Carmel to Big Sur is one of the great bike rides in the world, with stunning vistas, warm sand beaches and meadows with cattle grazing in the open fields. You can rent bicycles for all skill levels and ages at Bay Bikes and start your journey at Rio Road, next to the bike shop at the southern edge of Carmel. From Rio Road it's 26 miles to Big Sur, thus...the Big Sur Marathon. You'll be riding that course in reverse.
On the road, you'll pass artichoke fields, cross the Carmel River and ride past the Odello Ranch. Climb a hill and you'll ride through the Carmel Highlands with some of the most spectacular coastal homes in the hemisphere.
The first stop is Garrapata State Park, seven miles from Rio Road. You can walk on the beach, look for whales, or relax and have lunch.
Highway 1 near Garrapata State Park.
Another seven miles and you'll cross the famed Bixby Bridge. One of the world's few arched bridges built on a curve, it was constructed by San Quentin convicts working alongside locals like author John Steinbeck (pre-fame).
Five miles further and you're at the Point Sur Light Station, built on a towering 360 foot high volcanic rock in the sea, it's a spectacular view, flat and easy to ride. You can only visit the light house on a guided tour, but riding by is an experience you'll never forget.
Best place to be a cow.
Five miles more and you're in what's known as Big Sur. Big Sur is not a town. A region without formal boundaries or government, it's more attitude than cartography.
Bay Bikes is owned by Devin and Stacy Meehen. They also own Bay Bikes in Monterey's Cannery Row and in downtown Monterey. Bay Bikes rents bikes and everything you need, but they're also a full-service bike shop with sales and service. All Bay Bike shops also have apparel, helmets, shoes, parts and best of all, great advice from real bike riders.