The Ventura – Santa Barbara County 101 Coastal Run

If you live along the Central Coast of California, you are fully aware of the unique mixture of scenic beauty and speedom (freedom of speed) that the 101 Highway offers. If you live elsewhere in California, you need to be aware of potentially the State’s best motorcycle riding gem. The pathway between Ventura and Santa Barbara is hugs the gorgeous California coast with a no more than 100 feet of beach separating South-bound riders from the Pacific Ocean.

Rincon Point (

Rincon Point (


The route extends between Ventura and the Gaviota State Park, covering over 60 miles of coast. The 101 Freeway bends east away from the ocean at these two points. Beginning in Ventura, after passing the 33 juncture, the path breaks from any notion of civilization into a stretch littered with famous surf spots such as Rincon Point to the West, and lush mountains to the East. As you approach Carpinteria, the road will begin to take some interesting and fun deviations as the elevation varies as well.

Once past Carpinteria, you will emerge once again along relatively bare coast with beautiful Santa Barbara within view in the distance. The final stretch of the ride is the Gaviota coastline, which is the only Mediterranean climate coastline in the entire United States, and is untouched by human development due to strict environmental regulations and the presence of many endangered species.

Potential for Speedom

Aside from the magnificent views and lovely climate, the stretches of highway along the coast are very tightly packed between ocean and mountainside, and there exists little to no space for police speed traps. With the ocean wind at your face, and miles of coastline laid out before you, there will rarely be a better chance to combine the scenic beauties with the opportunity to test the true potential of your engine displacement.

A big thanks to Jonny Kintzele for a great report about the Pacific Coastal Highway. I’ve been on this road in the past with Jenny, my KLR650.

As a software developer and all around nerd, I like data. When I found out there’s a website to compare and contrast motorcycles based on a data driven model I thought it was pretty damn cool. Here are some results for the top 3 motorcycles that FindTheBest’s system

Bonus Recommendations – Top 3 Sport Touring Motorcycles

The Santa Barbara – Ventura County 101 Coast Run is a harmony of scenic enjoyment and adrenaline pumping speed; Sport Touring bikes are ideal for cruising up and down this stretch of California coast and beyond.

Using FindTheBest’s Smart Rating System below are the top motorcycles for sport touring at great speeds, for great distances. The Smart Rating System gathers reviews from the top motorcycle rating sites (,, and and assigns a normalized average of all three to create one rating score from 1 – 100.

Top 3 Smart Rated Sport Touring Motorcycles

2011 BMW K 1600 GT

1) 2011 BMW K 1600 GT

2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Sport

2) 2010 Ducati Multistrada 1200 S Sport

2010 BMW R 1200 RT

3) 2010 BMW R 1200 RT

  • Sean Steele

    Just did a weeklong tour of California on a 2011 R1200RT. The bike was magnificent, the roads even better.

  • San Diego Motorcycle Roads

    I’m hoping to do this route this year. Great pics!

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