Bike FAQs

What bikes do you carry? What bike type is best for me?

We carry both road bikes and hybrid bikes for any of our tours. Our road bikes are Jamis Renegade Explore - 2019 model year. Our hybrids are Trek FX3 - 2017 and 2019 model years.

We currently do not carry e-bikes, but that may change in the future.

For guided multi-day trips only, we can also potentially provide carbon road bikes sourced from a local bike shop for an additional cost - please inquire.

All bikes are equipped with rear racks to carry miscellaneous gear and/or hold panniers (on self guided tours).

 

Road Bike - Jamis Renegade Explore

Enjoy the comfort and stability of the Jamis Renegade Explore. While these bikes are still lightweight, they have sturdier rims and wider tires than most road bikes. They are actually a type of road bike called a "gravel bike." We have retrofitted them with 32c slick tires (instead of the 36c knobby tires they are sold with). 32c tires give a much more comfortable and stable ride compared to many road bikes that have skinnier tires (23c or 25c are traditional road bike tire widths). These bikes have a double chain ring in the front and the easiest gear ratio is F=34 R=34. They have mechanical disc brakes.

For those who may think wider tires like 32c are going to be slower than skinny tires like 23c, think again! This is a common myth. Here is a great article that discusses this.

Jamis Renegade Explore 2019 Specifications

 

Hybrid Bike - Trek FX3

The Trek FX3 also is quite comfortable and stable, and sports straight across moutain bike style handlebars for a more upright riding posture and forgiving gear ratios for getting up those hills! Tire widths are also 32c (same as on our Renegade Explore road bikes) but the FX3 also has a triple chain ring in the front with an easiest gear ratio of F=26 R=32. Brakes are traditional rim brakes.

Trek FX3 2017 Specifications

 

Which bike style is best for me?

We usually recommend you pick whichever style you are most used to riding. If you ride mostly hybrid bikes, mountain bikes or other bikes with upright style handlebars, you will most likely be most comfortable on our hybrid bikes. Our hybrid bikes typically have you in a more upright posture compared to a road bike while sitting on the bike. If you have some experience riding a road bike with drop racing style handlebars, you may enjoy the road bike more. Novice cyclists usually prefer the hybrid bikes.

 

What kind of pedals are on your bikes? Can I bring my own pedals?

We can put flat pedals or pedals with toe cages on the bike for your tour, or you can bring your own pedals. Due to cost and complexity we do not supply any clip-in pedal systems like Shimano SPD. If you are bringing your own pedals, we suggest trying to take them off your bike at home at least a few days before you travel as sometimes pedals can get stuck on crank arms and a visit to a bike shop may be necessary to get them off. We will have all the necessary tools to install your pedals on our bikes.

Can I upgrade to a full carbon bike?

Yes, but only for guided multi-day tours. We don't have full carbon bikes in our fleet, so we have to rent these from a local bike shop. Upgrades to full carbon bikes usually cost a minimum of $60 per bike per day and often more. Please contact us if you'd like us to look into a full carbon upgrade for you.

Do you offer just bike rentals?

No. All our bikes are for our trips, guided or self guided. We do not have a retail storefront for people to visit and rent equipment. For local rentals we suggest Wally's Bicycle Works. They have locations in San Luis Obispo and Avila Beach.

Do you sell just directions and/or maps for your bike tours?

No. Many people ask us about buying directions, maps and perhaps getting accommodations recommendations for bike trips down the coast. In cases like this we are happy to give some free advice over the phone, but we don't sell just information separately from taking one of our tours, guided or self guided.

For people planning a tour down the coast who don't need our bikes or excess luggage transport, we recommend buying "Bicycling the Pacific Coast" by Tom Kirkendall and Vicky Spring. It has detailed maps and directions for the entire Pacific Coast bike route. They route people a little differently than we do in certain situations and the information is a bit dated (last edition is 2005), but it will get you down the coast. The book also lists most of the campgrounds along the coast. The Adventure Cycling Association also puts out a good line of maps and information about cycling the Pacific Coast. They also route people a little differently than we do in certain stretches, but their infirmation will get you down the coast.

For hotel accommodations, we suggest picking towns to stay in and then looking up accommodations on a site such as TripAdvisor.

For emergency route support, look into USA Cycling Roadside Assistance Program or Better World Club.

On the bike tours through wine country, do some people get too drunk to ride?

It is not necessary to get inebriated when doing a bike tour that encompasses wine tasting. You don't have to stop at every winery you pass. It's best to pick just a few wineries and taste there. In a typical tasting scenario you end up drinking about one full glass of wine when you add up all the "tastes." When tasting it is perfectly appropriate to skip certain wines, use the spit bucket or "share" a tasting with your partner. It is also important to know that all the laws about driving in a vehicle after drinking apply equally to riding a bike after drinking. On our guided tours, if anyone does have a bit too much wine before the end of the ride, there is always the support vehicle available to shuttle in.

Why do your coast bike trips always go from north to south? Can I cycle from south to north?

We STRONGLY suggest cycling down the coast from north to south due to prevailing winds from the northwest. The pattern of prevailing northwest winds is stongest during the spring and summer months, but is still the most common wind direction in fall and winter as well. These winds can be VERY strong (especially in spring and early summer) and tend to peak in the afternoon.

While it is possible to cycle from south to north, you should be prepared for headwinds for pretty much the entire trip.

Do you have e-bikes?

Currently we do not have e-bikes in our fleet. We have had clients who have brought their own e-bikes on a tour. We have also made special arrangments for a larger group to rent e-bikes from another local provider of e-bikes for a (rather large) surcharge. These are special exceptions, though. We are currently looking into partnering with a bike shop here locally that may be able to provide e-bikes to our clients in a more cost effective way.

