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up from below: a tour though california via hwy1

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up from below: a tour though california via hwy1

Old 10-19-13, 03:13 PM
  #1  
fido
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up from below: a tour though california via hwy1

this will be my first tour ever. aside from hitchhiking advice i got off the internet, i have no clue what im looking at here. help please.

i woke up late last night with a great idea that i truly believe will be one of the highlights of my life, a ride to pelican state beach, head east to Weed CA and finally travel back down to santa cruz, CA. all starting from san diego(also known as great whales vagina). the tour would consist of 1600 miles most of which will be on hwy 1. i have driven south on hwy 1 this last august and was left awe struck by its beauty. i remember seeing a few cyclist on the road heading south near monterey with little to no gear and it left an impression on me. i promised myself that i must ride this piece of the hwy when i found myself back in the monterey bay area but now i want it all. a ride starting from san diego to pelican state beach with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world to the left of me and the tallest trees imaginable and a very diverse terrain to my right. i can already picture the heavenly views, the breeze, the fresh air peppered with car exhaust with a hint of ozone filling my lungs, my eyes fixated on the road and having innumerable second thoughts while beads of sweat run down the landscape, which is my body, smearing my ssn# off my skin and my fatigued legs pumping away getting me one rotation of the gears closer to my destination. seeking advice for this trip is filling me with excitement and ecstasy so i really want to make this happen.
first thing is first, i need to prepare. i need the right equipment. i already i have a few things in mind which are:

a mountain bike
3 sets of inner tubes
two bicycle chains
a travel size bicycle repair kit
tire pump
flash light
hazard lights
batteries
reflective vest
helmet
sleeping bag
tent(?)
three sets of clothes and rain coat
first aid kit
map with route already highlighted
u bar lock
two chains with two locks
toothbrush
toothpaste
toilet paper
sunscreen
soap
U.S. Army Survival Manual
Field Guide to Edible Plants
sunglasses
fingernail clippers
asprin/ibouprofin
deoderant,
photosynthetic charger for phone and other electronics

im not sure whether i have the essentials or the right equipment. i hope some one here can help me gather what i need or shed away some extra weight. can you please help with the equipment inventory or some road tips and advice from people who have done the same or similar things.
i plan to leave on the day of my birthday jan 15th.

Last edited by fido; 10-20-13 at 01:40 PM.
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Old 10-20-13, 08:57 PM
  #2  
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If you picture yourself riding with the ocean on your left, also picture a strong steady headwind. You'll prefer riding on the coast southbound, as the wind is generally from the north.

www.crazyguyonabike.com has tour journals, many of which have packing lists. look for "pacific coast" route. you can get a book (bicycling the pacific coast) or maps from Adventure Cycling Association if you like to know what might be up the road in terms of food, camping, bike shops, etc. or you can just wing it and keep the ocean on your left (or right, as the case may be).

you are mostly on the right track but you don't need those books, you're not going to feed yourself on plants or need a survival manual. you're going to eat out of grocery stores and gas stations, camp in state park camp grounds and RV parks, and look stuff up on the internet on your phone if you need survival skills. you don't need two chains and locks, just one lightweight lock. You don't need 6 tubes, just 2 or 3 (there are bike shops). for clothes, don't bring jeans and sweatshirts, bring light weight stuff, and you'll probably want bike shorts.

if you find a charger that runs on photosynthesis, let me know, that would be pretty cool (there is no such thing). but you don't need that, you can just plug your electronic crap in while you are eating lunch in a restaurant, which you might do every once in a while, or at a library, or sometimes even at a camp ground.

I grew up in san diego, and never heard it referred to that way. ew.

