This is a great road - with a few reservations. Everyone should ride California 1 at some point. Much of the excitement you read about and see on TV is about the Big Sur region south of San Francisco, and for good reason. Yet, this route north of SF up to where it rejoins Hwy 101 at Leggett has portions just as beautiful and rewarding.
The area just north of the Golden Gate can get crowded if you're there on a weekend from about mid-morning on, and that crowding is particularly great between Mill Valley and Stinson Beach. Then it clears out a bit until you get closer to Pt. Reyes Station, and up through Marshall. There there is quite a bit of fun road from north of Marshall up to Tomales. The road from Tomales to Bodega Bay is nothing special, and if you have no need of a restaurant or gasoline, go around Bodega Bay on back roads. Where the road really gets fun is north of Jenner, and it continues to be great fun through Stewart's Point, and it continues to be beautiful, though not quite as entertaining norther of there.
The best part though, comes beyond Mendocino and Fort Bragg once you pass Westport. Once Hwy 1 turns inland from the coast and begins its ascent towards Leggett it reaches what may be the very best riding the whole length of the road. Really, really great stuff, climbing through redwoods, dipping and diving through coastal creek drainages, there is never a dull moment.
One more pro-tip; some of the best riding around Hwy 1 is not on the highway itself, and can instead be found on the side roads cutting through the coast hills connecting with 101. Pay close attention to your map and you will find some gems.
This routes really offers a treat for all and has a bit of everything. Truly one of the best.
I just took Orson's Leggett tour this month, it is north of San Francisco. Good roads but with LOTS of construction and detours and summer traffic! My comment (above) was referring to Hunter-Leggett to the south of S.F., a ride with even more spectacular scenery!!
The ride from SF to Hunter-Ligitt is one of the best on the continent if not the earth. Take Hwy 1 along the coast and experience the best and most scenic (and crowded)road in California.
One of the greatest motorcycle roads of all time. Dazzling ocean views, towering redwood groves, twists and turns galore. This is a road every motorcyclist should ride at least once in their lifetime.