Santa Barbara in sunset

Cycling the California Coast

6 days
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Cycling california's central coast

Escape the concrete jungle with a 6-day tour of California’s central coast. With diverse landscapes ranging from sandy beaches of the Pacific Coast Highway to the rolling vine covered hillsides of wine country, California’s Central Coast is home to some of the premier cycling terrain in the world. It has also served as the backdrop to 4 years of the Tour of California in the past decade, as well as annual spring training for the Tour de France. With the flexibility of multiple route options available to all skill levels, and the assistance of our cycling guide, make this the active vacation experience you’ve been dreaming of.


  • Point to point rides with specialist cycling guide
  • Cycle part of the infamous Pacific Coast Highway
  • Explore, incredible canyons, idyllic coastal towns and winding valleys
  • Enjoy a Santa Maria style barbecue in the “West’s Best BBQ Town”


Key information

  • 5 hotel nights
  • 6 days cycling
  • Reasonable fitness required
  • Specialized Diverge bike

What's included

  • 5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Flights
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.


San Luis Obispo
  • Day 1

    Ventura to Ojai

    Starting point and meeting time: 10 am at the Crowne Plaza Ventura Beach, Ventura

    Today’s route will take us from the beautiful Pacific Coast through some of Central California’s most verdant farm lands near the town of Santa Paula. Along the way we’ll cycle through citrus orchards and local vineyards before beginning the climb into the Ojai Valley and ending in the quaint town of Ojai. Tucked away in a valley in the Topatopa Mountains you’ll be free to spend the night discovering the city’s village-like center dotted with art galleries and new age shops.

    Main route: Via Santa Paula
    Distance: 32 miles (51km)
    Elevation gain: 704m

    Bonus Miles: Hwy 33 to Rose Valley Summit
    Distance: As many as 33 miles (53km)
    Elevation gain: As much as 925m

    Today’s bonus miles route will take you from Ojai and up the Maricopa Highway - as far as you care to ride. The Maricopa Hwy from Ojai to Rose Valley Summit is a locals’ favorite climbing route and, if ridden all the way to the summit will total more than 30 miles and 3000 feet of climbing. However, the quiet country road feel of this ride is appealing even if you choose not to ride all the way to the summit.

    Accommodation: The Capri Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Lunch Dinner
  • Day 2

    Ojai to Santa Barbara

    Todays ride will take you through the Los Padres National Forest, and away from Ojai. Enjoy pastoral views, and the textbook beauty of California’s rolling hills. Climb to the 2 Lake Casitas summit, and enjoy the vista before gliding down to the Pacific Coast Highway, and Santa Barbara coast.

    Main route: via Lake Casitas and Carpinteria
    Distance: 37 miles (59km)
    Elevation gain: 712m

    Burner Route: via Laguna Ridge (gravel grind) and Carpinteria
    Distance: 38 miles (61km)
    Elevation gain: 789m

    Choose to ride the Burner route which adds virtually no miles and has less overall climbing than the main route. However, much of the climbing will come by way of an unrelenting 7 mile climb on the Laguna Ridge Gravel Road before meeting back up with the main route at the bottom of Casitas Pass. Though parts of this route are quite steep and, the condition of the road is largely dependent on recent weather, the solitude and the views are worth the effort for those up to the challenge. There will be no vehicular support available on the gravel part of this route.

    Bonus Miles: via Isla Vista and Goleta Beach County Park
    Distance: 2.1 miles (34km)
    Elevation gain: 297m

    Enjoy the afternoon to soak up the sun on one of Santa Barbara’s amazing beaches, or push yourself to take in a bit more of the coast by cycle, as you head north on a loop to Isla Vista. Celebrate the success of the days ride with your fellow cyclists, and support staff with an included dinner downtown.

    Accommodation: Castillo Inn at the Beach or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Santa Barbara to Solvang

    Leaving the coast behind, you’ll head deep into the heart of Santa Barbara Wine Country. Start the morning with a climb to the top of San Marcos Pass and into the Santa Ynez Valley. Those that choose the Burner Route will attack one of Southern California’s most notorious rides on Gibraltar Mountain Road- a 9 mile climb through Rattlesnake Canyon that will reward you with spectacular vistas. Regardless of the route you choose you’ll be rewarded yourself with an included lunch at the historic Cold Creek Tavern.

