Biking: Monterey to San Luis Obispo - Guided Multi-Day

Overview - Monterey to San Luis Obispo (SLO) Guided Bike Tour

If you only have time for a shorter bike tour down the California coast, the coastline from the Monterey Peninsula through the Big Sur area and down to SLO County plays like a highlight reel of the best elements of the coast. The first part of a Monterey to San Luis Obispo bike tour focuses on the hilly, but spectacular Big Sur coast, with its rugged coastline and towering redwoods. South of Big Sur, cycling through San Luis Obispo County offers a diverse palette of marine wildlife viewing, historic missions, sandy beaches and surfers plying the waves of the Pacific Ocean. Adding some time south of San Luis Obispo will bring you into the wine country of the Edna Valley.

***ALL CENTRAL COAST OUTDOORS BIKE TOURS ARE PRIVATE***

“Beautiful scenery, perfect weather, great company and food, and wonderful guides...what more could one want on a bike trip!”

Steve and Cindy Jacobs
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
 

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Suggested Itineraries

All of the itineraries below are flexible. Many can be done in fewer or more days. Layover days can be added along the way. All itineraries below feature the spectacular Big Sur coast.

**GET THE PROCESS STARTED - Submit a Custom Bike Tour Questionnaire.**

 

MONTEREY TO SLO - 4 DAYS

155 Total Miles / Daily Average = 39 miles / Daily Range = 22-49 miles

Itinerary

This is our most popular itinerary for this section of coast! The shorter Day Three to Cambria (22 miles) allows for a possible visit to Hearst Castle, extra inland riding, or just exploring delightful Cambria.

 

MONTEREY TO SLO - 3 DAYS

155 Total Miles / Daily Average = 52 miles / Daily Range = 45-61 miles

Itinerary

This is somewhat more aggressive itinerary that combines the two last days of the standard itinerary above into one longer last day from Ragged Point to SLO. It's also possible to stay in Cambria instead of Ragged Point, making for a longer Day Two (71 miles) and a shorter Day Three (39 miles)
 

 

MONTEREY TO SLO - 5 DAYS

155 Total Miles / Daily Average = 39 miles / Daily Range = 19-49 miles

Itinerary

This is more relaxed itinerary that breaks up the first day of the standard itinerary above into two shorter days. If traffic sensitivity is a potential issue, this itinerary does have the advantage of allowing you on Day Two to get on the Highway One section of the northern Big Sur coast first thing in the morning, when traffic volumes are usually less compared to later in the day.

 

CARMEL TO SLO - 4 DAYS

136 Total Miles / Daily Average = 34 miles / Daily Range = 26-49 miles

Itinerary

This itinerary is very similar to the standard Monterey to SLO itinerary, except it starts in Carmel instead of Monterey. You will not cycle on 17 Mile Drive on this itinerary, but the first day is a more relaxed 26 miles. If traffic sensitivity is a potential issue, this itinerary does have the advantage of allowing you on Day One to get on the Highway One section of the northern Big Sur coast first thing in the morning, when traffic volumes are usually less compared to later in the day.

 

CARMEL TO CAMBRIA - 3 DAYS

97 Total Miles / Daily Average = 32 miles / Daily Range = 22-49 miles

Itinerary

This is a great itinerary for riders who want to concentrate on the spectacular coastal Highway One sections of the Big Sur coast and the northern SLO County coast.

 

MONTEREY TO PISMO BEACH - 3 DAYS

168 Total Miles / Daily Average = 56 miles / Daily Range = 45-71 miles

Itinerary

This is a more aggressive itinerary that cycles a bit past SLO on the last day for more beach time in Pismo Beach. You could also end the tour in Avila Beach instead of Pismo Beach - about the same mileage in the last day. It's also very easy to make this a 4 day itinerary by splitting Day Two into 2 days (staying at Ragged Point along the way).

 

Pricing/Booking

We have three levels of service and pricing for our guided bike tours. The pricing on our most popular levels is a base daily rate for the whole group based on size of support vehicle needed multiplied by number of days for the tour plus added cost for providing bikes and/or lunch. You typically book your own accommodations (we provide recommendations) and are responsible for all or most of your meals (we also provide recommendations). We can also do fully inclusive tours. Please click on the links below (or just call us!) to read more about our different service levels and to see what daily rates might be like for your tour.

Summary of Levels of Service

We also offer Self Guided Multi-Day bike tours down the coast and in wine country.

