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Oceanside to San Diego

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Oceanside to San Diego

Old 12-03-15, 07:03 PM
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Oceanside to San Diego

I want to mix-and-match ocean and desert for my upcoming Southwest tour, so has anyone toured down the West Coast from Oceanside to San Diego, it seems Oceanside would be a good jumping off point after meeting a friend in LA for the weekend. Checking out the few YouTube videos I have found it looks like pretty cool route.
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Old 12-03-15, 07:27 PM
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Yes, it's an exceptionally popular route. The main 101 highway is congested and without bike lanes, putting you in the door zone, in sections through downtown Oceanside and Encinitas, but there are adjacent quieter alternate side streets, such as Vulcan in Encinitas. There are some rather noisy hike and bike sites at San Elijo State Beach about 17 miles south of Oceanside---the surf, highway traffic, trains, and rampant children all compete to drown each other out.
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Old 12-04-15, 03:47 AM
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try the coastal route. you'll love it. a must-do southern california ride. bike lanes for some of it. the main "pinch points" are:


oceanside-for about 2 miles south of the pier until you get to the lagoon separating oceanside & carlsbad along the coast highway.


encinitas-south from encinitas blvd for a a few blocks/quarter mile. the road is tight with head-in parking for cars and also a big pedestrian area.


la jolla-big ped area, drivers erratically driving while looking for parking and crappy pavement in spots.


pacific beach-busy, fast traffic along mission blvd mixed with bouts of bad pavement for approx a mile.




the main bugaboo for most is the climb of torrey pines grade along the coastal highway (going through the state reserve is more scenic but
a more difficult climb) south of del mar and north of la jolla/ucsd. approx 1.6 miles at 5% gradient.
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Old 12-04-15, 10:05 AM
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My suggestion is to take this one in a relaxed way. Not only will there be a lot to see, there is a lot to watch out for (as the previous posters have mentioned.) It is a short ride too, relatively. No reason to rush.
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Old 12-04-15, 10:40 AM
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Done the SF to SD/Border route..

You have the Desert meeting the Sea in that part of the state..
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Old 12-04-15, 12:43 PM
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the main bugaboo for most is the climb of torrey pines grade along the coastal highway (going through the state reserve is more scenic but
a more difficult climb) south of del mar and north of la jolla/ucsd. approx 1.6 miles at 5% gradient.
If you're planning to get to the desert by heading east over the mountains, this hill will seem like a speed bump in comparison.

Some nice camping spots in the Salton Trough include Palm Canyon at Borrego Springs, Agua Caliente Hot Springs, the Ocotillo RV park, Weist Lake, and the Holtville hot well pool.
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Old 12-04-15, 04:10 PM
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It's a good run down the coast. Where are you going after?
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Old 12-06-15, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by stevepusser View Post
Yes, it's an exceptionally popular route. The main 101 highway is congested and without bike lanes, putting you in the door zone, in sections through downtown Oceanside and Encinitas, but there are adjacent quieter alternate side streets, such as Vulcan in Encinitas. There are some rather noisy hike and bike sites at San Elijo State Beach about 17 miles south of Oceanside---the surf, highway traffic, trains, and rampant children all compete to drown each other out.
Thanks for the tips about traffic trains and rampant children, I have to do my research to find quieter streets, I definitely do not want to meet with the door.

Originally Posted by ooga-booga View Post
try the coastal route. you'll love it. a must-do southern california ride. bike lanes for some of it. the main "pinch points" are:


oceanside-for about 2 miles south of the pier until you get to the lagoon separating oceanside & carlsbad along the coast highway.


encinitas-south from encinitas blvd for a a few blocks/quarter mile. the road is tight with head-in parking for cars and also a big pedestrian area.


la jolla-big ped area, drivers erratically driving while looking for parking and crappy pavement in spots.


pacific beach-busy, fast traffic along mission blvd mixed with bouts of bad pavement for approx a mile.


the main bugaboo for most is the climb of torrey pines grade along the coastal highway (going through the state reserve is more scenic but
a more difficult climb) south of del mar and north of la jolla/ucsd. approx 1.6 miles at 5% gradient.
Thanks for the detailed tips! I will definitely be putting these to use! I'm excited to be touring the California coast.



