with lightning, improvised rain gear (hefty garbage bags), and seemingly endless flat tires. We’ve had bitter cold that brought out the down puffy’s, full finger mitts, and plenty of hot cocoa. And we’ve had more than our share of bluebird clear skies, weather in the 70’s, riding in just shorts and a jersey, basking in the glory of our amazing coastline. Whatever the elements throw at us, there is always a sense of triumph in making it the whole way no matter what.
- Incomparable feeling of accomplishment, feeling stronger each day, even with triple-digit mileage in your legs.
- Lounging with friends after you roll into a motel mid-afternoon with nothing to do but chill, eat, watch TV, clean your bike, do laundry, etc.
- Outrageous appreciation for our spectacular coastline
- Very fun answering “San Francisco” when friendly strangers at a rest stop ask, “Where did you start riding from?”
- Eating everything in site, every few hours, as your metabolism is cranking.
Years of refinement mean we’ve got the route dialed, the hotels know us by name and usually offer a discount, and the route greets us like we’re returning to a homecoming dance!
Oh yeah, and make sure to mention "Coast Ride" to get the group discount when calling hotels. Please consider having a roommate or three to make sure there are rooms for everyone. Make sure to know the cancellation policy with each hotel in case of last minute cancellation.
Ultimately, it boils down to one question - ARE YOU IN? =)
DAY BY DAY
Jump for joy - it has finally arrived. Day 1 literally bristles with excitement. It’s the grand start. Get your caffeine in. Say goodbye to loved ones or your pets or at least the familiar site of your neighborhood, and settle in to the fact that it’s just you and your bike for the next 3 long days. The setting for our meeting spot is truly one of the most beautiful places on earth – the Golden Gate Bridge. As we weave down the coast and leave the city, the journey thru Half Moon Bay, and past Mavericks’ famous surf spot, and all the way down to Davenport for lunch is just fantastic. Consider stopping in Half Moon Bay to fill up bottles, as it is a long way to Davenport with no stops in between. You want to make sure to hydrate all weekend and apply Sunscreen!
Eating lunch in Davenport on Day 1 has a number of options. Our SAG Vans will be parked across the street from Whale City Bakery with a lunch spread laid out of sandwiches, chips, drinks, and goodies. Please be very cautious with railroad tracks entering Davenport, we have had a few bad accidents on these tracks in years past. You can also call in order ahead of time (20-30 minutes) from Davenport to have sandwiches ready for you when you arrive. (831) 423-9009
Next, we leave Davenport with full bellies and go thru Santa Cruz, Moss Landing, and then all the way down to Seaside / Monterey, with the final 8 miles on the bike path. Day 1: 125 miles.
Anybody will tell you that the Traditional Day 2 is a climber’s delight. From the morning section on Highway 1, all the way down to Ragged Point for lunch, this day is breathtaking. Early in the morning we cross the famous Bixby Bridge right before Los Padres National Forest, and then the climbing begins. We pass Big Sur, and endure steady ascents that last for miles and miles. Some feel like they will never end. By the time we get to Ragged Point for lunch, many of us are ragged indeed. Most people have a perma-grin from the amazing scenery they have cycled through. Some are glowing and radiating buzz, some are shivering – though that is more a factor of the weather than anything! We bunk down in Morro Bay for night 2, after another 125 miles.
Nothing goes down quicker than a whole pizza pie after your second day of riding. Appetites by night 2 are ravenous. We’ve been burning calories at a crazy rate, for long days, and we’re not done yet. Many people feel like they get better as the ride progresses – feeling better on Day 2, and even better on Day 3.
Day 3 frequently starts on just coffee at the motels and we have breakfast in SLO (San Luis Obispo) – at the wide variety of options from café’s, to bagel shops, to breakfast restaurants. Though it has been several years since the entire ride could fit into McLintock’s on Higuera street! Highway 1 hosts us all the way down to Lompoc for lunch, where Subway is one of the favorites. After that, we have a final stretch that calls for our utmost attention and safety on the bike – as we go along Hwy 101/Hwy 1 for a good 20 miles, before taking State Street for the last 10 miles of finish lap glory into Santa Barbara.