Custom Bike Tour Questionnaire (Start the booking process)

Once you've reviewed itinerary options and have an idea of a level of service you'd like, the best way to start the process of booking a tour and getting a firm price quote for your group and itinerary is to fill out the Custom Bike Tour Questionnaire. You can always give us a call at 805.528.1080 as well. Remember - all our bike tours are private! But we think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the modest cost of a private bike tour with us.

 

Cost and Availability of Accommodations

Most of the groups that do guided multi-day bike tours with us book their own accommodations based on our recommendations. The cost and availability of accommodations can vary considerably and are influenced by location, high season vs. low season rates, and weekend vs. weekday rates. The best way to get a sense for what accommodations for your tour might cost is to first choose a specific itinerary and dates and ask us to email you our lists of recommended accommodations for each stop along the way. Then you can check availability and rates for your specific dates. Most budget hotel accommodations are in the $70-150 per night range. Mid range accommodations are typically between $150-300 per night. High end accommodations can cost much more than that. Some places, especially along the Big Sur coast, may sell out months in advance during the busy summer season or other holiday times, and/or may require two nights stays on certain busy weekends. The farther in advance you plan your bike tour, the better chance you have to get the accommodations you want at each stop along the way. Virtually all accommodations we recommend have websites where you can check availability and book rooms.

 

Traffic, Road Conditions and Terrain

Traffic along the Monterey to San Luis Obispo via Big Sur bike tour route is highly variable. Some stretches are on remote roads that have little to no traffic. Much of the cycling route is on Highway One, which has differing traffic volumes on different portions. Highway One also has highly variable shoulders with some stretches (especially through Big Sur coast) that have little to no shoulder. Summer tends to see the heaviest traffic on Highway One. Inexperienced cyclists or cyclists who have a low tolerance for riding with traffic have commented that the busier sections of Highway One during summer seemed hectic to them. More experienced cyclists seem less impacted by the traffic on Highway One. However, motorists are used to seeing lots of cyclists along the route and are normally courteous. Cyclists doing the Monterey to SLO bike tour should be comfortable riding with traffic for portions of the tour.

The terrain for the Monterey to San Luis Obispo via Big Sur bike tour route is also highly variable. Most days will have some combination of relatively level riding and some hill climbing. Most of the sustained climbs (i.e. 1/2 mile or longer) are of moderate steepness (5-8%) and there are no sustained climbs that average over 10%. The hilliest section for cyclists doing the Monterey to SLO bike tour is the 75 miles of Big Sur coast between Carmel and Ragged Point. There is very little level riding on this stretch of coast and the vast majority of the route is either climbing or descending. There are two climbs on the Big Sur coast that are just over 2 miles long and gain almost 1000 feet. Each day of the Monterey to San Luis Obispo via Big Sur bike tour itinerary has the elevation gain and loss (in feet) listed. Cyclists contemplating doing the Monterey to SLO bike tour should be comfortable with riding hilly terrain.

 

Overview Map

 

Start and End Transportation

Monterey Peninsula

The Monterey Regional Airport (MRY) is very close to Monterey and is served by several major airlines. There are flights to Monterey from San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Denver. The nearest major airport to Monterey is San Jose (SJC). Monterey Airbus picks up at the San Jose airport (SJC) and drops off in downtown Monterey. Shuttle time is usually 1.5 hours. If you are flying into San Francisco (SFO), Monterey Airbus also picks up there and drops off in downtown Monterey. Shuttle time is usually 2-2.5 hours.

While it is possible take Amtrak to Monterey, the Amtrak route to Monterey usually involves a transfer to a bus in nearby Salinas.

If you are coming from southern California to Monterey before the bike tour, we can often offer a complimentary shuttle from SLO to Monterey the day the tour starts. It is often easier and cheaper to get to SLO from Los Angeles or Santa Barbara via Amtrak than it is to fly or take Amtrak from either Los Angeles or Santa Barbara to Monterey.

San Luis Obispo Area

Similar to Monterey, San Luis Obispo has a regional airport (SBP) quite near town, although it is smaller and currently served by only two airlines (United and US Air). There are non-stop flights to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Phoenix. San Luis Obispo is also well served by Amtrak and has several trains/buses per day north toward the San Francisco Bay Area south toward Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. Many people assume you can rent a car in most of the towns in SLO County, but this is not the case. There are no places to rent cars along the northern SLO County coast (i.e. Cambria, Cayucos, Morro Bay) until you get to the town of SLO itself, where most major national car rental companies are represented.

 

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