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  1. #1
    Master of the Universe Angus37's Avatar
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    Boy Scout Pacific Coast Tour

    Hi all -

    I am an adult Scout leader and have been given the green light to coordinate a bike tour for our unit's High Adventure activity next summer. To that end, I've got a number of questions:

    -What can anyone tell me about riding along the Pacific Coast in central-southern CA? This would probably be the best route to go; not sure which direction to go but I'd prefer to not take the boys south of Ventura. I'm also concerned about leading a train of boys on busy roads.

    -Does anyone have suggestions for DIY racks and panniers? Our chartering organization prefers that we stay within our budget and frowns on fundraisers. I don't want the boys to spend a lot of their own money on equipment (especially if they don't enjoy it), and am leaning toward a sag wagon, but want to consider my options.

    -What preparations would you suggest to train the boys? I remember doing small tours when I was the same age and after a while my butt HURT! But I am pretty persistent so didn't let it stop me, and some of these boys...well, let's just say physical activity is a foreign concept. I'm thinking of arranging some weekend rides starting in April to get them used to riding for long distances, but is there anything else?

    -What am I missing?

    Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions. I'm really looking forward to doing this, but I want to make sure the boys have a safe and enjoyable time so want to get all the kinks worked out well in advance.

  2. #2
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Good idea on the training rides. Also a VERY GOOD idea on the Sag wagon.

    Doing it unladen will be much more pleasureable for everyone.

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  3. #3
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    Have them bring their own bikes and have a sag wagon carry their stuff. If you can't buy racks and panniers you are asking for trouble. And most off-the-shelf bikes can't accommodate them anyway. A sag wagon addresses this issue and lessens the fitness issue. It also helps address the issue of emergency transport.

    You want to ride from north to south for two reasons, prevailing winds and because most of the good stuff would be on the side of the road you are on. Otherwise, to see some of the scenery you'll have to make a left and then another left to get back on the road. There's lots of traffic on Hwy 1 except for just south of Big Sur and there is little or no shoulder.

    An alternative for a bike tour that might work better is and unloaded tour of a park such as Lassen or Joshua Tree here in So. Cal. What little traffic there is is driving sedately (or should be) to also enjoy the scenery. Plus the attitude of motorists would be far more positive towards a group of cyclists than it would be if they were trying to get to work or deliver stuff, etc. Campsites should be plentiful and the scenery is likely to be spectacular.

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    North to south is definitely the direction you'd want to go due to the prevailing winds. Suggest you buy or borrow the book "Bicycling the Pacific Coast" which gives good information on the entire route including elevation profiles, places to stop along the way, suggested things to see, etc.

    The stretch from Carmel to San Simeon is a classic coastal tour - beautiful views, few towns, quite a few good campgrounds. But it does have some significant climbs so be sure the training rides also include plenty of hills. And the road is pretty narrow without much of a shoulder.

  5. #5
    Bike touring webrarian
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    I live in San Francisco and have family in LA so I usually ride from SF to LA every year to visit. I have written up two journals on these trips which have lots of pictures so you can see what various parts of the route look like: journal of 2004 trip SF to LA and journal of 2009 trip SF to LA.

    While there are campgrounds along the route, you will need to inquire if they can handle the group size you will be touring with. Some of the places that have hiker/biker sites often have limited space. For non-hiker/biker sites or if using a SAG wagon, you would certainly need reservations.

    While much of Highway 1 south of Big Sur has decent shoulders, as a rule, there are no shoulders on Highway 1 from Carmel to Big Sur.

    North of Santa Barbara you will be on Highway 101, which in that section is a freeway. It has a wide shoulder but the cars and trucks are zooming by. Also, there are a few bridges along there that are quite narrow and need to be navigated with caution.

