Great Explorations

(800) 242-1825
(604) 730-1247

National Geographic
Blog: Tour with the pros - california



“We found the people we met made the trip so special. Several of us have already been talking about which trip to go on next year.”

– Kay & Jim D,
Burlington, VT

More testimonials


Trip Dates:

2018 + 2019

dates TBD

Custom trips also available. Call or email for details.

Trip Size:

8-16 participants

Total Days:

8 days/ 7 nights


San Francisco/ Thousand Oaks


Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa, Monterey

El Colibri Hotel, Cambria

Hadsten House, Solvang

Hyatt, Westlake Village


Activity Level:

Moderate with challenging options
40-60+ miles daily

Van supported




Land Cost (current year):
US $2650pp
Includes 7B/2L/5D

Single Supplement:
US $660

Bike Rental:
(on request)

Marin Stelvio Carbon/ Shimano 105
US $180

Specialized Roubaix

US $280

Tour of California 2017, Biking

Tour with the Pros

The Tour of California is recognized as one of the largest cycling events in the United States and Great Explorations will again be offering the opportunity to cycle the beautiful California routes and watch world-class cyclists including three-time winner Levi Leipheimer, Chris Horner, Christian Vande Velde, Dave Zabriskie, Ryder Hesjedal and an international field that puts this race in the ranks of the Grand Tours.

In 2017 we are offering a trip from San Francisco to Thusand Oaks with the opportunity to see the pros on 3 occasions. You will have ample chance to mix with professional racers and be up close to the action. In Great Explorations style, we’ll take care of the logistics and ensure that you will enjoy yourself to the fullest.

Great Explorations has been organizing trips to ‘Grand Tour’ races for over 15 years and has unparalleled experience in trips of this kind
  • Small groups, extraordinary guides, and authentic experiences.
  • A ride you will never forget: from Monterey along Big Sur and through a cathedral of redwoods without the crowds
  • Private wine tastings at vineyards
  • Order off the menu at restaurants you won't find in guidebooks
  • Wine reception on arrival and final nights
  • A Great Explorations custom jersey for each guest
  • The opportunity to meet pro riders from top teams
  • We design and operate our own trips so there are only good surprises.


*From our Tour of California trips, Great Explorations will be making a donation of $100 per guest to your choice of: Breakaway from Cancer Foundation or your local cancer charitable organization (subject to a minimum of 12 participants).





Tour of California- Getting there:
This trip starts in San Francisco- you will need to overnight there on May 12th- we'll provide additional details on arriving and hotel recommendations in your confirmation packages.

DAY 1 (May 13):

Monterey- From San Francisco we will leave the Golden Gate bridge behind and cycle south along the coast passing Halfmoon Bay and funky Santa Cruz to Monterey. There is usually a tail wind and the grades are moderate but challenge yourself as much as you like- the spa awaits in Monterey and the chic village of Carmel is close by. Ride Distances: 50, 75, 130 miles.

DAY 2 (May 14): Stage 4: Monterey to Cambria (live viewing)

Cambria- We are in the perfect position to watch the start and then follow the peleton south along Big Sur, the most scenic coastline in California. It’s 100 miles to San Simeon with just over 6000’ of climbing, but you can choose to challenge yourself with less mileage and shuttle when ready. Staying at Cambria, we will have a chance to visit the Hearst Castle. Ride Distances: 50, 100 miles.



DAY 3 (May 15): Stage 5: Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara (live viewing)

Solvang - Today’s destination is Solvang, a mecca for cycling enthusiasts. We will depart San Simeon and shuttle to Lompoc to ride one of the most scenic routes in Santa Barbara county passing several vineyards (including Stanford Winery from the film ‘Sideways’). We will watch the race as they make their way from San Simeon to Santa Barbara, join in race festivities or for those that want additional mileage, we’ll ride north through quiet Los Olivos then through the Foxen Canyon Wine Country with tastings along the way. Ride Distances:30, 50, 70 miles


DAY 4 (May 16): Stage 6: Santa Clarita to Mountain High

Santa Barbara- Ride from Solvang through the Santa Ynez Valley to Santa Barbara (where we’ll tour Mission Santa Barbara, and enjoy a sumptuous lunch in a favorite bistrot), through charming Montecito finishing in Westlake Village, site of the next day's stage. Ride 40, 60, or 100 miles.


DAY 5 (May 17): Stage 8: Santa Clarita to Pasadena

Thousand Oaks- We’ll be up early to cycle through the Santa Monica Mountains to the coast at Malibu and back in time to watch the grande finale and join in post-race festivities in downtown Thousand Oaks. We’re staying at the Hyatt in Westlake, a short ride from the finish line. It will be a thrilling day as much for you as you total your cycling mileage and count the memories of a week of race festivities and fun. Ride 50 miles


DAY 6 (May 18): Thousand Oaks (live viewing)

We have a wonderful ride through Malibu hills along the route of last year’s Tour de California. Afterwards, watch the exciting finish of the Tour of California, and celebrate the ride of your life.


DAY 7 (May 19): Depart for LAX when you like for onward travel.


If you are comparing our trip to others, be sure to consider the number of nights included, days riding, time spent shuttling (when you could be cycling), the quality of lodging, bikes, guides and experience in planning trips of this type (+20 years). We hope you'll join us!

  • What's Included
  • Weather
  • Ride Info
  • Map

Map of the Area

Ride Info

What's Included in the Cost of Your Trip?

  • Services of one or more experienced Great Explorations guides and support vehicle
  • 6 nights lodging
  • All breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 5 dinners
  • Entrance fees for selected historical sites, museums and wine tastings
  • Great Explorations cycling jersey
  • Wine reception on first and final nights
  • Detailed map and route instructions
  • All baggage transportation
  • All transportation from initial meeting point to final drop-off (see arrive/depart cities)

Please note: Final itinerary is subject to revision; any changes, including hotels, are made are done so in an attempt to provide the best possible trip given route conditions, available rooms and services. Due to the nature of our business and exchange rates, prices are subject to change. All prices quoted are U.S. dollars but we gladly accept payment in Canadian dollars also. Due to cancellations and waiting lists, trip availability fluctuates daily. If you have any questions or would like to confirm space on this trip before making your reservation, please contact us at or by telephone at 604.730.1247



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