Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Good routes for a first timer?

Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Good routes for a first timer?

Old 05-18-14, 11:58 PM
  #1  
bmach25
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Good routes for a first timer?

Over the last several weeks, I have been planning a summer bike trip down the Pacific Coast from Vancouver, BC to Los Angeles and I am now at the point where I am about to purchase my bike and all the gear, but I am starting to get cold feet. My family is pretty worried about me doing this trip and from my research on the route, it doesn't seem like it is the safest, especially since this is my first time. The posts alternate between people saying that it is completely safe and people telling horrifying stories about close calls with logging trucks. I know that a lot of people safely complete this route each year, but I also know that some don't and I don't want to be one of those people who don't complete it.

I am not super set on doing the Pacific Coast route, so I am open to other suggestions for long bike routes that are on the safer side both in terms of road safety (shoulder size, traffic, etc.) and lodging (I am fine with camping as long as it is not sketchy) and would be good for a first timer. Note: I am a female in my early 20s traveling alone.

OR are there ways to do a modified version of the Pacific Coast ride that make it safer? I have heard something about going down Highway 3 from the OR/CA border until you can hop on BART to SF to avoid the more dangerous parts of the Northern CA section, but the post didn't say anything about how to get from the coast to Hwy 3. Are there any other detours that make it safer? I am also okay with skipping certain legs and taking a train or hitching a ride with someone I know in the area until I get to a part that is a bit safer. In that case, are there certain sections I should skip and others that I should be fine on?
bmach25 is offline  
Old 05-19-14, 02:39 AM
  #2  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 51,393

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 128 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2848 Post(s)
Liked 41 Times in 30 Posts
FIRST ... get a bicycle and start riding it.

Do you have a bicycle at all right now? How much do you currently ride? If you're in Vancouver, BC, have you done an overnight tour cycling out on the route you're planning to take and back again?
Machka is offline  
Old 05-19-14, 06:29 AM
  #3  
bmach25
Newbie
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2014
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Yeah, I currently have a commuter bike that I ride around town quite frequently. I am not from Vancouver, that is just where I would be starting. I have done a few 40 mile rides before on my commuter bike and the plan would be to take training rides (probably not overnight) on the new bike that I would be getting.
bmach25 is offline  
Old 05-19-14, 07:07 AM
  #4  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 9,228
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 153 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I never really felt like touring was particularly dangerous. I always thought it safer than riding around town at home. My suggestion is to not worry about the route. Just use good sense and situational awareness in any situations riding or otherwise.

If you are worried about camping alone, the Pacific coast is a route where you will wind up camping with other touring cyclists and for the Oregon and California section you could probably camp with a group every night if you want. I know that I wound up making friends and camping with the same group every night most of the way. We picked up new members and parted ways with others as we went but the group mostly stayed intact.

Oh and since you mentioned it... Several of our impromptu group were solo 20 something female riders, but they wound up riding together.
staehpj1 is offline  
Old 05-19-14, 07:13 AM
  #5  
Machka 
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 51,393

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 128 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2848 Post(s)
Liked 41 Times in 30 Posts
Originally Posted by bmach25 View Post
Yeah, I currently have a commuter bike that I ride around town quite frequently. I am not from Vancouver, that is just where I would be starting. I have done a few 40 mile rides before on my commuter bike and the plan would be to take training rides (probably not overnight) on the new bike that I would be getting.
I would encourage you to do some overnight/weekend tours when you get your stuff. We sometimes call them "shakedown tours" ... they give you a chance to find out if touring is really what you want to do, they give you a chance to sort out your gear and determine what you like and don't like, and they give you a chance to ride with your gear on the bicycle. A loaded bicycle handles differently from an unloaded bicycle.

