It recently occurred to me that Santa Barbara wine country would be an ideal location for a bike tour. The San Ynez Valley has quiet roads and plenty of picturesque scenery and wineries for the beginner or veteran cyclist to explore. Less than an hour outside of Santa Barbara, you can visit for a day, a weekend or even a week long bike adventure. While cycling in the San Ynez Valley, you can join a guided tour, follow a self-guided tour or design your tour. If you don’t know the area well or are limited on time, you may wish to join a guided tour.
Guided Bike Tours of Santa Barbara Wine Country
Santa Barbara Wine Country Cycling Tours offers a variety of wine country cycling tours. If you have limited time, I recommend the Leisure Valley Stroll. This is rated as an easy route and includes stops at a lavender farm, organic oil tasting store and a winery. Costs are from $140 per person with a two person minimum. Groups of 4 or more are $120 per person. Plus bringing your own bike will earn you a $20 discount.
For weekend tours, consider their 3 day/2 night Economy package. Bike rides includes passes through the San Ynez Valley and Happy Canyon. You will pedal through gorgeous scenes of apple orchards, cattle ranches, a mini horse ranch and of course, wineries. You will also stop outside of Los Olivos at the Brander Winery and dine at San Ynez’s Vineyard House. This tour package includes accommodations for 2 in the charming town of Solvang for the total cost of $799.
If you want a longer bike tour, consider Cycling Escapes’ 6 Day/7 night Bicycle Tour of Solvang Wine Country. Cycling locations include canyons, vineyards, Figueroa Loop, Jalama Beach, San Ynez Valley Loop & Foxen Canyon. Their itinerary seems to provides quite a few visits to wineries and fine dining experiences. The total cost per person is $2245.
Another option is Santa Barbara Wine Country Cycling Tours’s 6-Day Morro Bay to Santa Barbara tour package. Although less emphasis on wine tasting, it includes some beautiful rides and deluxe accommodations for 2 nights in Morro Bay, 2 nights in San Ynez and 1 night in Santa Barbara. Bike rides include Montano de Oro State Park Loop, Pacific Coastline Loop, Foxen Canyon Loop, Happy Canyon Loop and Santa Barbara Foothills. The cost of this package is $1895 per person.
For more information on guided tours from Santa Barbara Wine Country Cycling Tours and Cycling Escapes visit their websites at the links below:
Self-Guided Bike Tours of Santa Barbara Wine Country
For those with a spirit of adventure or perhaps budgetary limitations, a self-guided bike tour is a real option. The Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition offers several online self-guided tours to the public. Two such tours available on their website feature stops at wineries and film locations of the 2004 film Sideways. This film put a spotlight on the great wine and wineries in Santa Barbara County. You can view a list of their self-guided tours by clicking here.
Another great resource from the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition is the online Santa Barbara County Bike Map. You can also request a printed copy by emailing. Click here to get started.
On a self-guided tour, you will have to be a little more vigilant about limiting your alcohol intake or waiting longer before setting out again because you won’t have tour guide there to remind you. So please be sure not to drink and ride.
Whether you plan a half day or a full week bike adventure, enjoy the sunny and scenic views of Santa Barbara Wine Country from your bike seat and stop to enjoy some of the fine Pinot noirs or Chardonnays in the area.