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  1. #1
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    US / Canada west coast tour advice

    Hello all

    I'm planning a cycle tour between Vancouver and San Diego later this year. This would start in May and take a couple of months with some city stops along the way.

    From my initial research it seems most people travel north to south. I'm trying to decide which direction to travel in and in the interest of following the increasing spring temperatures I thought travelling south to north would make sense.

    Is anyone aware of any strong reasons such as prevailing winds that the north to south option is most popular?

    Best regards
    Todd

  2. #2
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    It's all about prevailing winds. And a bit about being 20 feet nearer the cliff edge when pedaling south. Go with the wind.
    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
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Yup, NB: atmosphere studies .. summer High rotates Clockwise, and North Pacific High ,
    that pushes the storm track North, so it's Dryer , here,

    when it lays off the west Coast, the rotation is southward ..


    watch NOAA.gov .. in your spare time.

    and the Ocean is on your Right .. near side.

    Classic Book:" Bicycling the Pacific Coast.. (you could support your Independent Local Book Store)

    or like A big Monopoly dominated world and then there's:
    http://www.amazon.com/Bicycling-Paci.../dp/0898869544
    Last edited by fietsbob; 01-23-14 at 04:40 PM.

  4. #4
    Fraser Valley Dave
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    I traveled that route just a bit earlier (April-May) and found the prevailing winds helped me along for most of the route, increasing in strength the further south I went. In Oregon and northern California some days the wind blowing south was very strong and caution had to be exercised not to be blown into traffic etc. As others have said, going south has you on the coast side of the road. You don't want to be constantly crossing the hwy for a good view.

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    Definitely go north to south, that is the most predictable wind pattern of all the USA touring routes, wind from the Northwest (tail).

    A May start should be fine. You might have rain in WA/OR, but that's true in June too.
    Here's a link to a weather resource, this shows monthly average temp & rainfall for Astoria Oregon.
    http://www.weather.com/weather/wxcli...graph/USOR0017
    ...

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    djb
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    just so you dont think the others are talking out of their arses, another vote for north to south. When I did Oregon and Cali coast in a June many many moons ago, I clearly recall a few cyclists coming the other way and thinking, "the poor buggers"....
    This june trip was also the coolest june I had ever biked in, the coast in general is quite a bit cooler than just a short distance inland--a heads up for you, but being from Blighty you would be accustomed to the weather.


    All that said, it is a wonderful trip. There are differing opinions of the northern part, Washington State, a fellow I biked with who had biked through it said he would have avoided it, I started in Northern Oregon so missed that bit.
    In any case, there are tons of trip reports and books on this coast trip, so no lack of good info.

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    Thanks all for your help. I think that pretty much settles it then, North to South it is!

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    Quote Originally Posted by greenlight82 View Post
    Thanks all for your help. I think that pretty much settles it then, North to South it is!
    I may see you, have not done it yet but am planning to ride Astoria to San Francisco at about the same time. I talked to someone that has done the coast ride several times, he also said that along some sections the north to south road shoulder is wider than the shoulder on the northbound side.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    It's all about prevailing winds. And a bit about being 20 feet nearer the cliff edge when pedaling south. Go with the wind.
    Yes, the prevailing wind is definitely the main reason for north-to-south. But don't discount the better views either. Sure you aren't that many feet closer to the ocean, but the views in some of the most scenic sections are completely different. From the west side of the road you're frequently looking right down on the surf crashing into the shore and rocks whereas from the other side of the road all you'd see would be the distant ocean horizon. Much better to have the nicer view continuously as you ride instead of having to periodically stop and cross the road.

  10. #10
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    My tour of Ireland started from the South West part ,
    so I too did not have to cross the opposing traffic lane [relatively light by comparison]

    to pull off at some seaside Vista Points.

    You are on the left side of the road, of course, there..

    passing on the right favors your stronger sword wielding Hand ..

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    Hi Greenlight82 !

    I did the Pacific Coast from Vancouver - San Diego in 2009.
    I agree with the previous advices
    - Wind north to South
    - Better views of the ocean when riding north to south
    - In some areas, if there was not enough space (or money ) available for a shoulder on both sides of the road, then the southbound side is the one which has the shoulder.
    I liked so much my ride of the Pacific Coast that I will do it once more !

    With a friend, from may to june 2014, I will do the Pacific Coast.
    So, maybe, see you !

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    I'm doing the Pacific Coast from Vancouver south with my son starting right after his graduation. We'll probably start at the end of May or early June. I've got the book and the ACA maps and am sick of thinking about it. I'm ready to go. Maybe I'll see some of you on the route.

  13. #13
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    This would start in May
    Might be wet and grey both months .. on the North Coast we nicknamed the 6th month.. Junuary .

    'summer begins on the 5th of July' .. fireworks on the 4th, some years, burst in the overcast clouds..

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenlight82 View Post
    Hello all

    I'm planning a cycle tour between Vancouver and San Diego later this year. This would start in May and take a couple of months with some city stops along the way.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
    I may see you, have not done it yet but am planning to ride Astoria to San Francisco at about the same time.
    Quote Originally Posted by Flam24 View Post
    I liked so much my ride of the Pacific Coast that I will do it once more !

    With a friend, from may to june 2014, I will do the Pacific Coast.
    So, maybe, see you !
    Quote Originally Posted by Mongoeric View Post
    I'm doing the Pacific Coast from Vancouver south with my son starting right after his graduation. We'll probably start at the end of May or early June... Maybe I'll see some of you on the route.
    It's looking like a crowd this year.
    I'll also be there (again) this May. I'll be the person who is keeping you awake in the hiker/biker campground by snoring like a train. Lucky for you, I don't hit the coast until Reedsport, OR and I head back inland at either the Russian River or the town of Mendocino, so your sleep deprivation will be short-lived.

    Anyone else planning on riding a bit of the Lost Coast?

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    Quote Originally Posted by B. Carfree View Post
    It's looking like a crowd this year.
    I'll also be there (again) this May. I'll be the person who is keeping you awake in the hiker/biker campground by snoring like a train. Lucky for you, I don't hit the coast until Reedsport, OR and I head back inland at either the Russian River or the town of Mendocino, so your sleep deprivation will be short-lived.

    Anyone else planning on riding a bit of the Lost Coast?
    I'm the guy who doesn't snore at night because he now has a CPAP machine. This will be my first time camping with this. Should be interesting.

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    It's been posted here before, but this live US wind map is really interesting. I don't think it uses Flash, so would be usable on mobile devices, too.

    http://hint.fm/wind/

  17. #17
    Hooked on Touring
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevepusser View Post
    It's been posted here before, but this live US wind map is really interesting. I don't think it uses Flash, so would be usable on mobile devices, too.
    http://hint.fm/wind/
    I live in Wyoming - known for its more-than-tropical breezes.
    Not sure how accurate that website is - probably only general, at best.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamawani View Post
    I live in Wyoming - known for its more-than-tropical breezes.
    Not sure how accurate that website is - probably only general, at best.
    I think it gets its data from the weather service and automated weather stations. When I have zoomed into my local area, it's been quite accurate--today it's showing easterly winds over Southern Cal, which is certainly what we are getting.

    It certainly will show you the general direction of the surface winds at any one time---it appeared that today was a good day for someone riding north along the Pacific Coast.

  19. #19
    Hooked on Touring
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    The number of ground stations in more rural areas has declined over the past 20 years.
    Increasingly, NOAA depends upon satellite and computer data.
    I suspect that the map involves much interpolation.
    The algorithm may be good, but it is an algorithm nonetheless.

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