If you're used to being active all day and camping at night, and you know what kind of sleeping gear and clothing etc. would work for you, you might feel comfortable skipping that step, but if this is fairly new to you, the overnight/weekend tour is an important step.
Machka is offline  
Old 05-19-14, 07:17 AM
  #6  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 22,217
Mentioned: 162 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 8443 Post(s)
Liked 233 Times in 150 Posts
Have you looked at (other) Adventure Cycling Routes? As a first timer with no camping or route planning experience, their Northern Tier route and accompanying maps were a nice introduction to touring. You could start in Seattle, head north for a few days, pick up the route and ride it to Minneapolis. Both cities offer good transportation otpions, and there is plenty of established (i.e., U.S.F.S., state and local park and private camprground) camping along the way. You would just have to be prepared to tackle mountains wthin the first week of the trip.

While it's not not necessary to do overnight "shakedown" trips (I didn't before I left on my cross country trip), I do recommend becoming familiar with how to use your gear, especially your tent and cooking gear. Practice setting up the tent in the back yard, rolling up your mattrress and maybe cooking a meal using your stove, etc. At a minimum, you should defintiely try to get in at least one decent mileage traiining ride over varying terrain carrying all the gear you intend to take so you can get a feel for how the bike handles. Sounds like you are planning to do that.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 05-19-14, 09:34 AM
  #7  
staehpj1 
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 9,228
Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 153 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
While it's not not necessary to do overnight "shakedown" trips (I didn't before I left on my cross country trip), I do recommend becoming familiar with how to use your gear, especially your tent and cooking gear.
I agree totally with that. If you are a backpacker or canoe camper this stuff is likely to be a total non issue. If not, be sure you know how to use all of your gear.
staehpj1 is offline  
Old 05-19-14, 09:34 AM
  #8  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 41,464

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 183 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6721 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 139 Times in 117 Posts
Lots of Riders down the Pacific Coast , right now .. Odds are once you start you will be meeting the same people and going along or

as the north to south is the predominant favoring wind, catching up and falling behind then catching up again , along the way.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 05-19-14, 10:32 PM
  #9  
Big Lew
Fraser Valley Dave
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Fraser Valley British Columbia Canada
Posts: 547

Bikes: devinci monaco (upgraded)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Lots of Riders down the Pacific Coast , right now .. Odds are once you start you will be meeting the same people and going along or

as the north to south is the predominant favoring wind, catching up and falling behind then catching up again , along the way.
I agree. Most cyclists are a very friendly bunch and love company, sharing the adventure, and everyone's stories.
I've rode throughout the metropolis area of the Fraser Valley a lot in preparing for my tours and feel much safer once out of the city and on tour.
Make sure you have a good mirror either on your bike or helmet so you can keep aware of the approaching traffic behind you, wear a high visibility vest, and use your common sense when riding on narrow or non-existing shoulders and you will be fine. The Coastal ride is a great experience for everyone including beginners.
Big Lew is offline  
Old 05-19-14, 10:55 PM
  #10  
Doug64
Senior Member
 
Doug64's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Oregon
Posts: 5,475
Mentioned: 28 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 762 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 17 Times in 12 Posts
I'm not going to influence your route selection (well, not much), but the one thing you really don't have to worry about is log truck drivers; they are true professionals. Compared to the roads those folks usually drive on, Highway 101 is like a super highway, not the goat paths they are used to. Folks fearful of the logging trucks have not been around them in their usual environment--narrow, steep, twisty forest roads. Now gravel trucks are another matter.

My wife and I were riding a notoriously narrow stretch of highway 20 heading east from the coast which was also being used by a large number of great big chip trucks. They make a log truck look small The drivers were so courteous, always giving us plenty of room, we sent thank you cards to 2 of the local trucking companies complimenting their drivers. We also waved and smiled as they pulled back into the lane. A little good will goes a long way when they meet the next cyclist.

It is the retiree driving their huge motor home with car in tow, while gawking at the scenery, that concerns me.

Everyone's comfort level is different. We did see several solo women on the PC Route.

Last edited by Doug64; 05-19-14 at 11:20 PM.
Doug64 is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.