Riding Highway 1 on the California Coast. San Francisco to Big Sur and back

May 5, 2012/Jonathan Rundle/0 Comments

Highway 1 is one of the most beautiful roads in the world. It wouldn’t be too hard to convince another motorcyclist to join me on the ride. That’s where my buddy Matt comes in. Even luckier for me, he convinced his girlfriend Lauren that she needed a motorcycle. Lauren didn’t come along for the ride, even though I tried to convince her to come, so that meant I didn’t have to rent a bike for this trip. Hooray! Matt rode a Suzuki GSXR-600 and I rode Lauren’s Ninja 250. Don’t laugh, that bike was all sorts of fun and had no problem taking Matt in the twisties.

On the way, we would be stopping by the Quail Motorcycle Gathering, a major concours-level Motorcycle show in Carmel, CA. Rare show bikes, racers and motorcycling personalities will all be there.

Day One: San Francisco to Carmel

Matt and Lauren live in San Francisco so naturally our ride began there. Lane splitting was a new experience for me and I loved every second of it. We didn’t really split through freeway traffic, but the convenience of moving to the front at stoplights was awesome. The best part is that no one was a jerk and people made room for you to split through. Even when we were content to sit in traffic at the light, the cars in front would move over, almost encouraging us to split.



California Coast on Highway 1

Once out of the city, it was an easy ride with just a little bit of hooning by Matt in the straights (since I ate him up in the twisties). It was a chilly day but there was not a cloud in the sky – making for spectacular views of the coast. We stopped plenty along the way taking in those views, which made for a leisurely ride. Being a Friday, there weren’t a lot of cars on the road which is always good. Our stop for the night was in Monterey.

Day Two: The Quail Gathering and Monterey

It is a short ride out down to Carmel to the Quail Lodge where they were holding the Quail Motorcycle Gathering. After we left there, we explored Monterey.

Quail Motorcycle Gathering

Day Three: To Big Sur and Home

Another picture perfect day brought us down the coast enjoying the twisties and the views once again. If you’re keeping track at home, today is a Sunday and that means lots of cars driving slowly and not paying attention. As a motorcyclist you have to stay vigilant about your safety – especially when scenery is involved. All things considered, I still managed to give myself some space to have some good runs through the hills before once again meeting the herd. All that riding will make you hungry, so we stopped for a late lunch at the fantastic Nepenthe restaurant high above the coast before heading home.

Nepenthe near Big Sur

What can I say? Highway 1 is a bucket list road.

Posing with our motorcycles at Highway 1

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