When you think of taking the back road, do you imagine rolling pastures, hulking redwoods, farmland, and the occasional sweeping view? This 24-mile road ride starting in Half Moon Bay has all the fixings for a gorgeous country ramble. Start off with a 7-mile cruise south on Highway 1; the shoulder is fairly wide and the views are, well, Highway 1–worthy. But after you cross the highway inland on Tunitas Creek Road, the backcountry bicycling bliss begins—all 17 miles of it! There are usually more cyclists than cars as you coast by old ranches, farmland, and—this time of year—plenty of pumpkins. Make a stop at the Potrero Nuevo Farm (aka The Bike Hut), an honor-system store that supplies cyclists with refreshments and snacks (a handful of chocolate-covered banana chips hits the spot). Turn onto Lobitos Creek Road, and the canopy of redwood forest provides nice scenery, and some shade. A little climbing to ocean views from Verde Road precedes a fun descent to Purisima Creek Redwoods Preserve. Before you know it, you’re back in Half Moon Bay. Country ride completed.
Park in Half Moon Bay at the south end of Main St., across from the fire station. Cross Hwy. 1 and cycle south for 7 miles. Turn left on Tunitas Creek Rd. (the street sign is missing; look for a small sign for Potrero Nuevo Farm). After 2 miles turn right at junction with Lobitos Creek Cutoff to stay on Tunitas Creek Rd. At mile 10.5 make a sharp left onto Lobitos Creek Rd. At mile 14.5 turn right on Verde Rd. and parallel Hwy. 1. At mile 20 pass Purisima Creek Redwoods Open Space, and the road changes names to Higgins Purisima Rd. which takes you back to Main St. in Half Moon Bay.