Cycling the California Coast


This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

Sharing is caring!

From the Redwood of the Avenue of the Giants I made my way to the coast, to Highway 1 via a couple of rather enduring passes. It was only a very short distance from camp that I clocked up 10000km of travel by bicycle for this trip. It was on a rather non nondescript section of road, it was neither scenic nor memorable. The passes arrived shortly afterwards. I was kept company on the climbs by Cam, a fellow cyclist I met the night before at Richardson Grove State Park. He was a strong climber and I enjoyed keeping pace with him.

The climbs were consistent 7%-10% grades that reached several hundred meters in altitude before descending at speed to the coast. At the top of the first climb we met the Canadian Quad bike, with four riders, it’s a hard climb for them with all the weight. At the 70km mark, my legs were done. It took copious amounts of sugar drinks at the first available grocery store to get them even remotely working again. Energy, gone.

10000km of travel by bicycle
Random spot on the side of the road where I clocked up 10000km
Bicycle touring steep roads near the california coast
One of the climbs from the Redwoods to the California Coast
Descending with Cam and the Canadians on the Quad Bike
Descending with Cam and the Canadians on the Quad Bike
fast descent on California coast
Fast descents on the way to the coast
cycling the california coast
Cam, Sabrina and Robert with myself as we hit the California coast and travel on the Shoreline Hwy, also known as Highway 1
drafting while cycling the california coast
The bike train

Some of the best coastal cycling I have done on this trip was the small section between the towns of Fort Ross and Bodega Bay. The road hugs the steep coastline and rises above the ocean for great views out to see and along the coast. It was difficult for me to rush this section as I stopped on numerous occasions to take photos and take in the vistas. I was again blessed by the weather on this day, but rain was in the forecast as I approached the metropolis of San Francisco.

rocky coastline
California Coast
small village
Lunch break at a small village
cycling the california coast steep descent
Some of the steep switchbacks
bicycle touring the california coast
Doesn’t get much better than this
The road hugs the coast on highway 101
or this, the road hugs the coast
steep descent
the descents are stunning
bicycle touring the rugged coast
then more climbs to more great views
Coastline near Bodega Bay
Coastline near Bodega Bay

There was rain overnight at Bodega Bay and I was in no rush to get out of the tent till it subsided which occurred around 11am. I made my way into town to find a laundromat to remedy the somewhat putrid smell emanating from my sweat encrusted clothing. It was late in the afternoon when I was finally cleaned, fed and watered and ready to hit the road.

The early morning rain turned to a warm afternoon, so when I reached a small somewhat Mexican dominated town of Tomales I stopped for an Ice Cream and found the Canadian Quad Bike and Basia and Henry.

We’ve all been bumping into each other for the last week or so at various camps and random places on the side of the road. Soon after while traveling alongside the San Andreas fault line the Quad Bike had problems with loose spokes and a wobbly wheel.

With 4 riders on 2 wheels that’s a lot of wait, I helped them true the wheel and off we all went again to the last camp before San Francisco, Samuel P Taylor campground.

I spent 2 nights at the campground as I wanted to visit and learn a little about the San Andreas fault line that runs through the area. I visited an area where the earth moved about 5 meters to the northwest during the earthquake of 1906 and spent an otherwise relaxing afternoon before hitting the metropolis that is San Francisco.

Quad bikes wheel fixed and ready to head back on the road
Quad bikes wheel fixed and ready to head back on the road
The earth moved 5 meters during this earthquake, separating the fence!
The earth moved 5 meters during this earthquake, separating the fence!

Richardson Grove Camp to MacKerricher Beach Camp = 92km

MacKerricher Beach Camp to Manchester Camp = 70km

Manchester Camp to Bodega Dunes Camp = 111km

Bodega Dunes to Samuel P Taylor Camp = 71km

Day ride around Port Reyes area = 28km

Next : The Streets of San Francisco

Bicycle Touring and Bikepacking Pages might like:
Bicycle Touring Gear List
Bicycle Touring Spares and Tool Kit
Cycling from Alaska to Argentina

Where to buy all the best gear for Bicycle Touring and Bikepacking:
 |  |Amazon || 
|  | | | MEC Canada -Bicycle Touring Gear |

Sharing is caring!

Photo of author
About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Chile.

Download the Ultralight Hiking Gear List

Add your name and email to download the Ultralight Hiking Gear List

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

6 thoughts on “Cycling the California Coast”

  1. Geeze! That’s one heck of a trek. I don’t know if this is something typically done, but have you weighed your bike? I’d be interested in knowing how heavy your bike with all your equipment weighs! That one pass uphill, I believe photo number three, looks brutal!

    Keep pedaling strong! Cheers,



Leave a Comment