How to get the most out of your bike tour of Santa Barbara

Main Takeaway

Items, pre-trip planning, and education should be considered before your trip to get the most out of your bike tour of Santa Barbara.

The List of Advice

Advice on Clothing

Wear clothes that are good for biking.

Strong and stretchy shorts are the best. Shorts allow better movement than long pants, especially jeans. Shorts are recommended instead of skirts.

Wear clothes that are good for the possible temperatures.

Dress in layers. A windbreaker is better than a sweatshirt or sweater because it’s lighter and smaller to store if/when you don’t need it. Don’t tie a jacket/sweatshirt around your waist. I’ve seen it get stuck in the rear wheel and it’s dangerous and damages the jacket.

Wear closed toe shoes or sandals.

Injuries are more common if you don’t.

Advice on Personal Safety

Don’t forget the sunscreen.

Even with a helmet, your face will likely get sun and wind burn.

Wear a helmet.

Make sure the top of your head hits the top of the ‘bowl’ then tighten the knob in the back. The helmet shouldn’t move when you shake your head. The strap triangle should go around your ears and chin strap should be tight enough so that you can only fit 2-3 fingers under the strap.

Carry water.

Our water bottle cage is adjustable so you can carry small disposable bottles or your own personal bigger insulated bottle.

Advice on Bike Safety

Test ride the bike at the start to make sure it’s adjusted for your size and comfort.

Start with the seat height at the top of your hip bone when you stand next to it. When you are pedaling, at the bottom of your pedal stroke, your leg should be ALMOST straight but definitely not “locked” straight.

Make sure you understand how to shift gears if your bike has gears.

Some bikes have a twist grip and some might have triggers for your thumb/finger.

If it’s an electric bike, we will show you how it operates.

At a minimum, know where the power button is since most ebikes automatically power off after 5-10 minutes of non-use. The + button gives you more motor assist and – button gives less. Most of the time it’s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 but some bikes use words like Eco, Tour, Sport, Turbo.

A scenic view of The Mission that is frequently shown on our tours

Advice: Final (but important!) advice

Use the restroom before riding. There are a few opportunities along the ride but it will cause delays.

If you need to carry additional stuff, a basket or panniers is recommended instead of a backpack. A backpack puts the weight up higher which makes balance harder and causes more sweat on your back.

Use hand signals. 

Let cars and other riders know what you’re doing so they don’t crash into you.

Don’t try to take photos or videos while you ride. 

Pull over and stop – it’s not worth crashing.

If some people get separated by a red light, please wait to regroup.

Leave ~20 feet between you and the bike in front of you.

Enjoy Your Bike Tour of Santa Barbara!

American Riviera is excited to lead bike tours of Santa Barbara every day of the week. If you have any questions, feel free to give us a call: 805-622-7766.

About the Author

Mike Suding is the founder and owner of American Riviera Bike Tours. He has over 50+ years of experience in tours, travels, and blogging. He is the principle contributor for the blog