Ragged Point

By Robert Davis, Email slobike@yahoo.com

Ragged Point is one of the great treasures of our county. A small community sits 300 feet above the sea with a 300 degree view up and down the coast. There is an inn, a small market, Ben and Jerry ice cream, a hamburger grill and a world-class restaurant. These are seductive goals for enthusiastic bicyclists.

Round trip from San Luis Obispo mission is 114 miles. Highway 1 is so beautiful that you will not regret a single mile. Most of the ride is on the Pacific Coast Bike Route. A more manageable trip can start in Morro Bay. From there, the round trip is 85 miles. You can, of course, tailor a trip of any length by choosing from among the following segments. There is are rest rooms and parking available at Lila Keiser Park in Morro Bay; Hardie Park in Cayucos; Shamel Park in Cambria; W.R. Hearst State Beach in San Simeon (there is a $3.00 parking fee to use the State Beach facility).

San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay Fifteen miles, pretty much all downhill. A couple of small climbs: at the Men’s Colony and at the approach to Morro Bay Blvd.
The good: Wide shoulder, well used bicycle route; a high degree of awareness on the part of motorists.
The bad: High speed traffic and a lot of it. Merging on and off ramps through Morro Bay. Keep an eye over your shoulder as you prepare to cross the off ramps. Watch for traffic entering the freeway from the on ramps.

Alternate -- Take Foothill to Los Osos Valley Road and turn right; turn right again on Turri Road; turn right on South Bay Blvd; enter Highway 1 from the on ramp. Sixteen miles. Flat and rural once you leave town. Nice climb over Turri Road. There is a dangerous hairpin curve on the descent of Turri Road. Class two bikeway on all roads except Turri.

Alternate -- Take Foothill to O’Connor Road. Ride the Wayne Williams Bikeway the back way into Cuesta College. Ride through the college, rejoin Highway 1 at the signal light. Distance is about the same as the other two routes described.

Morro Bay to Cambria -- Twenty miles of a combination of coastal and inland highway. A nice climb out of Cayucos to the town of Harmony. At Old Creek Road in Cayucos, turn right, then an immediate left onto Ocean. Follow the bike trail through the cemetery. Turn left at the stop sign to rejoin Ocean Avenue on the other side of the freeway. Ride the bike lane through town. Connect again with Highway 1 at the north end of Cayucos.
The good: Wide shoulder with one exception. Great coastal views.
The bad: Toro Creek Bridge north of Morro Bay has no shoulder. Look behind you for traffic before you cross the bridge.

Cambria to W.R. Hearst State Beach -- Eight miles of flat highway.
The good: Wide shoulder. Great coastal views. Nice alternate route along Moonstone Drive at the north end of Cambria. Sebastian store at San Simeon serves breakfast and lunch.
The bad: Headwinds are common when you are riding north. There are porcelain Bot’s dots installed in the shoulder at scattered intervals to mark the location of edge drains. They are easily avoided if you watch for them.

Hearst State Beach to Ragged Point -- Fifteen miles of rolling hills alongside Hearst Ranch holdings. You will pass beaches ruled by elephant seals. Piedras Blancas lighthouse marks the transition from a westerly to a northerly heading.
The good: Exquisite coastal views. Traffic tends to be light. Drivers give great courtesy to cyclists. Cappuccino Cove provides a nice stop for refreshments. Robin makes a delicious cafe mocha. Ragged Point grill serves up tasty hamburgers to famished bicyclists.
The bad: The shoulder narrows to nonexistence in some places. Northbound cyclists generally encounter heavy headwinds. Seals don’t smell as nice as horses. The Ragged Point grill doesn’t open until 11am. Sometimes later.

The Return -- If you have a headwind going out, you will have a tailwind coming back. You can crank up some speed getting past those seals.