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  1. #1
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    Cycling from San Diego to San Francisco

    We are looking to cycling up from San Diego to San Francisco in the new year - has anyone cycled this route before? Any tips? What is Highway 1 to cycle up? Really Busy? We are a family of 8 cycling on the TOPtoTOP global climate expedition.... expedition.toptotop.org.

    Thank you and very merry christmas!!

  2. #2
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    You will probably be facing stiff headwinds the whole way. Better to go the other way.

  3. #3
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    Most folks do seem to go the other way. Here's a thread with a couple writeups covering the stretch from San Francisco to Los Angeles:

    A detailed guide for bicycling from San Francisco to Los Angeles

    Two older threads (with broken links)

    Credit card tour: San Francisco - San Diego
    San Francisco to San Diego - Experiences?

  4. #4
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    [QUOTE=hamster;17386719]Most folks do seem to go the other way. Here's a thread with a couple writeups covering the stretch from San Francisco to Los Angeles:

    I rode from Santa Cruz south to Redondo Beach last October and it was fantastic. I used Google maps for routing and clicked on the bicycle option. The route was pretty similar to the Pacific Coast Bicycle Trail, a combination of Highway 1 with side reoda where possible to keep away from cars. The route seemed pretty safe and the car traffic was very light to moderate at worst. The busiest section for jousting with cars was on Hwy 1 from Oxnard to Malibu. It didn't seem bad to me but I wasn't traveling with kids. I second the idea of riding south. I think you would miss a lot of great ocean views going north.

  5. #5
    Get out and ride! Pamestique's Avatar
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    The recommended route is San Francisco down to San Diego for about a thousand reasons. Do some research before you decide your trip. Check with Adventure Cycling for route maps or even your local Automobile Club will provide maps just for cyclists. If you are experienced cyclo-tourists, this won't apply to you, but I suggest you do some short weekend trips in order to get use to what to carry, bike handling fully loaded, etc.

    The route in either direction is difficult; alot of climbing also alot of very narrow but busy roads, especially along Route 1. Basically you are on a HIGHWAY for a long while. Time of year is key; if fall/winter versus spring/summer, traffic will be better. During the late spring or summer; traffic is sucky but you will have lots of cycling company since that is a popular route (South down the Coast). Coming up the Coast however, not so much.

    Also be aware that along along Route 1 camp grounds, motels and even rest stops can be few and far inbetween.

    I have gone from San Francisco to Orange County 4 times. I have travelled up the Coast in small sections - like for instance, doing the Lighthouse Century. The headwinds up Route 1 have literally made me cry... just saying...

    Jenny - where do you live? Are you familiar with CA and the Coastal route?
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  6. #6
    Pedo Grande Popeyecahn's Avatar
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    I think if any of you read the linked TOPtoTOP page, you'll see this family is probably ready for anything that gets thrown at them...
    And tell my mama I'm a hundred years late
    I'm over the rails and out of the race...

  7. #7
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Most Cycle Tourists start from the North , 1 thing nice.. is not needing to cross the Highway to access the Sea View Points. .

    Touring the Irish West coast I started in the South. for the same reason. its a Drive Left country, Atlantic Ocean on the Left.



    .. also only in the Winter, Are the storms, & thus Prevailing Winds , coming out of the south , Summer it comes out of the North Pacific.

    Of course between SF & SD is LA , the 2nd largest City in the US. Traffic will obviously be Heavy.
    Last edited by fietsbob; 12-15-14 at 12:16 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    .. also only in the Winter, Are the storms, & thus Prevailing Winds , coming out of the south , Summer it comes out of the North Pacific.

    Of course between SF & SD is LA , the 2nd largest City in the US. Traffic will obviously be Heavy.
    Prevailing winds are from the west year-round unless there is a storm system nearby, peaking in mid-afternoon. It's a combination of steady high-altitude westerlies and onshore breezes (wind blowing onshore from the ocean when the land is warmer than the ocean). In winter we occasionally see the reverse pattern: if it gets sufficiently cold at night, wind starts blowing in the opposite direction (offshore), though it usually lasts only till late morning, and, when it happens, it's too cold to ride a bike anyway.

    Since the route from San Diego to San Francisco is northwest most of the way, it's mostly into the wind if you go in this direction.

    You only go through the "outskirts" of LA, since the only sane SD<->SF route is along the coast, and the downtown LA is ~13 miles inland. Traffic is not as bad along the coast. But it's an almost continuous city from Malibu to San Diego (except for 20 miles through Camp Pendleton), late summer months are worse because of all the beachgoers, particularly on weekends.

  9. #9
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Yea, + the Santa Ana winds off the Sonora desert is not replicated up here..



    Hostel in San Pedro @ peace park was a nice stay..

  10. #10
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    Santa Anas would help going north, but they are too unpredictable and I don't think they extend much past LA.

  11. #11
    Senior Member GP's Avatar
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    According to their website, they're already in Southern California.

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