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  1. #1
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    Bike routes from Portland to SR 3 in CA?

    Hey all! I am planning a trip from Vancouver, BC to Santa Barbara, CA. I am planning on going down the Pacific Coast Route until Tillamook and then taking a bus to Portland to visit family for a few days. I want to continue my trip from there. I have been told that to avoid the more dangerous parts of the Pacific Coast Route in Northern California, I should bike down SR 3 instead of the coast because it is safer, but still scenic. I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions for bike routes from Portland to SR 3 that are on the safer side (wider shoulders, light traffic, etc.) and have safe places to camp out or towns that I can stay in.

    Also, has anyone biked down SR 3? I would love to get more details on that as well.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    In my opinion, take the coast highway 101 all the way down. Hundreds of riders take the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) every summer without problems. I've ridden parts of SR3, it OK, but far fewer services than the coast highway, and the hills seem endless. One of the best part of riding the PCH is meeting other bike tourists along the way.

    Go to Portland to visit, then go back out to highway 101, take that and highway 1 to the bay area.
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shifty View Post
    In my opinion, take the coast highway 101 all the way down. Hundreds of riders take the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) every summer without problems. I've ridden parts of SR3, it OK, but far fewer services than the coast highway, and the hills seem endless. One of the best part of riding the PCH is meeting other bike tourists along the way.

    Go to Portland to visit, then go back out to highway 101, take that and highway 1 to the bay area.
    I strongly disagree with this statement. I'm currently sitting in Davis, CA after riding down from Eugene last week. My wife had not ridden the coast in years so she rode down with me on a tandem. After the ride she told me she heartily agrees with my prior assessment that if this was the route someone chose for their first tour, it would likely be their last. We did about 25 hours of night riding to avoid the horrific traffic and would have done more but we like to wait for the drunks to land before we hit the road. Many stretches of road along the coast are really only rideable at night.

    I've ridden hwy 3, but it's been enough years that I won't comment on it's current condition. If you can arrange to roll out of Crescent City at 3:00 AM (and have quality lights), then you can miss all the awful road by leaving the beaten path just south of Eureka on Eel River Rd and then heading on out to the Lost Coast at Ferndale. Stay on the Lost Coast all the way to thirty miles north of Ft Bragg by taking Usul Rd, 24 miles of dirt. Services at Petrolia, Honeydew (campground between them) and Shelter Cove (camp ground). If you go to Shelter Cove, you'll get more dirt road on Chemise Mountain. The Lost Coast is all hills all the time, but is a truly wonderful ride.

    As far as all those cyclists you may see on the flatter route, I saw more cyclists on the twelve miles into town than I saw on the rest of the journey.

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