The next in the series of "Bike Overnights" takes us to the Santa Ynez Valley, north of Santa Barbara. From Buellton through Solvang to Los Olivos and along rolling hills past farms and vineyards, this is some really beautiful California countryside to pedal through!
I plan on a Friday evening arrival, checking in to the Flying Flags RV Resort in Buellton, right off Hwy 101. Here you can tent camp, RV camp, or rent a small cabin (that sleeps 4-6 people) with other riders, all for under $40 per person, per night. If you prefer a hotel, there are several options nearby: the Days Inn or Motel 6, or the Santa Ynez Marriott. Depending on your arrival time, we could meet in the evening for some live music or a drink.
Saturday morning at 10:00am, we'll begin our cycling adventure. We'll meet at the entrance to Flying Flags, go east about 5 miles to Solvang, and start our ride after a cup of coffee at a local coffee house. We'll head north along a country road, visiting an apple farm to grab some fruit. A few miles later, we'll stop for an olive oil tasting and have lunch across the street at Panino's in the quaint town of Los Olivos. We'll make a brief visit to the museum for some art appreciation and then begin our return, riding back along Ballard Canyon Road.
It's a short (<18 mile) ride Saturday in order to have time to visit Solvang in the afternoon and evening. A late afternoon visit to a Danish bakery or wine bar are probably in order but there are plenty of things to do in Solvang - much on foot. We can organize a group dinner somewhere depending on what everyone wants to do.
Sunday, we'll do more mileage (about 40). We'll head west this time. It will be an all-day affair, possibly after breakfast at Ellen's Danish Pancake House in Buellton (killer European-style pancakes!), and may include a brief stop at La Purisima Mission, followed by lunch at mile 20. After lunch we'll ride along scenic Santa Rosa Road, home to several wineries. At the end of the day, just before returning to our starting point, we may just have to pull over at one and enjoy a glass of wine together to celebrate our journey.
Accommodations: Please make your own reservations. Stay wherever you wish (I recommend either Buellton or Solvang) but please note the starting location for our rides on both days will be the Flying Flags Resort in Buellton. Monday is Veteran's Day so if you have the day off you can stay Sunday evening. If you need to go back to work on Monday, check out on Sunday will be during the time you're riding, so you'll need to make these arrangements in the morning before you leave and store your things in your car until you return.
What to bring: If you are camping, please see the recommended Gear List under "More", then click on "Files". Make sure to bring plenty of water and a repair kit which should include tire levers for changing a flat, a spare tube and either a pump or CO2 cartridge.
Pace: Please be aware that I plan to ride at an average speed of 12-16 mph. Please come prepared with a road bike or equivalent so that you can comfortably maintain this pace. While this is a relaxed trip, it would be ideal if we could stay together for it.
IMPORTANT NOTES: You should be able to change your own flat tire. Do not rely on others to do this for you. There are great videos on You Tube to take you through it, or head to a local bike shop for a free clinic. There is one coming up at Two Wheels, One Planet in Lake Forest on Sept. 26 at 7:00pm.
This should be another great weekend of scenic biking and I hope you can make it!