I've never been on Hwy1 south of SF, but spent some time north, I would recommend Point Reyes area, I'm there right now as a matter of fact. The cars seem to give you a little room which is nice, but there are some nasty switchbacks and steep ascents, some over 15%, but a lot of miles of just big bumps. The roads themselves are not in the best shape to ride on, pretty rough with a lot of potholes, just like a lot of other roads in Ca.
Haven't done 1 North of San Fran but I want to. 1 South is just too tight for me to ride in a lot of places, I almost got hit driving, biking seems real dangerous. However that Parks up and down 1 seem great for riding. Almost perfect riding weather.
Dean, If you want the best of Hwy 1, Start at Pt Reyes, been here for over a week and it is very, very nice riding, not so many BIG hills like home. But I caution you about a road to Lamontour Beach, has 4mi 17% grade, I thought I was gonna die. But the area north of here is pretty bike friendly, but the road is similar to the south area, just more respect. There was a bike event from Olema(Pt Reyes) north to Dillon Beach about 25miles, maybe 300 riders all going up hwy1 and no accidents I know of, I rode my MC(if it has 2wheels i ride it;-) up and down while they were riding and it went well. I would advise a helmet mirror, only saw a few of them and I don't know how they do it, scares me to even think of going on that road without knowing what is coming up behind me. There was an accident in front of the campground we are staying at, seems the SUV crashed trying to avoid a bike, cyclist was fine, but the SUV was toast.
I drove down Hwy 1 form Monterrey to Big Sur today, saw a few bikes along the way, and a lot of cars. The shoulder wasn't too bad most places with good room from the fog line to the edge of the road, was a bit thin in a few places, but I think it was ridable.
I would ride it, but not make a habit of it, I like the solitude of the mtns, but I think it would make for some good riding, and some awesome scenery.
I did ride around 17mile drive in Carmel, was kinda fun, some good climbs for this area of the coast, chased a few cars down the mountain, oops. Mostly they gave me plenty of room, but when I was clippin down bike lane on the beach road I had to swat 3 cars with the flat of my hand to get them out of the bike lane, scared the hell out of one lady, but they shouldn't have been there. Was a good ride, I recommend it if you get a chance
Tomorrow we are going to Solvang for a couple days, that will be fun without a million people, last time I was there was TOC..
Haven't done Big Sur yet but did go from SF to Half Moon Bay all along the way past HWY 92 and into the rolling hills past San Gregorio and it was beautiful but the cross winds can be murder on 5% slope. But love the downhills and get up to 45-50mph with a nice loop back on the climb.
I know this reply is rather late (over a year!) but, if you are ever in the Monterey/Carmel area,hwy 1,Big Sur,there is an awesome local riding group called VCM (Velo Club Monterey) that does group rides and knows a lot about the area and where to ride.You can usually find them at east village coffee shop after the rides. They do all sorts of riding including mountain and road. Check them out if you are ever in the area.
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