Author Topic: Pacific coast  (Read 6118 times)

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Offline raybo

Pacific coast
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2008, 03:54:48 pm »
I have ridden from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe and back and from San Francisco to Phoenix.

I would not ride against the headwinds on the coast.  It is a beautiful ride and it would be a shame to have to keep your head down the whole way.  What's more, going north, the road is between you and the coast so your views aren't as nice.

Also, riding from Reno (Carson City) to San Francisco is certainly doable and the correct direction.  Be aware that the climb up to Carson Pass is tough but easier if coming from the east than coming from the west, so another win for you there.  Here is a link to my SF to Carson City Journal.

Here is my SF to Phoenix Journal.

Ray

Visit the on-line bike touring archive at www.biketouringtips.com
Visit the on-line bike touring archive at www.biketouringtips.com

Offline WesternFlyer

Pacific coast
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2008, 04:56:59 pm »
I havent ridden the southern and central California coast where I grew up in many years so I dont have current knowledge of the road conditions, but I did cycle, sail and surf extensively along these coastlines in my youth.  The wind directions are seasonal on the Pacific Coast that is from Canada to Mexico.  The summer winds tend to be northerly and the winter winds southerly, and of course there are the exceptions on any given day and week.  The spring and fall vary between the two directions with the addition of westerlies and easterlies, the hot dry Santa Ana winds that wreak havoc during the Southern California fire season.    In the late spring through early autumn cool heavy mountain air slips down to the ocean in the morning to create conditions that get surfers to the beach before sunrise for the smooth steep glassy waves that make the covers of outdoor magazines.  It can also create foggy riding conditions on highways 1 and 101.  In the hot afternoons of summer strong convection winds suck the air back up the mountain canyons.  Sailors with knowledge of these very local conditions use them for racing advantage.  September and early October are the times of least wind from any direction, although the occasional influence of a hurricane off Mexico can change that prediction radically.  

The summer winds south of Santa Barbara tend to be light and variable much more often especially in the morning to early afternoon hours.  North of Santa Barbara you can still get the morning off shore flow, but it tends to fill back in from the prevailing north by noon and the further north you ride the harder it comes.  The afternoon/evening convection flows are less noticeable as you ride north.  If you are going to be riding north my recommendation is to be on the road as early as you can see and be seen, ride hard until the wind tell you otherwise, and then stop for the day and relax.  Rent a wet suit and catch a wave or two.  Heading south you can sleep in, have a leisurely breakfast, and catch the wind heading south.  In the LA area I would time my ride more with the commuter rush hour traffic than the wind direction, the wind tends to be light until late afternoon when the traffic is picking up.

For what it is worth, Ill be riding south on the northern and central California coasts this summer!  This is my chosen direction despite riding the Oregon coast last summer north to south and having wind and rain in my face most of the ridein late July!


Western Flyer
Western Flyer

We must ride light and swift.  It is a long road ahead.

King Theoden

Offline kenwil

Pacific coast
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2008, 10:09:38 am »
Hello All
Thanks again to all those that have responded to my initial questions re the Pacific coast route...this now sems to be turning into a scholarly thesis on wind patterns !! Just joshin' 'cause I know this is very important on a bike having ridden against the Mistral in France and contrary winds (and rain!) in the Pyrenees but are the wind conditions on the Pacific route really that bad on a North-South route in say September??
This and any other advice continues to be very welcome.
Thanks



Offline valygrl

Pacific coast
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2008, 11:08:32 pm »
I've ridden San Diego to San Francisco northbound in April, there were definitely headwinds, sometimes strong, from Santa Barbara to San Simeon.  I've ridden southbound in autumn along various parts of the coast (late august/sept in WA/OR, and end of October in Calif) and had predomininatly tailwinds, sometimes strong.

The other bit of the weather pattern is that if there is a major pacific storm, the wind usually comes out of the south - but if you are done by end of October or early November, you should miss that.

I lived in Santa Cruz (just south of San Francisco) for a long time, and when we wanted a flat ride, we would ride north up the coast, starting as early as possible to avoid the increasing winds as much as we could, then sail home in 2/3rds the time.

Given the choice, I would southbound.

The other real factor is that if you southbound, you are more likely to meet others going in the same direction to hang out with.

The shoulders/view difference are not very important, although if you northbound, you should definitely remember to cross the street and check out the view when you stop for a break or something.

If there are other strong reasons to northbound, go ahead and do it.  I guess it just depends on your attitude towards wind.



Offline dfege

Pacific coast
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2008, 02:25:05 am »
Although this topic has been covered well by the other responses, I wanted to chime in about campgrounds.  In both Oregon and California, the State Camping grounds have sites set aside just for bicyclists and they are very cheap.  I haven't done this trip lately, but the campgrounds cost around $2-$5 for cyclists.  In California the showers were extra, about 50 cents.  This is important because many of the campgrounds are full during the summer, but they are supposed to let cyclists in regardless without a reservation.  One side benefit is that cyclists are usually situated together.


Offline kenwil

Pacific coast
« Reply #20 on: July 27, 2008, 09:05:17 am »
Hi all, me again with another question on the Pacific Coast route, all booked now but one question that I would appreciste some advice on...I'm starting from Seattle and intend to take the Fauntleroy ferry across to Southworth and then head down through Belfair , Shelton, Elma. There seems to be a choice here to get to Astoria 1) take the Adventure Assoc maps inland route through Centralia, Toledo, Cathlamet to Astoria OR 2) follow the Spring and Kirkendail coastal route through Aberdeen, Raymond, Long Beach.
Both seem attractive and any advice on the best way to go would be appreciated by this confused Brit !!
I will kick off on 29th August, not without some trepidation, and a good clean start would set me up..  


Offline WesternFlyer

Pacific coast
« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2008, 10:27:55 pm »
I vote for heading straight for the coast via Aberdeen.
The inland route has some pretty farms and pastoral settings, but there are others near the Oregon coast particularly around Tillamook.  There is a wildlife refuge just north of Long Beach and Ilwaco that isn't repeated anywhere on the pacific coast.  Late August should have good weather on the coast.  Unless you want to spend a few days exploring Mount St Helens I suggest heading for the coast right off.

Western Flyer

It was to such a land I rode.
       L Eiseley
Western Flyer

We must ride light and swift.  It is a long road ahead.

King Theoden

Offline kenwil

Pacific coast
« Reply #22 on: July 28, 2008, 08:00:20 am »
Thanks for the advice ...I reckon I'll go for the Aberdeen route then...

Ken