    Main route: via San Marcos Pass and Cachuma Lake
    Distance: 37.5 miles (60km)
    Elevation gain: 1153m

    Burner route: Via Gibraltar Mountain and, El Camino Cielo and Cahcuma Lake
    Distance: 45 miles (72km)
    Elevation gain: 1687m

    Accommodation: Wine Valley Inn or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 4

    Solvang to Lompoc

    In recent years, Solvang has become a cycling mecca, utilized as the main race location on the Tour of California (07-09, 11) as well as a spring training hub for Tour de France. Explore the area with a ride down the renowned Santa Rosa Rd, bringing you through winding valleys, and mountains towards the city of Lompoc. Upon arriving in Lompoc, you’ll have the flexibility to complete the loop on cycle back to Solvang, or join the support staff for a ride by shuttle. Kick back, and relax upon your return with an included massage and spa entrance.

    Main route: Solvang to Lompoc One Way
    Distance: 23 miles (37km)
    Elevation gain: 256m

    Burner route: via Happy Valley and Figueroa Mountain
    Distance: 46 miles (74km)
    Elevation gain: 1608m

    Bonus miles: Solvang to Lompoc Loop
    Distance: 43 miles
    Elevation gain: 256m

    Accommodation: Wine Valley Inn or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Solvang to Santa Maria

    On today’s ride you’ll follow the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, finding yourself surrounded by vineyards, and more of the quintessential California hills and countryside. Stop in for a supported nutrition stop at River Bench Winery for a taste of their stellar Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir before continuing on to your final destination for the night. Santa Maria is renowned not only for its importance in the wine industry, but also for its succulent Santa Maria style barbecue, and has been called “The West’s Best BBQ Town,” by Sunset Magazine. Eat to your hearts (and stomachs) content with an included dinner as you prepare for your final day.

    Main route: via Foxen Canyon Road
    Distance: 42.5 miles (68km)
    Elevation gain: 510m

    Burner route: via Foxen Canyon Road, Tepusquet Rd. and Cuyama Hwy.
    Distance: 49.5 miles (80km)
    Elevation gain: 1210m

    Accommodation: Santa Maria Inn or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 6

    Santa Maria to San Luis Obispo

    Congratulations! You’ve now ridden almost half way from Los Angeles to San Francisco, as you finish today’s final ride in the city of San Luis Obispo, one of California’s oldest communities. Spend an extra night to explore SLO, as an opportunity to relax, and reflect on your successful journey into California’s Central Coast.

    Main route: via Pismo Beach
    Distance: 35 miles (56km)
    Elevation gain: 306m

    Your tour will end after the included lunch on Friday, which will be around 2pm. At this time, your support staff will be able to take you to the Finishing point hotel in case you have booked additional nights after the trip or other onward travel plans, or to the local Amtrak Station.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

For anyone leaving from the UK we would be pleased to book your flight in conjunction with your tour. Please contact us for competitive prices on flights departing from most UK airports.

If you are booking your own flights, you are free to arrive at any time on day one but it is advisable that you arrive in plenty of time to reach your joining hotel and attend your welcome meeting. We also suggest that you book your return flight the day after your tour finishes. If you  have to return home on the day your tour finishes, please make sure that your flight does not depart before 21:00 hrs.

Please note that we cannot be held responsible for any delays, cancellations, changes to your flights, or any missed flights. We are unable to delay a tour, or finish a tour early due to your flight times.


United States

British, New Zealand, Swiss and most EU passport holders do not need a visa (and enter the country under the Visa Waiver Program), provided they are in possession of an onward air ticket when entering the USA. Visas for the USA are required by some nationalities and it is always best to check with the relevant embassies. All passengers travelling to and from the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are required to hold a machine-readable passport (MRP). A MRP has the holder's personal details, e.g. name, date of birth, nationality and their passport number contained in two lines of text at the base of the photo page. This text may be read by machine. The US now charges $14 for the visa waiver program and must be paid by credit card. The US authorities have introduced a mandatory requirement for all passengers travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme to register for an Electronic Travel Authority. As of 21 January 2016, any person who has travelled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria since March 2011, or have dual nationalities of these countries, may no longer qualify for the VWP. For additional specifics about the VWP please consult the VWP information on the U.S. Embassy London website. More information and all necessary Internet links can be found at


United States

There are no mandatory vaccinations required for this trip.

