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A Guide to Cycling in Santa Barbara

Cycling in Santa Barbara is a great way to explore the city, get some exercise and take in the spectacular views. And Santa Barbara’s Mediterranean climate makes it an ideal area for all outdoor activities including bike rides. Bicyclists have come to love Santa Barbara’s quiet, winding roads with views of the mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other.

Santa Barbara has become a travel destination for many cyclists, including some big-name bike rides. For nine years running the Amgen Tour of California, a Tour de France-style cycle road race, has included Santa Barbara as a stop. The iconic race route hugs the coastline and sends riders up the steep Gibraltar Road, much to fans’ delight.

As a bike friendly destination Santa Barbara has a lot of options for travelers. Whether you bring your own bike, or rent one from one of the many options in town, you can be sure to enjoy cycling in Santa Barbara as soon as you arrive.

Santa Barbara as a Cycling Destination

Cyclists have an abundance of route options in town, from leisurely rides along the beach to much more challenging routes up in the mountains with breathtaking views.

Local cycling organization CycleCalCoast has taken all the guesswork out of local courses by providing detailed cycling routes and maps which include points of interests, healthy food stops, and bathroom breaks.

Some of our favorite Santa Barbara cycling routes include:

  • Biking along Cabrillo Boulevard next to Santa Barbara’s beaches

  • Cruising up Mountain Drive to Montecito’s foothills

  • A challenging climb up Santa Barbara’s Gibraltar Road

  • Venture to the Santa Ynez Valley for long routes with scenic views. Or try vineyard hoping in the Valley, Santa Barbara’s wine country.

Santa Barbara Bike Rentals & Tour Operators

From electric bikes to road bikes, beach cruisers to surreys, mountain bikes to tandem bikes, Santa Barbara has a bike for everyone. Luckily, for most people traveling from out of town there are excellent options for renting a bike and helmet. Our recommended list of bike rental and bike tour options below will help meet any cycling need:

  • CalCoast Adventures – Five different bike tours and bike rentals available. Try the city bike tour for a leisurely ride highlighting the best of Santa Barbara. Or try the mountain bike tour, taking riders off the beaten path and up into the mountains.

  • WheelFun Rentals – Two different tours and rentals for bikes, surreys, rollerblades, etc. Found down at Cabrillo Boulevard near the beach.

  • Wine Country cycling – Cycling tours focused in the Santa Ynez Valley and specialized bike rentals. Wine country tours include a professional guide and wine tasting!

  • SB Bikes To Go ­– Bike Rental Station – located in the Paseo Nuevo Mall next to Panda Express and Eureka Burger. This bike rental kiosk allows people to rent a bike simply with a credit card. And a short walk from the hotel makes it convenient for our guests.

Bring Your Bike and Travel Car Free

Make your trip completely car free by bringing your bike and taking the Pacific Surfliner with service from San Diego, Irvine, Santa Ana and Los Angeles. The Santa Barbara Car Free Program is a great option for travelers looking to leave their cars at home and participants can find special discounts all over town when they present their Amtrak ticket.

Hotel Santa Barbara offers a great SB Car Free deal for guests traveling with the train. Plus, our central downtown location means you can cycle anywhere.

Santa Barbara by Bike

Bicycling in Santa Barbara is BIG. Santa Barbara has put in over 40 miles of bike-ways in the last two decades, is ranked 3rd in the nation for cities of our size in terms of bicycle commute ridership and is ranked number 1 in all of California for bicycle ridership! Safe cycling, secure bike parking and bike lanes and paths are available all around town.

Whether you are a seasoned cyclist looking for adventure on the open road or a more leisurely bike rider, Santa Barbara has something for you. Take advantage of the ideal weather and hop on a bike during your next Santa Barbara visit, or better yet, make cycling in Santa Barbara the theme for your stay. We hope to see you out there on the open road!

To book your next cycling trip in Santa Barbara call 1 (800) 549-9869 to check on rates and availability.


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