Fallbrook bicycle ride information - http://home.znet.com/schester/fallbrook/bicycling/road_reviews.html

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Bicycle Rides Near Fallbrook, CA: General Road Recommendations

Fallbrook is a great place to ride a bicycle on the road. I have immensely enjoyed riding my bicycle in the Fallbrook area, which offers beautiful scenery, great roads to ride on, low vehicle traffic on many roads, and relatively few impediments to riding like the inconsiderate motorists found in some areas.

Good Bicycling Roads

Any of the following roads are a pleasure to ride upon. They are ranked in rough order of altitude gain on the road, from the most level to the most hilly. The six major hills in Fallbrook are explicitly given in The Fallbrook, CA Guacamole Grande.

Road Description
Camino Del Rey, Bonsall. The longest flattest road in the area. Five miles of beautiful scenery through Bonsall paralleling Moosa Creek. Speed limit is 50 mph, but traffic is light and there are only a few spots in the road with inadequate shoulder.
Live Oak Road. Fairly flat, shaded along much of the way by "Ancient Oak Trees". Not much shoulder, but the light traffic and 25 mph speed limit make this a safe road to travel.
Rainbow Valley, Old Highway 395 loop, Rainbow. Fairly flat, beautiful trip through some of the many nurseries in Rainbow. Speed limit 55 mph, but there's an official wide bicycle lane on 395 and Rainbow Valley Road is lightly travelled.
Old River Road, Bonsall. Dead flat, nice trip along south side of the San Luis Rey River. Speed limit is 55 mph, but there is little traffic.
North River Road, Bonsall. Pretty flat, continues along the San Luis Rey River on the north side.
Olive Hill Road. A little hill at each end at Mission, but otherwise fairly gentle slope through pretty country and some nice homes. Speed limit 55 mph, but shoulder is adequate for the light traffic on the road. Avoid near 5 pm "rush hour", when the number of cars increases, lessening the pleasure of the road.
Gopher Canyon Road, Bonsall. Speed limit is 55 mph, and the amount of traffic is fairly high at times due to people from Vista connecting with I-15. When the traffic is not too high, this is a great road with the peak elevation just west of I-15, a steep climb from I-15 but a longer, gentler climb from the west.
Lilac Road, Bonsall. Lightly traveled road, significant climb from west end to junction at Highway 395. The road continues along the famous bridge over I-15 at the entrance to the Fallbrook area, and is generally level until the intersection with Circle R.
Circle R Road, Bonsall. Lightly traveled road, climbs steadily from Highway 395 to its intersection with Lilac Road.
Sleeping Indian. Lightly traveled road, with big hill going north from North River Road, and smaller hill descending along Burma at its northern end. Great views west into Camp Pendleton and the Naval Weapons Station, including ocean views.
De Luz Road. A "Cruise through De Luz" is a delightful trip through quite rural country. There are significant hills along the way, but the road is very lightly traveled.
Sandia Creek Drive. Again, a delightful trip through quite rural country, with significant hills along the way. The road is very lightly traveled, and the views of the Santa Rosa Plateau are stunning.
Rice Canyon Road. A delightful trip through the Rainbow backcountry, consisting of a fun quick descent from Rainbow to SR76, or a tough slow climb toward Rainbow from SR76. Beautiful scenery.
Old highway 395 from Temecula to Escondido. A bicycle lane starts at the San Diego County Line, and continues into Escondido. There are a number of hills along the way. 395 is best used to connect some of the prettier roads that intersect it. The climb to the crest at Lilac Road is the second-toughest climb in Fallbrook.
Couser Canyon Road. The toughest climb in the Fallbrook area from SR76 to the top, then a great descent to Lilac Road. Beautiful countryside all along the way.

Roads To Avoid

The following roads are not recommended for bicycle travel, except when necessary to connect more delightful roads.

Road Description
SR76. Easily the winner of the Most Awful Road To Ride On award from every standpoint. SR76 is narrow in most places with extremely inadequate shoulders. It has the most traffic of any road in the area, including a number of heavy trucks. Although the absolute level of traffic declines east of I-15, it is more than compensated for by the large number of double gravel trucks travelling to and from the several quarries along SR76.

I recommend traveling on only two sections of SR76. First, the ~200' that connects Rice Canyon Road with Couser Canyon Road. Second, the half mile that connects South Mission Road with Olive Hill Road. To connect with North River Road, I prefer to climb the hill using Via Puerta Del Sol (which includes about a mile of good dirt road).

East and South Mission Roads near downtown Fallbrook. Heavy traffic makes these roads unpleasant to travel on, and one can avoid them for the most part in this area. Take Alvarado and Stagecoach in and out of town.
Reche Road Narrow or non-existent shoulders, including at least one hazard of a big ditch right next to the road, combined with 45 mph heavy traffic. The ~400' between Green Canyon and Live Oak Park Rd. is needed to connect those two good roads.
East Mission Although East Mission has a nice wide bicycle lane, the constant heavy traffic at 45 mph makes it an unpleasant trip. However, I do recommend using East Mission to connect Old Highway 395 to Live Oak Road.
South Mission Along much of its length, South Mission effectively has a bicycle lane due to its wide shoulder, even though formally there is no bicycle lane. However, the heavy traffic at 55 mph makes me always breathe a sigh of relief when I finish using it. I do recommend using it to connect Via Monserate to Olive Hill, and Olive Hill to Winterhaven Road, as a necessity to make loop trips.