have a great trip!
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Old 10-20-13, 09:11 PM
  #3  
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I agree with the comment above. In addition to the almost steady wind out of the northwest (exc. when a storm is approaching), there are other reasons for preferring to ride south along the coast. 1) The view is surprisingly better. You'd think that with such a narrow road it wouldn't matter much, but it really does. Along the best parts of the coast you can look right down on the surf crashing into the rocks below from the southbound road, but only see the distant ocean horizon when northbound. Sure you can still enjoy the view from assorted vista points, but then you have to cross the road and pull off instead of being able to enjoy it continuously while still riding. 2) Most other bike tourers will be heading south so interactions with them are easier and far more likely. Kind of nice to get together with some others from time to time and you can plan to meet up at some campground at the end of the day. 3) Seems to me that CalTrans realizes that most bike traffic is southbound and takes better care of the shoulders on that side of the roadway.
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Old 10-21-13, 08:03 AM
  #4  
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
I agree with the comment above. In addition to the almost steady wind out of the northwest (exc. when a storm is approaching), there are other reasons for preferring to ride south along the coast. 1) The view is surprisingly better. You'd think that with such a narrow road it wouldn't matter much, but it really does. Along the best parts of the coast you can look right down on the surf crashing into the rocks below from the southbound road, but only see the distant ocean horizon when northbound. Sure you can still enjoy the view from assorted vista points, but then you have to cross the road and pull off instead of being able to enjoy it continuously while still riding. 2) Most other bike tourers will be heading south so interactions with them are easier and far more likely. Kind of nice to get together with some others from time to time and you can plan to meet up at some campground at the end of the day. 3) Seems to me that CalTrans realizes that most bike traffic is southbound and takes better care of the shoulders on that side of the roadway.
In addition, when traveling south there is sometimes a shoulder giving you a safer place to ride that won't be on the north bound side. You are also listing a little too much gear. Two chains and locks may be a bit excessive. Survival manuals shouldn't be necessary and you may have more clothes than you really need. There are towns with Laundromats all along the way. Also consider a mini chain tool and the master links for your chain rather than a spare chain. You will have to carry everything you bring up some long, steep hills. There are also post offices in these little towns where you can send back excess gear.
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Old 10-21-13, 08:43 AM
  #5  
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AC Pacific Route 4 & 5 maps: http://www.adventurecycling.org/cycl...s/?P:Current=7

Everyone rides north to south, and the above reasons are worth serious consideration.

Don't underestimate the coastal weather in Norcal in January. You might be dealing with cold, wet, wind, fog, ... it is not like SoCal. You need to give more thought to clothing and waterproofing.
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Old 10-21-13, 09:04 AM
  #6  
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Plus the route is often closed in the winter due to rockslides.

I have ridden south to north, it is certainly doable. I made it in three weeks from San Diego to Camas for the return on the Sierra Cascade. But the more conventional routing, which I have done several times, is better for the reasons mentioned.
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Old 10-21-13, 09:19 AM
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Oh wait, I didn't see the january date. yuck. cold, serious winter storms and very short days. This last is the worst - lots of tent time. reschedule.
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Old 10-22-13, 09:27 PM
  #8  
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In colder weather, you also need some sort of sleeping pad between you and the ground, for insulation and comfort. And a backpacking stove is also nice on those cold mornings. You don't need two bike chains, or a U-lock, or two chain locks, unless you plan to leave your bike unattended all day in San Francisco (hint: DON'T) a cable lock should do.

I do agree that your dream is more likely to become a nightmare if you hit the Norcal coast in midwinter. However, southern California often has stretches of delightful weather of a week or two between storms fronts, even in the middle of the "rainy" season, so if you leave SD in mid-Jan--you'll probably run into worse and worse conditions once you get north of Point Concepcion. And many campgrounds will be closed for the season.



I know you're excited--calm down, and either do the trip during a better season, or head south into Baja in winter. Also, try and take some shakedown weekend bike overnighters, either to a nearby campground in the mountains nearby Covina, or try Lake Perris SRA or Doheny Beach. Both have inexpensive Hike and Bike Sites, but Doheny has maybe the worst one in the State--being jammed up against the restroom maybe makes it worse than San Elijo's pile of asphalt and gravel. Lake Perris is pretty nice in comparison. Those two are about 60 flat mi from Covina, but you can probably take public transit part of the way if that's too far. Even better would to take Amtrak up to Santa Barbara, and do a overnighter either west or east of there, then catch the train back home.

Anyway, though this may seem a splendid and unique idea, many thousands of other cyclists have done the route already! Check out the Pacific coast route on crazyguyonabike.com.

Edit:
I grew up in san diego, and never heard it referred to that way. ew.
A line from the movie, "Anchorman".

