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  1. #1
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    We call ourselves crazy, do you?

    Hi I'm Minh, and I'm new

    I'm also 15

    I came looking for information because I'm a little nuts. To meet the lady I'm crazy for, me and a couple cousins plan to bike from San Jose, California to Los Angeles, California. We're all around 15. But I'm having trouble finding the route there!

    We plan to go around august.

    Things i could really use some help on

    1. Where can I find the route?
    2. What should i be expecting? I havent rode a bike since i was 6
    3. What should i bring?
    4. How long will this take? I have school late august
    i was guessing 3 weeks?

    Any other advice would be awsome too.


    thanks!

  2. #2
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    You find the route on a map.
    You can expect to get a very sore backside.
    Water and food and tools to fix repairs.
    Depends. How far is it? (tbh, if you can't use a map well enough to work out how far it is, I don't think you are quite ready to tackle the ride).

    Get a bike and start riding - it takes a while to build up the fitness.

  3. #3
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    What do you need? Parental permission, I guess.

    Seriously, get at least one person over the age of 18 to travel with you, preferably someone with some cycling and travel experience.

  4. #4
    Senior Member jaxgtr's Avatar
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    Your 15, no 15 year old girl, not lady, is worth the agony you will get from this ride if you have not ridden since age 6. Wait a few years and you can meet someone locally that will bring to agony 24/7. I can't believe you have a group of parents just are just going to let 15 year olds just barn storm the California coast so you can "hook up". It's call a cell phone, they typically have free long distance.
    Brian | 2013 Cannondale SuperSix 5 | 2014 Trek CrossRip Comp | 2003 Trek 7300
    Quote Originally Posted by AEO View Post
    you should learn to embrace change, and mock it's failings every step of the way.

  5. #5
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    1. Route 1 down the coast is very pretty and a nice ride. Get the book, "Bicycling The Pacific Coast: A Complete Route Guide, Canada To Mexico", by Kirkendall and Spring. http://www.amazon.com/Bicycling-Paci.../dp/0898869544
    2. See the book listed in item 1.
    3. See the book listed in item 1.
    4. See the book listed in item 1, but probably a week each way.

  6. #6
    SRS
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    Go for it and have a great adventure even if the young woman in L.A. decides she's not interested. I started taking bike tours - solo and with a few friends - when I was 14 and always had a fun time. My parents were understandably concerned but they knew I was responsible and would learn a lot and let me head out on the road.

    Routes: check your local library or book store for the book "Bicycling The Pacific Coast: A Complete Route Guide, Canada To Mexico" by Vicky Spring and Tom Kirkendall. It will help you plan the route from SJ to LA. It details places to camp, get food, things to see along the way, etc.

    Bike: get your bike(s) checked out at a local bike store to be sure they are ready to go the distance.

    Do searches in this section (Touring) for things to take - there is a lot of information regarding clothes, tents, food, etc.

    The ride will probably be around 350-400 miles depending upon the route you select. Get out on your bikes to be sure that you and your friends are ready. You might consider doing a warm up bike tour of a few days to see how you like it. Borrow a tent and other gear and take off with your buddies for a 'test run' 2 or 3 day trip to learn about riding, fixing anything that goes wrong, what you need to take, what you can leave at home, etc.. It will help you prepare for the trip to L.A. Then, go for it.

  7. #7
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    Riding long distance when you're 15 is foolhardy and dangerous. I know, becuase as a teen, a rode all over the place I loved it! Go have fun, but be careful. It's somethimg your going to remember for the rest of life.

    Go to libary and get maps and books.

    Get good flat resistent tires for your bikes.

    Don't trust people in cars.

    Stick to the popular routes and you'll meet other cyclists. Trust them to help you when the cr@p hits the fan. And it will.

    Oh, how I wish I was young and foolish again!

  8. #8
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    If anyone tells you you're too young, tell them to stick it. You can do it if you're really sure that you want to take this tour.

    Definitely start riding and training asap and build up some fitness and stamina. You don't need to turn into an exercise freak, but make sure that you and your friends are capable of doing fifty or sixty miles unloaded, and that you are familiar with riding on a loaded bike before you embark. Maybe a practice tour of a day or two would be a good warm up at the start of summer, just so you know what you're getting into.

    I biked over 90% of the Pacific coast using just road maps. If you spend a little time looking at maps (and state park guides too, if you plan on camping, which I would recommend), you should be able to figure out the route by yourself. But that book mentioned above by Kirkendall and Spring is an awesome resource. It will walk you through the whole route, at least once you get to highway 1. I met dozens of cyclists that had it, and I spent a lot of time leafing though it at campsites with other cyclists. It will tell you everything you need to know about the coastal route. Find it at a library and read it.

    Another option is adventure cycling. They make great maps that are specifically designed for bicycle tourists, and I think they have a set for the pacific coast.

