2019 Tour of California

Big Sur Panorama, Tour of California 2019, Cycling Holiday

TRIP DETAILS:

Duration: 11 Days
Dates: Thursday 9th May to Sunday 19th May, 2019
Start: San Francisco, California
Finish: Los Angeles, California
Accommodation: 3 and 4-star hotels
Group Size: Maximum 14 people (3 Staff)
Suitable For: Cyclists and Non Cyclists
Suitable Cyclists ability: Experienced, Intermediate, Social
Price: AUD$6,900 (US$4,830)
OPTIONAL SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: AUD$1,800 (US$1,260)

Optional Extras:

Bike Rental AUD$660 (US$460) (Carbon fibre road bike with Ultegra)
Travel Insurance

Note: All trip costs are per person, not including airfare and based on two persons per room. If traveling alone we will match you with a person to share. Alternatively, you may choose to have a room of your own by paying the single supplement.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Cycle along the wild coastline of California’s Big Sur, one of the world’s great rides.
  • Sightseeing including Napa Valley, Monterey, The Big Sur, Hearst Castle
  • Experience 5 stages of the 2019 Amgen Tour of California
  • Challenge yourself on the TOC climbs of Mt Baldy and Mt Diablo
  • Relax amongst the vineyards of Sonoma Valley in the beautiful town of Healdsburg

Experience the Tour of California Live
Stage 1: Sacramento – Sacramento
Stage 2: Rancho Cordova to South Lake Tahoe
Stage 4: Laguna Seca to Morro Bay
Stage 6: Ontario to Mt Baldy
Stage 7: Santa Clarita to Pasadena

Trip in Brief

This trip is not just a trip to the Tour of California but a trip designed to offer our guests the opportunity to see the fantastic sights of California from its extreme natural beauty to its lively towns and cities. Enjoy food, wine and the hospitality of its friendly, relaxed people. Our trip is a great mix of cycling, tourism, gastronomy and of course the race.

As with all of our tours you’ll be guided by our expert team of ride leaders, drivers and guides.

The 2019 Tour of California starts in the State’s capital Sacramento. A second stage to Lake Tahoe gives an opportunity to climbers for them to test their competition. The race sets on a trajectory toward the South. Our trip will parallel the North-South course seeing key moments of the race as well as visiting some of the beautiful regions we have come to know from our 10+ years following the Tour of California.

Starting from San Fransisco, we’ll take the opportunity to visit Marin County before the race starts. The Muir Woods National Monument, Golden Gate Bridge and the Sonoma and Napa wine regions will highlight our first few days.

During our transfer south, we’ll encounter the great climb of Mt Diablo, near Silicon Valley and visit the stunning Monterey area, close to the Big Sur, 17 Mile Drive and Pebble Beach. We catch the exciting moments of the race and ride along the route of one of the more decisive aspects of the race, Mt Baldy.

Our trip finishes in Pasadena with our hotel close to the finish of the final stage. 2019 Tour of California is your opportunity to escape by bike exploring California and pausing for great food and wine.

Big Sur, Tour of California 2019, Cycling Holiday Trips

Itinerary

Day 1 – Thursday 9 May 

Welcome to San Francisco 

Your trip starts today when you arrive in San Francisco and make your own way to our hotel in the quaint bayside area of Mill Valley. There are various options available from San Francisco or Oakland airports including taxi, shuttles and private transfers.

On arrival at the hotel, we’ll introduce you to your rental bike, or help you assemble your own bike. This afternoon we will take a ride to help shake off the jet lag and test out our bikes. Our ride is an easy 30 – 40 km exploration of Marin county, although this is no ordinary ride. We ride around the bay to one of America’s most recognisable landmarks, the Golden Gate Bridge via the quaint town of Sausalito. We’ll have time to stop for a coffee, admire the views to San Francisco and Alcatraz Island before returning to our hotel.

Tonight there will be a welcome dinner at a local restaurant, this is your chance to meet your fellow travellers, the Bikestyle team and learn more about what’s in store for your trip through California.

San Fransisco, Lombard Street, Tour of California 2019, Cycling HolidayWorld famous Lombard Street, San Fransisco

Meals
Welcome Dinner

Overnight
Mill Valley, CA

Warm up ride

Day 2 – Friday 10th May

Muir Woods to Petaluma

Muir Woods National Monument, Redwoods, Tour of California 2019, Cycling HolidayMuir Woods National Monument, Redwoods

This morning we take a ride along the Pacific Coast to Point Reyes, with a visit along the way to the giant Redwoods of the Muir Woods National Monument.