Last edited by stevepusser; 10-27-13 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 10-27-13, 10:04 AM
  #9  
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The northern end of the California coast is spectacular but I'd never ride it in January. Late spring or fall would be my preference. North central California (Weed, Mt. Shasta City, Dunsmuir, pretty much anything north of Redding) is worse. Much worse. There is often horizontal snow, rain, or both. It's a windy area and butt cold in winter. They're already getting lows below freezing and are supposed to get snow this week, and it isn't even November yet. Riding there will have you longing for the wet, cold coast. I wouldn't even try it unless I suddenly got a craving for being cold and miserable. I'd advise rescheduling the coast for another time. If January is the only time you can go, consider heading for Arizona or staying in the SoCal desert regions. Winter is a great time to ride around those places.
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Old 10-27-13, 11:02 AM
  #10  
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That is a fantastic ride, I ridden hwy 1 myself a few times from San Francisco to Santa Barbara a couple of times and SF to San Diego a couple of time.

I don't see why you need 3 tubes unless you don't know how to patch a tube, all I ever carried was one. There zillions of bike shops along the way in case you do need something.

Why so many locks? that's a lot of extra unnecessary weight, either one chain and lock or one bar lock and call it a day. I carried a cheap cable lock so I could lock the bike to a park bench while I slept.

Speaking of sleeping, if your doing the trip in a time period where rain could be an issue than take a tent, unless your going to do a lot of touring you can get a cheap 2 person tent at Walmart that is very light weight and packs small, otherwise if touring is your thing and are going to a lot of it then get a decent tent like the Terra Nova Wild Country, kind of expensive but it will last a long time (there are tons of other great tents too, this is one I have but not saying it's the best and only one to get).

Sleeping bags I went real cheap and very light and it's worked out great, I have a Sol Escape Bivvy bag.

You may want a sleeping mat like the Exped Synmat,, or the Big Agnes Air Core.

Something came up I have to come back later
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Old 10-27-13, 01:58 PM
  #11  
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While waiting for better weather up north, consider riding to and circling the quirky Salton Sea and maybe a bit up in Joshua Tree.

As for a tent, my favorite is the Eureka Spitfire 1 for about $100. Tough, light, versatile, and functional. Fly only pitch, described in the link, expands the size significantly.

Tired advice: pile your gear and money on the floor. Now halve the gear and double the money.
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Old 10-27-13, 04:11 PM
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I use to ride all over the Joshua Tree park area, into Moron...err I mean Boron, Victorville. One of my favorite rides was taking Sierra Hwy over to Big Pines Hwy to Angeles Crest hwy into Wrightwood and keep going to Antelope Hwy going north to Pearl Blossom Hwy and back home, about a 75 mile ride if memory serves me. The weird thing about living out there was you either had to ride in the AM because by 2pm strong winds kicked up, but generally they calmed down around 5 or 6 in the eve, and those strong winds blew the fine sand out there all over the place and into your eyes, nostrils and mouth. I hated the goatheads out there which would give me about 1 to 4 flats a ride! But that area was great for riding, and with modern more durable tires and a good tire liner like the Panaracer FlatAway flats shouldn't be an issue anymore. Goatheads penetrated normal kevlar tires with Mt Tuffy liners, that's how nasty they are!! The goatheads are all over the roadways, and while riding it wasn't uncommon to see more than a dozen attached to your tires and you don't dare wipe them off while rolling with your hand or they will penetrate the glove and go into your hand!!

For your further information, this is NOT the goathead I'm referring to: http://static4.depositphotos.com/102...orned-goat.jpg

This is the goathead I'm referring to, which is much smaller than the above goathead but deadlier to bicycle tires...and bare feet: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-xbiKzq2Xr8...+goat-head.jpg These critiers turn brown and hard when they break free of the plant and get even harder, then the wind comes and they scatter all over the place out there in Joshua Tree area and the Mojave Desert.
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Old 10-28-13, 12:35 AM
  #13  
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The wind, while having a definite bias from the north in the summer, has a similar, if less pronounced, bias from the south in the winter, at least in the northern half of the state. As prathman said, this wind is often at its strongest from the south when rainstorms are approaching/have arrived. Here's a handy link to the wind direction by month for various cities: http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/htmlfiles/we...tml#CALIFORNIA

However, whether you have a northwind or a southwind, there will almost always be some westerly component to it. Thus, you always get better air (less exhaust fumes) when riding south.

If you are going to leave in mid-January, head north and then cross over to Weed, you better either hope for drought, a warm winter or be a slow rider. Otherwise, you are likely to be doing some snow riding between the coast and Weed.

