Author Topic: LA to SF in Feb?  (Read 2275 times)

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Offline starsinmypockets

LA to SF in Feb?
« on: January 27, 2010, 10:51:17 am »
Any thoughts on riding Rt. 1 from LA to SF in February? Wind, weather, precautions, highlights? (Of course, I'm going to do this anyway, better or worse, but would love some input on weather from folks in the area...)

Paul

Offline aggie

Re: LA to SF in Feb?
« Reply #1 on: January 27, 2010, 12:47:26 pm »
This is the rainy season.  Fronts come down from the Gulf of Alaska so they are cold and wet.  Generally the wind is from the north but during this time they could come from the south when a low pressure zone brings in the cold and rain.  This definitely not the tourist season so road traffic will generally be only locals.  It is also possible that parts of the route nearer to SF could be closed due to slides.  When you get to Cambria check with CalTrans to see if HWY 1 is closed anywhere along the route.  http://www.dot.ca.gov/

I just checked the web site and there is a slide about three miles south of Gorda.  The road is still open but be prepared for delays and construction equipment in the area.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2010, 12:50:57 pm by aggie »

Offline cgarch

Re: LA to SF in Feb?
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2010, 02:05:03 pm »
This is the rainy season.  Fronts come down from the Gulf of Alaska so they are cold and wet.  Generally the wind is from the north but during this time they could come from the south when a low pressure zone brings in the cold and rain.  This definitely not the tourist season so road traffic will generally be only locals.  It is also possible that parts of the route nearer to SF could be closed due to slides.  When you get to Cambria check with CalTrans to see if HWY 1 is closed anywhere along the route.  http://www.dot.ca.gov/

I just checked the web site and there is a slide about three miles south of Gorda.  The road is still open but be prepared for delays and construction equipment in the area.

This reminds me of the last year they ran the Tour of California down the coast. I recall that Levi mentioned that it was one his three worst days on the bike. They fought wind and rain for a stage that approached 6 hours in a miserable slog down Big Sur. Indeed the wind and rain will swirl around and come from the south, so if it is storming you should have something like a (wet) tailwind. Good luck!

Offline valygrl

Re: LA to SF in Feb?
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2010, 09:20:12 pm »
Would be a lot more fun to ride SF to LA in May-Oct.  I rode LA to SF in late March and it was great, but I did have a lot of head wind.

But this is an El Nino year... I wouldn't do it.

Offline Jonah Pavesco

Re: LA to SF in Feb?
« Reply #4 on: February 16, 2010, 09:05:13 am »
I did SF to SD last summer in June and it was amazing.  I wouldn't want to ride against the winds in the winter though, sounds like a potential disaster.  The whole 600 miles, in June mind you, we did not see a single northerly rider.  Are you from LA?  Why don't you fly Virgin to SF and ride down to LA?  I'm just assuming you live in LA since you want to start there.  Virgin airlines only has limited routes, many of them starting or ending in CA, but they only charge $50 to check a bike, which is a good deal compared to many other airlines. 

But maybe you're looking for a serious challenge.  People have ridden north on hwy 1 and managed relatively fine.  Others have been forced to cut the ride short because of strong winds.  Also, rain/fog will probably be an issue.  The closer you are to the coast, the more you'll have to deal with it.  But it's a beautiful ride, I'd simply recommend starting in SF. 

***1st post btw, been coming to this site for a long time for route information and finally decided to join the forum. 

Offline leetramp

Re: LA to SF in Feb?
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2010, 04:17:18 pm »
Any thoughts on riding Rt. 1 from LA to SF in February? Wind, weather, precautions, highlights? (Of course, I'm going to do this anyway, better or worse, but would love some input on weather from folks in the area...)

I'm not sure why people keep suggesting that Paul do this the other way, or at other times. He says he's going to do it anyway. I'm getting the similar results when I tell people I'm riding SF to Seattle: "You're going the wrong way." Some times there are reasons why we do what we do, not just because we're looking for the "easier way."  :D

Keep pedaling, everyone.