Bicycle Rides Near Fallbrook, CA: Local Rides

These rides are ordered by increasing total elapsed time from beginning to end, which is also roughly in order of toughness. All the bike rides start at my house, 1802 Acacia Lane, 1 minute from the Alta Vista Drive intersection. Hence all descriptions start with going "North" or "South" on Alta Vista Dr.

You of course can start the loop at any point. If you are fanatical about following the explicit directions given, you are welcome to park anyplace on Acacia Lane.

All of the loop trips are equally enjoyable to do in the opposite direction, although the hills may make the ride quite different.

The six major hills in Fallbrook are explicitly given in The Fallbrook, CA Guacamole Grande.

Total Elapsed Time
(HH:MM)
Total Miles Name Description
1:06 12.6 Olive Hill Loop N on Alta Vista, E on Winterwarm, W on Winterhaven, N on S. Mission, S on Olive Hill, E on SR76, N on S. Mission, E on Via Monserate, N on Palomar, N on Alta Vista.
1:18 11.7 Live Oak Park Rd. N on Alta Vista, E on Winterwarm, W on Winterhaven, N on Green Canyon, E. on Reche, N on Live Oak Park, return same way.
1:18 13.1 Live Oak Park Rd., Hamilton Loop N on Alta Vista, E on Winterwarm, W on Winterhaven, N on Green Canyon, E. on Reche, N. on Live Oak Park, W on E. Mission, S on Hamilton, E on Gum Tree, S on Live Oak Park, W on Reche, S on Green Canyon, W on Winterhaven, N on Alta Vista.
1:43 16.2 Sleeping Indian, Morro Hills N on Alta Vista, E on Winterwarm, W on Winterhaven, N on S. Mission, S on Olive Hill, E on Burma, S on Sleeping Indian, E on Morro Hills, S on Olive Hill, E on SR76, N on S. Mission, E on Via Monserate, N on Palomar, N on Alta Vista.
1:46 16.1 Live Oak Rd., Yucca, Ranger Road N on Alta Vista, E on Winterwarm, W on Winterhaven, N on Green Canyon, E. on Reche, N. on Live Oak Park, E on E. Mission, S on Yucca, Return to Mission, E on E. Mission, S on Ranger Rd., W on Reche, S on Green Canyon, W. on Winterhaven, S on Alta Vista.
1:49 19.4 North River Road, Sleeping Indian N on Alta Vista, E on Winterwarm, W on Winterhaven, N on S. Mission, S on Olive Hill, E on Burma, S on Sleeping Indian, E on North River Road, E on SR76, N on Mission, E on Via Monserate, N on Palomar, N on Alta Vista.
1:56 22.1 Little Gopher, Gopher, 395, Camino Del Rey S on Alta Vista, S on Palomar, W on Via Monserate, S on S. Mission, W on SR76, E on Camino Del Rey, S on Old River Road, E on Little Gopher Canyon, E on Gopher, N on 395, W on Camino Del Rey, E on SR76, N on S. Mission, E on Via Monserate, N on Palomar, N on Alta Vista.
1:56 21.8 Camino Del Rey, 395, Lilac S on Alta Vista, S on Palomar, W on Via Monserate, S on S. Mission, W on SR76, E on Camino Del Rey, N on 395, W on Lilac, W on Camino Del Rey, E on SR76, N on S. Mission, E on Via Monserate, N on Palomar, N on Alta Vista.
2:04 22.1 Little Gopher, Gopher, 395, Lilac S on Alta Vista, S on Palomar, W on Via Monserate, S on S. Mission, W on SR76, E on Camino Del Rey, S on Old River Road, E on Little Gopher Canyon, E on Gopher, N on 395, W on Lilac, W on Camino Del Rey, E on SR76, N on S. Mission, E on Via Monserate, N on Palomar, N on Alta Vista.
2:12 20.4 Live Oak Rd., 395, Rainbow Valley Loop N on Alta Vista, E on Winterwarm, W on Winterhaven, N on Green Canyon, E. on Reche, N. on Live Oak Park, E on E. Mission, N on 395, E on Rainbow Valley, S on 395, W on E. Mission, S on Live Oak Rd., W on Reche, S on Green Canyon, W. on Winterhaven, S on Alta Vista.
2:28 25.5 Temecula City Limits N on Alta Vista, E on Winterwarm, W on Winterhaven, N on Green Canyon, E. on Reche, N. on Live Oak Park, E on E. Mission, N on 395, E on Rainbow Valley, N on 395 to Temecula City Limits sign, return S on 395, W on E. Mission, S on Live Oak Rd., W on Reche, S on Green Canyon, W. on Winterhaven, S on Alta Vista.
2:53 30.5 Mid-Oceanside Tour S on Alta Vista, S on Palomar, W on Via Monserate, S on S. Mission, W on SR76, W on N. River Road, S on Douglas, E on Camino Real turns into Rancho Del Oro, E on Mesa, S on Santa Fe, E on Osborne, N on Vista Way, E on Old River Road, W on Camino Del Rey, E on SR76, N on S. Mission, E on Via Monserate, N on Palomar, N on Alta Vista.
3:04 30.0 Lilac, Circle R, Gopher S on Alta Vista, S on Palomar, W on Via Monserate, S on S. Mission, W on SR76, E on Camino Del Rey, E on Lilac turns into Circle R, S on 395, W on Gopher, N on Vista Way, E on Old River Road, W on Camino Del Rey, E on SR76, N on S. Mission, E on Via Monserate, N on Palomar, N on Alta Vista.
3:13 26 Rainbow, Rice Canyon, Wilt N on Alta Vista, E on Winterwarm, W on Winterhaven, N on Green Canyon, E. on Reche, N. on Live Oak Park, E on E. Mission, N on 395, E on Rainbow Valley, E on 8th St., S on Rice Canyon, W on SR76, N on 395, W on Pala Mesa Dr., N on Wilt, W on Reche, S on Green Canyon, W. on Winterhaven, S on Alta Vista.
3:37 36.4 Dairy Queen in Temecula N on Alta Vista, E on Winterwarm, W on Winterhaven, N on Green Canyon, E. on Reche, N. on Live Oak Park, E on E. Mission, N on 395, E on Rainbow Valley, N on 395, W on Pala Rd., W on SR79, N on Front St., N on Jefferson to Dairy Queen just past Winchester. Return same way.
9:19 (includes
pizza and cokes
recovery time after
main Guacamole Grande!)
62.1 Guacamole Grande route from my house Ride totals 100 km nearly exactly, and has 5000' elevation gain and loss (as in 1 mile of elevation gain!).

