I'm here in Carmel for the next 5 days. I've brought my road bike and am hoping to find some interesting rides. I'm looking for trips anywhere from 25 to 50 miles. I'm good for 2500 to 5000 feet of climbing.
Carmel to Big Sur and back is maybe my all time favorite ride. About 50 miles round trip. Sea, mountains, beaches, sun, wind, fog...and tourists this time of year. I've never had any problems with them, though, but you should be comfortable riding close to the edge of the road and staying out of the way. Very strong NW winds this time of year.
Riding up Carmel Valley is nice if it isn't hot. Point Lobos is worth checking out.
I would second riding up Carmel Valley Road; it is quite busy from Route 1 for the first 10 miles, then gets incredibly quiet and peacefull - if you have a car you could drive in a bit, then ride. Los Laureles grade is also a nice climb, not sure if you can use that to make a loop, any locals know?
I've done Carmel Valley Road from the inland side, and it's a really nice climb. I'm not exactly sure how you would get there from Carmel. I know you want to be on River Road outside Salinas, then down to Arroyo Seco. I guess you would have to take Hwy 68 past Laguna Seca to get there. Along River Road, you'll ride through some great Pinot Noir vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands applelation. Gary's Vineyard, Rosella's vinyard, etc. It's world class stuff.
I believe you can also do some riding on Fort Ord land. You can go in the entrance for Laguna Seca, which is an incredibly steep climb. Where you go from there, I don't know.
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