If you are from the San Francisco bay area, Driving to the Monterey Bay area, particularly to the World Famous Pebble Beach is a 1 1/2 hour drive if you would not have a restroom break via US 101 South then to CA 156 and finally to the Cabrillo Highway (CA Highway 1). it is located 125 miles south of san francisco, just after monterey and pacific grove and if you want to save on gas, then just take a day tour from the assorted tour buses plying the area from downtown san francisco like grayline tours or allustours or coach america. Most of the people going to Carmel By the Sea also go to the 17 mile drive and pebble beach and pacific grove areas and it is best to allot 1 whole day or two to go around the Monterey Bay Area and an additional day or two in going to Big Sur and San Simeon and Paso Robles Areas.
In America, the thought of adequate public transportation gets thwarted frequently. Public attractions sometimes become inundated with private vehicles, however if there is no other alternative, it happens.
If you are heading to Pebble Beach, you will not have too much choice in the matter. It is not located close enough to a major airport to make a bus or taxi feasible, however most rental car agencies are available for $25-60USD per day plus applicable taxes.
On this trip, we chose National Rental Car, and since we had 6 adults went with the minivan.
If you are looking at flying into Pebble Beach, you have a couple options. 3 major airports, and one regional jet location are all easily accessible.
Major International - SFO San Francisco (111 miles away)
Minor International - OAK Oakland (110 miles away)
Minor International - SJC San Jose (80 miles away)
Regional Airport - MRY Monterey (8 miles away)
Have a safe flight!
The 17 mile drive has some pretty steep grades and blind turns, but my wife and I were able to pedal it on our tandem several years back. The pavement is excellent, and the traffic is unusually tolerant of bicycles. I believe that cyclists get past the gate for free. Good cyclists will have no trouble pedalling between Monterrey and Carmel in a morning, even with frequent stops for views of the coastline. Watch out for stray golf balls and speed demon sports cars. There are actually several roads, some which go along the ridge. Expect to get lost, but all roads eventually lead to a gate.