After breakfast this morning we’ll ride 11kms, with a decent little climb along the way to the Muir Woods National Monument. A beautiful old-growth coastal redwood forest. The average age of the redwoods in the Monument are between 500 and 800 years old with the oldest being at least 1,200 years old. Due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, the forest is regularly shrouded in a coastal marine layer fog, contributing to a wet environment that encourages vigorous plant growth. The fog is also vital for the growth of the redwoods as they use moisture from the fog during the drier months.

From Muir Woods it’s an undulating ride along the coast, through the small settlement of Stinton Beach and on to Point Reyes for lunch. Part of our 50km course passes the Bolinas Lagoon. Keep an eye out for harbour seals sunning themselves on the mudflats of the lagoon, although you may hear them before you see them.

You can finish your ride at 50 kms after lunch in Point Reyes, or continue on for the full 81 kms to the town of Petaluma, gateway to the Napa and Sonoma wine areas. The town of Petaluma itself has a fine historic centre that is known for its typical small town USA feel, explaining why it has been the setting for many movies, including American Grafitti and Pleasantville.

After lunch we will travel to one of California’s most beautiful small towns, Healdsburg. A favourite weekend getaway for affluent San Franciscans, Healdsburg is a delightful mix of a small historic town, funky and fine dining restaurants and a laid back atmosphere.

Tonight you can choose from one of the great restaurants close by.

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Healdsburg, CA

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 3 – Saturday 11th May

Dry Creek Valley

This morning we can ride one of the most scenic loops of the Sonoma wine region through Dry Creek Valley. Dry Creek Valley offers over 50 wineries to choose from. At the turn of the 20th century, Dry Creek Valley was one of California’s most prominent producers of Zinfandel. During Prohibition, much of the valley was converted to plum, pear, and prune trees, and much of the fruit was processed by Sunsweet Growers in Healdsburg.

Since the resurgence of wine grape production in the 1970s, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel have become the most planted varietals, and Dry Creek Valley AVA has become one of the state’s top Zinfandel producers. Sauvignon Blanc has become the most important white grape varietal produced in the valley, but the valley boasts a wide range of grape varieties including Barbera, Grenache, Grenache Blanc, Mourvedre, Petite Sirah, Primitivo and Syrah.

Our ride today conveniently departs from our hotel for a 60 km journey up through Dry Creek Valley. Quiet undulating roads punctuated by picture book rural scenery passing through the vineyards of Russian River and Dry Creek Valley make this one of California’s most popular cycling destinations.

Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma Wine Country, Napa Wine, Tour of California 2019, Cycling Holiday

After lunch a “must see” is the Francis Ford Coppola winery located just to the north of Healdsburg. The winery is unique, a combination of an upmarket resort, winery and movie memorabilia museum dedicated to Coppola’s finest movies.

Tonight you can choose from one of the great restaurants close by.

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Healdsburg, CA

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 4 – Sunday 12th May

Tour of California stage 1

World Tour Cycling Trip, Tour of California 2019, Cycling HolidayAn opening stage in the California Capital, Sacramento

The wait is over. After a few days exploring the amazing Pacific Coast and the famous Californian wine region, it is time for the start of the 2019 Tour of California. We will head out early for a ride from the hotel before making our way to Sacramento for today’s first stage, a fast technical finish for sprinters is most likely.  Today our ride will see us gently climbing for the first 25km of the ride, before dropping down to Lake Berryessa. Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County, California. This reservoir in the Vaca Mountains is formed by the Monticello Dam, which provides water and hydroelectricity to the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area.

Once we have finished our ride we will meet up with our van and drive a short distance to today’s stage. We will arrive with plenty of time to see all the riders do battle on the street circuit to claim the first yellow jersey of the Tour of California.

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Folsom, CA

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 5 – Monday 13th May

Stage Start – Rancho Cordova

Today’s stage start is only a short distance from our hotel so we will visit the race before setting off on our ride and make our way to the beautiful Monterey.

After visiting the stage start we will head south to start our ride up the popular Mt Diablo, which has featured in previous editions of the Tour of California. The race skips the climb this year but we think it’s a great option for our ride today before we drive on to Monterey.

This morning we will drive south to Danville, where we will start our ride to Mt Diablo, via the southern approach. Our ride will take us through the suburbs of Silicon Valley and past the manicured gardens of the estates of Blackhawk to start our climb up South Gate road to Mt Diablo. This is a favourite route for Bay area cyclists and a nice easy climb with an average 5.6% average gradient from the valley, although just before the summit it gets steeper, just like a European mountain!

