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...
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.
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.
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)
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.