Is it safe for solo female travelers to do a self guided bike tour on the CA coast?

Every year several solo female travelers do self guided bike trips down the CA coast through our program and so far none have ever reported a problem or that they felt unsafe. The route is well traveled by cyclists and there are almost always other people about, especially in campgrounds, hostels or hotels. 
 

Is Highway One safe to cycle on? Especially on the Big Sur coast? SLO County coast?

Many people who have not actually cycled Highway One, especially on the Big Sur coast, will often tell you how dangerous it is and how anyone who cycles it is crazy. We disagree.

Although much of Highway One along the Big Sur coast has narrow to non-existent shoulders and traffic can feel heavy at times, it is no more or less dangerous than other rural two lane highways with variable shoulder widths and traffic volumes. Thousands of cyclists come down Highway One every year without incident. Most experienced cyclists who either cycle in or around urban areas or have experience in riding with traffic usually don't report any issues with traffic or shoulder width. Drivers of motor vehicles on the coastal route are also normally very courteous to cyclists (they see lots of cyclists!). However, novice cyclists or cyclists who have a low tolerance for traffic have sometimes commented that some stretches of Highway One seemed hectic to them. Summers, weekends and holiday times usually see the heaviest traffic.

On the SLO County coast portion of Highway One (from Ragged Point south), there are still some sections with little to no shoulders, but most of Highway One through SLO County actually has very wide shoulders. The only sections with little to no shoulders are close to Ragged Point. Once you get to the elephant seal colony about 10 miles south of Ragged Point, all the shoulders are very wide. On guided tours only, it is typically possible for cyclists who are very nervous about riding with traffic and little to no shoulders to shuttle over these stretches. Furthermore, on all of our guided day bike trips that start at Ragged Point (i.e. Bike: Pacific Coast Half Day and Bike: Pacific Coast Full Day), the shuttle at the start of the tour drives right along theses stretches of the route. Participants can look and see for themselves what conditions are like before deciding to take a shuttle over some stretches or cycling the full route.

As a solo cyclist, what are my options? Can I join a pre-existing group?

All our bike trips are custom designed and guaranteed private, so we can't add a solo cyclist to another group. As a solo cyclist you have a few options with us:

  1. Do a solo private guided tour.
  2. Do a solo self guided tour.
  3. Find a friend and do a private guided tour for two people.

We are a very small company and offer so many diferent tours that we found that coordinating itineraries and dates to try and get multiple booking parties on our bike tours was not working at all. We essentially never had more than one group that could go on the same dates and wanted the same itinerary. We also had little to no luck in coordinating adding people to trips once one booking party signed up. Therefore, we decided to make all trips private with just one booking party per trip. As for the options for solo cyclists, here are the details:

Solo Private Guided Tour

Very few people do this, but it is certainly possible. The main drawback is cost. We have to charge essentially the same rate as for two cyclists to make it feasible for us to do this. For multi-day trips, here is how our cost structure works... LEARN MORE

For day trips, we can do a solo tour, but we charge the same as if it were a tour for two people. 

Solo Self Guided Tour

This option is only available for multi-day tours. We have many solo cyclists do self guided tours with us. The pricing is much less than for a guided tour and you don't have to pay for a minimum of two people... LEARN MORE

Find a Friend

We do quite a few tours with just two people. Any and all of our bike tours are open to booking parties of two, but it would still be a private tour.

 

What kind of bike clothing will I need for your bike tours? Especially in winter?

The type of clothing/gear you will need depends on the time of year and length of the tour. For all bike tours, we include a list of recommended clothing and gear in the confirmation packet sent to you once you sign up for a tour. In general, for most of our bike tours during most of the year, highly specialized gear is not required. On day trips just athletic shorts and athletic shoes are usually fine. On multi-day trips you might be more comfortable with a pair of padded bike shorts. Some sort of a lightweight windbreaker jacket is always a good idea.

In winter on multi-day trips it is certainly possible that you may encounter rain and/or cooler weather, so it is best to be prepared for this, especially on a self guided tour where shuttling in the support vehicle during stormy weather is not an option.

Recommended Winter Bike Clothing:

  1. Waterproof/breathable jacket - must be BOTH waterproof and breathable
  2. Warmer insulating layer for your top - zip turtleneck artificial fiber or wool is the best
  3. Long fingered cycling gloves
  4. Leg tights
  5. Waterproof/breathable rain pants - must be BOTH waterproof and breathable
  6. Waterproof shoe covers

It may be difficult to buy these things where you live and bike shops at the start of your tour may or may not have all these items in stock in your size. REI is a good online source for these types of items and typically has quality items at lower prices. Gore Wear is really good stuff as well. 

 

 

Can I do your bike tours in winter? Even multi-day tours down the coast?

Yes! The Central Coast of California is actually a great year round destination and we see a fair amount of people doing tours with us even through the winter. In winter we do get rain and days in general tend to be cooler (but rarely below freezing). But we often get consecutive days or even weeks of really clear weather with temperatures that can be nice and warm during the day.

That being said, multi-day bike trips coming down the coast might see rain and we don't cancel/refund tours due to weather once the tour has started. Our standard cancel policies apply prior to the tour. Furthermore, any multi-day tours coming down the Big Sur coast in winter may be impacted by highway closures and/or possible landslides during very rainy weather. LEARN MORE...

For bike day trips in winter, we are not up on the Big Sur coast, so the potential closures there won't impact the tour. Furthermore, for day trips, we also allow you to cancel the day of the tour with a minimal ($15 per person) cancel fee if it is raining and you don't want to ride in the rain. We could also potentially reschedule a day tour (with no transfer fee or penalty), depending on availability.