This famous phrase describes Big Sur, the 90-mile stretch of rugged and awesomely beautiful Pacific coastline, bordered by Carmel to the north and San Simeon (Hearst Castle) to the south. Scenic Highway One winds along its length, tucked between the majestic Santa Lucia Mountains and the rocky Pacific Coast.
Cycling the breathtaking coastline of Big Sur might just be the ultimate California bike touring experience, rated a Top Ten Touring Area by Adventure Cyclist Magazine. Such a special place demands a special biking tour, which is what we have in store for a few fortunate cyclists. It starts with the times of year, Spring and Fall. This is when the weather is ideal for cycling: not too hot, not too cold, not too wet. It's also when the summertime tourists are gone, leaving the roads less traveled. Springtime brings the emerald green hillsides and colorful wildflowers. In Fall, the hills turn a golden brown, and the leaves begin to show their colors.
Then there are the places we choose to visit. We begin at the historic waterfront in Monterey Bay. We make our way through the waterfronts of Monterey and Pacific Grove to the world famous 17-Mile Drive, a fitting start to our trip. No other expanse offers the combination of natural splendor and refined elegance of 17-Mile Drive through Pebble Beach as this road hugs the dramatic Pacific coastline.
Highway One takes us along the rugged cliffs and through the coastal forests of Big Sur, where we spend the night under the towering redwoods at the Glen Oaks Big Sur. Then we continue south as we roll past Hearst Castle and on to the charming coastal town of Cambria, loaded with quaint shops and award winning restaurants.
From Cambria, we head inland to the bountiful winery region of Paso Robles, where we will spend the night at the relaxing and historic Paso Robles Inn. The tour completes with one of our favorite rides through Paso Robles Wine Country.
The Big Sur region and Paso Robles Wine Country are truly grand spectacles of natural beauty, so it’s no surprise that it’s one of our favorite places to share with fellow cyclists.
My husband and I just completed a weekend bike tour with UDC tours cycling thru the Wine Country of Santa Ynez Valley and we loved it. It was our first guided tour and we choose UDC because they specialize in California and all the reviews we read, had nothing but positives to say about the experience. The tour was based in Solvang at The Hadsten House; which offered very nice and comfortable lodging along with a very much appreciated outdoor hot tub and indoor pool. We met our guides, Laura & Daryl, on Saturday where we, along with the other 5 cyclists in our group, were greeted with a backpack filled with cycling related "goodies", fitted with top-notch Scott bikes, personalized water bottles, and a meticulous route map with turn by turn directions. Both Laura & Daryl rode with us the first day to make sure we were acclimated to our bikes and the area. Over the next two days, either Laura or Daryl rode with our group while the other followed in the "sag wagon" to offer support as needed or to drive ahead and set-up a nice picnic lunch. Really fabulous riding over the weekend included pedaling along beautiful backroads past vineyards and farms, all while enjoying breathtaking views in Ballard and Foxen Canyon. Yes, those views provide a scenic distraction while climbing (ascending) the canyons and a beautiful "reward" while enjoying the downward descents! Each day of very satisfying cycling ended with a stop in town at the Bulldog Cafe to regroup and swap stories followed by a really nice dinner out with the whole group at two area restaurants in Solvang: Cecco's and Mirabelle's. UDC tours takes care of just about everything while you're on the tour; and truly, seems to put a lot of thought into ensuring that each rider has a successful and enjoyable experience, which includes the little things like having an ample supply of energy snacks "just in case" (which I ended up needing the first day out). Our guides were great, knowledgeable, very warm and friendly. The quality of the bikes is top notch and scenery hard to beat! We are considering booking another trip in California next Fall and would not hesitate to recommend UDC for anyone considering a bike tour.
TripAdvisor Review November 2013