Touring - Touring Portland to San Francisco starting May 13th...Fishing for a Few Suggestions
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05-02-11, 05:58 PM
A friend of mine have about 12 days to make the trip from Portland to San Francisco. We're both in good shape and have toured several thousand miles each. I would expect to be about to go at least 70-80 miles a day if we want to.
One question: Which route to take from Portland to the coast?
The recommended route for ample time seems to be the 30 through Astoria, but I feel we will be pressed for time and this might be going to far out of the way.
So for a more direct route, either
1) Route 6 to Tillamook
2) Nestucca Access Rd to the 101 at Beaver
We are flying in and will likely by biking from the Airport, unless anyone can recommend against this idea. Maybe public transportation to get us out of the city?
SO......my second question.
Rain.....We are leaving on May 13. I expect there to be somewhere between a decent amount and an ungodly amount of rain. I have a decent gore-tex shell,but no real 'rain pants'. I'm figuring whatever I wear will get soaked through anyway, so maybe rain pants aren't a big deal. Maybe some sort of lightweight synthetic would be fine.
(We don't wear spandex :) )
Suggestions clothing wise for making this trip as pleasant as possible given the likely climate? I have never been to this part of the country before and don't know exactly what to expect, although I have read a number of trip reports and have a book. Seems like the weather is likely to be highly variable.
Thanks so much for your time!
05-02-11, 08:03 PM
Expect rain and expect to be cold. Highs this time of year on the coast are in the 60s if you're lucky, and lows can get down to the 30s and 40s. I did a ride along the Oregon coast last summer in August, the nicest time of year, and it was downright chilly at night.
Also, bring a camera and be prepared to use it! It's absolutely beautiful. :)
It looks like you've found the major choices to the coast: http://www.portlandonline.com/transportation/index.cfm?a=301633&c=36638
I think any of them can work.
Cycling the city isn't too bad, but if you want to avoid it and get a jump on things, I'd recommend getting on the MAX light rail right at the airport. The RED line is at the airport and you'll want to transfer to the BLUE line out to Hillsboro. The RED/BLUE parallel each other for much of the way.
As far as climate goes, the normal total rainfall for a year is ~40 inches and we should slowly be getting dryer. While there are no guarantees, a more normal time might be some slight rain that day or even dry. If it pours that day, come back and complain about me :) Also you can get an idea by browsing the automated rain gauges: http://or.water.usgs.gov/non-usgs/bes/raingage_info/clickmap.html Click on any of the circles and then "Data Table" and you can see past history of how much rain fell. For example, you'll see that last May was fairly wet, but that doesn't happen each year.
The ride along the coast from Astoria to San Francisco is a fun ride, have fun with your trip!
05-02-11, 08:23 PM
Suggest taking the MAX from the airport out to the Beaverton area; the bike ride from the airport would be challenging and not the best impression for you of what a lovely city we Portlanders live in! If you can go all the way to Forest Grove all the better. The Oregon Randonneurs organize rides from Forest Grove out to the coast and back, so maybe if you do a little research into some of their rides you'll see a route that is more appealing than the Astoria one. I haven't ridden out either Route 6 to Tillamook or Nestucca Access Rd to the 101 at Beaver. I'm not suggesting that you ride with the Randonneurs; just use their information as a resource. You can google Oregon Randonneur and get to their site from there. There is a quirky local restaurant/hotel in Forest Grove call The Grand Lodge that you might find is a lot of fun to stay overnight in. They brew their own beer and other drinks. Kind of one of a small chain of local places people always drag you to if you come visit them in Portland ;)
Clothing: You DEFINATELY want rain gear! It IS cold in May when it rains here. I am from the midwest where spring showers are warm and balmy. Not the case here. I have a Showers Pass brand jacket and I got rain pants this year that are just the REI brand and honestly I wish I'd invested in the Showers Pass ones. If you have no need for them ever again you can sell them on the Portland Craigslist site and you'll get a pretty good price for them I'd imagine as this is a community of cyclists and recyclers so people peruse Craigslist for cycling finds all the time! Showers Pass is an Oregon company so there is alot of loyalty to it here, which would also make reselling your item(s) easier I believe. I think you are bound to have at least a few days of rain in that time period. Also might be a good idea to have some long fingered gloves unless you are the totally hot blooded type. Make sure you have some wool socks and a merino wool jersey or long john top you can slide under a jersey in case its really a lot colder than you thought it would be. I bought black long john top and bottom this year at an outdoor store for whitewater rafting and I"ve used them more for cycling than I have for rafting this year -- LOL! They are lovely and I find myself wearing them in any temp below about 55degrees, but that's me. If the air feels cold on my face then the lightweight wool feels good under the jersey. If you are cycling 70-80 miles a day you'll either be getting an early start or ending in the chilly part of the day, so plan for the weather variances and your trip will be a lot more fun!