    How many miles do you think the boys can handle? While there is lots of camping on the coast, it isn't evenly spaced. Campsites I am aware of:

    Big Sur:

    Pfeiffer Big Sur (showers and food), Lime Kiln (showers), Kirk Creek (no showers)

    San Simeon State Beach

    Morro Bay State Beach

    Oceano State Beach (just south of Pismo Beach)

    County park in Lompoc

    Three campgrounds north of Santa Barbara

    Carpinteria State Beach south of Santa Barbara

    There may be others but these are the ones I recall off the top of my head.

    Have a great time!

    Ray
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  6. #6
    Master of the Universe Angus37's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclesafe View Post
    Have them bring their own bikes and have a sag wagon carry their stuff. If you can't buy racks and panniers you are asking for trouble. And most off-the-shelf bikes can't accommodate them anyway. A sag wagon addresses this issue and lessens the fitness issue. It also helps address the issue of emergency transport.
    Sounds like the sag wagon is the way to go. Everyone who has responded is in favor of that idea. I like the idea too, they can also function as a mobile repair center.

    You want to ride from north to south for two reasons, prevailing winds and because most of the good stuff would be on the side of the road you are on. Otherwise, to see some of the scenery you'll have to make a left and then another left to get back on the road. There's lots of traffic on Hwy 1 except for just south of Big Sur and there is little or no shoulder.
    Tailwinds would certainly help my cause. Maybe some issue with picking up vehicles left at the start, but...The shoulder (or lack thereof) is my biggest concern. I don't want to clog up a highway with a bunch of Scouts on bikes. Does the ACA route go along the PCH? I know they try to stay off high-trafficked roads when possible. Any other routes along this area?

    An alternative for a bike tour that might work better is and unloaded tour of a park such as Lassen or Joshua Tree here in So. Cal. What little traffic there is is driving sedately (or should be) to also enjoy the scenery. Plus the attitude of motorists would be far more positive towards a group of cyclists than it would be if they were trying to get to work or deliver stuff, etc. Campsites should be plentiful and the scenery is likely to be spectacular.
    I'd be open to somewhere else, although it was one of the boys that suggested the coast. My concerns are that Lassen is too far (we've been strongly encouraged to minimize travel) and that Joshua Tree is in the middle of the desert. I'm trying to avoid having the boys ride long distances in extreme temperatures. We're in Ridgecrest, so I'm really trying to find a way for the boys to escape the desert.

    And yes, I know. You can't minimize travel when you live in Ridgecrest. I'm just trying to keep in line with what the higher-ups tell me.

  7. #7
    Senior Member bobframe's Avatar
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    I would not consider doing this without having the kids build up to it with a series of "mini-tours". You will find out who's really into the idea and who's not.

    Start with one night out and build up to several nights. The route you have planned is beautiful, but there is a LOT of climbing and these boys are probably not in shape to climb-so I'd make sure that your prep rides had comparable climbing, eventually building up to 3,000-5,000' vertical per day. They should be able to ride 40-60 miles/day and this is not trivial- they need to train for it.

    I'd also make sure that they have reasonable equipment- cycling shorts, clipless pedals and cycling shoes, etc.

    I think a sag wagon is a great idea- it will let the boys travel light (a very big deal), give someone a way to bail if they're not doing well and a way to tend to emergencies. In fact, first time out, I don't think I'd consider any other than using a sag vehicle.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Jtgyk's Avatar
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    Nashbar has a rack now for $14.99

    Maybe not the best in the world...but for your purposes, probably sufficient.
    Check their sight often and you may find them even further reduced.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobframe View Post
    Start with one night out and build up to several nights. The route you have planned is beautiful, but there is a LOT of climbing and these boys are probably not in shape to climb-so I'd make sure that your prep rides had comparable climbing, eventually building up to 3,000-5,000' vertical per day. They should be able to ride 40-60 miles/day and this is not trivial- they need to train for it.
    Don't overestimate the amount of fitness needed. Most of the climbs between Carmel and San Simeon are relatively short; say 800-900ft of elevation gain. If you're willing to camp, you have quite a few options for how you break the route up; if minimizing elevation gain or distance traveled is a goal, it can be done. On my recent credit-card tour, I think the most elevation gain I saw in a single day was around 4200ft. If I'd been camping, I could probably have limited elevation gain to around 3000-3500 ft/day. And with 10-12 hours of daylight for pedaling, that's a very achievable goal for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness... provided they know how to pace themselves.

