Phil Gaimon’s Guide to Big Bear:
Big Bear Lake easy ride: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/17919162
Stop for breakfast or lunch at North Shore Café in Fawnskin
Jenks Lake loop (nowhere to stop for coffee or water on this one, so be ready. There is a campground on the 38, but it’s not open year-round): https://ridewithgps.com/routes/17919091
Drive to Arrowbear, ride Green Valley Lake, Keller Peak (one of the best views in California), and Fredalba Road:. Lunch and Rocky’s Roadhouse. For extra credit, try Old City Creek road on the other side of the 330. For a long ride, skip the drive and ride there! Water stop between the two buildings in the Snow Valley Recreation Area parking lot, or the water fountain next to Green Valley Lake
Lake Arrowhead loop, with Keller Peak for extra credit. Crepe at Coffee and Tea exchange in Arrowhead, or swing down to Blue Jay for a Mac and Cheese Panini at HotShots Coffee (do that).
The big one: down to Redlands, back up over Onyx Pass. Stop at Bricks and Birch and make sure you get a snack, because you’ll need it on the way up. Fill your water bottles at the ranger station at the bottom of highway 38, because the next water stop is at the campground at 6,000 feet, and it’s hot out there.
Apple valley loop:
Stop at Tonyan Coffee in Apple Valley.
Drive down to Redlands for the famous Oak Glen climb from Redlands Classic. For extra credit, check out the Forest Falls climb.
Tour of California Palomar Stage: cookie and snack at Mother’s Kitchen on top of Palomar
Tour of California Baldy Stage: start at Rad Coffee in Upland, get chili in Baldy Village on the way down
The 18 is the way weekenders drive, so it’s fine to go down any time, but note that on Fridays, there’s heavy traffic coming UP to Big Bear, and on Sundays, there’s heavy traffic going down.
Derek Hermon runs Bear Valley Bike shop. 10% off if you tell him you’re staying at Phil Gaimon’s Wattage Cottage.
Big, greasy breakfast: Grizzly Manor
Mexican: Jalacito or Azteca Grill
Salads and nice bar, outdoor seating: 572 Social
Coffee: Copper Q, Moonridge Coffee Company
Casual: Get the Burger
Classy with beer: Big Bear brewing company
Murray’s (great seared tuna salad)
Cookies: there are no decent cookies in Big Bear. Don’t bother. This might be part of why staying there made me fast.