Santa Rosa Creek Road

Distance: 26 miles out and back Elevation gain: 1820 ft This ride climbs out of Cambria (pronounced both “KAMM bree uh” and “KAYM bree uh” by the locals), one of those amazing little enclaves of culture and fine dining (and Internet-based bicycle supply stores—yes, it’s that Cambria) that somehow manages to get established far from […]

Santa Rita Road/Cypress Mountain Road

Distance: 45.5-mile loop Elevation gain: 4860 ft This ride has a lot of dirt—the only largely dirt ride in Bestrides.  I don’t do dirt, and my bike wasn’t made for dirt, but this is doable dirt as long as you have 25 mm tires, and the pleasures of the route make the dirt worth enduring.   […]

Prefumo Canyon Road/See Canyon Road

Distance: 25 miles out and backElevation gain: 2910 ft (A Best of the Best ride) I’m delighted to add this ride to Bestrides for two reasons, beyond the obvious one that it’s great: a) it’s in an “under-represented” area of California—San Luis Obispo had no rides in Bestrides before this (there are now two, this […]

Tin Barn Road/Annapolis Road

Distance: 38-mile loop Elevation gain: 4845 ft This is the loop ride directly to the north of the King Ridge ride—in fact the two routes share a few miles—so the question arises, how are they different, and which one should you ride?   They’re very similar.  They’re both great rides and serious efforts with much climbing.  […]

Mt. Veeder Road

Distance: 21 miles out and back Elevation gain: 2440 ft I love this road.  It’s loaded with character, and will charm you, I promise.   It’s pretty easy, given the stated elevation gain, and it’s paralleled by a much more car-friendly road, Dry Creek Road (more on that later), that goes to the same place, so it’s […]

Jalama Road

Distance:  28 miles out and back Elevation gain: 2150 ft There’s a whole genre of literature that testifies to Man’s need to make for the sea occasionally.  Amen to that.  Especially on a bike.  Not ride along the sea—head straight for it.  Here’s a ride that does that in classic fashion. This is not a life-changing […]

Mt. Figueroa

Distance: 40-mile loop Elevation gain: 3990 (A Best of the Best ride) Our Southern California ride list has three rides that are all big, chest-thumping rides up a mighty mountain: Mt. Figueroa, Gibraltar Road, and Glendora Ridge.  Of the three, Figueroa is the prettiest, by a long shot.  All three are detailed in toughascent.com, and […]

Peachy Canyon Road

Distance: 21 miles out and back Elevation gain: 1680 ft A Best of the Best descent This, the most aptly named ride in our list, is the peachiest climb in the Paso Robles (pronounced “PASS-o ROH-bulls,” called just “Paso” by locals) area, a region of good riding among hilly vineyards.  It’s a lot like the […]

King’s Ridge

Distance: 49-mile lollipop Elevation gain: 3920 ft (A Best of the Best ride) This ride is legendary.  It’s the cornerstone of Levi Leipheimer’s King’s Ridge Gran Fondo, a ride that includes, in addition to most of this loop, our Coleman Valley Road ride, plus about 30 miles of very nice rolling farm and forest land riding […]

Rides By Region

Where’s Washington? Readers often ask me why Bestrides doesn’t cover Washington state.  The answer is, I don’t think the riding is good enough.   I’ve done a fair amount of riding there, and it’s often nice, but it can’t match the two states below it.  Sorry, Washingtonians. I know of five Washington rides that are worth […]