Cycling Destinations: California

In this edition in our series on great places to go for a cycling holiday we’re looking at California. There’s very little that needs to be said to introduce the state of California as it’s a place known the world over—not least thanks to Hollywood and Western pop culture in general. In many way California is the ideal location for a cycling holiday, because not only is cycling extremely popular there, it’s also the home of the type of biking known as BMX.

Back in the 1970s there was a film that popularised the sport of motocross, or off-road motorcycling. As the film was incredibly popular with children too young to be allowed to ride the motocross bikes themselves, children did what they did to do by emulating adults and modifying their ubiquitous Stingray bicycles to be able to ride them over dirt paths and pretend they were motorcycles. The sport caught on with adults as well and now is an entire sport unto itself.

But BMX biking is not the only thing that California has to offer the cycling tourist. California is the most populous state in the United States, has the largest economy, is one of the most multi-lingual, and also is one of the most geographically diverse. In fact, in many ways California is a country all on its own (and some of the state’s denizens are inclined to make it legally independent).

California offers phenomenal beaches and seemingly eternal sunshine in the south of the state, especially along the coast and on the beaches. Inland a bit one finds some of the world’s hottest deserts, as encapsulated by the region’s aptly and perhaps somewhat frighteningly named Death Valley. The climate changes as one travels through the vast region and in the north there are tall snow-capped mountains and forests containing some of the world’s largest trees, the famous Red Woods.

Whatever it is that you’re after California is the ideal place for the cyclist as it offers opportunity for urban cycling in its sprawling cities like Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, or mountain biking through its mountain ranges or even touring, perhaps taking the world-famous Pacific Highway. It’s undoubtedly a must-see for those who love both cycling and travel

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