Author Topic: Pacific Coast Route  (Read 3477 times)

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Offline Quahog03

Pacific Coast Route
« on: July 24, 2011, 08:01:47 am »
Hi,
 I've read various post from different sites,however I wasn't able to find out if it's better to ride south or start in SD and go north. It appears most riders head south. This ride would start late September.
Thanks,
 Ed

Offline whittierider

Re: Pacific Coast Route
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2011, 11:23:47 am »
Go south.  When coming down the coast, I have found myselft climbing at 28mph because of the tailwind.  I can hardly imagine having to go the other direction.

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."

Offline Quahog03

Re: Pacific Coast Route
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2011, 07:44:55 am »
Well that settled that,go south young man ;D
I enjoyed that reply.
Thanks again,
 Ed

Offline Norsman

Re: Pacific Coast Route
« Reply #3 on: July 31, 2011, 12:22:35 am »
Definitely go north to south.  I did the trip from border to border in about six weeks in September/October 2009 and could not have had more than three days of headwind, and only once was it strong.  I had many days of tail wind, often quite strong.

I remember one day in particular.  I had already set up camp at San Simeon State Park but decided to ride into Cambria, about five kilometres down the road, to get my bike checked and do laundry etc.  All day I had had a nice tail wind pushing me down the road.  When I left Cambria to return to the state park I had to ride into this wind.  It was horrific. With virtually no weight on the bike I struggled to get as high as 10km/hr.

Offline kstarmac

Re: Pacific Coast Route
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2011, 06:18:35 pm »
trust what everyone is saying. Go south. I rode Sf-LA in 08' and didnt have one day of head winds. I still remember when we were going through San Simeon area, we were "cruising along" maybe 25-28 mph for quite a long stretch (on unloaded road bikes), i looked over to see this guy on a fully loaded rig going north. This guy was really struggling and maybe going 5-8 mph at best.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Pacific Coast Route
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2011, 11:36:13 am »
I agree. I have done it N-S. If you want to add a great deal more resistance to your forward motion than the great many steep hills can give you, take your tour south to north. If you want the wind to push you ahead a good deal of the time, go north to south.

Offline chappers

Re: Pacific Coast Route
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2011, 09:30:12 pm »
Hi, first post here. (cycle tourist from england, now living in Canada).

I understand that the pacific coast route should be tackled from north to south...but i am in a predicament, i would be able to start the ride in april. too cold to start in the north, and what looks like perfect temps to start in the south.
I am not considering following "the pacific coast route" to the letter...more like this:
my idea is to start in phoenix at the moment, first stop grand canyon, and so on.

are the winds not so bad further in land, amongst the hillier roads?

thanks for your time/knowledge.
chris.

Offline valygrl

Re: Pacific Coast Route
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2011, 10:43:31 pm »
Inland, the wind doesn't matter, that's a coastal phenomenon.  It looks like you won't be on the coast at all!

Have you seen the Sierra Cascades route?  that map might help you.

April is just maybe a little early for the Grand Canyon (north rim campground opens in May) and you might be a little early in the Sierra as well.  Tioga ROad (through Yosemite) opens around Memorial Day (last monday in May) if it's a normal snow year, can be later if there's lots of snow.

Great trip though - if you can push the start to mid-May that would be good.

Offline chappers

Re: Pacific Coast Route
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2011, 10:09:39 am »
Hey, thanks for that.
I was at Grand Canyon Village this past February - it was blooming' cold thats for sure. But it did make me want to do a hike there so pushing back a little may have to be an option.
riding through yosemite is important too, is that pass road the only way??
Thanks for that route too, looks great, ill have a better look in detail.

Offline bobbys beard

Re: Pacific Coast Route
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2011, 03:40:17 pm »
i just road north from san diego to washington and the wind was never really a factor, compared to any other road i've ever biked. the guys riding south were often complaining about headwinds though!!

Offline valygrl

Re: Pacific Coast Route
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2011, 12:17:38 am »
Hey, thanks for that.
I was at Grand Canyon Village this past February - it was blooming' cold thats for sure. But it did make me want to do a hike there so pushing back a little may have to be an option.
riding through yosemite is important too, is that pass road the only way??
Thanks for that route too, looks great, ill have a better look in detail.

You're welcome.

Tioga Pass (Hwy 120) is the only way to cross the sierra west to east at Yosemite.  If you approach Yosemite from the south/west entrance (hwy 41) you can leave on the west (Hwy 140) or north/west (Hwy 120 westbound) entrance, but you can't get to Lee VIning (Hwy 120 eastbound = Tioga Pass).  Tioga Pass is a beautiful road through some high mountains, and is worth visiting in it's own right, but you can still ride into & out of Yosemite Valley when the road is closed.  BUt, you have to start out on the west side of the mountains.

http://www.nationalparkreservations.com/images/yosemite/Yosemite_map.jpg

Offline je1964

Re: Pacific Coast Route
« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2011, 05:00:07 pm »
I agree with what 99% of the posters say - go North to South. I have done it both ways, and I encountered very strong headwinds traveling south to north. Besides, going north to south, you are riding on the better side of the road for views of the ocean.