Author Topic: Pacific Coast Sections 4 & 5  (Read 7229 times)

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Offline tandemtravelers

Pacific Coast Sections 4 & 5
« on: June 20, 2011, 12:26:08 pm »
The wife and I are going to start in San Francisco and bike both sections 4 & 5 of the Pacific Coast tour starting on 18 July 11.  We are still putting the final touches on stops and logistics.  We plan to stay in hotels/hostels the entire way down.

Suggestions and experiences are greatly appreciated.  I'll update this periodically with our plans.

We are going to take our cross bikes instead of our tandem in order to be able to take the train back up to Nor Cal. 

Cheers


Offline tandemtravelers

Re: Pacific Coast Sections 4 & 5
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2011, 01:04:29 am »
How could I go about getting the elevation gain and loss on this route?  I'm hoping it will help me plan how much mileage I should plan on each day. 

Offline whittierider

Re: Pacific Coast Sections 4 & 5
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2011, 03:18:22 am »
Quote
How could I go about getting the elevation gain and loss on this route?
The ACA maps have the profile info on the back to add up the numbers.  Although it's hilly, none of the climbs are very long; and the tailwind going south in the summer will make it easier.  Below Los Angeles, the hilliest parts I can think of is probably Laguna.  I tend to go a little too hard on those short climbs, but in a few places you feel obligated to go hard because there's no room for cars to pass you in the right lane.  It's still a pleasant ride, but always be careful of people opening car doors and getting surfboards out, or coming out to go into the shops or parks, and the constant parking and unparking.  Between L.A. and the border, the biggest single climb is Torrey Pines in northern San Diego, and it's only about 385 feet of climbing in a mile and a half, about a 5% grade IIRC, so it's not like going into the mountains and climbing 5,000 feet with no break.  An awful lot of the trip is either uphill or downhill though.  Not much is flat.

We have, BTW, taken our tandem in the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner California cars' baggage car quite a few times, with no box, no charge, just leaned against the shelves with the drum brake set and the stoker's bars bungee-corded to the supporting pole, and it worked fine.  The people who answer the 800-USA-RAIL number will tell you you can't do it, but the ones who actually run the trains are more flexible and they don't want to turn away business.  The first time I did it, we were with a group, and the Amtrak people helped us figure it out to avoid splitting up the group; then subsequent times when they showed doubt, I just said "We've done it before and it worked out fine" and they responded with basically something to the effect of "Ok, you know what to do then..." and just let us do it.  The California cars might not go as far north as you want to go, so you'll have to check.  I think they only go up to San Luis Obispo.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2011, 03:24:55 am by whittierider »

Offline tandemtravelers

Re: Pacific Coast Sections 4 & 5
« Reply #3 on: June 23, 2011, 09:58:37 pm »
Great info!  We are still working out the details about lodging and such (not sure if we want to haul camping gear).  I think we are just going to re-gear our cross bikes so we can carry the bags and go from there. 

Offline aggie

Re: Pacific Coast Sections 4 & 5
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2011, 11:46:45 am »
I rode down the coast two years ago and stayed in hotels along the way.  The only place I had to camp was in Big Sur.  I was there over Labor day weekend and didn't want to pay an exorbitant price for a room.  Camping was only $5 or $10 dollars and the warm shower was about $0.75.  Depending on how far you want to ride each day you shouldn't have trouble finding a place to stay.   When I left Big Sur I stopped at Deetjen's Big Sur Inn for breakfast and had a great meal.  I liked to stop at small mom & pop places to eat breakfast.  I got a good feel for the locals that frequented these places.  One restaurant in particular was a small place in Guadalupe.  Just a little store front in a farming community.

I rarely made a reservation.  I would leave at about 7am and stop riding about 2 or 3.  I'd then see what hotels were in the area.  Never had a problem finding a room.  I didn't bring any cooking gear and never went hungry either.

I enjoyed my time in Monterey and Pismo Beach.  If I do it again I'll plan to spend an extra time in those towns. 

The only train that goes up to the Bay area is the Coast Starlight.  It runs once a day.  You should be able to catch it in Santa Barbara for the trip up the coast.  The bike box is $15 and $5 handling for each.  I've done it many times with no problems.  (I do zip tie my handlebars to the top tube.) 

Offline Nubo

Re: Pacific Coast Sections 4 & 5
« Reply #5 on: June 27, 2011, 06:51:53 pm »
I've made this trip 2 1/2 times now.  The difference between the 2 and the 1/2 I attribute largely to Bag Balm :)

Check out crazyguyonabike.com and you can find a lot of other people's experiences on this and many other routes.

Have fun!

Offline tandemtravelers

Re: Pacific Coast Sections 4 & 5
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2011, 03:47:10 pm »
Awesome info!  We've decided to take a tent a light sleeping bags along so we can camp every couple of nights.  The bikes are now at the shop receiving slightly more forgiving gears and a tune up. 

We'll be finishing up our tentative planned stops in the next few days. 

Offline vbgal

Re: Pacific Coast Sections 4 & 5
« Reply #7 on: July 14, 2011, 11:39:57 pm »
Just a suggestion for the area going through Torrance, CA:

Torrance Blvd., Western, and 223rd can be a little busy during rush hours, so I'm sharing a quick alternate that I use. I live in Torrance and have cycled to San Diego several times. I also use part of this alternate route to go to work, so in my opinion it's a better option than the one on the ACA map. It doesn't add any mileage or hills, either.

