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Planning first tour (Pacific coast)

Old 07-19-09, 04:10 PM
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Contour
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Planning first tour (Pacific coast)

Hello all, been lurking around for a while and recently bought a cross check and plan to do some touring very soon. As mentioned in the title this will be my first tour, as it stands it will also be solo. I finish summer school in about three weeks and want to immediately hit the road so I can get back in time for the fall semester to start. I have about 20 days at my disposal and want to ride from Portland, to Astoria, then go down hw 101 until the San Francisco area. I've never done any kind of long distance cycling and just started getting into cycling.

What I'm really looking for is some advice on for the route, anything I need to pay special attention to or that I should go out of my way to see. Also maybe some route suggestions for california (particularily taking hw 1 to follow the coast or should I follow hw 101 to my destination). As far as gear I plan to travel really light ( probably similar to this. Suggestions for tents would be appreciated as well.

I plan to go about 1000 miles over 15 days (may have alternate routes if I find myself going slower or faster).

I also want to spend as little as possible on this trip, is stealth camping the majority of the time feasible along this route? Also I was considering bringing a video camera but am worried about the logistics of it, how do people go about charging electronics when on tour?

Taylor
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Old 07-19-09, 04:36 PM
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Are you going to take 101 the whole way or switch to Highway 1 when you can?
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Old 07-19-09, 05:17 PM
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I was wondering what people who have done the tour have thought, I was thinking about going to highway 1 when possible though, looks a lot more scenic.
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Old 07-19-09, 05:25 PM
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Personally I would not bother with 101 once you hit SF. Take Hwy 1. Very pretty. You will not be able to ride Hwy 1 through some of the cities. You might want to check out the ACA maps. They will help you navigate through the various cities avoiding Hw 1 in those areas.

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Old 07-19-09, 05:32 PM
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I haven't ridden it on bicycle, but I used to live in that area, and 101 turns into a freeway pretty quick once you hit Sonoma county. I'm not sure you're allowed to ride on large parts of it and planning your route becomes more complicated. I've seen a lot of people touring on Highway 1 though, and the scenery is terrific.
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Old 07-19-09, 05:43 PM
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So it sounds like I'll need to check out the ACA maps for a good route, but 101 goes down the whole Oregon coast and a lot of Nor Cal, then switch over to hwy 1 when I can.
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Old 07-19-09, 05:46 PM
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Since it's your first tour, I would suggest either this map set:
http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/pacificcoast.cfm

Or this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Bicycling-Paci.../dp/0898869544

They have info on locations for camping (very cheap hiker/biker camp sites on the coast), grocery, bikeshops, etc. as well as detailed road directions, elevation profile, milages, etc.

You pretty much want to get off 101 whenever you can, as stated above - the book & map have directions. The book has info on some side trips and points of interest along the route, too.
I used the book, myself, and it was very helpful.
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Old 07-19-09, 06:22 PM
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I agree with Valygrl above, get the book:
Bicycling The Pacific Coast: A Complete Route Guide

The maps are great too, but the book has so much useful information that you really should read it before and during your trip.

State Parks in Oregon and California offer Hiker/Biker camp sites. They have showers, and best of all offer contact with other riders going your way. More than likely you'll be a part of a group after a couple of days.

Have a safe and fun trip.
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Old 07-19-09, 06:34 PM
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+1 for the Adventure Cycling Association route. At least look at leaving the coast to climb to Garberville, then on to Leggett & the famous hill which is Highway 1. For my perspective the Oregon coast is grand, as is the ACA route through the redwoods; Leggett hill is something you just have to do (funny, but there is a climb just after the Leggett Hill that is just as difficult), and Highway 1 down the coast after Fort Bragg is spectacular.

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Old 07-19-09, 08:03 PM
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Would you guys consider ~1000 miles in ~15 days along this route to be manageable by someone w/out any experience in touring?
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Old 07-19-09, 08:21 PM
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Yep - get the book. It'll tell you everything you need to know.

