San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club
Are you hungry for easy miles? Here's a bike ride that will score you a hundred miles and have you home in time for lunch. It's all within our county and it's flat. In fact, if you want to make the ride easier and save some weight, you can take your small chainring off and leave it at home. You won't need it for this ride.
Start at Mission Plaza in San Luis Obispo (Since the route is a figure eight, you can start at any convenient point). Ride south on Monterey one block, turn left on Broad Street, then right on Higuera and follow it out of town to Vachell.
The good: Bike lane on most of the length of Higuera.
The bad: City traffic-pretend that drivers can't see you and give yourself plenty of room.
Left on Vachell-follow it as it turns east and becomes Buckley Road and joins Highway 227 just past the airport.
The good: Painted shoulder on Buckley.
The bad: High speed traffic.
Right on 227 and to Biddle Ranch Road. Turn left to Orcutt Road, then right on Orcutt to Lopez Lake Drive.
The good: Class 2 bike lane in places; traffic diminishes after you leave Hwy 227.
The bad: No shoulder in some places.
Left on Lopez Lake Drive and ride to the park entrance at the lake.
The good: Rest rooms at Biddle Park (the famous "piddle at Biddle") and at the entrance to Lake Lopez.
The bad: Climbing the dam without a small chainring. Stand up and tough it out.
Turn around at the lake and ride south on Lopez Lake Drive to Cecchetti Road. Turn left, ride to the tee, right on Branch Mill, left on School, left on Huasna Road. Ride out Huasna to Charlotte Loomis Road at the bottom of the climb to Huasna Valley. Turn around here and return to Branch Mill Road.
The good: Great scenery, pastoral setting with little traffic.
The bad: No shoulder, fast cars. Be aware that not everyone who drives on Huasna Road loves bicyclists. Stay as far right as possible, do not cut corners and respect motorists' right to drive unimpeded by slow-moving bicycles in the driving lane.
Turn left on Branch Mill and follow it to Cherry. Left on Cherry, right on Traffic Way, right on Bridge Street, right on Branch. Take a break at the Branch Street Deli.
The good: Little traffic on Branch Mill.
The bad: Lots of traffic in Arroyo Grande.
From the Deli, right on Branch, left on Bridge, left on Traffic, then right on Fair Oaks Avenue. Just past the high school, turn left on Valley Road and follow it to Highway 1.
The good: Cool ocean breezes as you approach Halcyon.
The bad: The breezes usually blow in your face when you ride westbound; agriculture operations tend to litter the bike lane with dirt and sand.
Ride west on Highway 1 through Halcyon, Oceano, Grover Beach and Pismo.
The good: Riding along the ocean on broad shoulders; Marie Callender's monthly pie specials.
The bad: Lots of vehicle traffic
Turn right on Mattie Road, under the freeway, and follow it past McLintocks until it joins Shell Beach Road. Continue on Shell Beach to Avila Beach Road, turn left and ride to the end of the road at Port San Luis.
The good: Light traffic, great views of San Luis Obispo Bay.
The bad: Narrow riding lanes.
Take a break at Fat Cats. Then turn back and take a left at the golf course opposite Avila Beach onto the Bob Jones Bike Trail. Follow the bike trail to Ontario Road. Turn left and follow Ontario until it connects to South Higuera. Left on Higuera and ride into town to Marsh Street.
The good: Beautiful bike trail.
The bad: Watch out for walkers, strollers, runners and dogs.
Right on Marsh to Santa Rosa (Highway 1), left to Morro Bay.
The good: It's exhilarating to ride in downtown traffic.
The bad: Watch out for drivers making strange moves on Marsh, particularly around the post office.
Ride west on Highway 1 to Morro Bay Blvd. Continue to Main Street. Left on Main and ride through Morro Bay State Park to South Bay Blvd.
The good: Wide riding shoulder on the freeway; great views of the estuary in Morro Bay.
The bad: High speed traffic on the freeway; perennial head wind.
Right on South Bay and ride through Los Osos to Los Osos Valley Road. Left on Foothill into town, right on Chorro back to Mission Plaza.
The good: Wide riding shoulders; perennial tailwind.
The bad: Lots of stop signs on Chorro.
If this is not enough, double your mileage by continuing up Highway 1 past Morro Bay to Piedras Blancas and back. It's still flat (well, a couple of hills at Harmony and Cambria) and you can be home in time for supper.
You can email Robert Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org