N on Alta Vista, E on Winterwarm, W on Winterhaven, go thru Fallbrook High School to Stagecoach (official Guacamole Grande start).

E on Stagecoach, E on Reche, N on 395, E on Rainbow Valley, E on 8th St., S on Rice Canyon, E on SR76, S on Couser Canyon, S on Lilac, W on W. Lilac, E on Circle R, S on 395, W on Gopher, W on Little Gopher, E on Old River Road, E on Camino Del Rey, N on 395, W on Lilac, W on Camino Del Rey which turns into Olive Hill, N on S. Mission after traversing Olive Hill, end Guacamole Grande at Alvarado St.

S on S. Mission, E. on Winterhaven, stay E. on Winterhaven as Brooke curves away from it, S on Alta Vista. See elevation profile of main Guacamole Grande road, not including the portion to and from my house.

Watch out for the 2 miles of construction on S. Mission between Olive Hill and Peppertree. In fact, I'd recommend skipping that part until the construction is finished.




The Fallbrook, CA Guacamole Grande

I have derived the altitude information for the 1996 Guacamole Grande 50 mile bicycle ride by painstakingly reading it off the topo maps and reconstructing where the actual roads are now, as opposed to where they were when the topo maps were made. Changes were due to the construction of I-15.

It was clear that this information is badly needed by the people who ride the Guacamole Grande, since at the rest stops the entire discussion centered on the climbs and speculation as to what climbs might be ahead! The following plots refer to the "official" starting and ending points for the 1996 Guacamole Grande. (The official start was at Fallbrook Union High School. The ride officially ended at the Avocado Festival at Main and Alvarado.)

Graph of: Elevation (in feet) versus mileage of the 1996 Guacamole Grande.
(Click on graph for bigger image.)
Graph of Elevation vs. Distance

Graph of: Cumulative percentage for both uphill and downhill parts of the 1996 Guacamole Grande, versus mileage
(Click on graph for bigger image.)

To clarify what this plot shows, consider the points plotted for mile 30. At that point, you have done about 56% of the total miles. (Note that the total mileage is slightly over 50 miles.) You are in much better shape for altitude gain: you have done ~72% of the total gain already, so you only have 1/4 of the total gain to go. Also, you have done ~64% of the total descent at that point.

The total gain and loss for the 1996 Guacamole Grande is 4712 feet altitude gain, with a loss of 4537 feet of altitude, implying of course that you end up at a higher altitude that you started, which is possible since the finish point does not equal the starting point.

The major climbs are given in the following table, where they are ranked by my judgement of their difficulty, based on total elevation gain for the largest two hills, and then on slope for the rest, all of which have roughly the same total elevation gain.

Major Climbs of the 1996 Guacamole Grande

Hill Name Miles Altitude gain (') Slope ('/mile)
Couser Canyon 3.4 875 257
395 2.1 600 286
Gopher 0.6 265 442
Rainbow 1.1 310 282
Lilac Road 2.0 320 160
Olive Hill 2.4 340 142

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