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PCH from Long Beach to Irvine conditions

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PCH from Long Beach to Irvine conditions

Old 10-19-18, 10:18 AM
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PCH from Long Beach to Irvine conditions

Hi all. A few of us are planning to ride from Union Station in LA down to Santa Fe Depot in San Diego. It looks to be about 140 miles so will probably split in 2 days and stay in Dana Point on night 1.

I am familiar with most of the route except for the portion from Long Beach to Irvine. Looking at google maps, it's mostly on the PCH before it turns East to go into Irvine for a bit. Can anybody here tell me what the road conditions are like on this 35 mile stretch and what I should probably expect? I guess I am thinking in terms of traffic (foot and car) and potholes or other hazards.

Thanks in advance,
David

Last edited by davidv39; 10-19-18 at 10:21 AM. Reason: removed link
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Old 10-19-18, 11:24 AM
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the stretch from long beach to irvine can be done mostly on bike paths. the la river bike path that starts/stops about 5 miles south of union station in the vernon area of los angeles leads into the long beach bike path which continues south along the beach to the naples area of long beach. you jump
back on pch for a short distance coming into seal beach/sunset beach and can stay on pch which has a decent shoulder or make a right and follow a handful of parallel streets to huntington beach. once in huntington beach, there is a bike path that runs all the way to the edge of newport beach. this is your biggest exposure to pch and where you’ll encounter the most traffic. it’s approx 3 miles from the edge of newport beach to the back bay area where you pick up the trail that head’s inland past uc irvine and into the irvine bike path trails system.

if i remember correctly, it’s about 50 miles from union station to the back bay area of newport beach going this route. you’ll be on/off pch for a few miles here and there but the shoulders are wide. i definitely like the parallel roads in seal/sunset beach with the quiet and low traffic. i last did that entire stretch this april and the roads were all fine. (with the exception of two roads from union station to the la river bike path-alameda st. which was very very good but busy dtown traffic and then very very bad pavement to washington...and a short bad pavement stretch on downey street). the bike path alongside the
huntington beach part of pch needed some repaving here and there but nothing too bad. biggest issues were watching out for traffic/trucks/bad pavement on alameda street and watching out for sand (and usual peds, dogs, surfboard carrying beachgoers, etc) on the beachside bike paths starting in long beach. i like alameda st for the directness of exiting the union station/dtown area but also dislike it due to the traffic volume and some high potential pinch/puncture flat pavement before making a left/heading east on washington st. next time i do the ride tho, i’ll prob take alameda again. it’s just an area that requires your complete attention and rolling conversations with the group should wait till you’re on the la river bike path. there was also a short (nearly a mile, maybe a mile) detour off the la river bike path when i rode in april in the area of imperial ave that had the alameda st. mix of railroad crossings, blah pavement and road debris. that short detour may still be in place but hopefully not.

https://www.strava.com/activities/1499642002

pch is tightest in long beach but wider with a shoulder once it starts to exit long beach and head into seal beach. you could stay on pch all the way from long beach to newport beach
but the mix of bike paths and quieter parallel streets is nicer imo.

Last edited by diphthong; 10-19-18 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 10-19-18, 06:49 PM
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Why would you go inland through Irvine? (I'm assuming you're looking at the generic Google map, and that just routes you on bike lanes that'll add 20-25 miles to that day's ride. You can go from Newport Beach to Dana Point along the PCH. Its a little narrow in spots, and can get a little crowded with cars, but don't ride as a tight pack, keep aware of your surroundings, and you should be OK. . Lots of west coast bicycle tourists ride it every year. Newport's 'Mariners Mile', Corona Del Mar, and Laguna Beach are the tricky areas. If your group gets separated just choose a couple or re-group points along the way.

Long Beach is pretty basic - from the Shoreline Village area at the bottom of the L.A. River trail just follow the beach path until it ends, go inland to 2nd street (1/2 mile max), take that south through Naples to PCH, then turn south and head toward Seal Beach/Huntington Beach.
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Old 10-19-18, 08:29 PM
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Like others said, why go thru Irvine. As stated in LB take the beach path, you have to do a little jog to cross over Alamitos Bay, then onto Marina Drive, then along the beach thru Seal, Sunset, Huntington and Newport. Stick together and take the right lane on PCH from Newport Blvd past Tustin Ave. after crossing the back bay bridge turn right on Bayside, a couple of ways to get to Ocean in corona Del Mar, stop for a picture on the bluff, then left on Poppy right on PCH to Laguna. Right on a Cliff (the second one), then it will cross PCH, turn right on the other side of PCH to stay on Cliff, the right on Beach, then L on Broadway, R on Forest L on Glennyre to the end and back on PCH to Dana Pt.
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Old 10-20-18, 12:53 PM
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If you were planning to camp overnight at Doheny State Beach's hike 'n' bike site at Dana Landing, it's now been removed permanently, apparently because of problems with transients, leaving the site at San Elijo SB as the sole remaining one south of LA. Based on the attitude of much of the park staff I've seen at San Elijo toward legitimate bike tourists, that one may not be long for this world, either.
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Old 10-22-18, 11:28 AM
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Why would you go inland thru Irvine? Really folks, have you ridden thru Laguna Beach? It is the most bike unfriendly part of the ride from Long Beach to San Diego and has no scenic value (compared to further south) unless you want to see expensive sports cars and bad drivers upset with your presence on PCH. Don't mean to sound negative but I think sometimes the "long way" is way more preferable to the short way. The way I go from Long Beach to Salt Creek State Park/PCH, avoiding Laguna Beach,can be seen at https://goo.gl/maps/2kmAgVrPsbvway