I'll offer my unsolicited advice. Leave later in the year so you can avoid the snow in the mountains between the coast and Weed. Waiting until April, May or so would allow for some good weather, which is kind of nice on your first epic tour. Once you get within reach of the delta, head into the Central Valley and enjoy a the heat-induced tailwind from there to Weed. Then cross over the first hills on hwy 3 and hwy 36 before cruising down part of the Avenue of the Giants and then cutting over to the Lost Coast (solitude at its best) and hitting hwy 1 thirty miles north of Ft. Bragg. Yeah, I skipped Trinidad. If that's important to you, you'll pay a price in terms of traffic volumes to go there.
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Old 10-28-13, 01:20 PM
  #14  
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Originally Posted by fido View Post
this will be my first tour ever. aside from hitchhiking advice i got off the internet, i have no clue what im looking at here. help please.

i woke up late last night with a great idea that i truly believe will be one of the highlights of my life, a ride to pelican state beach, head east to Weed CA and finally travel back down to santa cruz, CA. all starting from san diego(also known as great whales vagina). the tour would consist of 1600 miles most of which will be on hwy 1. i have driven south on hwy 1 this last august and was left awe struck by its beauty. i remember seeing a few cyclist on the road heading south near monterey with little to no gear and it left an impression on me. i promised myself that i must ride this piece of the hwy when i found myself back in the monterey bay area but now i want it all. a ride starting from san diego to pelican state beach with some of the most beautiful beaches in the world to the left of me and the tallest trees imaginable and a very diverse terrain to my right. i can already picture the heavenly views, the breeze, the fresh air peppered with car exhaust with a hint of ozone filling my lungs, my eyes fixated on the road and having innumerable second thoughts while beads of sweat run down the landscape, which is my body, smearing my ssn# off my skin and my fatigued legs pumping away getting me one rotation of the gears closer to my destination. seeking advice for this trip is filling me with excitement and ecstasy so i really want to make this happen.
first thing is first, i need to prepare. i need the right equipment. i already i have a few things in mind which are:

a mountain bike
3 sets of inner tubes
two bicycle chains
a travel size bicycle repair kit
tire pump
flash light
hazard lights
batteries
reflective vest
helmet
sleeping bag
tent(?)
three sets of clothes and rain coat
first aid kit
map with route already highlighted
u bar lock
two chains with two locks
toothbrush
toothpaste
toilet paper
sunscreen
soap
U.S. Army Survival Manual
Field Guide to Edible Plants
sunglasses
fingernail clippers
asprin/ibouprofin
deoderant,
photosynthetic charger for phone and other electronics

im not sure whether i have the essentials or the right equipment. i hope some one here can help me gather what i need or shed away some extra weight. can you please help with the equipment inventory or some road tips and advice from people who have done the same or similar things.
i plan to leave on the day of my birthday jan 15th.
Hi,

Would be able to give more precise suggestions if you know how long you will be gone and whether Jan 15 departure is important or essential, or is flexible. If flexible, what other departure dates would be suitable for you?

Also, how much can you spend on gear, and how much per day? Can you work and earn money while out there? Do you have to return to obligations, or can you just go out on an open-ended journey?

Those cyclists you saw with the light loads have carefully chosen gear, to keep things light and compact. Even they would have to carry somewhat bulkier loads in winter; but it's still possible to stay surprisingly light and compact, if somewhat less so, even in winter. *If* you do your research and choose the proper gear.

You will find that riding and camping in cold rain can be miserable or worse without the proper gear. With the proper gear it can be fine.

You can have days and even weeks of nice weather even in winter. You could keep an eye on the weather forecasts and adjust your itinerary accordingly.

California is an exceptionally beautiful and diverse region. There are many options.

In general, you'll find better winter conditions in Southern and Central California. I would consider exploring the Central Coast rather than the far North in winter. There are also many areas a bit inland that can have fine winter weather between relatively brief storms. The Ojai Valleys, the Santa Ynez Valley, the San Luis Obispo area, Salinas River Valley, Carmel Valley, Arroyo Seco and Tassajara -- any or all could be included -- along with rides along the coast in decent weather.

You can include giant redwoods without going too far north. There are redwood groves along the Big Sur Coast, and some giants in and near the Heritage Grove in the Pescadero area.