  10. #10
    Master of the Universe Angus37's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    Don't overestimate the amount of fitness needed. Most of the climbs between Carmel and San Simeon are relatively short; say 800-900ft of elevation gain. If you're willing to camp, you have quite a few options for how you break the route up; if minimizing elevation gain or distance traveled is a goal, it can be done. On my recent credit-card tour, I think the most elevation gain I saw in a single day was around 4200ft. If I'd been camping, I could probably have limited elevation gain to around 3000-3500 ft/day. And with 10-12 hours of daylight for pedaling, that's a very achievable goal for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness... provided they know how to pace themselves.
    Good information, all of this.

    I'm definitely going with a sag vehicle; any suggestions on what a good one would be? I'm thinking my Ford Ranger; I'll try to build some sort of platform/rack to carry bikes and gear underneath, plus I've got spots for 1-2 boys if needed. We are planning on camping, so the sag vehicle will need to carry all of our gear from site to site. A car won't be able to fit boys and gear, and I'm not too comfortable with a lot of the trunk-mount racks I see. Hence my decision.

    What about the possibility of a round-trip tour? I'd love to go point A to point B, but San Simeon is 6 hours away. That's a lot of driving, and I don't know how well the boys would take to that. Plus we'd have to wait at the end while vehicles are brought up from the start. If we were to leave from and return to Ventura/Santa Barbara, our travel time would be cut and we wouldn't need to worry about vehicle retrieval. We could probably actually do some riding on Monday. I'm just curious if there is a way to go as far as say, San Simeon and then be able to get back to Ventura a different way.

    The Boy Scouts of America has recently instituted a number of crackdowns on fitness requirements for activities, and I'm trying really hard to get our unit to be more physically active. Hopefully I'll be able to make enough headway in the next 8-9 months to whip these boys into better shape.

  11. #11
    eternalvoyage
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angus37 View Post
    Hi all -

    I am an adult Scout leader and have been given the green light to coordinate a bike tour for our unit's High Adventure activity next summer. To that end, I've got a number of questions:

    -What can anyone tell me about riding along the Pacific Coast in central-southern CA? This would probably be the best route to go; not sure which direction to go but I'd prefer to not take the boys south of Ventura. I'm also concerned about leading a train of boys on busy roads.

    -Does anyone have suggestions for DIY racks and panniers? Our chartering organization prefers that we stay within our budget and frowns on fundraisers. I don't want the boys to spend a lot of their own money on equipment (especially if they don't enjoy it), and am leaning toward a sag wagon, but want to consider my options.

    -What preparations would you suggest to train the boys? I remember doing small tours when I was the same age and after a while my butt HURT! But I am pretty persistent so didn't let it stop me, and some of these boys...well, let's just say physical activity is a foreign concept. I'm thinking of arranging some weekend rides starting in April to get them used to riding for long distances, but is there anything else?

    -What am I missing?

    Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions. I'm really looking forward to doing this, but I want to make sure the boys have a safe and enjoyable time so want to get all the kinks worked out well in advance.
    What are their ages?

    Wouldn't it be more of a high adventure to make it self-contained, and to teach them to become more self-reliant and independent? There is a spirit that goes with being self-contained that adds something. It would certainly add something for many boys.

    Nashbar has had some good deals on panniers and racks, and they will probably last the trip, especially if cared for reasonably well. There are plans for DIY racks and panniers if you do some searches (within this forum, and using Google). Ken Kifer's site has some DIY pannier ideas. Some people use plastic buckets, and there are various other possibilities. Backpacks can be used. Some people have strapped backpacks onto their racks (usually on top, sometimes on the sides). Nylon accessory straps (REI carries them) are very useful for cinching them down securely.

