KAV is proud to introduce you to all the wonderful cycling spots in the USA. The nation offers different types of terrain and a wide range of races, so naturally, there’s a ton of ground to cover. This is why we’re going to be providing all this information in a blog post series!
We're going to talk about a different state in each article, and we're kicking things off with the most popular destination for southwest cycling. In our opinion, it's the best state for cycling: California! Although we're biased (it’s our home state, after all), California is a real hotspot for cyclists. Many professional riders and amateurs will come from all over the world to train in the off-season. Plus, there's sunshine, smooth roads, stunning climbs, and the best burritos for that post-ride refueling.
General Riding and Geography of California
In California, when it comes to terrain, climbs, and climate, you’ll definitely experience variety. You can bike along rivers, next to the mountains, and through valleys, or you can bike right beside the cool ocean breeze. Because of the varying landscape across the state, there is always an opportunity to try a new event or discover a new route. There's a different sort of ride for every day of the week!
Key Events and Races in California
No doubt, competitive cyclists should absolutely register for at least one event in California in their lifetime. First, we have to mention The Tour of California, which is sadly no more. This was the biggest professional WorldTour bike race in the USA and covered some classic routes and climbs.
Though the event has ended, there are plenty more that you can participate in, and we’re listing a few of our favorites below.
The Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) in San Diego County, California
The Grasshopper Adventure Series in northern California
The Bovine Classic near San Luis Obispo, California
Ride Santa Barbara 100 in Santa Barbara, California
LifeTime Sea Otter Classic in northern California
Tour de Big Bear in Big Bear near San Bernardino, California
The Best Places to Bike in California
Besides events, you’re also probably curious about where you should bike. Below, we’re sharing what we believe are the most famous and most ridden routes in the state.
If you don’t mind high elevation, take the day and head out to Santa Rosa. Breathtaking views of Sonoma County can be found during the King Ridge climb. Cyclists commonly mention that the loop is challenging, so you’ll need to properly train before taking on this route.
If you’ve got a few hours to explore around Malibu, you have to take your bike out to play. Latigo Canyon provides almost 60 miles of interesting terrain and unbelievable sights, including a glimpse at the Pacific Ocean. The climb up truly keeps things fun, so you won’t be thinking about your aching legs or the miles you have left. Your mind will be busy taking in the views and considering the best rest stops for some photos!
Experience 50 miles of climbs and descents through the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Along the way, you’ll even catch some amazing ocean views. Keep in mind that the majority of terrain is paved surfaces, but this doesn’t mean you’ll be in for an easy ride. You’ll need to prepare for this rewarding adventure.
If you find yourself in NorCal, you’ll need to try this route. Because you’re near a few different preservation areas, your cycling landscape features plenty of redwood trees. Plus, you’ll likely come across some charming places where you can grab a bite along your journey. Fun fact: we named our helmet after this climb!
When you cycle in this area, you’re in a little slice of paradise. Your journey starts on Highway 1, then, you descend down winding roads through the gorgeous canyon. Which, by the way, is not named after the fish, but rather, prickly pear fruits! If you decide to embark on this route, remember to be careful when navigating around heavy traffic.
Like we mentioned, these are just a few of the many roads and trails you can embark on within the state. All in all, from the energizing events to the sweet sights, cycling in California can be an unforgettable experience. Don’t forget to periodically check back on our blog, as we’ll be crafting guides for cycling in other states across the country.