Our guest blogger, Monica Busby, otherwise known as the Cycling CEO, explored the Central Coast for the first time to experience the best of lodging, eateries, and of course, cycling routes. Exploring every cyclable location in the world is her goal, and she knew Avila Beach in the Central Coast was the perfect place to start. Monica had a blast not just riding our routes, but also experiencing what Avila Beach has to offer any visitor. Continue reading to learn more about Monica’s time on the coast and get some ideas on how to pick your perfect paradise in Avila Beach.
An Epic Five-Day Cycling Getaway To The Central Coast of California
This year, experiencing local and regional cycling getaways has become a new way to holiday. I am so blessed to live in California, one of America’s most sought-after cycling destinations. Recently, I went to central California’s Avila Beach and San Simeon with a taste of Big Sur! My 5-day cycling itinerary will be a perfect trip if you love adventure, challenging routes, coastal views, and pampered post-ride activities.
Central Coast Cycling
When people think of short multi-day cycling getaways in California, it’s easy to point towards Northern or Southern California for its robust cycling culture and infrastructure. However, Avila Beach, a small town of approximately 1,600 residents in Central California, offers a unique experience. This welcoming paradise boasts natural, mineral hot springs, world-class spas, yoga enlightenment, excellent local wines, and amenity-rich accommodations. Now, add gorgeous bike trails merging with coastal bike lanes; you have the perfect combination!
San Simeon to Big Sur dives you deeper into coastal territory right off the famous Pacific Coast Highway 1. Mountains descend into picturesque blue oceans where rocky, untouched beaches provide a home to the 2nd largest seals in the world, the northern elephant seals. I rode on the edge of cliffs on much of the route that I dubbed “Cliff Cycling”! It offers breathtaking views that San Simeon and Big Sur are legendary for.
DAY 1 / Arrival – Avila Beach, CA
Start your cycling getaway with a stay at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa. Check in no sooner than 2 p.m., but if you arrive earlier, they do give access to their outdoor amenities while you wait. Can I tell you how impressed I am with this place? Its peaceful ambiance encourages an enhanced sense of well-being, healthy living, and centered inner-self. I absolutely LOVE this place! Stay tuned…I will write a more detailed blog about this resort.
After you’re settled in, you can access a few quick and easy/intermediate hikes onsite or visit the Pirates Cove to capture that Instagram moment as the sun sets. Then, you have the option to have dinner at Sycamore Resort’s Gardens of Avila until 8:30 p.m. or visit the Avila Beach Pier, which offers a multitude of outdoor dining choices.
NOTE TO GYM RATS & TRIATHLETES: Avila Bay Athletic Club & Spa is just half a mile away from Sycamore Resort. They offer 18 acres of outdoor fitness including a 25m swimming pool, two outdoor gyms, two indoor gyms, physical therapists, family activity pool, and multiple tennis courts. Contact sales for a special weekly rate.
DAY 2 / 53-Mile Ride, 2,115ft to Oso Flaco LAKE
Cycling Level: Intermediate (Rolling Hills / Various Road Terrain – Road Bike Ok / Must be confident with traffic)
Strava Route: Click here for the route on Strava.
First day of riding starts and ends on the popular Bob Jones’ Trail through the Sycamore Resort’s secret garden. Talk about the best first impression! Gorgeous riding through here–the trail takes you to Shell Beach Road entering Pismo Beach. Make a quick stop on Hinds Ave for a Pismo Beach signage photo opportunity!
From here on out, you will tackle multiple rolling hills ‘til you make it to the farmlands of Arroyo Grande, CA. I wasn’t expecting a hidden lake in this area. It was just miles and miles of farmland. Yet, Oso Flaco Lake did not disappoint. This place felt magical to me. It’s a one-mile trail that cuts through willow trees and wetland, then carves into the southern part of the Oceano Dunes SVRA. At the end of the trail, you are surrounded by the ocean and 18 miles or 22,000 acres of sand dunes! What a great place for a rest stop to enjoy your packed lunch! There are plenty of bathrooms here, and the trail and parking are open from sunrise to sunset.
Pamper yourself after the ride by spending the evening in your in-room mineral hot tub (if you purchased a guest room or suite). Otherwise, reserve a massage and/or an hour-long bath in the hillside hot tubs or the Oasis water lagoon. Hot tub and lagoon rates range from $22.50 to $33 per hour. For reservations, visit here.
Read more about Monica’s stay at her blog!