    There is a good campground near Ventura -- McGrath.

    There is a good bike path that goes from Ventura (near the northern edge of downtown) to Ojai. There are some good campgrounds in the mountains, up Hwy 33, behind Ojai.

    North to south is better for tailwinds.

    The ride along Hwy 1 from Carmel to Morro Bay is probably the most spectacular. After Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo it is not as scenic. There are some good beaches and campgrounds along the coast (including the stretch between Gaviota and Isla Vista), but especially along the coast from Morro Bay north. If you do end up riding the stretch farther south, through the Santa Barbara area, there is a beautiful bike path you can pick up near the University of California Santa Barbara.

    Or you can catch Amtrak in San Luis Obispo, which is a nice ride from Morro Bay.

    How many days will you be riding? That would also be a factor that would influence the advice.

    ***
    Metrolink has trains that go to Palmdale and Lancaster. Their prices are cheaper than Amtrak. Bikes are allowed. Amtrak connects with Metrolink. Metrolink might even have trains that go as far north as Oxnard (possibly even farther). It's a useful system for transporting bikes in SoCal.

    ***
    There are SR-71s on display in Palmdale. They are sure to be a treat for some of the boys -- the fastest, highest, most exotic jets ever built. Mostly made of titanium, including the external skin, they have a fascinating history and were locally developed. They first flew in the Palmdale area.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=stzMOnOJAGw

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    Last edited by Niles H.; 10-19-09 at 06:15 PM.

  12. #12
    eternalvoyage
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    The sag wagon would be some insurance against various sorts of potential problems. I would still lean toward making men out of them, and helping them to become more independent, self-confident, and self-reliant. But there are certainly some advantages to the sag wagon.

    The trains make for great travel. I've talked with people who have taken their kids on trips this way, and they say it is a great improvement over cars, for the kids. They seem to enjoy it more. They have a lot more room to move around, and there is plenty to see and do. They feel freer, and less confined; and it's something of an adventure in itself.

    There is often a major difference in temperature as soon as you get a few miles inland from the coast. The coast stays cooler, and this helps when you are riding and exerting yourself. It would probably help some of the kids not to add too much heat to their riding.
    Last edited by Niles H.; 10-19-09 at 06:08 PM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angus37 View Post
    What about the possibility of a round-trip tour? I'd love to go point A to point B, but San Simeon is 6 hours away. That's a lot of driving, and I don't know how well the boys would take to that.
    People could give you better advice on alternate routes if you let us know a bit more information, such as where you're located, how many days you'd be riding, how far per day you think the boys would be able to ride.

    The coast is a great touring route, but much of it is best suited as an A-to-B trip due to the strong winds from the northwest and lack of many nearby alternate routes for a different return. I prefer round-trip tours also, but they're best if arranged as a loop rather than an out-and-back.

    If you have a choice of sag vehicles I'd prefer one with more capacity for people. A minivan with hitch and/or roof racks would give you more options if you needed to carry more of the scouts at any point in the trip. Regular cars with bike racks can do well also. I do sag support for some rides using our Camry and can carry myself, four other adults, all their bikes, and still have the trunk and some roof space available for camping and other gear.

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    Here's a Crazy Guy journal about a tour with a "small" group of young men lead by a school teacher on the east side of the Sierra Nevada.

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=5421&v=5t

    I read it with great interest and it might help you, too. Maybe the author would be willing to correspond with you...He and his wife are experienced bike tourists from what I have read. I don't know them except through reading his journals.

    I just finished the PCH border-to-border and can tell you that there is a lot of traffic after about 11a even in October. It takes a lot of experience (or perhaps a dulling of the senses) to get used to this when the shoulders disappear. Perhaps you could consider possibilities in the Sierra Nevada or in Southern Oregon before making a final decision. Or ride some of these sections yourself to get your own assessment. Unloaded, most of the Big Sur coast can be done in a day.

