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  1. #1
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    Need help find a bike route from SF - Phoenix (or Flagstaff) AZ - part 1

    Hi Touring people

    I am looking for a San Francisco, CA to Phoenix, AZ (or Flagstaff) credit card, no camping bike route other than Highway 1 and crossing over near Santa Maria or further South? Has anybody done a Hwy 99 (can it handle bikes or allowed?) to Bakersfield, crossing over to AZ?

    Gary

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Google calls 99 Interstate 5. I'm pretty sure CHP seriously frowns on bicycling their interstates. OK in AZ.

    This link is to a ride I took from the coast onward to Bakersfield and beyond to Phoenix. May not work for a cc tour. Map 2nd line in Table of Contents.
    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

  3. #3
    mev
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    In 2001, I came down the coast to Oceanside and then linked up with Southern Tier bicycle route that went via Phoenix. Journal pages at: http://www.mvermeulen.com/oneyear/usa.htm It was a pretty straightforward and nice ride.

    In 2000, I came from San Jose via Bakersfield and then further across via Death Valley to Las Vegas. The crossing from Bakersfield via Kernsville was a nice way to cut across, though I haven't worked out exactly what you would do after that: http://www.mvermeulen.com/vegas/index.htm

    It depends a little on time of the year, but my own preference would be more towards sticking down the coast first and making the crossing further down and hence most like the first route I posted above.

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    i can vouch, like many others no doubt, for the Adventure Cycling Pacific Coast Route to San Diego then the Southern Tier Route (again Adventure Cycling) to Phoenix is a nice way to go. even in winter. great maps with everything you need and then some for CC touring.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    Google calls 99 Interstate 5. I'm pretty sure CHP seriously frowns on bicycling their interstates. OK in AZ.
    Hi Cyclebum, thanks for your reply. Google maps for some reason or other does not show Hwy 99. Maybe they cross over in parts but even if it was legal I would never ride on Interstate 5. I have driven in an inner road that connects up all the Central Valley towns. In any case I'll loo up your CGOAB blog. Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by mev View Post
    In 2001, I came down the coast to Oceanside and then linked up with Southern Tier bicycle route that went via Phoenix. Journal pages at: http://www.mvermeulen.com/oneyear/usa.htm It was a pretty straightforward and nice ride.

    In 2000, I came from San Jose via Bakersfield and then further across via Death Valley to Las Vegas. The crossing from Bakersfield via Kernsville was a nice way to cut across, though I haven't worked out exactly what you would do after that: http://www.mvermeulen.com/vegas/index.htm

    It depends a little on time of the year, but my own preference would be more towards sticking down the coast first and making the crossing further down and hence most like the first route I posted above.

    Hi Mev, thanks for your reply. when you say you came down the coast, I am assuming Hwy 1? Homeyba, another experienced rider also suggested that option. Can a "bigger" person handle all the hills on the coast. I have driven parts of Hwy 1 and there some good climbs. Also how was the ride across Death Valley? How hot was it and how long did it take?. I'll check out your link and get back if I have any questions. Thanks again.

    Gary

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    Quote Originally Posted by hueyhoolihan View Post
    i can vouch, like many others no doubt, for the Adventure Cycling Pacific Coast Route to San Diego then the Southern Tier Route (again Adventure Cycling) to Phoenix is a nice way to go. even in winter. great maps with everything you need and then some for CC touring.
    Hi hueyhoolihan

    Looks like that is the preferred route for people doing CC type riding and I may have to investigate it. I'll get parts of the relevant ACA maps, thanks. It would be nice, however to cut across from Santa Barbara to Flagstaff - if possible.

    Gary

  8. #8
    Flying and Riding sam21fire's Avatar
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    Bicycles are not allowed on Hwy 99 which runs North-South through central California 10-30 miles East of I-5.

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    Interstate 5 is actually bike-legal for this stretch (Hwy. 99 is not). Bikes are allowed on the shoulder between Tracy (east of SF) and Santa Clarita (north of LA). It's relatively fast (lots of wind aid from passing trucks), but not very pleasant riding. In addition to all the noisy trucks passing by there's plenty of truck tire debris on the shoulder and as this deteriorates it leaves behind sharp steel wires that tend to puncture bike tires. I also found it to be relatively boring. The freeway right-of-way is so wide that there isn't much of visual interest nearby and it makes it seem like you're moving slower than you really are.

    I prefer to take Hwy. 1 down the coast, but an inland alternative is to take McKean and Uvas Rds. south from San Jose to Gilroy, then take Hwy. 25 south through Hollister and at least to King City. From King City you can either jump on and off of Hwy. 101 as parts are bike legal (and mainly improved shoulders) while other sections have alternates; or you can take Lonoak Rd. back up to Hwy. 25 and continue past its junction with 198 where it becomes Peach Tree and then Indian Valley Rd. (there's a steep but short climb at the end of Peach Tree but you can walk it if necessary). That'll drop you down into Paso Robles and there are various routes paralleling Hwy. 101 from there down to Santa Barbara. Let me know if you'd like a specific routing suggestion for this stretch.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sam21fire View Post
    Bicycles are not allowed on Hwy 99 which runs North-South through central California 10-30 miles East of I-5.
    Just learned something else about Google maps. The zoom level will play tricks with highway numbers. At a certain level, I-5 is also labeled as 99 in one place and 33 in another. Zoom in closer and it's sorted out.
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  11. #11
    mev
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    Quote Originally Posted by SFGary View Post
    Hi Mev, thanks for your reply. when you say you came down the coast, I am assuming Hwy 1? Homeyba, another experienced rider also suggested that option. Can a "bigger" person handle all the hills on the coast. I have driven parts of Hwy 1 and there some good climbs. Also how was the ride across Death Valley? How hot was it and how long did it take?. I'll check out your link and get back if I have any questions. Thanks again.

    Gary
    As far as hills on the coast go, there are some larger hills between Monterrey and Cambria but after that not too much - so I'd just budget a little extra time for that stretch - but don't think that should disqualify the choice.

    On the Death Valley ride, we went the first week of May. It was slightly warmer than normal (~104F), so on one day coming into Furnace Creek, we were happy to have started early and got into town before the worst heat hit. Otherwise, pleasant.

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