The Sea Otter Classic is a fun biking festival held near Monterey California and it's a celebration of all things bike!
Happening on April 20-23, 2023 this classic cycling event is the largest in the world and it has almost everything you could imagine related to the joy of riding a bike. There are fun rides, races, an expo area, demo bikes to ride, kids activities, a food court, a beer garden, camping, and more!
Here is a video to give you a better idea of what the event looks like:
The Sea Otter Classic started in 1991 and it is held at the Laguna Seca Raceway in the hills just outside of Monterey. It really is a striking location with the road racers on the raceway track, mountain bike racers zipping by on the surrounding trails, and the busy bike expo with a festival style atmosphere in the center.
A big highlight of the Sea Otter Classic expo is all the new bikes and e-bikes that can be test ridden at the event. There is a road track and off-road track for getting a good feel for each bike you test ride.
Make sure you stop by the Denago booth (P72) to check out the latest Denago eBikes and enter to win the new Folding Model 1 eBike. There will be a good selection of the new Denago eBikes to test ride on the road and off road tracks.
Additionally there is so much other bike gear to checkout around the show and some companies offer free goodies like coffee, energy drinks, beer, and food.
There are also trials riding exhibitions that happen in the expo area. These riders do some amazing tricks like hopping their bike onto and over obstacles like boulders, cars, trees, etc. Check the schedule for the place and time.
Getting Out for a Ride
Another highlight of the Sea Otter Classic are the group ride tours (Gran Fondo) that are open to eBikes. These rides travel through some of the beautifully scenic areas around Monterey. These rides include aid stations with food and water, mechanical support, a post ride catered lunch, beer, shower, and more.
The Gran Fondo Pacifico is a 50 mile ride from Laguna Seca Raceway to the coastline which highlights Fort Ord Dunes State Park, Monterey State Beach, along the Monterey coastline to Pacific Grove and then back the same way to Laguna Seca.
The Gran Fondo Carmelo is an 85 mile tour of the Salinas valley that offers a variety of landscapes and agriculture.
The Robles Tour is an off-road ride of either 10 miles or 26 miles that is a good fit for e-mountain bikes or e-gravel bikes. The route includes “forest service roads and smooth trails for a stunning ride among the oaks across the historic Fort Ord National Monument.”
If you are looking for a ride you can do whenever you feel like it, there is the famous and scenic “17 Mile Drive” at Pebble Beach that has some great ocean views and it is open to eBikes. Here is a video to give you a better idea of what the ride is like:
There are also some great bike paths that wind along the coast and beach areas near Fisherman's Wharf.
The Racing Scene
At the Sea Otter Classic there are also so many racing events to checkout, including an electric mountain bike race! The Sea Otter is one of the largest spring racing events and many of the top pros and amateurs will be there competing, so it will be entertaining. Below are the races that will be happening:
Mountain Bike Racing
- Cross Country
- Dual Slalom
- eMountain Bike Cross Country
- Road Race
- Circuit Race
- Gravel Race
There are also kids events and races happening too. Never too early to get out and have fun on 2 wheels! There is the Kids Zone where kids can ride a course that teaches them new riding skills. Every day at 10am there is an egg hunt with prizes inside.
For those that want to be competitive, there are races at 1pm each day. There are age appropriate categories and they race on a course that tests their skills.
There is even an area for the young ones to try balance bikes and on Sunday they take over the main track for a Balance Bike Rally.
The Little Bellas Sea Otter Camp is for girls ages 8-13 to learn new skills and enjoy riding together. Each day will focus on different skills and they will be able to meet some of the top women mountain bikers at Sea Otter.
Like the adults, kids will also have the opportunity to test ride new bikes from the many companies at the expo. And many companies will have entertaining kids activities like scavenger hunts and coloring books, free giveaways and food samplings, interactive digital games and stunt shows.
Adventure for All is a new program for individuals ages 11 and up with intellectual and/or developmental exceptionalities (disabilities) to learn the fundamentals of riding a two-wheel bike and being included in the cycling community.
1-day Festival Pass is $20 pre-event and $25 on-site.
4-day Festival Pass pre-event online price is $70. Not available on-site.
Children age 12 and under, free all week.
The Gran Fondo rides have an entry fee of $125 that includes a 4 day festival pass.
Where to Stay
There are a lot of hotel and vacation rental options in Monterey and the surrounding areas. The Sea Otter Classic has special discounts for lodging and travel that you can explore here.
Camping at the Laguna Seca Raceway is also an option if you want to be super close to the event and in the action. This has been a long standing tradition at the Sea Otter. You can bring your own tent or RV. There is also the option to rent an RV.
How to Get There
There is a regional airport in Monterey that is pretty easy to fly in and out of. Other airport options include San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno and Oakland airports.
If you plan on driving to the event, then consider adding some time to enjoy the scenic drive along the California coastline Highway 1 either north or south of Monterey, it's really worth it!
More Fun Places to see
Monterey is a fun town to check out and some of the big highlights are the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, whale watching tours, Point Lobos State Reserve, Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary, and more.
Monterey and Carmel-by-the-sea have a great selection of restaurants (lots of seafood), coffee shops, breweries, and wineries to check out.
Carmel-by-the-sea has an amazing white sand beach, shopping, art galleries, farmers market, and more.
Here is a website with more details on all the fun things to do in the Monterey area.
Get Out and Have Some Fun
As you can see there are a lot of fun eBiking activities to enjoy at the Sea Otter Classic. You can test ride the latest eBikes, get out for some fun rides, check out the racing, get the kids riding, learn about the latest gear, and enjoy the celebration of all things bike with many other riders.
The Monterey area has a bunch of fun places to explore. From the beach to the aquarium to tasty food, the Monterey area has a lot to offer. And if you get the chance to explore further north or south along the California coast it is well worth it.
We hope to see you there! And if you can’t make it this year, make sure you put it on your vacation list for next year.
Enjoy your rides!