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    eternalvoyage
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    I don't know how long you have, but one possibility might be to take Metrolink and Amtrak to Monterey, and head south along the coast from there.

    There are then various towns, from San Luis Obispo south, where you could catch Amtrak or Metrolink to Palmdale and Lancaster.

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    I passed a group of Scouts riding down the coast this summer. They had two sag vehicles and various regrouping points throughout the day. One vehicle would drive ahead to the next meet up spot, and the other would stay behind and act as a chase car. It seemed to work well for them, and it looked like they had enough vehicle space that they could load everyone and their gear into the two vehicles which probably made things easier at the start and end of the trip. They also broke up the trip with a day of surfing and a day of fishing, which sounded like a fun way to keep it from being too monotonous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angus37 View Post
    I'm definitely going with a sag vehicle; any suggestions on what a good one would be? I'm thinking my Ford Ranger; I'll try to build some sort of platform/rack to carry bikes and gear underneath, plus I've got spots for 1-2 boys if needed. We are planning on camping, so the sag vehicle will need to carry all of our gear from site to site. A car won't be able to fit boys and gear, and I'm not too comfortable with a lot of the trunk-mount racks I see. Hence my decision.
    Much depends on how many kids you'll have and how much gear you'll need to carry. Are we talking 40 kids with 5000 cubic inch backpacks? Or a dozen kids with an overnight duffle? I probably wouldn't go smaller than the Ranger. The question is: do you need to go larger?

    I have a Nissan Xterra and use this rack from Nashbar. It lays across the back of the SUV, so it's simple to install/remove. With the seats folded down all the way, I can carry 2-3 bikes and a bunch of gear... but I only have room for one other passenger. Nashbar is overpriced for the bike mounts, BTW. I use these mounts from Performance Bike for half the price. If you've got the capability to carry bikes or gear on a roof rack, then you'll have more space inside the vehicle for kids.

    If you really think there's a possibility you'll need to sag multiple kids and bikes, you might need a larger vehicle. Full-size vans seem to be what many groups use. Either that you you have to be prepared for the sag vehicle to make multiple trips up and down the route: one trip ahead of the group to drop gear (and a person) at the next campsite, then back along the route to help with mechanicals or pick-up stragglers.

    What about the possibility of a round-trip tour? I'd love to go point A to point B, but San Simeon is 6 hours away. That's a lot of driving, and I don't know how well the boys would take to that. Plus we'd have to wait at the end while vehicles are brought up from the start. If we were to leave from and return to Ventura/Santa Barbara, our travel time would be cut and we wouldn't need to worry about vehicle retrieval. We could probably actually do some riding on Monday. I'm just curious if there is a way to go as far as say, San Simeon and then be able to get back to Ventura a different way.
    For trips like this, Amtrak is your friend. When I rode from Silicon Valley to Los Angeles, I used Amtrak to get home. $50 for my ticket and another $15 for the bike. Don't believe the hype: the train ride is pretty damn boring! But it's a relatively cheap, convenient way to get people and bikes up and down the coast.

    FYI, the best riding is from Monterey/Carmel to San Simeon. I found the stretch of coast from San Simeon to Los Angeles to be relatively boring...

  18. #18
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Must say I admire you for stepping up to the challenge of the brilliant undertaking. Be a lot simpler to just go hiking for a few days.

    Sag wagon for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is to reduce the cost to the boys. Save the self supported tour for those who do well and enjoy this one, and who can afford the proper gear. It's really all about the riding and camping.

    PCH will be a great ride as long as you stick to sections with shoulders. No shoulder, no riding. You're dealing with a bunch of adolescent, novice tourers, not known for having the best judgment skills. You'll be stressed enough with them on the shoulder.

    Maybe you could pick an out and back on different shouldered roads to the PCH. Starting near Bakersfield? Then ride a shouldered section of 1 a short distance for the experience. CDOT should be able to help with this.

