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Messages - bobbys beard

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Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Highway on a road bike?
« on: July 04, 2015, 03:01:25 pm »
my meal of choice is pretty much always.... A loaf of bread (because it literally squashes into any space and still springs back into its original shape!), and a tin of mackerel. I usually bike until sunset if I'm cowboy camping and if I'm not, I'll stop somewhere early to make the most of the amenities and get some supplies in.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Highway on a road bike?
« on: July 01, 2015, 04:09:06 pm »
So that covers the sleeping arrangements. Then you need to add stove, cookware, fuel, food, water and sundry other camping items.
Weight (and volume) can escalate rapidly.

a stove isn't at all necessary if you're trying to pack light. Personally, the last thing I want to do at camp is spend an hour warming a can of beans, then have to clean up etc, although I've seen plenty of tourers that do it.

The PCH isn't remote at all and a decent refuel stop is never far away. snacks and a couple of bottles of water is usually plenty to get you to the next one.

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Highway on a road bike?
« on: July 01, 2015, 03:47:04 am »
Once you bring camping into the mix, packing light is not really feasible.

Not necessarily. My tent and sleeping bag combined come to around 10 lb's. There are even lighter options, but lightweight camping equipment generally isn't cheap.

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« on: June 29, 2015, 05:16:36 am »
Yes, a master link :)  I had no idea what they were called!  I never had a broken chain on tour, but did once when I borrowed a rusty old bike for a day. Resulted in a 9 mile walk back.  Master links are very cheap and take no space at all. Well worth having just in case!

Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Highway on a road bike?
« on: June 28, 2015, 05:25:15 am »
As far as the roads are concerned, there's nothing I remember that a road bike couldn't cope with.

I find it better to think of touring as lots of rides, rather than one big ride. If you're a keen biker, you will be no stranger to riding on a daily basis. How long do you plan to ride versus your usual distances?

On the PCH, you can easily plan to ride between accommodation each day, so if you didn't want to take too much gear, it would easily be done on a credit card. If you plan on camping a lot (it's a beautiful route to camp on), there are several incredibly lightweight tents and sleeping bags, but they're not cheap.

Personally, I think a touring bike is better, just because it's better designed for long trips and the weight of luggage and water, however people also do these trips on unicycles, so a road bike shouldn't be any problem at all!

General Discussion / Re: Bicycle tools for a cross country ride
« on: June 27, 2015, 05:46:39 pm »
I always carry

Allen Keys,
spare tubes,
puncture repair kit,
bike pump,
spare cables (1 brake, 1 gear),
spare clip on chain link,
Swiss army knife,
spare screws for your pannier attachments etc  (they easily work loose and riding with one pannier banging into your wheel at every corner is no fun at all) 
Chain lube.
Bit of old rag......

and one item that no one ever mentions, but I really do recommend..... a tyre boot. when my tyre got ripped on tour, the tyre boot lasted the rest of the life of the tyre, not to mention enabled me to repair a blow out and be back on the road in 15 minutes. If it ever happens, you can bet it will be in the worst possible location and  you'll be very glad you took this advice! :)

Routes / Re: Southern tier in the summer time
« on: June 20, 2015, 05:18:30 am »
Ricks right about the water. You need to carry a lot of it and you will drink more than you thought was even possible. There's a section of desert between Brawley and (I forget) that takes you through Glamis where I got through around 2 gallons in 80 miles, even more incredible is I didn't have to pee even once and my face was always bone dry.

There were plenty of trucks on the road, so you won't be too far from help if all goes wrong and I checked in with the local sheriff before I set off on that section. He was very nice, pointed out some useful spots on the map and said he would be drivng past a few times during the day.

Routes / Re: Southern tier in the summer time
« on: June 19, 2015, 06:23:43 pm »
I always started with the sunrise so never a problem. At my fittest I couldn't often ride more than 80 or so miles every day in 120f heat, so wasn't riding until sunset in the imperial valley area. Other parts of Texas and New Mexico, I had no problems riding until sunset however. Driving is very different!

Routes / Re: Southern tier in the summer time
« on: June 18, 2015, 10:19:42 am »
I did East to West a few years  ago between June and August. It was exceptionally hot during August, (49c around Glamis when I rode through), but certainly rideable if you are cautious and well prepared. A lot of places on the ACA maps were closed for the summer in more remote sections of Texas and Arizona. On the plus side, you get the whole route to yourself. I didn't meet a single touring cyclist during the whole time until I got to California.

