When the Amgen Tour of California starts on May 12, the peloton of professional cyclists will ride on some of the Golden State’s most scenic roads and through its lively cities. Professional climber and self-described "adventure enthusiast" Matt Segal recently visited a few of the locations on the 2019 Amgen TOC course, including Ventura, Santa Barbara, Ontario, and Mt. Baldy. Segal shares his post-trip perspective below.

1. What were the top highlights of your trip?

There were too many just to choose one, but I really enjoyed my time riding on the coast between Ventura and Santa Barbara. I live in the mountains of Colorado, so any time I can spend on the coast is much appreciated.

2. Did you discover anything surprising about these cities along the way?

I think the most surprising aspect of the trip were my accommodations in Ventura. I stayed at the Waypoint, which is a really unique hotel. They’ve renovated retro Airstreams into super sweet rentals. I’d highly recommend staying there.

3. What was the riding like in Ventura?

I didn’t get the chance to try any of the amazing riding in the hills outside of Ventura, but the bike path that goes from Ventura to Santa Barbara was amazing!

4. What do you think the benefits are to exploring a destination by bike?

I’m a big fan of exercise and biking is not only great for that, but it can be just a super fun form of transportation. It really allows you to slow down and take your surroundings in, which is much different than driving a car.

5. What did you do in Ontario?

I went for an amazing hike just outside of Ontario, which was beautiful, and there are some pretty convenient bike paths that can get you around town.

6. Can you describe the area around Mt. Baldy and what to do there?

Mt. Baldy was definitely one of the major highlights of the trip. It’s one of the premier spots of the Amgen Tour of California and was really cool. The riding is super steep, which provides some tough climbs and extra fun descents.

7. Do you have any advice for those traveling to these destinations during the Amgen Tour of California?

Don’t be afraid to bring your bike and get some riding in of your own. The area has so much to do for people of all levels. You won’t regret it.