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Riding L.A. to Portland on Highway 1 (mostly)

Old 04-20-10, 10:07 AM
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Riding L.A. to Portland on Highway 1 (mostly)

Hi all. Starting July 1 I'm riding from L.A. to Portland. I had a few questions to those who may have taken this route. I have previously ridding from San Francisco up north to Eureka. I realize that most people ride north to south, not a big deal. Has anyone ridden between LA and San Fran? Are there many places to camp? What's the bike shop situation? Any tips? Thanks ya'll.
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Old 04-20-10, 11:45 AM
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You may find yourself reconsidering your "not a big deal" comment as you fight prevailing headwinds going north. It's an excellent reason why most people ride south instead.

There are state parks along the coast with campgrounds; however, availability may be an issue as July is peak summertime travel season.
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Old 04-20-10, 12:08 PM
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There are a fair number of campgrounds with hiker/biker sites, though you need to check to make sure that they haven't been closed by the state's budget debacle. The camping is limited from LA to Santa Barbara. You have Sycamore Canyon in Malibu, San Buenaventura and Emma Wood in Ventura, and Carpenteria south of Santa Barbara. Once you are north of Santa Barbara, you will find places to camp relatively conveniently.

The wind going south in July is no joke. Plan your ride so that you are on the road as early as possible and arrive at your destination by early in the afternoon. The wind really whips down the coast as the day goes on and the sun heats the land. Also, be aware that July is fogtime on the coast so expect it to be cold, foggy, and windy in the early morning.

While you seem to be set on going north, you'll enjoy the ride much more if you go south.

Ray
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Old 04-20-10, 03:41 PM
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expect to get laughed at as that is what i did every time i saw someone biking south to north.
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Old 04-21-10, 07:41 AM
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I think the campground in Oceano no longer has hiker/biker sites; be aware. Morro Bay State Park has very nice hiker/biker sites. San Simeon S. P. has an acceptable hiker/biker site, but not very nice. Kirk Creek campground has beautiful primitive sites that are mostly used by bicyclists. Plaskett Creek has a hiker/biker site that's okay but not nice. Pfeiffer Big Sur has really nice hiker/biker sites in the redwoods, away from the regular campers.

A great bike shop along the way is Mark's Baywood Cyclery in Los Osos. It's about 4 blocks off the bicycle route. Mark has been wrenching for many years and is a really nice guy. It's closed on Sundays and Mondays.
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Old 04-26-10, 07:55 AM
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North to South!

HAHA! Ok, ok i'll reconsider riding south to north. Thanks for the tips ya'll. I have also heard that if some of the campgrounds are full they will often accommodate bikers. Does anyone know this to be true? And biking from around Corvallis to San Fran what are some "must see" places along the way? And are there any cheap(ish) hotels or b&bs along the way? I'd like to camp 99% of the time but there will be some nights when a hot shower and nice bed would be most appreciated.
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Old 04-26-10, 09:07 AM
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I'd go the other way as well. According to my map, it's all down hill.
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Old 04-26-10, 09:13 AM
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The other advantage of going North to South, besides the prevailing wind issue, is that your on the ocean side of the road, so it's easy to stop and take in the view or to enjoy it while you ride along. Also, a lot of the road layout favors a wider bike lane on the ocean side than the other side.

Jim
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Old 04-27-10, 10:52 AM
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Thanks for the tips. I've altered my plans to start in Portland. Seems like a wise choice all around. Hurray for bike communities!
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Old 05-03-10, 08:01 AM
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So, how does everyone get North? Do you all fly north and bike south?
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Old 05-03-10, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by mjoekingz28
So, how does everyone get North? Do you all fly north and bike south?
train works well. inexpensive to take the bike along as well.

might even check out craigslist for a ride share opportunity.
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Old 05-03-10, 08:08 PM
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I just rode SF to Crescent City, and while the headwinds were hilarious some times, it was perfectly fine. I rode a penny farthing (loaded) that route and had a blast, so I have no doubt someone on a geared bike can do it and have a great time. Do it. It's GORGEOUS. Make sure you hop on Avenue of the Giants as soon as you can. This time of year, the campsites are shut down for the "winter", so you can camp there for free, but there are plenty of places to stay.
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Old 05-03-10, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by blaise_f
Make sure you hop on Avenue of the Giants as soon as you can.
I always skip the Avenue in favor of the Lost Coast. I don't find that the flat terrain and big trees make up for the traffic woes just north and south of that stretch. I would rather have car-free steep, sometimes unpaved, hills, but I do understand the allure of the Avenue. If I was only going to ride that stretch once in a blue moon I might feel differently, but I ride between Eugene and Davis twice a year, so the big trees don't move me much anymore.

If you were to take an ordinary penny farthing on the lost coast, you might have to bring a chain to drag a log down some of the hills for extra braking as was done in the 19th century. You would make quite a sight coming into Ferndale from Petrolia.
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Old 05-04-10, 02:26 AM
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The camp grounds start to get a little sparse as you get into the LA area. Ventura to SF there are plenty of state parks that have a section reserved for hikers and bikers. There was only one place that I got turned away (Oceano), and I just camp out at the dunes. The best sites to stop at: Santa Barbara site (right on the beach) and the Julia Pfieffer Burns site (in the redwoods). Some of the other sites suck, they are either next to the train tracks, next to ****ters or rvs, no trees (san simeon).

Last edited by John X; 05-04-10 at 02:34 AM. Reason: more info
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Old 05-04-10, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by eastofwest
Thanks for the tips. I've altered my plans to start in Portland. Seems like a wise choice all around.So, how does everyone get North?
Yes, wise choice (from someone that has ridden the coast several times)!

Amtrak. Greyhound. Southwest airline. All work well, just check websites for price and times that work for you.
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