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Old 06-17-11, 11:27 AM   #1
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Pacific Coast Route - how long did it take you?

I've decided that I want to do the entire Pacific Coast Route starting in July 2012. I'll need to make arrangements obviously, so I was wondering (for those of you who have done the entire 1,800 miles or so) how long did it take you? What was your speed and what kind of daily mileage did you put in? How many rest days? All stories and advice is appreciated.

Another thing I've been wondering about the route is whether it's mostly on highways or trails. I've driven the Pacific Coast Highway and don't remember there being much room for a bike on the shoulder...
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Old 06-17-11, 11:44 AM   #2
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The northern part of the California coast has some major hills. You never get to a really high elevation, but you spend all day going from sea level up several hundred feet and then back down.

I did it in a month. The first few days I was on my own so I just rode all day and finished the Washington coast from Port Angeles to Portland in 4 days. One of those days was 160 miles. After that I mostly rode with other people at a more relaxed pace of around 50 to 60 miles a day.

As most people here will tell you, plan for 10 miles per hour including breaks but not including lunch or long sightseeing stops.

Other stuff: the hiker biker sites at all of the State Parks are pretty nice and cheap. There will be tons of other cyclists travelling with you in the summer. Because you all go at roughly the same speed and direction and most of them are following the Adventure Cycling campsites you get to know everyone that is within a few days of you. Los Angeles is a mess, try to get through as quick as possible.
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Old 06-17-11, 11:44 AM   #3
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99% road, not bike path or trail. Yes you have to share with cars. Mostly it's OK.

I haven't done the whole thing, but as they say "Your Mileage May Vary" - I generally plan on 50-70 miles a day, rest day once a week. 4-6 weeks. Try to fly Southwest or Frontier if you are flying - both have good bike baggage policies. Southwest serves all the major airports in the west, has good prices especially if you book a few weeks in advance, and has a very reasonable (no fee) ticket change policy.
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Old 06-17-11, 12:39 PM   #4
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Buddy and I, both middle-aged+ at the time, averaged 75 mi a day, including everything from wake up to bed time, and including 4-- 1/2 days. Great ride, tremendous scenery, good camping, traffic is normally aware it's a major cycling route, and are courteous and watchful. (didn't enjoy cycling around in San Francisco very much)
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Old 06-18-11, 07:53 AM   #5
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I rode from Seattle to Santa Cruz several years ago. I went back and did the part from Astoria (via Portland) to Crescent City. It's a great route and mostly bicycle-friendly until you get to norther California - the "Trees of Mystery" section.

I followed the route outlined in "Bicycling the Pacific Coast" by Kirkendall/Spring. It took 4 weeks to go as far as I went. I averaged about 55 miles a day and only took one rest day.

I had great times both times.
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Old 06-18-11, 11:40 AM   #6
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I concur with most of the above, I usually ride around 10mph when on tour not including pit stops, and 60 miles a day is pretty good.

Including 1 day per week to rest, we're talking ~35 days.

The roads can be a little tight but most of the cars are taking it slowly. I haven't heard of any crashes on 1, and the AC route tends to avoid some iffy spots (e.g. near San Luis Obispo).
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Old 12-24-15, 11:20 AM   #7
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Hi, I did the route this summer, and remember checking this thread for info before leaving: just wanted to share the following blog for anyone who might be looking into doing the trip too.
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Old 12-24-15, 11:43 AM   #8
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17 years .. I came to stay.
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Old 12-24-15, 12:58 PM   #9
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I've done Seattle to San Diego twice. Just over 1,300 miles. Once was 34 days and the other 39. The first trip was done with a friend or similar age/athletic build and the second trip was done with my three sisters (twins 17, other was 12). I could have done it much faster had I gone solo so I don't feel those are accurate times.

We spent a lot of time camping on the beach. We got kicked out of one spot on the second tour but otherwise no one seemed to bother us. The shoulder was pretty nonexistent in places. We never felt like we were in danger though and most motorist gave us plenty of space. In the instances where two vehicles were coming at each other we stopped and hugged the shoulder until they passed.

Good luck.
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Old 12-24-15, 01:07 PM   #10
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Fyi-- The Pacific Coast Bicycle Route through Washington is missable.
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