Over the last sections of the climb and from the 1155 meter summit you can enjoy great views over the whole San Francisco Bay area. 

Stage Start, Tour of California 2019, Cycling Holiday TripStage Start, Tour of California

We’ll meet the van at the top where we can enjoy a picnic lunch with a view before finishing our ride with a lovely descent via North Gate road down to the valley with open views all the way.

Down in the valley at Walnut Creek, we will meet up with the van and travel to our hotel in the famous California coastal town of Monterey, roughly 2 hours away.

If you feel like a shorter or easier ride today then it will be possible to cut out part of the climb by travelling in the van and joining the group part way up the climb.

Monterey was the capital of “Alta California” from 1777 to 1846 under both Spain and Mexico. It was once the only port of entry for taxable goods in California. In 1846 the U.S. flag was raised over the Customs House, and California was claimed for the United States. Today Monterey attracts visitors from all over the world to see the historic buildings on Cannery Row, Fisherman’s Wharf, local seal pup colony, the world-class Monterey Aquarium and the annual Monterey Jazz Festival. It’s an atmospheric, but quiet town, with a charm of its own.

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Monterey, CA

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 6 – Tuesday 14th May

Carmel and 17 Mile Drive

Lone Cypress, 17 Mile Drive, Tour of California 2019, Cycling Holiday TripLone Cypress Tree, 17 Mile Drive

Today we have a full day to explore Monterey and nearby Carmel, with time to relax this afternoon and build up your reserves for tomorrow’s challenging ride along the Big Sur.

After breakfast, we will do a ride around the scenic road that is the beautiful 17 Mile Drive to Carmel. 17-Mile Drive is widely recognized as one of the most scenic drives in the world. The famous coastal landmark runs through Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach, from the dramatic Pacific coastline to the majestic Del Monte Forest. The road hugs the Pacific coastline and passes famous golf courses, mansions and scenic attractions, including the Lone Cypress and Bird Rock.

At the end of our ride around 17 Mile Drive, we will arrive in the exclusive small town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, for our morning coffee before riding back to Monterey for lunch. You’ll have the choice of a couple of alternatives riding back to Monterey, an easier or a slightly longer hillier route.

This afternoon is free to relax in Monterey and there is plenty to do and see. You can go to the famous aquarium (which we highly recommend), wander around Fisherman’s Wharf or even take a whale watching cruise. During the summer months humpback whales, fin whales, minke whales, orcas (killer whales), blue whales pass through Monterey Bay, attracted by the rich food available.

Tonight in Monterey is free to dine at a restaurant of your choice and there are plenty in Monterey to choose from.

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
Monterey, CA

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 7 – Wednesday 15th May

The Big Sur

This morning we will ride what we rate as one of the world’s great rides. The Big Sur coastline is the most scenic part of the California coastline and undulates up and down all the way, but the scenery is truly magnificent. It is truly one of the world’s great drives or bike rides, and with a bit of luck, we’ll have the prevailing northerly wind blowing us all the way down the coast today. After breakfast, we will drive to the small settlement of Big Sur where we can grab a coffee at the bakery, a sandwich for lunch at the Deli and start our ride.

It’s about a one hour drive this morning and we’ll make a stop along the way to view the amazing Bixby Creek Bridge. Bixby Creek Bridge, also known as Bixby Bridge, is a reinforced concrete open-spandrel arch bridge in Big Sur, California. Prior to the opening of the bridge in 1932, residents of the Big Sur area were virtually cut off during winter due to the often impassable Old Coast Road. At its completion, the bridge was built under budget for $199,861 and was the longest concrete arch span at 98 m on the California State Highway System. It is one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world and one of the most photographed bridges along the Pacific Coast due to its aesthetic design and location.

Bixby Creek Bridge, Big Sur, Pacific Coast, Tour of California 2019, Cycling Holiday TripsBixby Bridge, Big Sur – one of the world’s greatest bike rides

In Monterey and along the Big Sur Coast you will see the Southern Sea Otters playing in the kelp beds just offshore. Declared extinct in 1841, these defenceless marine mammals were hunted for their dense fur, the densest of any animal, with over one million hairs per square inch. The Spaniards bought the pelts from local Indians and the Russians and Chinese hunted them from boats offshore. The animals were such easy prey and the pelts were so prized that the entire population, from Fort Ross in the north to Morro Bay in the south, was completely eliminated by hunting.