One other note, you will have to ride on the shoulder of Highway 5 thru Camp Pendelton. About 8 miles from the Las Pulgas Rd. exit on the north to Oceanside on the south. Not the most pleasant stretch but doable. Good luck on your ride.
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Old 10-22-18, 02:19 PM
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Here here is my route last month thru Newport and Laguna as far as Oceanside.

https://www.strava.com/activities/1876723786
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Old 10-23-18, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Eggman84
Why would you go inland thru Irvine? Really folks, have you ridden thru Laguna Beach? It is the most bike unfriendly part of the ride from Long Beach to San Diego and has no scenic value (compared to further south) unless you want to see expensive sports cars and bad drivers upset with your presence on PCH. Don't mean to sound negative but I think sometimes the "long way" is way more preferable to the short way. The way I go from Long Beach to Salt Creek State Park/PCH, avoiding Laguna Beach,can be seen at https://goo.gl/maps/2kmAgVrPsbvway

One other note, you will have to ride on the shoulder of Highway 5 thru Camp Pendelton. About 8 miles from the Las Pulgas Rd. exit on the north to Oceanside on the south. Not the most pleasant stretch but doable. Good luck on your ride.
are you sure about this ? i'v ridden thru CP a million times, and only had to show my ID. now, foreign travelers have to divert onto I-5 shoulder; at some point recently, CP decided not to allow those with passports to enter. not sure why, that used to not be the case until recently .....
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Old 10-23-18, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by adablduya
are you sure about this ? i'v ridden thru CP a million times, and only had to show my ID. now, foreign travelers have to divert onto I-5 shoulder; at some point recently, CP decided not to allow those with passports to enter. not sure why, that used to not be the case until recently .....
Yep. Check here:
https://www.pendleton.marines.mil/Base-Access/

The visitors center is at the Oceanside entrance, so you have to go down there to get an ID card. Also look in the Southern California sub forum under the Regional Forums section at the top of Bikeforums; there's a thread about the latest access procedures there. So if you infrequently ride through the base, its probably best to take I-5 between San Clemente and Oceanside.
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Old 10-23-18, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by adablduya
are you sure about this ? i'v ridden thru CP a million times, and only had to show my ID. now, foreign travelers have to divert onto I-5 shoulder; at some point recently, CP decided not to allow those with passports to enter. not sure why, that used to not be the case until recently .....
Yep, sure of it. New procedure as of October 1 2018. See https://www.pendleton.marines.mil/Base-Access/Recreational-Bicycling/
Of course, if you are going to be a frequent bicyclist thru Pendleton, then getting the new required badge may be worth it; requires a trip ahead of time in person,
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Old 10-23-18, 10:19 PM
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I did it at night once, starting from LAX and was changing bike shorts in a park within earshot of the barking at Seal Rock in Laguna Beach as the sun rose. Riding through Long Beach was about like pedaling through the cover of Pink Floyd's Animal Album-- gas from oil drilling being burned off at the tops of towering chimneys and only God knows what was happening inside cars parked along the curbs...
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Old 10-25-18, 03:23 AM
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^great album. i go with "sheep" as the best song off that album but if you claim "dogs," i've got zero complaint.
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Old 03-20-19, 09:45 PM
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did the dtown la to la river path to long beach to past camp pendleton route again a week ago. same conditions still in effect as post #2 on 10.19.18
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Old 03-21-19, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by stevepusser
If you were planning to camp overnight at Doheny State Beach's hike 'n' bike site at Dana Landing, it's now been removed permanently, apparently because of problems with transients, leaving the site at San Elijo SB as the sole remaining one south of LA. Based on the attitude of much of the park staff I've seen at San Elijo toward legitimate bike tourists, that one may not be long for this world, either.
Is there anywhere to camp between LA and San Diego anymore?

On Edit: I googled first, any suggestions?

Last edited by CraigMBA; 03-21-19 at 03:45 PM.
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