    Also, check out the website:

    http://crazyguyonabike.com

    Check out people's packing lists and look for journals of people that have biked the pacific coast.

    I think it's a good idea to travel in a group at your age. A lot of people might try to take advantage of you. Strength in numbers is a good idea for women that tour in general, but especially for a young woman.
    Bikes belong in the motor city

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    oh JAXGTR, it is very much worth the agony that i know i will receive on this trip. I'm not like madly in love with her, just a famous person in the Vietnamese community that I've been wanting to meet for a while. Although, she is banging hot.

    My parents are only letting me go, cause they don't think i can do it.

    Thank you staehpj1 for that link. I will purchase the book

    SRS, dude your an inspiration man. I read your post and i wanted to go out and do it right away.

    tacomee - i dont know what foolhardy means, but sure...thanks for the advice on the people and cars things...i didn't see that coming. I will trust other cyclists, hopefully they're a lot like the people in this discussion. I'm still a teenager, gotta live the best years of my life you know?


    brotherdan- YES BROTHERDAN! I WILL TELL EVERYONE WHO SAYS I CAN'T TO SUCK IT, why? because i'm a guy. hahaha i'm traveling in a group of guys. Your campping idea was good. And i like it. Does it cost money?


    Does camping cost money? How much money should we bring on a trip like this anyways?

  10. #10
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    I don't know the USA, so don't know the distance.

    Any young person can train up to riding 50+ miles per day. Just don't ride to fast to start with. Learn to read maps. check out the availability of backpacking hostels and youth hostels on the route. Learn to map read, maps with contour lines are good, 'cause they tell you about the hills as well as the distances.

    An 18-yr-old guy living near me bought an old bike and rod 134 miles in a day, in wet and windy weather. He posted his experiences up on here somewhere - look for a thread by rock_ten. It's a very good description of the difficulties of long-distance riding, and the mindset needed.

  11. #11
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grretc View Post
    Does camping cost money? How much money should we bring on a trip like this anyways?
    You can get some insight to that from the book I mentioned, but I will try to remember to check a bit more what specific conditions for that section are, when I get home tonight.

    FWIW: Three of us toured together this summer and shared one tent. This helped to keep the costs down. Some places charged per tent, some per campsite, and some per person.

    You can find journals kept by others who have toured the Pacific Coast at www.crazyguyonabike.com search under journals for "pacific coast". Lots of good info there.

    You might even want to check out our journal at http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/staehling2007
    We were only on the coast for a small portion of out trip and that was in Oregon, but I put information about what we carried and other useful stuff on the page.

  12. #12
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    It's 600 km, so for me, that would be six days. For you, maybe 10 days?
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  13. #13
    The Improbable Bulk Little Darwin's Avatar
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    The one question not asked (unless I missed it)...

    What bikes will you be riding?

    For a little weekend jaunt almost any bike will do, but for a 2-3 week unsupported ride, you will want to make sure that you have a bike you can rely on for comfort and dependability.

    Since you haven't rode since you were 6, you probably haven't done any wrenching. Start as soon as you get a bike. You should know your bikes pretty well before you take off on a trip like this... You probably won't need it if the bikes start out in good shape, but the risk if something does happen is not making your destination. This wouldn't be too terrible, as the Monterrey area and Big Sur would be nice anyway! (I have never cycled there, but I have driven it).

    As far as money... If you are going to ride highway 1 through Big Sur, then as I recall there are very few places to spend it, but those that are there will cost a lot. Carry your stuff with you if budget is important.

    Also, don't get hung up on the destination, enjoy the ride. If you ride the coast, you will be in one of the most beautiful areas of the country.

  14. #14
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    Check out http://www.bicycletouring101.com/. The "normal" route is down the coast, and that book will tell you abou it. You can also ride inland part of the way, paralleling Highway 101.

    Camping costs money. Hiker/biker sites are cheaper. Regular campsites at state parks are more. Private campgrounds are the most. Do some research.

    You'll also eat quite a bit more than normal. Bring plenty of food money.

    Stay safe.

  15. #15
    The Site Administrator: Currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes,please contact my assistnt admins for forum issues Tom Stormcrowe's Avatar
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    Figure on $100.00 a day, each person, and that way you'll be well over any budget needs that you'll likely really incur. Better to have too much than not enough, unless you want to eat out of dumpsters.
    on light duty due to illness; please contact my assistants for forum issues. They are Siu Blue Wind, or CbadRider or the other 3 star folk. I am currently at home recovering from a couple of strokes. I am making good progress, happily.


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  16. #16
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Stormcrowe View Post
    Figure on $100.00 a day, each person, and that way you'll be well over any budget needs that you'll likely really incur. Better to have too much than not enough, unless you want to eat out of dumpsters.
    $100 per day is a very generous allowance with three people sharing expenses. You could stay in a room and eat restaurant meals for that. It can be done on MUCH less especially if you will be sharing expenses.

