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Pacific Coast Bike Route

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Pacific Coast Bike Route

Old 02-24-17, 06:50 AM
  #1  
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Pacific Coast Bike Route

Taking a look at a part of the Northbound Pacific Coast Route, as in the East side of the road, some areas look absolutely ridiculous, treacherous, and unsafe. While considering that route, anywhere it looks like this, and looks better on the other side, then that's the side I will have to ride on.

Here are a few examples. Hide the imagery at the bottom for a better view.

Construction Sign Blocking the Bike Lane:
https://www.google.com/maps/@34.3059...7i13312!8i6656

Overgrowth and Erosion Spillover:
https://www.google.com/maps/@34.3154...7i13312!8i6656

People parking and blocking the Bike Lane:
https://www.google.com/maps/@34.3186...7i13312!8i6656

Wall Crush:
https://www.google.com/maps/@34.3367...7i13312!8i6656
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Old 02-24-17, 09:36 AM
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Quite a bit of the coast route has little to no road shoulder, rough spots, pot holes, deep gravel and debri. If you're traveling south to north, wind is gonna be your biggest advesary.
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Old 02-24-17, 10:00 AM
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I think those conditions are pretty typical for any highway. I have them many days when commuting on a local highway. I just wait till it's clear and move into the lane to go around the obstruction.
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Old 02-24-17, 10:01 AM
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Yep, plus you have to consider that most of the drivers will be looking westward at the scenery as they drive by too.
When I look at routes I consider the shoulder and the traffic, generally choosing one or the other not both as in:

no shoulder with low traffic or
good shoulder with high traffic

That's why routes like the Trans Can don't bother me. They have high volume but good shoulders. Recently I did the Coquihalla (Hwy 5) and parts of it had about a two foot shoulder with a cement retaining wall butting it. Not much wiggle room when the semis when by but fortunately it was usually on uphill sections with passing lanes they could move into.

Here's a pic of the Crowsnest (Hwy 3) with about a 3 foot shoulder on a quiet day. Imagine a long weekend with heavy RV traffic.

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Old 02-24-17, 10:41 AM
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There are plenty of sections of the PCH that have no shoulder, narrow twisty roads, and high traffic. The photos you provided were tame. Plus, why would you ride northbound? In all of the photos you provided did you not notice the nice bike lane going in the opposite direction?

Because you're probably going to be extra skittish around motor vehicles due to your recent trauma, have you considered doing a tour where the rolling death boxes are less prevalent? Adventure Cycling's Idaho Hot Springs and Continental Divide routes offer a more peaceful atmosphere.
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Old 02-24-17, 10:42 AM
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Use the southbound side. You won't regret it.
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Old 02-24-17, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Happy Feet View Post
Yep, plus you have to consider..... Imagine a long weekend with heavy RV traffic.

I agree: will take a busy road with a good shoulder any day. Dollar for dollar, the best improvement in safety for cyclists on our roadways is a firm commitment to increasing the size and quality of the shoulder.

To me a 3 foot shoulder has always been enough. Second I am not going to complain about a narrow lane: the two lanes for traffic are narrow as well. The concrete barrier is there to prevent vehicles from plunging into the forest in the event of an accident or loss of control.

The question becomes, what do you want them to do? Widening the whole road will be bring out the cackling "MASS TRANSIT! anti-car" clique. When I was on the crowsnest two years ago (and will be again this summer's 6 month tour) I had very few problems with traffic. A rear view mirror and a good sense of road presence enabled me to avoid or evade any tough situations where, say, a pair of trucks, and I, were in a the same place at the same time. Some times, some places, and some situations are just not good for ANY vehicle on the roadway.
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Old 02-24-17, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by niknak View Post
The photos you provided were tame.

+1. I also think he doesn't realize that the imagery can distort the width of the shoulder, making it look narrower than it is.


One 1often encounters similar conditions when touring. Anyone who cannot deal with such conditions should probably stick to trails.
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Old 02-24-17, 11:37 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Use the southbound side. You won't regret it.
Unless you want to start Now*, the Summer fair weather High, sits over the north Pacific, and winds off that

CW rotating air mass come from the north, so you will have a Headwind, and any screnic views of the sea

Require crossing the Oncoming lane of traffic..


* winter storms come out of the South, "Pineapple Express", you may have to wait while the State road crews

remove Mudslides from the winter rain saturated cuts in the hill sides.. that were made to put the highway in, originally.

some places in Del Norte county the difficulty of the terrain was such that short sections have barely enough cut width for the 2 lanes.



the wise riders start in the North, there will be hundreds on the road on the west side.


CalTrans said this winter caused damage to a bridge in the Big Sur Area of California, it will be out for a Year.