I'm not normally one for preferring one direction over another, however riding East to west puts the sun at you back more often, which really does make a difference both physically and mentally.

Interestingly, in contrast with staehpj1, the west was one of my favourite bike rides of all time. I guess it holds a lot of romance for me and I really love deserts. The only section I really disliked was around Phoenix. :)

I initially chose riding North, because it linked with the southern tier, but despite what people said, the wind was never a problem. In fact there was never any wind to write home about in either direction. I've been on the PC twice. Once in September and again in October.There was no difference, aside from I didn't have to see the same people every day as they were all heading the opposite way.

People will also tell you that there are no shoulders on the opposite side of the road, which is also not the case. There were just as many shoulders in all the right places and they were just as wide.

Yes, I've fully ridden the southern tier; Atlantic coast and the Pacific coast. Next time I'm planning on riding a similar route to yours, perhaps New York to San Fran..... 

My biggest advice would be to take it slowly North of San Fran. In my opinion one of the most beautiful rides in the world and best enjoyed at a leisurely pace and no more the 30 miles per day! :)


I have to strongly disagree with you RussSeaton. I'm European and have biked across America 3 times, including the Pacific coast. Camping can be very expensive in southern California, but north of San Francisco I found costs to be very reasonable. There were lots of sites that offered hiker/biker rates and state campsites were generally very cheap. Across the entire country, many RV parks let me stay for free.

I didn't think that food was expensive compared to Europe.

And the roads of America are certainly not busier. It depends where you are riding, but I have gone almost entire days in the USA without encountering another vehicle! Never had that anywhere in the world!!

Lastly, I always feel the need to chip in with the North to South debate. I rode South to North and noticed no difference. If you're used to riding European hilly areas, there will be no wind conditions on the PCH you don't already encounter regularly.

The PCH is an incredible ride and one that I will go back to again some time :)

Routes / Re: Southern Tier, highway 78 Glamis to Palo Verde, Ca
« on: December 13, 2014, 04:05:02 am »
i feel the need to weigh in, not to discredit westinghouse, but to reassure others riding the glamis section of the ST. i've been through twice now and not once experienced anything other than courteous traffic in this section. the police on both occassions drove past regularly and it was a beautiful, interesting desert ride, although i only went through during summer when traffic volume is clearly somewhat lower.

many times on the road i've been passed by trucks in the manner westinghouse has mentioned, this can be happenstance or no doubt the odd trucker finds it hilarious to time his passing to scare a cyclist off the road. in the states i spoke to many truckers with a sincere dislike for cyclists, but aside from a few logging trucks in florida, i never felt threatened on purpose. the rednecks however.... yes they will throw items at you and dangersously swerve in front of you. that happened many times!

General Discussion / Re: circumnavigation of the U.S.
« on: November 01, 2014, 09:36:25 am »
i did AC, ST and PC in one trip a few summers ago. i went clockwise starting on the AC and would definitely choose to go clockwise if i ever do it again, but it's a matter of preference of course.

i think the weather is really the biggest thing to consider on this trip. when and where to start, what gear you would need for the conditions etc etc. i reckon you'll want at the very least least 6 months to complete the trip comfortably.....

one piece of money saving advice..l. i would say it's not necessary to buy maps for most or all of the PC. i just got a compass and headed north on as much of pch1/101 as i could. if you have a mobile device, it's easy to stop for a coffee somewhere and plot for a few days via google maps.

General Discussion / Re: Riding on the US Interstates
« on: September 05, 2014, 10:22:23 am »
i can't see that changing the laws will make a lot of difference to road safety. as someone rightly stated, drink driving is already illegal, as is dangerous driving/cycling. there's already a 3ft law i some states as far as i know, which is annoying for drivers who obey it and ignored by most anyhow.

what's needed is more common sense, education and empathy for other road users. people too often forget that the road is for sharing responsibly.

also, it's important to remember that as bikers, we are not without our share of the blame. there are just as many ignorant and arrogant bikers as there are motor vehicle users. nothing beats common sense when it comes to staying safe on the road and there's no law that can police that!

General Discussion / Re: My First Tour (Need tips)
« on: May 25, 2014, 02:12:51 pm »
getting a train through LA would buy you back maybe half a day perhaps, and from the suburbs to San Diego is possible in one day. that leaves a day and a half to get from San Jose, which takes you through Big Sur etc etc. Very challenging terrain for long distance cycling.

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