    I would think that $15-20/day would be very do-able if you stay in hiker biker sites, cook inexpensive meals, and don't go crazy on extras. You might be able to even do a bit better if you are willing to eat ramen noodles and instant oatmeal the whole way.

  17. #17
    This user is a pipebomb brotherdan's Avatar
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    When I was touring the California coast in 2003 I was able to stay in state park campgrounds 90% of the time. Many, but not all, California state parks have special sites reserved for people without cars. It was only three or five bucks per night to stay in the biker/hiker campsites. Regular campsites are quite a bit more expensive, but it's not that bad if you split the price three ways. Your governor has announced that they will be slashing the state park budget this year, so some of the parks may close, or they may jack up their prices. You should look into state park closures before leaving.

    I would expect to spend several hundred dollars on a trip like the one you are planning, in addition to money that you would have to spend to buy gear beforehand. You will probably be eating a lot of food, as bicycle touring burns a ton of calories. So you have to plan on buying a lot of food. Then you'll have to set money aside for camping each night, and it starts to add up. And always have enough reserve cash that you can repair any major repairs that you might need to do on your bicycle along the way, or to buy a bus ticket home if you get yourself into a situation that you simply can't bike out of.

    If you want to save yourself some money, you can always try stealth camping. That is, you can try to secretly camp on private or public land on which camping isn't usually allowed. If you're smart, and you hide yourself well, you can usually get away with it.
    Bikes belong in the motor city

  18. #18
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grretc View Post
    Does camping cost money? How much money should we bring on a trip like this anyways?
    I did a quick look through the book and it looks like with some planning you can stay at hiker biker sites most or all nights. These apparently cost $3-5 per person per night. If you get stuck staying at a more expensive campsite ($20-30 per night) you should be able to split the cost so I don't imagine you are likely to pay more than a max of $10 per person per night. That ought to at least give you a rough idea of what to expect.

    The book will give a lot of detail about where the various campgrounds are located. You will also probably meet cyclists along the way who will give advice about where to stay or where not to stay based on their trip so far.

  19. #19
    Slowpoach
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    Minh if you need to learn how to do some repairs, offer to help out at a local bike shop and get them to show you how to fix flats and bent wheels and replace worn out brake pads and adjust gears and brakes and take the chain on and off. At age 15 they'll probably humour you. Also you might be able to pick up a good 2nd hand bike and fix it up with their help.

    Accommodation in LA - any relatives? Could be expensive. Safety could be an issue.

    There are a couple of threads you could read through for some others' experiences - Flic's Africa Bike thread and the bike to the pacific thread - will look up the links for you. Much has already been said there about choosing a bike and getting ready and safety and other stuff. Read Flic's blog and please wear a helmet!

    Good to hear your parents are supportive (sort-of). Keep them informed. Don't be surprised if they get less supportive closer to the date when they realise you are actually going to do it! Are you friends' parents OK with the trip too?

    -----
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    bike for Africa - please help me!

    MTB pacific to atlantic: (probably closer to your needs)
    Can my MTB make it from the Pacific to the Atlantic?

    Lightweight gear (but don't spend too much money on a one-off trip)
    I did it, gear is under 20lbs

  20. #20
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    oy,

    15? too young don't you think? you crazy? i mean, you can't even buy cigarettes or beer. can't technically drive a car. gonna ask ma and pa every thing. no experiece, no own money... and what a mad reason, just for a girl?

    GO FOR IT, what the hell are you waiting for. just remember, AT ALL COSTS, safety first, but go do it.
    i was 15 not too long ago. much stronger now, but i don't remember not being able to recover from being hurt if i was. and don't feel bad about using money thats not yours. cycling and being out on the road is to me, a whole lot more learning than 4 years of college.

    i think i biked US on a pretty good budget and as for your camping questions, took pictures everynight of where i tented, you might want to take a look at the US portion. spent $13 a day on average, bought water twice crossing desert and no where else. www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/longwayhome

    like you, its a first tour, no experience.

    be careful tho. there is less danger than you think there is out there, but make a mistake with it once, and it might turn ugly.

    good luck and need i mention, use this website a lot. crazyguyonabike too, ask questions openly, and for routes, try and bug a certain jawamani if you can find him. he's a bit nuts himself, but i wouldn't have gotten started right without his help.

    couchsurfing.org google it or something

  21. #21
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    I don't think you are too young for it!

    Just remember to bring spare inner tubes and a pump, and make sure everyone's bike is in good condition before you leave.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by becnal View Post
    It's 600 km, so for me, that would be six days. For you, maybe 10 days?
    lets hope so, i really do wish i can make it there in 10 days. hahaha


    Quote Originally Posted by Little Darwin View Post
    The one question not asked (unless I missed it)...