    For camping sites, when no formal available, you could contact scout troops on the route for suggestions/assistance. To avoid excessive heat, leave very early and end the ride day about noon when necessary.

    Consider journaling and posting this adventure here. We'd like to hear all about it.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  19. #19
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    Not sure of the mileage you are thinking about, so it's hard to envision starting and stopping points. When you leave Lompoc and descend towards the coast, the route dumps you onto US 101. Not sure if you want to take your scouts there, although there is a lot of shoulder. From Lompoc all the way to Ventura there are sections of the ride that use the freeway. Three if I remember correctly. You could detour behind the coast range on 154 after Lompoc and climb San Marcos Pass into Santa Barbara to skip the freeway, then head to Ojai and down into Ventura, but that's a lot of climbing. Monterey to Lompoc might be your best bet.

  20. #20
    Hooked on Touring
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    Time of year?
    I may have missed it, but I presume summer.
    The Pacific Coast Highway has a good deal of traffic in summer.
    Especially summer weekends.

    The AADT - Average Annual Daily Traffic -
    For the stretch between Big Sur and San Simeon is 2000 to 3000.
    http://traffic-counts.dot.ca.gov/2008all/r001i.htm
    But that's an annual average - peak month is 3200 to 4500
    And that's the least traveled stretch.
    South of Carmel and around Morro Bay it is 10,000 or more.
    That's a lot of cars.

    Because it is a "scenic" highway, drivers may be looking elsewhere.
    And it has very narrow to no shoulders in the scenic stretch.
    That's in addition to all the climbing.

    I wish California were like Wyoming -
    Where practically all the primary highways have wide shoulders.
    But with the $$$ situation, things are not going to change any time soon.
    If I were taking a group of inexperienced young people
    the PCH would not be my first choice.

    Make no mistake, the PCH is stunningly beautiful -
    And for folks from the desert, the cool days would be refreshing.
    But I don't think it is a good route for first-timers.
    If you do decide to do it - I would absolutely ban riding abreast.
    Riding abreast often means yakking with the person next to you - -
    And, therefore, being distracted. Same goes for iPods.

    It's hard to think of any place better given your parameters.
    Ideally I would suggest a rail trail like the Katy or C&O.
    But California doesn't have any long trails.
    You are surrounded by huge metro areas - even Vegas in Nevada.
    So the cool, shady places are going to have lots of folks.

    I know you mentioned keeping milage low, but Northern Cal is nice.
    One possibility is a 250-mile loop in the Siskiyous starting at Yreka.
    The first half on Hwy 96 would be gradually downhill, so the kids could get their legs -
    Then from Somes Bar you could loop back thru Callahan
    There is camping aplenty all along the way in the national forests -
    And you don't have to worry about state park closures.

    Just some ideas. I've toured both the coast and Northern Calif.
    But I don't live there. See what others think about Northern Calif.

    Good luck!
    J

  21. #21
    Master of the Universe Angus37's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Must say I admire you for stepping up to the challenge of the brilliant undertaking. Be a lot simpler to just go hiking for a few days.
    Thank you! I've wanted to do something like this in a long time, and am really excited about the opportunity. Nice to know others see it the same way I do.

    PCH will be a great ride as long as you stick to sections with shoulders. No shoulder, no riding. You're dealing with a bunch of adolescent, novice tourers, not known for having the best judgment skills. You'll be stressed enough with them on the shoulder.
    Huge concern there. Someone else mentioned riding single file, no ipods or the like, which would definitely help, but I stress just thinking about some of these boys riding along a busy road.

    Consider journaling and posting this adventure here. We'd like to hear all about it.
    I'll definitely post our adventures on CrazyGuy.

    Now then, a lot of other questions have been asked in similar veins so I'll try to tackle all of those right now.