On our ride today we will pass the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal rookery, so we will stop to make a visit. The Northern Elephant Seal is an extraordinary marine mammal, spending eight to ten months a year in the open ocean, diving up to 1500 meters deep for periods of fifteen minutes to two hours. They migrate thousands of miles, twice a year, to its land-based rookery for birthing, breeding, molting and rest.

Once our ride is finished we will have the opportunity to see today’s stage finish a short distance from our hotel in Cambria.

Tonight we will stay right on the coast at Cambria, close to Hearst Castle that we’ll visit tomorrow morning. After our ride we will have worked up an appetite, so we’ll head in to town tonight for dinner at a well known local eatery, Robin’s Restaurant.

Meals
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight
San Simeon, CA

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 8 – Thursday 16th May

Hearst Castle

Another of California’s top attractions is our first stop this morning as we take a tour of Hearst Castle. Hearst Castle is a National Historic Landmark mansion located high above the coast and was built over 28 years between 1919 and 1947 for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, who died in 1951. This truly amazing complex of buildings and gardens is like nothing you will ever see and was the inspiration behind the “Xanadu” mansion in the 1941 Orson Welles classic film, Citizen Kane.

In 1865, George Hearst, a wealthy miner, purchased 40,000-acres of California ranchland that included the Mexican Ranchos of Piedras Blancas, San Simeon and Santa Rosa. In 1919, his only son, William Randolph Hearst, inherited the land from his mother, Phoebe Apperson Hearst. By then the ranch had grown to encompass 250,000 acres. Originally known as “Camp Hill,” its wilderness offered a place for family members and friends to “rough it” on camping trips. Despite elaborate arrangements with separate sleeping and dining tents, Hearst envisioned more comfortable accommodations. His simple instructions to famed San Francisco architect Julia Morgan in 1919: “Miss Morgan, we are tired of camping out in the open at the ranch in San Simeon and I would like to build a little something”.

Hearst Castle, Tour of California 2019, Cycling Holiday TripsHearst Castle – “I’d like to build a little something”

Hearst and Morgan’s collaboration was destined to become one of the world’s greatest attractions and showplaces. As they were planning and constructing his dream home in the Central Coast of California, Hearst renamed the rocky perch from which it rose “La Cuesta Encantada” – The Enchanted Hill. By 1947, Hearst and Morgan had created an estate of 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, pools and walkways.

After our tour of Hearst Castle, we will jump in the van and head south toward the wine town of Los Olivos where we will spend tonight. Along the way, we will stop at Pimso Beach and enjoy lunch at one of the many oceanfront restaurants. After lunch, we will continue our drive to Orcutt where we will start our ride just outside of town on Foxen Canyon Road, a nice quiet route that we follow all the way to Los Olivos. We’ve got a gentle climb that gains 350 meters in altitude over 24kms before a nice downhill run in Los Olivos.

Los Olivos is a charming small town and noted for its eclectic art galleries, wine tasting opportunities, antiques, historic homes and friendly locals. It’s a slice of true Americana in one of USA’s premier wine districts and quite different to what you will have experienced anywhere else in the world.

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Los Olivos, CA

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 9 – Friday 17th May

Mt Baldy

Mt Baldy, Tour of California 2019, Cycling Holiday TripsRide Mt Baldy before the professionals

Today we leave Los Olivos early and drive on to our final destination of Pasadena where we spend our last two nights and take a ride to see the race on its way to the finish on Mt Baldy. The climb up to Mt Baldy has become an integral part of the Amgen Tour of California’s history. Since 2011, when it was first introduced as the race’s first true mountaintop finish, at nearly 2000m altitude, the steep switchbacks to the Ski Area have been decisive for crowning the overall champion.

Leaving Los Olivos early we’ll head straight to Glendora where we will start our ride along the race route and Glendora Mountain Road. This is one of our hardest rides and comparable to many of the European cols with some steep gradients taking us up to the summit. We’ve got plenty of time and the rolling road closures mean that we’ll be able to stay on the bike until shortly before the race approaches. All the locals will be out today to cheer on the race, so it will be a fun day.

After we’ve seen the race mid-afternoon we’ll descend back down to the valley to meet the van and make the final short drive along to our hotel in Pasadena.

The city of Pasadena sits at the bottom of the San Gabriel Mountains and conveniently for us where the final stage of the Tour of California takes place tomorrow.  The historic Spanish style town hall will be an icon for crowning the champion and is close to our hotel. 