When you leave the South Bay Bike Path and head east on Torrance Blvd., take a right on Maple (just past Madrona, a couple of miles east of the pier) if you want to  enjoy some quiet residential streets. A few blocks down you'll turn left on El Dorado and cross Crenshaw Blvd. at a signal. Continue on El Dorado for one block; turn right on Beech, then left on Sonoma. Take Sonoma past the train tracks, and you'll get to an intersection with a small grassy park. At this point, Sonoma becomes Engracia. Follow Engracia past Nativity Catholic Church (also on your left) and St. Andrew Episcopal Church (on your right).

Take Engracia to Cravens and turn right. This will take you into Downtown Torrance, which has many wonderful choices for dining, including Torrance Bakery (on El Prado Ave.) if you have a craving for delicious sweets.

Take Cravens to Carson St. and go left on Carson St. In my opinion, this is a better option than either Torrance Blvd or 223rd as you head east because there's more room for cyclists. Continue on Carson for about 2 miles; turn right on Main Street in the city of Carson. This will take you straight to 223rd, where you'll turn left to continue with the ACA map. At this point, there's plenty of room for cyclists on 223rd; however, the short stretch from Western to Main Street (if you follow the ACA map) can be a little harrowing because you really have to take the lane to assert yourself. Better to have plenty of room, as this alternate route will do.

Another idea, if you have the time and inclination to put in some more miles and hill work, is to take a slow ride around the Palos Verdes Peninsula, which is a little further south. It really is a beautiful ride, but can be strenuous if you're loaded with panniers. PV is bicycle-friendly, with bike lanes all around its perimeter, but it'll add significant mileage in order to enjoy.

Good luck with your ride! I'll be heading the opposite way, going up the coast, on the same departure date and heading toward San Francisco. Very possible that we may pass each other at some point.


« Last Edit: July 14, 2011, 11:53:38 pm by vbgal »

Offline vbgal

Re: Pacific Coast Sections 4 & 5
« Reply #8 on: July 14, 2011, 11:50:35 pm »
Another quick note: I agree with a previous post that said some parts of Laguna feel as if you have to push hard due to lack of room. Those uphills were not only challenging, but nerve-wracking as well because the only "good" time to be on them is before 7am on the weekend. Cars will slow down grudgingly in  those areas.

Depending on how much time you're taking, you might want to take a rest day in Laguna and attend the Festival of Arts--Pageant of the Masters. It's an incredible art show, and if you've never seen the Pageant of the Masters--well, you've got to see it at least once! It's showing 'til August 31.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2011, 11:53:18 pm by vbgal »

Offline JMilyko

Re: Pacific Coast Sections 4 & 5
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2011, 09:13:26 am »
Just a suggestion for the area going through Torrance, CA:

Thanks for your detailed suggestion. I'm going to put it in our files so we can look at it more closely when that route gets reprinted. Local information is great to have for making route adjustments along the way, appreciate you for offering yours.

.Jennifer.
*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*_*

Jennifer H. Milyko
Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205
www.adventurecycling.org

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline vbgal

Re: Pacific Coast Sections 4 & 5
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2011, 06:12:30 pm »
You're welcome, Jennifer. Glad to be able to give ACA a little input. One thing to add to this description through Torrance: Three streets converge at the intersection of Engracia and Arlington, at a stop sign just past the churches. The cross traffic on Arlington does not have stop signs (Arlington serves as a feeder to Torrance Blvd.), so proceed with caution, though it's not usually a high-traffic area anyway. A quick change to that would be to go right on Arlington and left on Post (one block down), which will also lead to Cravens and the downtown Torrance area.

Historical note: Just south of this neighborhood, across Carson Street, is the childhood home (2028 Gramercy) of Louis Zamperini, our hometown hero who was the subject of Laura Hillenbrand's book "Unbroken." He was an Olympic athlete who later became a WWII legend. Zamperini no longer lives in the home, but still resides somewhere in the Torrance area.

Offline Twoteller

Re: Pacific Coast Sections 4 & 5
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2011, 01:05:31 am »
I hope I'm not inappropriately resurrecting old threads ???; but, we are tenatively planning trekking from Nor-Cal to Santa Barbara, returning via Amtrak next summer on a tandem. Any info on train travel experiences would be HUGELY helpful.

Offline whittierider

Re: Pacific Coast Sections 4 & 5
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2011, 02:13:52 am »
I hope I'm not inappropriately resurrecting old threads ???; but, we are tenatively planning trekking from Nor-Cal to Santa Barbara, returning via Amtrak next summer on a tandem. Any info on train travel experiences would be HUGELY helpful.
See the 2nd paragraph of my post above, the 3rd post in this topic!

Offline Twoteller

Re: Pacific Coast Sections 4 & 5
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2011, 02:28:25 am »
Cool. I got that, I guess I just want some reassurance that if I show up the likeliness of being left standing there looking stupid is minimal. I've never stepped foot on a train, let alone with a tandem bike in tow.

Offline drbike

Re: Pacific Coast Sections 4 & 5
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2012, 10:49:56 pm »
Great info. Thanks!