Eating and Drinking

5 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 2 dinners, drinks/snacks on rides’ and supported nutrition stops

On this tour, you will typically eat out in local restaurants. To help you budget for your meals on average lunches can cost from US12-15 and dinners from US$25-35; this does not include alcoholic beverages. Wine costs approximately US$7 per glass and beer US$5-6 per pint. Please also be aware that a tip of approximately 15%-17% is added to group meals in North American restaurants. Applicable taxes will also be added to all listed menu prices.

Your tour leader may offer your group the option to operate a ‘lunch only’ food kitty, this has proven to be a popular alternative to three daily restaurant meals. Leaders will explain this option while on your tour, and the whole group will have to agree for this system to run.

Please make sure we are aware of any special meal requirements before travelling. We will do all we can to accommodate for various dietary requirements but in certain parts of North America certain food types can be limited.


Is this trip for you?

This tour is operated in partnership with our sister company Grand American Adventures. As such the departures are not exclusive to Exodus and groups may be a mixture of Exodus, Grand American Adventures, and other clients. This trip is booked through Exodus and you will receive the same award winning customer service that you are used to. Grand American Adventures operate with the same core principles used by Exodus and champion the benefits of small group travel.

You’ll get the opportunity to ride with a specialist cycling guide on routes carefully crafted to showcase the very best of California’s biking scene. That being said, we also offer a lot of flexibility for you to ride at your own pace and to choose your preferred route each day. As a state renowned for generous wine lands, gentle mountains and a glistening pacific coast shoreline, this tour focuses on the foundations of the sport, and experiencing the thrill of the open road on two wheels. We use top-of-the-range 2018 Specialized Diverge Comp bikes and equipment that are perfectly suited to the diverse terrain of California’s familiar and unfamiliar landscapes. Point to point rides not only allow you to get a truly unique sense of adventure, but they also take you into the lesser known parts of California whether you take the main route or the burner route. You’ll be able to engage with local communities and encounter legacies of the Tour of California, among other routes that make these areas a hot spot for cycle enthusiasts the world over. We provide you with a group support vehicle, riding jersey and your own water bottle, with a support staff member to assist with repairs, hydration and nutritional boosts to keep you going.

This active tour is suitable for people of most levels of experience and fitness. It is recommended to engage in some physical preparation and cycling for this trip. Our cycling tours are as much about the sport as they are about the destination. Aside from our dedicated daily routes, we also provide the option of burner routes and bonus miles and with our provided Garmin Edge 1000, you have the flexibility to take it as slow as you like or aim to really challenge yourself.

Although this tour follows an itinerary, there is a certain amount of flexibility and from time to time your tour leader may suggest changes. This may be due to road conditions, weather or a visit to a special attraction or event that happens to be in progress. Flexibility is key and often a side diversion will be a highlight of the tour.


There are opportunities for optional activities during your tour. Your tour leader will organise these on your behalf and you will pay locally in cash. You’ll find the main optional activities listed above under each itinerary day description, along with guideline prices. It may not be possible to do all optional activities listed on each tour.


The Specialized Diverge is the perfect bike for balancing long days on the road and in the saddle with days off the road- or on the too often poorly maintained country roads. Not quite a cross bike and not completely a road bike the Diverge is the perfect bike for this tour. With clearance for up to 42 mm tires and a Future Shock that’s geared specifically to riding smoothly over harsh terrain.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.



Hotel accommodation will be in clean, comfortable hotels or lodges with en-suite bathroom facilities, chosen for their friendly atmosphere and proximity to the highlights of the region. You will be roomed with a fellow passenger of the same sex on a twin share basis (two people per room) unless you are travelling as a couple. The name of the accommodation you are to stay in is listed under each day. Although this is subject to change we endeavor to provide the accommodation listed as closely as possible.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.


What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.


2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.


3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.


 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 


Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on 020 8772 3936