As for stealth camping, it's very difficult to do along that area. There are lots of great state parks with hiker/biker areas that are cheap though.
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Old 07-19-09, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Contour View Post
Would you guys consider ~1000 miles in ~15 days along this route to be manageable by someone w/out any experience in touring?
What's the furthest you've ridden in a day? What's the furthest you've ridden in two back-to-back days? How good are your mechanical skills? How good are your map-reading skills?

To me, 15 days doesn't sound like a lot of time to cover 1000 miles. If you ride every day and don't take any breaks or do any sight-seeing, you'd only have to average 66 miles/day to cover 1000 miles. That's not bad... if all you want to do is ride your bike. If you want to stop to smell the roses, you may find yourself needing to cover more miles in order to meet your deadlines.
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Old 07-19-09, 11:25 PM
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Well I'll have more than 15 days before school starts back up I just plan of 15 days of riding, if I find myself going slower I'll cut it short. To be honest I haven't ridden really much more than 10 miles (back to back days). But I wasn't tired or sore at all or anything. I plan to start stepping up my riding a ton in the coming weeks to start preparing. I'm 20, 150lbs and reasonably fit so I don't think it will be a big problem.
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Old 07-20-09, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Contour View Post
Well I'll have more than 15 days before school starts back up I just plan of 15 days of riding, if I find myself going slower I'll cut it short. To be honest I haven't ridden really much more than 10 miles (back to back days). But I wasn't tired or sore at all or anything. I plan to start stepping up my riding a ton in the coming weeks to start preparing. I'm 20, 150lbs and reasonably fit so I don't think it will be a big problem.
While it depends on your fitness and your being accustomed to spending long hours in the saddle, on a long tour 66 miles per day is very doable, but I'd advise 2 things:
  1. Allow more time than you need. Having a firm and impending deadline sucks.
  2. Start off with easy days the first 3-4 days at least. Build the daily mileage as you go.
I disagree with those who say you will have time for nothing but riding. 66 miles would be at most about 6.6 hours of riding and probably less. That allows lots of time for stopping for an hour or so here and an hour or so there through the day while still allowing you to stop fairly early in the day.

It is a beautiful ride. Have a great time.
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Old 07-20-09, 08:04 AM
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the trip down Hwy 1 from Leggett is spectacular but you really have to be able to ride a straight line and if you hear a logging truck and there's no room on the road,,get OFF it.

regarding the ability to ride those miles just go easy, riding harder won't make the miles compared to sitting on your bike for another hour.
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Old 07-20-09, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by LeeG View Post
the trip down Hwy 1 from Leggett is spectacular but you really have to be able to ride a straight line and if you hear a logging truck and there's no room on the road,,get OFF it.
+1 The closest I've come to dying on my bike was going down Leggett Hill towards the coast. A logging truck got behind me. There wasn't room for both of us. I expected him to wait until there was a wide spot to pass. He didn't. He passed me on a blind corner. He got halfway past and a car appeared from the other direction. He pulled back into my lane to avoid the car, forcing me into the ditch. Luckily there was a ditch. I broke two spokes bouncing along in that ditch.

Since then I've made it a habit to pull off the road and wait anytime I could hear a big truck (especially logging trucks) approaching with no room to pass.

As far as the mileage goes, my recommendation is to focus on enjoyment, rather than riding long miles. Ride as far as you like each day, but make sure you're enjoying it. I think it's better to ride 40 miles a day and have fun than to ride 100 miles a day and suffer. If you've never ridden long days, day-after-day-after-day, it's different. Also, the west coast is all ups and downs. With a load, that slows you down.

Oregon and California both have hiker/biker campsites which are cheap. You can get a shower, eat at a table, use flush toilets, and hob-knob with other bike tourers. I wouldn't stealth camp if I were you.