Last edited by fietsbob; 02-24-17 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 02-24-17, 02:31 PM
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I biked that route and that direction a year ago exactly. Not as dangerous as you're thinking. In fact, that 3rd picture I actually remember being at that point! I biked southern CA for 13 weeks last winter and was very impressed and pleased with how safe the drivers were around me! I went south along the coast from Oceanside to the border and when I got back to Oceanside weeks later, then went north along the coast. LA County was the exception, of course.
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Old 02-24-17, 07:01 PM
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Thanks for the info everyone. The reason I planned on heading Northbound is because I live in SOCAL, so of course I've got to ride up before I can ride down. I don't want to take trains and the like, but want to ride the whole way going and coming. Should I consider some alternate route North instead, and then just take the PC route South on my way back?
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Old 02-24-17, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by AdvXtrm View Post
Thanks for the info everyone. The reason I planned on heading Northbound is because I live in SOCAL, so of course I've got to ride up before I can ride down. I don't want to take trains and the like, but want to ride the whole way going and coming. Should I consider some alternate route North instead, and then just take the PC route South on my way back?
Yes, JMO
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Old 02-24-17, 08:08 PM
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Then there is now this:



The good news is if you are able to survive the crossing, you have Highway 1 to yourself for a couple hundred miles.
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Old 02-24-17, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Then there is now this:



The good news is if you are able to survive the crossing, you have Highway 1 to yourself for a couple hundred miles.
Surely you can sneak across with a bicycle...
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Old 02-24-17, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Then there is now this:

The good news is if you are able to survive the crossing, you have Highway 1 to yourself for a couple hundred miles.
Well, I'm not planning on going that far North this time around, but I better check to see if there are any other closures further South.
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Old 02-24-17, 09:09 PM
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If I were you I'd roll your bike out your door and head north when you get to the-end turn around and head south. It's all adventure.

That's what I did when I rolled out my driveway in SC and headed to Key West. When I got to Key West I turned around and headed back. Both directions were totally different experiences but which was better IDK.
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Old 02-24-17, 09:27 PM
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Originally Posted by AdvXtrm View Post
Well, I'm not planning on going that far North this time around, but I better check to see if there are any other closures further South.
That is around Big Sur in southern Monterey Co. It is also arguably the best stretch of the ride between SF and SD.

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/02/2...ion-continues/

In photo #12 it appears they are allowing people to cross on foot (or wagon). So maybe a bike could be allowed, assuming nothing else bad happens between now and when you ride (unlikely, as we are really getting hammered on a weekly basis.)

The folks telling you to ride North to South are giving you sound advice. I would (and have) take Amcrash or fly north to your destination.

Last edited by wgscott; 02-24-17 at 09:32 PM.
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Old 02-24-17, 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Then there is now this:



The good news is if you are able to survive the crossing, you have Highway 1 to yourself for a couple hundred miles.
Don't worry about the bridge. The guys are there to hold it up as you ride across.
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Old 02-24-17, 10:57 PM
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I've been looking at alternate routes, and they look no better or even worse. Looks like a train North and then a ride back down may be the only way to go. Since the Gov has seen fit to leave cyclist out to die on the roads without any real consideration for the most part. If only the left side of the road is fit for riding, why not just ride Northbound on the left side of the road, if done with care and caution?

Last edited by AdvXtrm; 02-25-17 at 12:04 AM.
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Old 02-25-17, 01:49 AM
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Well, if you are traveling during tourist season every south bound cyclist is going to curse you as they go by for one thing.
Which side do they pass you on, is the shoulder wide enough for passing, how fast are you both going etc... Just imagine someone rolling down a hill at 30mph and you happen to be slowly cranking up in the same shoulder while a semi is going by.

Depending on where you are starting from, why not do a loop by going up the 101 and down the 1.

Last edited by Happy Feet; 02-25-17 at 01:53 AM.
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Old 02-25-17, 03:16 AM
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Thanks @Happy Feet, yeah, I know it wouldn't work well at best, becasue it could cause other potential safety issues. I likely wouldn't even bother trying because of that. It's just so frustrating that reasonable accommodation for cyclists has never really been made here. It's only even reasonable on some segments, and only in one direction of travel. That's just really unacceptable.

The segment I want to travel is one where the 1 and 101 are side by side, and it looks like taking the train up is the only way I can really go.
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Old 02-25-17, 06:26 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by AdvXtrm View Post
It's just so frustrating that reasonable accommodation for cyclists has never really been made here. It's only even reasonable on some segments, and only in one direction of travel. That's just really unacceptable.

You are kidding right? Have you ever driven or ridden HWY 1 before? First, do you really think the state should pay to put in a bike lane for the very tiny minority that chooses to ride north?

Second (and the most important reason), it is an unbelievable feat of engineering just to have Highway 1. It is simply amazing that they were able to put in one shoulder let alone two.

I will ride HWY from North to South and be very happy to have a great road with beautiful views.
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Old 02-25-17, 06:31 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
The folks telling you to ride North to South are giving you sound advice. I would (and have) take Amcrash or fly north to your destination.
I meet a couple of northbound riders that didn't know about the conditions going north. They were beaten and exhausted. Both were in excellent shape. I only hope the OP knows what she/she is in for and is in superior condition.
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Old 02-25-17, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by AdvXtrm View Post
why not just ride Northbound on the left side of the road, if done with care and caution?
Even if the cars and other cyclists don't kill you (either accidentally, or by justifiable homicide), the headwinds will.
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Old 02-25-17, 09:54 AM
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I didn't read all of this. But.

I've ridden it in both directions, southbound is preferable b/c of wind, the difference in shoulder is not that big a deal.

If you are looking at those pix and thinking it's too dangerous, or even sort of considering riding on the wrong side, you are not ready to go on a bike tour.
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