While the 14-mile section of Pacific Coast Highway and Palos Verdes Drive between the Redondo Beach Pier and the Korean Bell of Friendship in the LA South Bay offers novices and cafe racers a pleasant weekend motorcycle ride, local motorbike aficionado and artisan Michael Schreiber prefers a ride that’s a little more challenging. Check out his crib at South Bay Customs and his top five bike rides in the Los Angeles area.
Cold Spring Tavern
5995 Stagecoach Road
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Take CA-1 (US-101) from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, turn east on Highway 154 and then cross the San Marcos Pass. About one mile down from the crest of the mountain, take a left onto Stagecoach Road and then turn right and follow the road for about 1.5 miles. The ivy-clad Cold Spring Tavern has been providing three square meals a day for travelers since 1886, and that century-plus of catering experience ensures that it remains a popular haunt for bikers, celebrities and residents at the upper end of the Santa Ynez Valley. Extend your trip with an overnight stay at a B&B in Solvang or camp under the stars at Rancho Oso or Lake Cachuma.
The Lookout Roadhouse
32107 Ortega Highway
Lake Elsinore, CA 92530
Take Highway 73 to San Juan Capistrano and then turn east onto SR-74 and head up the winding two-lane Ortega Highway to the Lake Elsinore Valley. Perched atop the mountainside, riders will find The Lookout Roadhouse overlooking Lake Elsinore which has been providing good eats and an awesome view in all its prior incarnations since 1945. The route up the mountain from San Juan Capistrano provides a great ride, and most bikers will likely opt to head back the same way for the return leg rather than traveling down the I-15.
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Ojai Deer Lodge
2261 Maricopa Highway
Ojai, CA 93023
Grab a cup of roadhouse chili, a basket of BBQ wings and a pint of pale ale at this classic ‘30s-era biker hangout or head up SR-33 via Highway 1/US-101 on a Sunday for the restaurant’s signature patio pig roast and rock ‘n’ roll afternoon. This is a great ride that rises to close to 7,000 feet at Pine Mountain Summit – about 20 miles to the north of Ojai. To extend your ride, consider an overnight stop at Lake Casitas recreation area on Highway 150 to the west or Pine Mountain or Reyes Peak campgrounds (spring through fall) which offers wonderful views of both the Cuyama Badlands and the Channel Islands National Park.
Neptune’s Net Restaurant
42505 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90265
One of the all-time favorite rides for bikers of all ages is to simply follow Pacific Coast Highway (SR-1) along the coast from Santa Monica to Yerba Buena Road in Malibu. Then order a tray of fried clams or beer-battered fish and chips, pull up a chair and soak in the ocean view. Expand the ride by returning via Mulholland Highway with a stop at Ed and Vern’s iconic “Rock Store” – situated between Malibu Canyon/Las Virgenes Road and Kanan Road. Mulholland provides bikers with a series of twists, turns and switchbacks through the Santa Monica Mountains — including a notorious section dubbed “The Snake” – before hitting US-101. Complete the loop with a ride back to the coast along Topanga Canyon Boulevard.
Newcomb’s Ranch Restaurant & Bar
Angeles Crest Highway 2
La Cañada Flintridge, CA 91011
An iconic watering hole on the Angeles Crest Highway (SR-2) in Los Angeles County’s San Gabriel Mountains, Frederick Rundall’s Newcomb’s Ranch restaurant and bar provides a welcome oasis on the 66-mile-long route between La Cañada Flintridge and Wrightwood. With stunning views of the Los Angeles basin, this challenging ride along the “Rim of the World” reaches heights of around 7,000 feet, so be sure to wear a good set of leathers.
Related: Top Motorcycle Rides in Los Angeles
Julian Gothard is an internationally published freelance writer covering all things Los Angeles. You can check out his popular RVing and travel column at Examiner.com.