Originally Posted by Aubergine View Post
My suggestion is to take this one in a relaxed way. Not only will there be a lot to see, there is a lot to watch out for (as the previous posters have mentioned.) It is a short ride too, relatively. No reason to rush.
My thoughts exactly! I was planning to give it two days, does that make sense?


Originally Posted by stevepusser View Post
If you're planning to get to the desert by heading east over the mountains, this hill will seem like a speed bump in comparison.

Some nice camping spots in the Salton Trough include Palm Canyon at Borrego Springs, Agua Caliente Hot Springs, the Ocotillo RV park, Weist Lake, and the Holtville hot well pool.

Originally Posted by timdow View Post
It's a good run down the coast. Where are you going after?
Well, I have three weeks to do a tour of the California coast, Joshua Tree National Park, maybe the Salton Sea, and definitely the Grand Canyon National Park. I am considering cheating a bit, by taking the bus over the mountains to Joshua Tree National Park. So I can get as much sightseeing done in three weeks, as this is the first time I have done a bike tour.
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Old 12-06-15, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by sprocketss View Post
Well, I have three weeks to do a tour of the California coast, Joshua Tree National Park, maybe the Salton Sea, and definitely the Grand Canyon National Park. I am considering cheating a bit, by taking the bus over the mountains to Joshua Tree National Park. So I can get as much sightseeing done in three weeks, as this is the first time I have done a bike tour.
Well since you need to be headed due east to get to Joshua Tree and GC from LA, SD is out of your way.

If you do decide to head South, here are a couple of suggestions to not spend $100 on the bus trip over the mountains:
1. There is a city bus from El Cajon (east of SD) to Borrego Springs that runs Thurs and Friday at 2:30 for $5 that accepts bikes (call to reserve a bike space). it is about 25 miles from downtown SD to El Cajon, but you can take the trolley for $2.50 there if you don't want to ride through the city.
2. Take the Coaster back up to Oceanside, ride or take sprinter to Escondido, and there is a city bus that runs daily to Borrego Springs for $6.75
3. Ride to the coast in LA, then down to Oceanside, then take the bus above, or ride from there over the mountains. You still get some coastal that way and don't go too far out of your way.
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Old 12-06-15, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by sprocketss View Post
Thanks for the tips about traffic trains and rampant children, I have to do my research to find quieter streets, I definitely do not want to meet with the door.



Thanks for the detailed tips! I will definitely be putting these to use! I'm excited to be touring the California coast.





My thoughts exactly! I was planning to give it two days, does that make sense?







Well, I have three weeks to do a tour of the California coast, Joshua Tree National Park, maybe the Salton Sea, and definitely the Grand Canyon National Park. I am considering cheating a bit, by taking the bus over the mountains to Joshua Tree National Park. So I can get as much sightseeing done in three weeks, as this is the first time I have done a bike tour.
California has the "3Feet please" Law and in Mission Beach/Pacific Beach has bike theft so be careful

Last edited by Biketouringhobo; 12-06-15 at 12:25 PM. Reason: fixed words
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Old 12-06-15, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by timdow View Post
Well since you need to be headed due east to get to Joshua Tree and GC from LA, SD is out of your way.

If you do decide to head South, here are a couple of suggestions to not spend $100 on the bus trip over the mountains:
1. There is a city bus from El Cajon (east of SD) to Borrego Springs that runs Thurs and Friday at 2:30 for $5 that accepts bikes (call to reserve a bike space). it is about 25 miles from downtown SD to El Cajon, but you can take the trolley for $2.50 there if you don't want to ride through the city.
2. Take the Coaster back up to Oceanside, ride or take sprinter to Escondido, and there is a city bus that runs daily to Borrego Springs for $6.75
3. Ride to the coast in LA, then down to Oceanside, then take the bus above, or ride from there over the mountains. You still get some coastal that way and don't go too far out of your way.

Hi Tim, I was originally going to go from LA to visit a friend and then on to Joshua Tree, I didn't want to deal with the congestion of LA on a bike tho, as I am new to touring, so I didn't want to take on too much until I get acclimatized to touring, "the Middle Way approach". Inspired to see the California coast I was thinking of taking the Amtrak Surfliner from LA to Oceanside, then bike to San Diego. I am still thinking to climb those mountains between San Diego and Joshua Tree, alternatively to save time and take the easy way out, take the bus routes you suggested, or take the Greyhound bus from San Diego to Palm Springs so as then ride into the Joshua Tree National Park to spend a couple of days. Part of my rational is my limited time on this tour, (three weeks), and wanting to take in the highlights, Pacific Ocean route, Joshua Tree and the Grand Canyon in an engaged way. Perhaps I am missing the point tho...
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Old 12-06-15, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Biketouringhobo View Post
California has the "3Feet please" Law and in Mission Beach/Pacific Beach has bike theft so be careful
Thanks for pointing out remaining safe, perhaps someone can comment on leaving your "locked" bike loaded down with panniers with all your worldly possessions when doing a run to Walmart or whatever. Also, how respectful are people of your unattended campsite while I am exploring the Joshua Tree for example. Any tips in this direction would be appreciated.
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Old 12-06-15, 02:47 PM
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Originally Posted by sprocketss View Post
Hi Tim, I was originally going to go from LA to visit a friend and then on to Joshua Tree, I didn't want to deal with the congestion of LA on a bike tho, as I am new to touring, so I didn't want to take on too much until I get acclimatized to touring, "the Middle Way approach". Inspired to see the California coast I was thinking of taking the Amtrak Surfliner from LA to Oceanside, then bike to San Diego. I am still thinking to climb those mountains between San Diego and Joshua Tree, alternatively to save time and take the easy way out, take the bus routes you suggested, or take the Greyhound bus from San Diego to Palm Springs so as then ride into the Joshua Tree National Park to spend a couple of days. Part of my rational is my limited time on this tour, (three weeks), and wanting to take in the highlights, Pacific Ocean route, Joshua Tree and the Grand Canyon in an engaged way. Perhaps I am missing the point tho...
You can take the Metrolink Train from LA CA to Oceanside, CA or to Riverside, CA from both citys and bike to Indio, CA then bike to Joshua Tree NP
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Old 12-06-15, 03:00 PM
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Originally Posted by sprocketss View Post
Hi Tim, I was originally going to go from LA to visit a friend and then on to Joshua Tree, I didn't want to deal with the congestion of LA on a bike tho, as I am new to touring, so I didn't want to take on too much until I get acclimatized to touring, "the Middle Way approach". Inspired to see the California coast I was thinking of taking the Amtrak Surfliner from LA to Oceanside, then bike to San Diego. I am still thinking to climb those mountains between San Diego and Joshua Tree, alternatively to save time and take the easy way out, take the bus routes you suggested, or take the Greyhound bus from San Diego to Palm Springs so as then ride into the Joshua Tree National Park to spend a couple of days. Part of my rational is my limited time on this tour, (three weeks), and wanting to take in the highlights, Pacific Ocean route, Joshua Tree and the Grand Canyon in an engaged way. Perhaps I am missing the point tho...
Don't think you are missing the point I think you are right on point... it is your vacation to do as you please. I will say it is an ambitious first tour, though. From the CA desert you will climbing onto the Colorado plateau up hill the entire way (0-7K Ft). If I were doing it one way, I would probably choose the other way.
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Old 12-06-15, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Biketouringhobo View Post
You can take the Metrolink Train from LA CA to Oceanside, CA or to Riverside, CA from both citys and bike to Indio, CA then bike to Joshua Tree NP
Thanks, I will look into it
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Old 12-06-15, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by timdow View Post
Don't think you are missing the point I think you are right on point... it is your vacation to do as you please. I will say it is an ambitious first tour, though. From the CA desert you will climbing onto the Colorado plateau up hill the entire way (0-7K Ft). If I were doing it one way, I would probably choose the other way.
Besides visiting my friend in LA everything is fluid, several things come to mind tho, while I am now in training for the tour, I assume the conditions when you are on the road are just that more challenging, and there will be many unknowns and challenges I have not even considered. I do assume that you do become somewhat battle hardened within a week or two, and endurance will increase, but I do have an out, I have a bike travel bag, so if the conditions become too onerous, and I am "running out of road" so to speak, I can zip the bike into the bag, get on a bus to get over the difficult bits. This first tour is more a vacation than what you hardened vets would call a tour, I do plan to spend several days in each of the National parks to truly experience them. I am sure three weeks will slip by depressing fast.
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Old 12-06-15, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by sprocketss View Post
Besides visiting my friend in LA everything is fluid, several things come to mind tho, while I am now in training for the tour, I assume the conditions when you are on the road are just that more challenging, and there will be many unknowns and challenges I have not even considered. I do assume that you do become somewhat battle hardened within a week or two, and endurance will increase, but I do have an out, I have a bike travel bag, so if the conditions become too onerous, and I am "running out of road" so to speak, I can zip the bike into the bag, get on a bus to get over the difficult bits. This first tour is more a vacation than what you hardened vets would call a tour, I do plan to spend several days in each of the National parks to truly experience them. I am sure three weeks will slip by depressing fast.
Tour... vacation... one in the same the pace and mode are up to you. One thing that is difficult is to get used to riding with all the gear. Good idea to train with it for a few weeks prior. Not returning to home and being a wanderer is both liberating and scary. Great fun!
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Old 12-06-15, 06:01 PM
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What time of the year are you planning this tour? The low deserts become dangerously hot starting in May--but are nicest at the same time that the Grand Canyon Rim is often having snowstorms.
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Old 12-07-15, 02:42 AM
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Originally Posted by stevepusser View Post
What time of the year are you planning this tour? The low deserts become dangerously hot starting in May--but are nicest at the same time that the Grand Canyon Rim is often having snowstorms.
Steve, I will be in the area's late February, early March. Put in the mix an El Nino year and I am trying to prepare and dress for every eventuality.
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Old 12-07-15, 01:59 PM
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OK, just keep in mind that the higher altitude sections may have to be scratched depending on the weather, so have some alternative routes just in case.
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Old 12-07-15, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by stevepusser View Post
OK, just keep in mind that the higher altitude sections may have to be scratched depending on the weather, so have some alternative routes just in case.
Thanks Steve, I have been giving it some thought.
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Old 12-13-15, 12:05 AM
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I've been quite happy with the sharrows that have been added in the solana beach and Encinitas area. It has made the main 101 much safer. I also have heard of people heading north from the salton sea into the Palm Springs area to reduce he climbing. The flattest route from Escondido to borrego that I can think of (I live in Escondido) is to head to valley center to rincon then a right on highway 76 and a left on 79. From there head take your pick of routes after you make a right turn at the power substation. I'd continue straight and climb Yaqui pass to drop to borrego. Otherwise it's more rollers and a 9 mile descent.
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Old 12-13-15, 01:11 AM
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I must respectfully disagree with a few of the above posts. The only place between LA and San Diego that is remotely dangerous, door-zone- and traffic-wise, is Laguna Beach, and it's still not too bad. There are also alternate routes if you must ride that stretch during rush hour. Vulcan isn't necessary now that they have put sharrows everywhere. Heck, they even closed one of the Northbound autotraffic lanes for a mile and turned it into a wide-@$$ dedicated bike lane. The bike route through Oceanside is about a block west of PCH, and is fairly clearly marked; just rode a 60 miler with my sweetheart this afternoon and it was lovely.

