From October 4th to 9th, 2020, we’ll ride 290 miles along some of California’s most breathtaking routes, exploring quaint towns and culinary oases, while enjoying the community of fun and friendly fellow cyclists.
For only $5, you can register for the 7th Annual California Dream Ride and look forward to one of the most gorgeous and rewarding bike tours you’ll ever experience.
Past California Dream Rides are known for the destinations we traversed and the roads we explored. Southern California rides have included Santa Barbara to San Diego via the Palos Verdes Peninsula (2014), Santa Barbara to San Diego via Downtown LA and Watts Towers (2015), Santa Barbara to San Diego via Ojai and Santa Paula (2018), and San Luis Obispo to Los Angeles via Ojai and Woodland Hills (2016). Each tour has been unique, and at the same time has shared some navigational DNA with those that were ridden before. This year’s tour will be no different—some familiar pavement and some that’s entirely new.
Given the incredible range of highways, byways and bikeways connecting any conceivable start and finish cities, you might wonder exactly how we here at California Dream Ride HQ go about planning the route for our next 5-day ride.
There are two near-universal rules we follow. First, when the goal is to connect destinations along coastal California, always cycle “down” the coast, always toward Mexico. You may ask: why not ride north? As someone famous sang, “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind.” We all have firsthand experience with the unfortunate bicycling fact that headwinds sap legs, turning flat roads into hills and hills into Mt. Everest-sized climbs. Seasons don't matter here in California; the prevailing breezes along the entire length of California’s coastline blow from north to south and from the sea to the mountains. As we map a new Dream Ride, we look for a way south.
The second near-universal rule is to respect the transverse mountain ranges. Most of California’s mountain ranges, including the Klamaths and Cascades near the Oregon border, the Coastal ranges north and south of San Francisco Bay, the Peninsular ranges of San Diego County, and the Sierra Nevada, run roughly north and south. Not so the mountains of Southern California. They run east to west. These transverse mountains are the product of recent (in the past 4 million years) geo-tectonic activity along the San Andreas Fault. Newness means that they are uneroded and generally steep, sometimes rising thousands of feet upward over a few miles of horizontal distance. Dreaming of the next Dream Ride, we aim for where the transverses aren’t.
In keeping with rule one, the 2020 California Dream Ride will roll west and south from Santa Barbara, taking advantage of tailwinds down the coast. Fortunately, Southern California offers several routes south that also avoid the transverse mountains per rule two. From all these choices, we opt for safe, scenic and memorable. Riders can expect to ride for miles along the Pacific Ocean, staying south of the mountains, and then between more mountains as we venture across Los Angeles and Orange counties on more than 100 miles of bike paths and bike lanes, past important landmarks and through historic neighborhoods.
Jon “The Navigator” Riddle, Director of Wayfinding, lives and rides all over Los Angeles County; the 2020 Dream Ride will again travel right through his backyard. He works closely with Ride Director Debbie Brubaker to develop the Dream Ride’s route, directions, and maps and will be on the road as a support rider, too.
Dream Ride Experiences
Due to current circumstances, the first two Dream Ride Experiences for March and April have been postponed until further notice. While the ride in Santa Barbara Experience on May 16th is still on the calendar, we’ll make the decision to postpone this and any following rides as necessary.
We know there’s a long road ahead of us, and we hope that our Dream Ride events can provide something to look forward to as the dust settles. In the meantime, go ride your bike and get some fresh air (safely, of course)—you’ll feel like yourself again! Stay tuned to our blog and social media channels for important updates.
California Bicycle Coalition
If you have a chance to ride on your own, here are the “Ride with GPS” route maps: