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pdxsforider 11-24-17 05:55 PM

PDX->SFO best time to ride
 
I bought a touring bike, REI Safari about 10 years ago with this trip as my goal, but life got in the way and I never did it. This year I had planned on doing this ride in September but had a conflict so it did not work out. I thought about doing the ride in October, but the forecast was wet, short day light, and winds apparently blow predominantly north to south in the summer and south to north in the winter, so bottom line is I am not into a sufferfest so that idea died. My compromise was to bring my bike down to SFO, an ride SFO-> Big Sur & back over 4 days. That was my 1st bike tour so what was actually really good as I learned a lot about how I want to do this ride I ended up only going to Monterrey. My initial plan was way to fast. It is about the journey and not the destination, so my target is ~50-60 miles a day, which means ~14 days to SFO ~ 700 miles. Throw in a few extra days to give you more options. That gives you ample time to explore each area as you ride.

For the ride I just did. I started at Half Moon Bay from there I rode to Capitola and camped at New Brighton State Park, the next day I rode to Monterrey camped at Veterans Memorial Park, and then rode back to New Brighton, and finally the last day rode from Capitola to Daily City Bart station, about ~260 miles over 4 days. ~ 60 miles a day once you throw in rides around the city, the final day was ~80 miles. I think I averaged ~ 13 mph or so. That allowed me to get to each area early enough that I could explore it on my bike. So rode around Sana Cruz boardwalk etc. Did the 17 mile drive on my bike in Monterrey. I camped, carried all my gear, back packing stove, tent sleeping bag, food etc. That allowed me the flexibility to cook at camp or go grab something if I wanted to. Anyway that is how I am thinking of doing PDX->SFO, ie self supported, casual ride.

Which brings me to my question when is the best time to do this ride- taking into consideration weather, traffic, crowds etc? I am thinking either May/June or September. I like the longer days in May/June but it can be pretty wet, so I am leaning towards September.

Also in terms of my bike, I had switched to thin tires since I was primarily riding on the road, for touring is a fatter tier better?


Any thoughts would be appreciated. I am putting it on my calendar in PEN, in 2018 this is going to happen!

Thanks

mrveloman 11-24-17 06:32 PM

I did this same research for my recent Portland-SFO trip. I think September is a great time to ride it. I am sure others with more experience than me will chime in as well.

I flew into Portland this past Aug 29th and took 13 days to ride. I rode directly to Tillamook from Hillsboro along Hwys 8 and 6 (took the tram from the airport) . I ended up skipping about 200 miles due to smoke from the fire in Brookings (fortunately my son was joining me at Humbug Mtn SP so his girlfriend just drove us to Ferndale, CA on her way back to Berkeley where they live. Was a great trip and I want to do it again, maybe riding to Astoria instead of Tillamook. Weather was perfect and it did not rain on me the entire trip.

B. Carfree 11-24-17 09:53 PM

If you must have tail winds and dry weather, the only time those are guaranteed is July and August. (Of course someone will chime in who has been rained on in August, but I'll just say s/he should have bought a lottery ticket.) Not surprisingly, that's peak tourist time on the coast. That's not necessarily a bad thing: every motorist who passes you has passed ten other cyclists already that day and when you get to the campgrounds you'll have lots of cyclist company, if you're into that sort of thing (I'm not).

If you find lower traffic and fewer folks in the campgrounds to be as important as the weather issues, perhaps starting about a week into September is what you want. I've rarely been rained on in the many trips I've taken down the coast in September (October and November are different stories).

You've still got twelve hour days of light (actually a bit more) if you're afraid of the dark since you'll finish before the equinox. If you really want to have low traffic, consider bringing some quality lights and doing some riding before sunrise. Do your trip a bit later in the month and you might get to enjoy a nice full moon setting on the breaking surf if you do some night riding (full moon isn't until Sept 25 in 2018, so you'll be chancing a bit of rain/headwind). That's one of my favorite things about riding down the coast.

B. Carfree 11-24-17 10:06 PM


Originally Posted by mrveloman (Post 20013264)
I did this same research for my recent Portland-SFO trip. I think September is a great time to ride it. I am sure others with more experience than me will chime in as well.

I flew into Portland this past Aug 29th and took 13 days to ride. I rode directly to Tillamook from Hillsboro along Hwys 8 and 6 (took the tram from the airport) . I ended up skipping about 200 miles due to smoke from the fire in Brookings (fortunately my son was joining me at Humbug Mtn SP so
his girlfriend just drove us to Ferndale, CA on her way back to Berkeley where they live. Was a great trip and I want to do it again, maybe riding to Astoria instead of Tillamook. Weather was perfect and it did not rain on me the entire trip.

Ah, Ferndale, gateway to the Lost Coast. No ride down the Pacific coast is as wonderful as it can be without routing into the Lost Coast. While the name Avenue of the Giants sounds nice, it's just not as enjoyable to me as Wilder Ridge Rd or Usul Rd. Besides, the Newton B. Drury Pkwy is much nicer in terms of riding through the tall trees; the Avenue is a letdown after Drury. Also, while the Lost Coast does mean doing a bit of dirt road (at the least, Usul is 24 miles of dirt, and more can be added), it does let you avoid that horrid section of hwy 101 at Richardson Grove.

Of course, if one finds hills to be unpleasant, the Lost Coast isn't going to be any fun. At least there aren't hordes of motorists being annoying while you slowly climb the relatively steep climbs.

fietsbob 11-25-17 10:21 AM

On Pacific coast, you'll have lots of company of other tourists, cycling and otherwise, June to September,

Numbers drop off when school starts..







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