I took my bike on the train up to Santa Barbara and rode the coast back home to Carlsbad a few years ago (click), and have been anxious to make that trip again soon. The trip really made me patriotic about California. Just bring your helmet and drivers license to show the MPs when riding through Camp Pendleton.

I don't know of any unsucky bicycling routes out to Joshua Tree--I've ridden many of the backroads (like Box Canyon, which is interesting and lightly traveled) on motorcycle jaunts. I mean no judgment, but it's a lot farther than it looks on a map. I'm guilty of doing that too, especially on motorcycle trips: "When I get to DC, I'll have lunch in New York City, and then shoot up to either Boston for some chowder, or Maine for some Lobster."

Last edited by calamarichris; 12-13-15 at 01:16 AM.
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Old 12-16-15, 12:43 AM
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Originally Posted by calamarichris View Post
I took my bike on the train up to Santa Barbara and rode the coast back home to Carlsbad a few years ago (click), and have been anxious to make that trip again soon. The trip really made me patriotic about California. Just bring your helmet and drivers license to show the MPs when riding through Camp Pendleton.

I don't know of any unsucky bicycling routes out to Joshua Tree--I've ridden many of the backroads (like Box Canyon, which is interesting and lightly traveled) on motorcycle jaunts. I mean no judgment, but it's a lot farther than it looks on a map. I'm guilty of doing that too, especially on motorcycle trips: "When I get to DC, I'll have lunch in New York City, and then shoot up to either Boston for some chowder, or Maine for some Lobster."
Nice travel log of your Pacific Tour, I am going to bike to Joshua Tree from San Bernardino, seems a sane alternative.
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