    We're in Ridgecrest, CA. Pull out a map of California and point to the Mojave Desert. There we are! Isolated from everything except the mountains - no wonder we've gone hiking so much. We'll be doing this next summer, probably late July. Ages 14-18 for sure, possibly 12-13 too. Not sure. We've got under a week to do this - I anticipate leaving Monday morning and ideally, getting back Saturday. Possibly Friday.

    Monday and Friday/Saturday will be predominantly travel days so I don't see a lot of riding then. But during the week will be mostly riding. I'm hoping for 50-60 miles/day. I'd love to do a century on one of those days - I did it from 14-16, once every summer - but I dream.

    My biggest issue is time and money. Our unit commissioner strongly discourages long travel times (still not sure how to balance that with our location), and our yearly budget is limited. For these reasons, I don't think Amtrak/Metrolink will work too well as it is considerably slower and the cost to transport many boys will probably be more than the gas. This is the biggest activity of the year so I have more money to work with, but still not a lot. Most of the general camping stuff isn't an issue, and I'm sure I can find bikes where needed, but gas for vehicles - enough to transport the boys there and back, plus any sag vehicles - will be huge.

    It looks like the coast may be a little tough to do given travel concerns and heavy traffic. No matter; I'll try looking at more local areas. Anyone have any experience touring in the Eastern Sierras, say north of Bishop/Mammoth?

    Thanks so much everyone for all the help and advice. You've given me a lot to think about. Keep it coming please.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angus37 View Post
    It looks like the coast may be a little tough to do given travel concerns and heavy traffic. No matter; I'll try looking at more local areas. Anyone have any experience touring in the Eastern Sierras, say north of Bishop/Mammoth?
    The coast is doable, you just have to pick the right time of year. An end of summer trip just after Labor Day, which is what I did, shouldn't be a problem traffic-wise. You'd still have to ride single-file at times and your kids would need enough bike control to be able to ride in a straight line. I think that will be required on any tour, though.

    Eastern Sierras could be a nice alternative, however. Scenery is spectacular. It wouldn't surprise me if there were some decent tours that could be done around Mammoth and June lakes. The only thing I remember about riding in that area, though, is the wind. It seems to come pouring off the Sierras at high speed later in the day and made me pretty miserable on a couple of occasions. I think I was there in September or October; not sure what it would be like earlier in summer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angus37 View Post
    ...Anyone have any experience touring in the Eastern Sierras, say north of Bishop/Mammoth?...
    Check out this Crazy Guy link:

    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?...c_id=5421&v=5t

  24. #24
    Master of the Universe Angus37's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    The coast is doable, you just have to pick the right time of year. An end of summer trip just after Labor Day, which is what I did, shouldn't be a problem traffic-wise. You'd still have to ride single-file at times and your kids would need enough bike control to be able to ride in a straight line. I think that will be required on any tour, though.

    Eastern Sierras could be a nice alternative, however. Scenery is spectacular. It wouldn't surprise me if there were some decent tours that could be done around Mammoth and June lakes. The only thing I remember about riding in that area, though, is the wind. It seems to come pouring off the Sierras at high speed later in the day and made me pretty miserable on a couple of occasions. I think I was there in September or October; not sure what it would be like earlier in summer.
    I'd prefer doing it later in the year, or even earlier in the spring, but the boys can't get out of school for a week to do that. And of course, that is probably when traffic is highest.

    There IS a lot of wind in the Eastern Sierras, but I think right now is the worst time. Usually I fight headwinds on my ride home; the last couple of mornings I've had them on the ride in as well. A couple of years ago we got winds so strong you had to be careful which way you parked, so the wind would blow the door shut rather than blow it off. Summers aren't as bad.

    Where around Mammoth have you done your riding? Primarily 395, or other (less-trafficked) roads?

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    When I cycled the California coast I ran into a bunch of kids from the YMCA in Oakland who were cycling the coast. There were two adults and dozen kids. They were about 13. They didn't have a support vehicle. They were making their distance descisions day to day. They were planning on cycling as far as they could get in two weeks, and then taking Amtrak back.

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