Cycling The Pacific Coast Daily Travels

Daily Travels: Marina, CA to Pfeiffer Big Sur Campground, CA

The Ride

Route: Follow the Scenic Coastline Route Around Monterey Bay [Including the Renowned 17-Mile Drive – Free For Cyclists!], Then Re-Join Highway 1

Distance: ~85km/53mi [~1/2 meandering around Monterey Bay, ~1/2 through the beginnings of Big Sur]

Weather: Low 20s, Mostly Sunny

Total Climbing: ~800m/2600ft [Climbing is Mostly South of Carmel]

The Rest

Breakfast: Granola & Clif Bar

Lunch: Nada          Dinner: Ramen & Spices

Snacks: Clif Bar & Nectarine      Beverages: Water

Previous Night’s Sleep: 2:00am to 7:00am [Sleeping in a Motel Room Seemed to Mess with my Mind?]

Previous Night’s Accommodation: Motel

An All-Timer Day Described In Pictures

A slow roll along the bike route around the edge of Monterey Bay revealed a series of beautifully serene views of the  shorelines. The views continued along 17 Mile Drive, a fee-required road to view more scenery, along with the extravagance of golf courses and multi-million dollar homes. Thankfully, cyclists are allowed to travel this road for free.

After 17 Mile Drive ends, a short ride to re-join Highway 1 ensues. South of Carmel, the first climbs and vistas of Big Sur begin.

From beginning to end, this was one of my most memorable days of riding, ever; a perfect blend of scenery, sun, climbs, descents, and uplifting encounters. Always difficult to wholly describe such feelings. So, I’ll try to convey them through pictures [and captions].

Riding the coastline route around Monterey Bay. Easy, beautiful riding. Digging those blue skies!
View of the Lone Cypress. One of the scenic highlights of pedaling along 17 Mile Drive.
First taste of the coastal hills and the ocean-hugging highway of Big Sur. The road frequently straddles the hillsides, offering incredible viewpoints around every turn.
One of the many advantages of cycling over driving is the ability to seek out the less-traveled trails off the highway, to find spots in which vehicles aren’t able to stop. I’ll often bypass busy “Vista Point” areas to follow these quieter paths. This view resulted from a short hike up an exposed hilltop. Enjoyed the scene with a yellow nectarine.
Looking back at the first major bridge crossing. Seen from the same exposed hilltop as the previous picture. Likely still munching on the yellow nectarine.
View from the top of one of the first climbs in the Big Sur area. The same bridge as seen in the previous picture can be spotted in the distance.
Common view along this stretch: a rising hill to the immediate and the ocean to the right, with the next turns and climbs prominent ahead.
The hike or bike campsites at Pfeiffer Big Sur Campground. Plenty of space amidst the southernmost reaches of the coastal redwoods. Another addition to the shortlist of favourite camping spots in California.
Evidence of the setting sun beyond the trees as I polish off another dinner of noodles and spices. Fitting end to an all-time memorable day.

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