Bicycling the Pacific Coast by Kirkendall/Spring is "the bible" for this route.
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Old 07-20-09, 12:51 PM
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Good starter site for tourists

If you're just getting into touring, take a look at this site.

http://www.biketoledo.net

It will be a big help in preparing and dealing with things once you're on the road.
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Old 07-20-09, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Contour View Post
Well I'll have more than 15 days before school starts back up I just plan of 15 days of riding, if I find myself going slower I'll cut it short. To be honest I haven't ridden really much more than 10 miles (back to back days). But I wasn't tired or sore at all or anything. I plan to start stepping up my riding a ton in the coming weeks to start preparing. I'm 20, 150lbs and reasonably fit so I don't think it will be a big problem.
Ten miles isn't very much compared to the distance you're planning to ride. I'd suggest you go for a 50-60 mile ride next weekend and see how you feel. Better yet: ride 50-60 miles on Saturday and then another 30-50 on Sunday. If you still feel like riding your bike on Monday, then you're ready for your tour. If your back and neck are stiff, your quads are burning, your butt feels like you've been sitting on a hatchet, and you never want to see your bike again... then you might want to reconsider your plans.
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Old 07-20-09, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
Ten miles isn't very much compared to the distance you're planning to ride. I'd suggest you go for a 50-60 mile ride next weekend and see how you feel. Better yet: ride 50-60 miles on Saturday and then another 30-50 on Sunday. If you still feel like riding your bike on Monday, then you're ready for your tour. If your back and neck are stiff, your quads are burning, your butt feels like you've been sitting on a hatchet, and you never want to see your bike again... then you might want to reconsider your plans.
Even if that were the case I don't know if it would stop me. Its an adventure as much as tour for me and one that I feel I should really do. If I am in great pain I may shorten up the route a little bit but that's it. I appreciate your concern though.
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Old 07-20-09, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
+1 The closest I've come to dying on my bike was going down Leggett Hill towards the coast. A logging truck got behind me. There wasn't room for both of us. I expected him to wait until there was a wide spot to pass. He didn't. He passed me on a blind corner. He got halfway past and a car appeared from the other direction. He pulled back into my lane to avoid the car, forcing me into the ditch. Luckily there was a ditch. I broke two spokes bouncing along in that ditch.

.
I had my shop in Mendocino from '80-'86. Logging trucks are too heavy to slow down and accelerate. You gotta get out of their way. I'm kind of amazed I wasn't bothered by them but maybe luck was on my side. A lot of cyclists came down from Legget with broken wheels
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Old 07-20-09, 05:28 PM
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Countour, I agree with Sstorkel's post. I am currently looking for cycling companions for a trip from Vancouver, BC to San Diego, CA (1,900 miles). My longest trip thus far is 540 miles and before that I worked my way up by doing as many miles as possible on the weekends.
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Old 07-20-09, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Contour View Post
Even if that were the case I don't know if it would stop me. Its an adventure as much as tour for me and one that I feel I should really do. If I am in great pain I may shorten up the route a little bit but that's it. I appreciate your concern though.
I once had a buddy with similar ideas. He quit his $100K/year job, sold his condo, put everything he owned in storage and set off on his bicycle adventure with minimal training and preparation. He was planning to ride cross-country or up to Alaska or something like that. He lasted five days before selling the bike, taking a $120 taxi ride to the nearest airport and catching a plane home. Turned out he hated camping, decided he'd bought the wrong bike, and wasn't prepared for the loneliness of the route he'd picked.

Not suggesting that something similar will happen to you, but I am suggesting it wouldn't be a bad idea to do a couple of long rides on back-to-back weekend days or maybe even do an overnight trip before embarking on a 1000-mile epic. Just a thought...
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Old 07-20-09, 06:39 PM
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Oh I do plan on riding a lot before the time comes, I didn't mean to imply I don't and wont train.
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Old 07-21-09, 02:12 PM
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Another question, will the stock tires on the Cross Check be adequate or should I replace them with something nicer?
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