The city is known for hosting the annual Rose Bowl football game and Tournament of Roses Parade and is also home to many scientific and cultural institutions, including the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Famous residents of Pasadena have included Albert Einstein, Julia Child, and Tennessee Williams. Pasadena’s landscapes and grand homes have been the backdrop in many legendary Hollywood movies and television shows such as Gone With the Wind, Back to the Future, Mad Men and The Sting.

Tonight is free to dine in one of the many restaurants close to the hotel in Pasadena Old Town.

Meals
Breakfast

Overnight
Pasadena, CA

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 10 – Saturday 18th June

Final Stage

Today is the final stage of the 2019 Tour of California with the race starting from Santa Clarita and finishing in Pasadena.

We will head out early to enjoy our ride and have enough time to shower and freshen up before seeing the final sprint of this year’s TOC.

Stage Finish, Tour of California 2019, Cycling Holiday TripsBe at the finish line in 2019, Tour of California

The San Gabriel Mountains rise up above the San Fernando Valley and are a popular recreation area for the people of Los Angeles, particularly cyclists who enjoy the quieter roads and unique dry climate mountain landscape. The climbs are generally well graded and the roads smooth and wide, making for pleasant riding.

Today’s ride will be a memorable one for our final day along part of today’s race route and up to the 1745 meter Mt Wilson Observatory. Due to the inversion layer that traps smog over Los Angeles, Mount Wilson has naturally steadier air than any other location in North America, making it ideal for astronomy. From when it was built in 1917 through to 1948 it contained the largest telescope in the world. The increasing light pollution due to the growth of Los Angeles has limited the ability of the Mt Wilson Observatory to engage in deep space astronomy, but it remains a productive centre, with many new and old instruments in use for astronomical research.

It’s 39 kms up from the Rose Bowl to Mt Wilson, gaining 1500 meters in the process. For anyone not wanting to ride the full 85 km return route to Mt Wilson, they can join us for a shorter option, travelling part way up the climb in the van and still enjoying the final part of the ride.

We’ll meet the van at the top of Mt Wilson and grab a cold drink and a snack before the long downhill back to Pasadena.

Tonight is our final night together so we will celebrate our California adventure coming to an end with dinner at Bistro 45 in downtown Pasadena.

Meals
Breakfast, Farewell Dinner

Overnight
Pasadena, CA

Easier Ride Option

Harder Ride Option

Day 11 – Sunday 19th May

Farewell

Sadly today is the final day of our American adventure. We hope you’ve enjoyed your trip to the Tour of California. Over the last 11 days you will have enjoyed riding along one of the world’s most stunning coastal roads, challenged yourself on mountain roads and experienced some of the most beautiful regions of California.

Those flying out today will need to check out of the hotel by 12 noon. We will offer one transfer to Los Angeles International Airport today at a time convenient to satisfy most guests’ departure times. If searching for flights, an afternoon departure would be most convenient.

Meals: Breakfast

Inclusions

Tour cost is per person twin share and includes:

  • Transport throughout by custom minivans with bike trailer
  • Services of our experienced tour guides, mechanics and drivers
  • 10 nights accommodation 3 & 4 Star hotels
  • Buffet breakfast daily
  • Evening meals on 4 nights
  • Wine at welcome and farewell dinners
  • Scheduled departure transfer on final day to LAX Airport
  • Mechanical assistance with your bike
  • Ride files and Bikestyle guide to the 2019 Tour of California
  • Full Bikestyle Tours kit including knicks, cycling jersey, cap and musette bag

Reserve Your Place Now

NOTE: Please place number of persons attending in box below
Deposit 2019 Tour of California 11 Days ($1000pp)
2019 Tour of California Bicycle Hire ($660.00)
2019 Tour of California Single Supplement ($1800.00)
Tick the box to accept the Bikestyle Waiver and Reservation Conditions. If renting a bicycle you also agree to our Bicycle rental Conditions
  • We charge for our trips in Australian Dollars (AUD) and prices shown in other currencies are only approximate. We advise that you check the exchange rate before booking.
  • A surcharge of 1.5% is applicable for payments made with visa or mastercard and 3% for payments made with American Express credit cards.
  • Deposits can also be paid by direct deposit or cheque.
  • It is a requirement of Bikestyle Tours that you have Travel Insurance for your trip.
If you have any further enquiries please email us at tours@bikestyletours.com

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