In addition to rim compatibility, you'll also have to check clearance with your bike. Note that not all 35mm tires are the same height and width, so some experimentation may be necessary.
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How would you guys rate the West Coast in terms of bike safety and bike friendly compared to other places in the US and in the world?There's a lot of diversity of the roads along the West Coast, just as there is a lot of diversity of roads on any route. The northern 2/3 of the Pacific Coast route are mostly very safe. From Santa Barbara to the Mexican border, there are more difficult sections. I found the 27 miles through Malibu to be the worst. I did feel nervous a few times in northern California when the fog was thick.
probably no harm bringing the front light as an extraThe "probably no harm in bringing" argument is a slippery slope. Pretty soon you'll end up with a hundred pounds of gear. Not only does extra stuff add weight, it's extra stuff to keep track of. Only bring essential stuff. Sometimes the decision of what is "essential" is difficult, but it's worth the trouble to figure out.