Lee

Offline mucknort

Re: LA to SF in Feb?
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2010, 06:24:54 pm »
I'm not sure why people keep suggesting that Paul do this the other way...
Lee
Well, by now the point is moot, since Feb. is over, but people keep saying it cuz this is one of the few routes where if you go South to North you're gonna have consistent, strong head winds and if you go North to South you will have consistent, strong tailwinds. Good luck on your trip North, Lee.

Offline whittierider

Re: LA to SF in Feb?
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2010, 07:00:33 pm »
I don't know about February (since I don't ride in the rain), but I've ridden much of that stretch in the summer, and I can tell you I would not want to go north.

In the book "Bicycling the Pacific Coast" by Kirkendall and Spring, the preface is entitled, "Why North to South?"  Here's some of it, telling about Kirkendal's first coast ride, going north.  (I think copyrights allow this since I'm giving credit to the book and it may increase sales of the book.  If the owners of the copyright don't like it, I'll edit this and remove the quote.)

"North of Santa Barbara, encoutered stiff headwinds that blew the fun right out of his adventure.  Scenery and the thrill of exploring became secondary to his daily battle with the wind.  The wind created an invisible, never-ending hill that had to be constantly climbed.  The wind beat dirt into his face, produced an annoying whistling through the vents in his helmet, while attempting to push him back to Mexico.  By San Francisco, riding had become a chore.  In Oregon, 80-mile-per-hour winds blew him to a stop while going down a steep hill.

"When describing that trip, Tom will pull out his trip journal.  The beginning of the journal is full of his thoughts and impressions; in the second half he wrote only of the wind.  His journal describes how he got up early in the morning to avoid the winds that blew strongest in the afternoon.  ...Nowhere in the second half of that book is there any mention of beautiful vista points, magnificent redwood forests, sea otters, sea lions, lighthouses, sand dunes, and fascinating old forts.  Nowhere is there any mention of the word fun.

"The following summer, Tom and I rode back down the coast to prove it can be fun.  It was an incredible trip.  The wind was still blowing but this time it was pushing us south.  Near the Sea Lion Caves in Oregon, I had to apply my brakes to stop on a steep uphill grade....We were surprised to note that the highway department expects cyclists to travel from north to south.  We frequently enjoyed a good shoulder on the southbound side while northbound cyclists had to dodge trucks and cars on a shoulderless roadway."

<end quote>

When we've ridden south, the tail wind was incredible and we were often able to maintain 30mph for long periods.  In one place near Malibu we were actually climbing at 28mph because of the tailwind.  There have been times I rode north from SD to LA and got a tailwind, but that's not normal.  Normal is that the wind goes south.

Offline mucknort

Re: LA to SF in Feb?
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2010, 07:14:13 pm »
In the book "Bicycling the Pacific Coast" by Kirkendall and Spring, the preface is entitled, "Why North to South?"  Here's some of it, telling about Kirkendal's first coast ride, going north.  (I think copyrights allow this since I'm giving credit to the book and it may increase sales of the book.)
Excellent guidebook:
http://www.amazon.com/Bicycling-Pacific-Coast-Vicky-Spring/dp/0898869544/ref=reg_hu-wl_item-added

Offline leetramp

Re: LA to SF in Feb?
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2010, 10:30:01 pm »
OK, OK, OK.

You win.  :o Maybe.

I'll have to re-evaluate my schedule this summer to see if I can do it southbound. I've ridden SF/Seattle coast both ways, and didn't feel that much of a difference, but maybe I just got lucky that year.

Hmm. Amtrak to Seattle, visit family/friends for a couple weeks, bike to Portland for my conference, ride over to the coast, back in time to teach in August... I might be able to make it work :)

Thanks, everyone.

Offline johnsondasw

Re: LA to SF in Feb?
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2010, 10:32:15 pm »
Meteorogically, the winds from the north on the coast usually kick up in April/May.  There can be storms in Feb-March, and you have to be prepared to deal with them.  On the other hand, you could get perfect weather the whole time this time of year.  I ride in the Monterrey area every March, and I'd say 3/4 of the days are good riding days, and most of the other ones are rideable.  Only occassionally is the weather bad enough that I don't ride, and that almost never lasts more than a day or two.

Of course, I live in the mountains of Washington State and ride all winter as long as there's no ice on the roads.  going to California in March is like a dream for me after a long winter.

May the wind be at your back!