Crazy fun. Crazy beautiful. What a journey.
Endurance, Endorphines, Excitement, Elevation, Exhaustion: There is plenty of all of these on the ride. We do what we can to make it easier, safer, and smooth for everyone with the following...
SAG: Vehicles accompany the ride to transport gear. Please be respectful and pack a *single, small* bag. It was just a few short years ago....The "spirit of the ride" meant carrying all your gear in a backpack.
Happy Days! SAG will be at lunch in Davenport on Day 1, Ragged Point on Day 2, Subway in Lompoc Day 3 and various places along the road if you want to shed some clothes. In addition, SAG will have water, sunscreen and plenty of “nutrition” to grab.
A First aid kit: There will be a small first aid kit that is provided for the Ride's use. This will be kept in the van. Please do not help yourself. If you need something from the first aid kit, please ask the drivers of the SAG to help you find it.
Mechanics / Bike tools: Need to change a flat tire? That's easy, and lots of riders will gladly lend a hand. More technical problems? Several of us have spent past lives as mechanics, and will possibly be able to help. We've been known to solve even the most challenging breakdowns with a bit of creativity. As for tools - a few participants are providing bike tools in case there are mechanicals pre- and post-riding each day. These tools will be kept in the van as well. Again, please do not help yourself to the tools. Please ask SAG drivers or myself as we don't want the tools to get lost/unaccounted for after use and wouldn't want to have to replace anyone's bike tools post-Ride.
Bike Theft: Please do not leave your bike unattended when stopping in convenient stores, restaurants, coffee shops etc. We had a bike stolen a few years back in Santa Cruz, which was no fun. Always assign ONE person to watch bikes while you go inside.
Ride speed - How to pace yourself: It is tempting to start day 1 at full throttle, as many old-timers do, but it's best to be relaxed, safe, warm up, and just ride comfortably. There will be a speed for everyone. Every year, there are a huge variety of groups – some off the front able to hold a high pace for the entire ride which is amazing. And some more leisurely soaking in the scenery. And everything in between. No matter what your pace, you will have company!
Our Sponsors: We have a growing list of sponsors who donate products that make The Ride even better. Please show them some love by giving them shout outs on Twitter, FB, Instagram, posting pics, and include their company names (and hashtags if provided). And give them your straight up feedback - they all want to hear how you like (or don’t like) their products. Best would be to post pics from our great coastline of people enjoying their products on the bike.
Our Daily Breakfast and Gear drop routine: Each morning - Breakfast is at 6am for the 2nd day, and with large groups of cyclists, you don’t want to be late. Please be prepared to put your gear bag in the van no later than 7am on Days 2 and 3. The group will depart the hotel at 7am sharp each morning so you don't want to be late! There will be a floor pump available but don’t wait until 7am to remember to put air in your tires. Your gear will be waiting at hotel each day. The first group(s) in can help unload the van and set bags by van.
Mmmmm... SWAG: Yes, there is swag. Everyone now gets a Coast Ride water bottle, and tons of great stuff from our sponsors.
Lastly, this Ride is unaffiliated with any organization or persons. Remember - this is NOT an organized ride! We are a bunch of friends riding down the Coast. You choose to ride The Coast Ride at your own risk. Many of us who enjoy The Ride want you to enjoy it too, which is why we are helping to organize it. Please do not blame anyone on the Ride for any mis-happenings that may occur to you, get mad when people don't wait for you, etc. as this is a volunteer organized effort. We hope that you enjoy this Ride as much as everyone in the in previous years. In the spirit of The Ride, please be pleasant and peaceful to all.
Can’t wait to see you on the bike!