Nearly all cyclists traveling through Santa Barbara county pedal from northwest to southeast because the prevailing winds blow from the northwest, so you’ll often enjoy a tailwind. Because of the 4000-foot, east-west Santa Ynez mountain range forms a barrier, there are only two paved roads to cross it—Highway 154 and Highway 101.
Although Highway 154 looks appealing on maps, we cannot recommend it because it’s mostly a two-lane road with shoulders that come and go, often rocks and dirt fall onto the shoulders, and there are many curves and hills that hide cyclists from the view of the many motorists. That leaves Highway 101 that is four lanes wide, has more truck traffic, but also has wide 8-foot shoulders that are generally clean.
We offer you two routes through the county, northwest to southeast. We call them the “Lompoc Route” and “Solvang Route” after the different towns they pass through. They both enter on Highway 1 from San Luis Obispo county, and leave on Highway 101 into Ventura county. They both take you through some quiet, less-traveled country roads, although the Solvang Route, about 10 miles longer, offers you more. If you want the fastest way through our beautiful county, stay on Highway 1 to Highway 101. It won’t be as pleasant because of the traffic, but you will find yourself closer to Los Angeles that much sooner.
The route map at the right shows cities where you can get food, water and lodging. You’ll encounter about 2900 feet of total climbing. The photos below give you an idea of what you will see along the way. We suggest that you get the detailed county bike map to augment the turn-by-turn route guide at the lower right.
San Antonio Road provides a quiet, meandering alternative to busy Highway 1.
Harris Grade Road takes you over the Purisima Hills north of Lompoc.
Highway 1 south of Lompoc is quite beautiful, has a shoulder and some traffic.
In Santa Barbara, you’ll cruise along Cabrillo Boulevard near the beach, wharf and marina.
|Direction||Name of Road or Street||Miles on Road|
|START||Enter Santa Barbara county|
|L||San Antonio Road West||2.8|
|R||San Antonio Road East||4.1|
|R||Harris Grade Road||7.9|
|S||joins Highway 1||22.3|
|exit R||Hollister Avenue||8.1|
|L||Cabrillo Boulevard to roundabout||2.8|
|R||Coast Village Road||0.8|
|jog L||North Jameson Lane||1.6|
|S||becomes Sheffield Drive||0.1|
|R||enter Ortega Hill bikepath||0.5|
|R||Ortega Hill Road||0.2|
|S||becomes Lillie Avenue||1.2|
|S||becomes Via Real||3.5|
|R||Santa Ynez Avenue||0.2|
|East||enter Highway 101||0.7|
|END||Leave Santa Barbara county|
R=Right, L=Left, S=Straight