The winds along the coast are more of an issue in summer. Whether or not the longer winter nights are an issue depends on the person. I've learned enjoy them.

Going smart and light and compact, and making really good gear choices will help a lot. Light weight backpackers use much of the same gear. You can learn a lot from guys like Andrew Skurka. He gave a great presentation to a standing-room-only audience of Google employees at Google HQ in Mountain View. You can find it by using the search box at youtube.com.

IntenseAngler has some good videos there too, including some on inexpensive light weight, ultralight, and superultralight gear.

You can also find packing lists at crazyguyonabike.com that might be helpful. Along with many other youtube.com videos. Great resources.

Keeping it light, compact, and effective will serve you well. Some gear choices are much better than others, and it pays to get it right.

Good luck with it. Please feel free to ask more, and to post about your trip if you feel like it.

______________

It helps to start the trip with a reasonably reliable bike. Mountain bikes can be a good choice, and there are other bikes as well. You might even have one already. And there are some good rack choices, if you go that route. If you post some additional details, people here could help with putting together a good setup.
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Old 10-28-13, 02:34 PM
  #15  
Niles H.
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On the wild foods: not sure what you have in mind here exactly. I've been into them for years, and can share a couple of points that might be useful. One is that it is much more practical to carry one or more staples that will provide most of your calories, rather than to rely exclusively on wild foods. Oats would be an example. You can find a lot of wild greens in winter, in some parts of California. They are very nutritious but cannot provide many calories. There are wild mushrooms, but you shouldn't try any but the safest until you get more experience. Like the greens, they can't provide many calories. You need plenty of calories on a long trip.

Acorns can still be found in some areas, but January is late. The bounty has peaked and fallen off. Gathering, shelling, and leaching out the tannins is very labor intensive and time consuming.

During the summer and fall you can live on wild foods in some parts of California, but it's much harder in winter.

There are good online wild food resources you can access or download to a phone, Kindle, or tablet.

You can probably find more practcal information in the backpacking literature (including online) than in the survival literature. Some of the survival stuff is ok, but the backpackers seem to have more relevant and practical and tested and evolved knowledge that is more applicable and workable. Bikepackers too. And the more camping- and wilderness-oriented among the bike touring people. There is a good dedicated website for bikepackers and bikepacking. You could probably learn quite a bit there also. They tend to keep their loads light. A lot of the survival types are behind the curve, and weighed down unnecessarily with less than optimal gear (a lot of the military gear is almost absurdly heavy), among other things. Bikepackers tend to keep it light, and have better, more helpful ideas for your trip.

Last edited by Niles H.; 10-28-13 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 10-28-13, 02:55 PM
  #16  
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Jan. 15

I won't bother with your equipment choice as it'll be what is needed for the weather. Basically riding north you'll be riding into colder temps, more rain, sleet, morning frost and most likely non-stop rain on the north coast. I remember one winter in Mendocino with 4" piles of hail on the side of hwy1 in the shade. Northern California inland and coast are not like SanDiego and the desert, the trees are big for a reason.
I toured a fair amount in North Calif mostly during the summer and never took a tent. Later I rode year round on and of road. If you didn't want to ride in downpours, roads partially covered with slick mud/silt, 20-40mph wind that is sapping every calorie of heat from your body you'll need to be prepared to hunker down and stay dry and warm at night.
Riding in a cold wet fog or drizzle can be managed but to do it days on end absolutely requires warm/dry shelter.

http://www.weather.com/weather/wxcli.../monthly/96094
Weed

High 45degrees, low 28 degrees, rain 7"

Eureka
High 56 d low 41 d, rain 6.5"

Ft Bragg
high 52 low 40. Rain 7.5"

Santa Barbara
high64 low 41 Rain 3.5"
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Old 10-28-13, 06:21 PM
  #17  
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The OP posted once and never came back.
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Old 10-28-13, 06:23 PM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
The OP posted once and never came back.
Maybe he already left on his tour?
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Old 10-28-13, 06:56 PM
  #19  
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Or drowned just thinking about it, more .

In January, I'd have the bike on an aeroplane headed to the southern Hemisphere ,

But up north, as I am, I'm headed down for a pint it's about 0.2 Miles away
fietsbob is online now  
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