Good luck and let us know how your trip goes! Maybe you can post a blogspot link? I'd love to see the route you take and find out the ups and downs of it. I've wanted to do some kind of touring ride like this for a long time.
05-02-11, 08:25 PM
Oh, listen to Mev not me on where the MAX lightrail goes. I always think of Beaverton and Hillsboro being on the same line but they diverge at some point. I don't ride it often as I live in a different part of town. Sorry for the confusion.
double the opinion on rain gear. Also, some polypro tops and even bottoms for when you WILL be wet, and at least with this you wont be as cold. I did this trip in mid june and it was cool at night, throw in wet and being really cold and miserable is going to be a distinct possibility. I recall that trip being the coldest June I had ever experienced, here in east coast (Montreal) and thereabouts, even in France, it is usually quite warm.
when you say you "dont wear spandex" if you go with cotton, you are going to be, well....wet and cold.
Id sure as heck get some rain botties too, that and rain pants will mean your shoes wont be all wet for the next day, and lets face it, its going to be cool anyway, even on teh best sunny days.
as you say, variable will be the word here for weather, so plan for worst case scenarios, and if you dont get it, all the better.
Have a look at the Reach the Beach route:
Nice ride and you end up in Pacific City which has a great campground ($5) and is across the street from a great brewery. Not an easy ride at a solid 110 miles or so, but would be a nice 2-day romp. Unfortunatly it cuts off, if I had to wager a guess, 100 or so miles of the northern coast. Not fabulous terrain mind you, but still worth a visit.
Another option is the greyhound bus from the train station to Astoria. I caught a morning train which put me in Astoria by late morning. I think it was $25 or so.
I wouldn't turn up your nose to spandex, it was designed for a purpose and is the best tool for the job. I have been commuting in Oregon for years, my typical strategy is wet on the bottom warm and dry up top. I normally wear cycling bibs, long sleeve wool jersey and a waterproof breathable 'fitted' cycling top (nothing baggy). I'll layer depending on temp.
Great ride, make sure you have a waterproof tent. NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING is worse than not being able to stay warm and dry at night. Getting a bad nights sleep and getting up the next morning wet, cold and tired....sucks.
05-03-11, 11:42 AM
msviolin57- Definitely bringing a camera!
mev- sweet link. Seems like we'll be taking the MAX light rail to Hillsboro and taking the Nestucca River route to the 101 at Beaver.
Lindyrides- I will look into the Showers Pass stuff. I will eventually put pictures on my website www.michaelsulock.com . There are some pictures of our tour last year from Glacier NP to Vancouver, Bozeman to Missoula and 900 miles around MT and ID from 2 years ago. Click on 'biking' as a category on the right side.
djb - don't worry, no cotton will be worn. I like the rain booties suggestion, having wet feet does not sound fun. Generally, in my experience, as long as you are properly attired, being outside in whatever weather is enjoyable.
nickw- I like your idea of wet on the bottom and warm and dry up top. My jacket is a little large and probably a little 'billowy' to be biking long distances in. We just avoid spandex for fashion reasons. Possibly unnecessarily so, but I just don't like them. That Reach the Beach route seems interesting. Any idea how that would compare to the Nestucca River Route?
Thanks for all the replies! Trying to make sure we are as prepared as possible. I have a history of greatly enjoying bike tours and I need to keep that going!
The Portland airport has a bike assembly room on the lower level near the baggage claim. It has a work stand and tools are available to check out free from the visitor info booth nearby. Here's some info for bike access at the airport. http://www.portofportland.com/pdx_bcycl_trnsprtn.aspx
I'll second the Reach the Beach route.
If you find that you have to cut a couple days of riding you could fly into Eugene and ride to the coast from there.
05-04-11, 02:09 AM
Miss out on Astoria! What a shame.
Actually, I wouldn't call Astoria bike friendly. At 200 years old, there is not much room for bikes. But it's a great town if you're going to stay a day or two.
You may encounter "ungodly" amounts of rain on your ride, if you hit a storm. Normally, if a day is forecast for rain, it's usually light and sporadic.
Yo them pics on michaelsulock.com are gnarly. Bike section.
05-05-11, 03:23 PM
Shifty- Bike assembly room at the airport? Totally rad! Seems like the Bike to The Beach route might be the way to go, as no one has suggested otherwise.
Voltare- Seems like rain pants and booties might be overkill then. As I don't own either of those items, going without purchasing them as long as it doesn't adversely affect out experience too much seems ideal.
Busys - No doubt son. No doubt.