    What bikes will you be riding?
    I don't know...what bikes can you recommend? O.o

    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
    Stay safe.
    Thank you. Thank you very much.


    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    $100 per day is a very generous allowance with three people sharing expenses. You could stay in a room and eat restaurant meals for that. It can be done on MUCH less especially if you will be sharing expenses.

    I would think that $15-20/day would be very do-able if you stay in hiker biker sites, cook inexpensive meals, and don't go crazy on extras. You might be able to even do a bit better if you are willing to eat ramen noodles and instant oatmeal the whole way.

    yeah..i thought 100 bucks a day is a lot too. We do plan to stay at hiker/biker sites now since a lot of you guys/girls have recommended it. At first we were planning on doing something that someone in the bay area has done before, which is post around and see if anyone living somewhere near by would give us a place to stay, but...it seemed kinda...yeah

    Ramen noodles are defiantly OUT. those things have way too much sodium. itll have us kill our water supply. hahah Cooking is out too...if we cook, 1. we wont have much to eat by the time we're done cooking..2. we'll all end up having some sort of cancer after...

    OH and brotherdan talks about stealth camping...which sounds fun...in a way

    Quote Originally Posted by Cave View Post
    Accommodation in LA - any relatives? Could be expensive. Safety could be an issue. Good to hear your parents are supportive (sort-of). Keep them informed. Don't be surprised if they get less supportive closer to the date when they realise you are actually going to do it! Are you friends' parents OK with the trip too?
    This is crazy, get this. I'm Vietnamese. And i have NONE absolutely no, nada, zip, no relatives in LA. NONE! I was worried my safety would be an issue. HELL everyone coming with me is scared of safety being an issue.hahaha I'm starting to get scared my parents are getting less some what supportive. We'll probably have check points, where ill txt them once i get there or something.

    I will wear a helmet. We will all wear a helmet. Thank you.


    TZUOHANN when i first started reading your post, i was gonna reply with a shove it. but i got in more and more and it got funnier and funnier...thank you


    MORE QUESTIONS yes i love this part, the thread has become "hot"

    So bringing money seems to be the new issue. How am i gonna bring money? Like straight up cash? or an ATM card?

    and...what bikes should we all get? specifically please

  23. #23
    Senior Member Newspaperguy's Avatar
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    The tour sounds like a great ride. Go for it and have fun. I wish I had done my first tours at 15...

    A few thoughts about your trip:

    1. If you haven't ridden in years, you need to start training now. You need to develop the muscles you'll use for the ride and you need to build up endurance. This goes for everyone in your group. You're only as good as your weakest rider. If one of you isn't prepared, it could have some serious consequences for the rest of you. (Fortunately, getting in shape for a tour isn't all that hard and it's a lot of fun at the same time.)

    2. As someone else has said, you need someone in your group who can make the repairs. And you need to have the tools and parts to take care of basic repairs on the road, especially for the times when you're far from a community with a bike shop. Have your bikes checked before your trip and on the road, give them a check each day before you begin.

    3. Plan your route so you have places to stop for the night. Expect 100 kilometres or around 60 miles in a day for a respectable distance, especially if you'll have hills along the way. Also, when you're riding, pace yourselves. It's not a race. Take your time. Enjoy the scenery. Take breaks whenever you want. The ride is going to be at least as much fun as the destination.

    4. Pack clothing for the worst weather you could expect to get. Trust me on this. I've learned it from experience. It's no fun getting caught in a cold rain without rain gear.

    5. Because of your age, you need to take extra security and safety measures. Carry cell phones in case you need to call for help. Also, arrange to call home every day or two to let your parents know where you are and that you're all right. And most importantly, you need to arrange in advance your accommodations in Los Angeles and your routes in that city. Know the areas and streets to avoid. (The same is true if there are other large cities along your route.)
    Life is good.

  24. #24
    Senior Member thomson's Avatar
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    Ahhhh to be 15 and full of adventure. Good for you pal. I bet you will enjoy the planning as much as the trip itself.

  25. #25
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grretc View Post
    So bringing money seems to be the new issue. How am i gonna bring money? Like straight up cash? or an ATM card?
    We carried some cash, but used a check card for most stuff. That worked pretty well. You will likely need to have cash for campsites.
    Quote Originally Posted by grretc View Post
    and...what bikes should we all get? specifically please
    How tight are your finances? If real tight used is the way to go. Maybe an older MTB or a used Trek 520?

    If not...
    We had good luck with three Windsor Touring bikes from Bikes Direct. They are $599.95 including shipping. We rode them coast to coast last Summer and they worked out well. The gearing was kind of high so we added a Sugino XD600 crank for $80.
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/windsor/tourist.htm

    The Surly Long Haul Trucker is a popular touring bike. They are something like $900 I think.
    http://www.surlybikes.com/lht_comp.html

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