05-07-11, 04:46 AM
I just drove home in a storm. I would encourage you to have backup rain pants and booties :(
merci voltare pour ša, once your shoes are soaked, you get pretty darn cold if its chilly already, and they wont dry out for the next day, not in a cool, damp tent thats for sure...(but than thats my opinion, I just hate being all wet and cold)
05-08-11, 11:52 AM
The great thing about Portland is there's no shortage of cycling shops to pick up some extra gear if you need any last minute items. REI downtown has a great selection of camping stuff too. The MAX will take you right through downtown, from there it's easy to bike nearly anywhere in the city. Even if you don't have any shopping to do, I'd take an hour or two to do a little sightseeing and get a bite to eat (food carts are cheap and good).
05-09-11, 01:42 AM
Ok...Rainpants (REI) and booties (Shower's Pass) purchased. This will likely guarantee an absence of rain on our tour, which would be fine as well.
Thanks everyone for all the local info, that is what usually makes all the difference in my touring experience.
This will likely guarantee an absence of rain on our tour, which would be fine as well.
that did make me chuckle, as that is just how I look at it too, ye 'ol Murphy's law thing about not having "insert various outdoor gear clothing" for any outdoor activity.
The one thing with rain pants and booties is that if you are a life long biker, you'll have these for ages, they are both fairly lightweight so I throw them in my nearly ever-present pannier as needed as an "anti-rain device".
My rain pants are pretty darn old (maybe close to 20 yrs now, a "goretex copy" sold by BikeNashbar) but in reality they dont get used that often, so while at the end of their lives, they ended up being pretty cheap over the long run. Rain booties are also pretty old but I use them in the fall and spring for wind protection much more than for rain all in all.
Oh, while on the "wet bike shoes" topic, last summer I tried the technique of rolling up balls crumpled up newspaper and stuffing them tightly into wet shoes, and its amazing how much moisture gets sucked from the shoes into the newspaper. In fact after a few hours you can replace the paper with dry and it is much more effective than the shoes just lying there drying to dry on their own.
again, have an enjoyable trip
05-11-11, 12:01 AM
Seems like the way to ride out is to take the MAX lightrail to the Beaverton area and then the Reach the Beach Route to the coast http://action.lungusa.org/site/DocServer/web_maps_2010.pdf?docID=3121.
It has just gotten nice in Missoula, I hope this is a good sign for the west coast weather in a few days. I fear the worst. A friend of mine said she did a similar trip down the Oregon coast in the fall to avoid a South-North wind pattern. Not much can be done about that now.
My trip buddy is also making fun of me for buying booties. I've never had booties before. I am a bit of a minimalist and hope this isn't just another thing to buy that I'll have sitting around not using.
Here's another question I am wondering about. I have a set of Continental Top Touring 2000's on my bike ride now. I love them. I may be in love with them. I have never had sentimental attachment to tires before. They have been on every tour I have ever done. I estimate they have 5000+ miles on them easy.
I am worrying about the back one busting through on tour, it has a few nicks on the sidewalls. Seems like my options are
1) Change only the back tire
2) Change both tires
3) Bring a spare tire
4) Do nothing
Currently I am leaning towards 4. I feel like Kramer in that episode of Seinfeld where they are seeing how far they can drive with the gas guage below 'E'. I figure the worst that can happen is needing to hitchhike or something.
05-11-11, 12:08 AM
So say Sheldon Brown re: Replacing Tires
Tire Wear-When should you replace your tires?
Many cyclists waste money replacing perfectly functional tires simply because they're old, or may have discolored sidewalls. If you just want new tires because the old ones look grotty, it's your money, but if you are mainly concerned with safety/function, there are only two reasons for replacing old tires:
When the tread is worn so thin that you start getting a lot of flats from small pieces of glass and the like, or the fabric shows through the rubber.
When the tire's fabric has been damaged, so that the tire has a lumpy, irregular appearance somewhere, or the tube bulges through the tire.
Cracks in the tread are harmless. Small punctures in the tire such as are typically caused by nails, tacks, thorns or glass slivers are also harmless to the tire, since the tire doesn't need to be air-tight.
05-11-11, 12:14 AM
I feel like Kramer in that episode of Seinfeld where they are seeing how far they can drive with the gas guage below 'E'.
I have the same feeling about you :)
I can't believe anyone would tour without a spare tire.
We had 2 days of sun on the coast!
07-03-11, 09:45 AM
Yo yo yo.
Thanks for all the info folks!
We did about 800 miles from Portland to San Fran in 12 days. Left the guidebook on the plane, but it wasn't a super-big deal.
Just finished the last of my posts about the trip. Pictures are here
It was everything I thought it would be and more. Awesome weather, although a bit chilly at times. Kept the crowds away though!
Happy trails everyone!
07-03-11, 12:00 PM
For the list: 7/3, it rained this AM, though it was sunny and lovely on the 2nd.
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