Author Topic: San Fran to LA along Pacific Coast in February  (Read 4612 times)

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Offline bikeforumname

San Fran to LA along Pacific Coast in February
« on: December 07, 2011, 01:48:51 am »
Hi! I've been combing through the message board looking for any advice on this specific chunk of the pacific coast route in mid-winter. I have found a lot of warnings against biking through the rainy and windy oregon and washington winter weather, but how unpleasant/dangerous is it likely to be south of San Francisco? A friend and I are in the planning stages of trying to cycle San Fran to Los Angeles starting at the end of January-beginning of February with the intentions of camping along the way. A basic search on weather statistics has indicated it will rain about one third of the time around san francisco, less the further south you get. But what about storms, wind, headwinds? I also am not sure if we should anticipate campgrounds to be closed that time of the year in that part of the country. We are both urban cyclists but inexperienced with bike touring, and neither of us are from the States so any advice and opinions from those more experienced would be greatly appreciated.

Offline staehpj1

Re: San Fran to LA along Pacific Coast in February
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2011, 07:21:55 am »
Hopefully someone local to the area will pipe up, but I will suggest that you either call the parks in question or buy the Adventure Cycling maps for the section you want to do and look at the camp listings.  They list closure dates in most cases.  That said beware of the unscheduled closings that seem to be occurring in California and call ahead each day as you go to be sure.  The state park hiker/biker sites are very nice and also cheap; I'd use them if they are open.

Sorry I don't have more specific info for that time of year.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: San Fran to LA along Pacific Coast in February
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2011, 09:06:42 am »
Normally I'm the one saying, "Go ahead, a little rain won't melt you."  But I'd suggest trying to adjust your time frame by a month or two in this case.  If you catch a winter storm, you can face a week of consistent rain and strong winds, at least down as far as Lompoc.  South (east) of there, you've got a chance that the storm will blow out to sea -- unless it soaks the hills around LA and causes mudslides!

Offline valygrl

Re: San Fran to LA along Pacific Coast in February
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2011, 10:19:10 am »
Having lived between San Diego and Santa Cruz all my life - nope, I wouldn't do this if you are coming in from somewhere far away.  SF to LA is just about a week, so if you could plan it and then just not do it if the forecast was looking bad right beforehand, it would be OK.  But if you are investing in an expensive plane ticket, I'd put it off until May for near-guaranteed nice weather.

Winter storms on the coast can be very harsh, with heavy rain and strong driving wind - usually from the south during a storm.   

Here's the state park web site, to check for camping closures.  I heard many parks are closing due to budget problems, but I'm not in CA anymore, so not really sure what is affected.

http://www.parks.ca.gov

Offline Grumpybear

Re: San Fran to LA along Pacific Coast in February
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2011, 01:22:53 pm »
I've toured that route in Feb., but I lived in California and was able to wait for a break in the weather. My buddy was so confident of the projected weather report that he decided to defy the Cycle Touring Gods and not bring rain gear. It was a great trip with low traffic, empty campsites, and clear blue sky's. However the days were cool around 40's F and the nights were in the 20's F. Give yourself a big window to make the week long trip, then take it in pieces if you have to. Cities along the way to wait out a storm and still hold your interest are, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbra.

Good luck

Offline MrBent

Re: San Fran to LA along Pacific Coast in February
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2011, 09:29:36 am »
+1 for Gumpy and Valy.  Feb. can have some FANTASTIC weather, but it is probably the stormiest, wettest month.  So if you live close by and can wait for a break, okay.    On the plus side, if you get that weather window, it will be a fantastic ride with very little traffic and probably clear skies.  Feb. is not a fog month.  Summer can be a bit dreary at times due to the fog.  That section, however, from SF to LA is super nice in the summer with, in my opinion, superior riding conditions that what is found in Oregon.  If you can, consider stopping in Santa Barbara.  That's really the end of the best riding, and the Pacific Coast Hwy down in the LA area can be dangerous.

Have a blast and report back.

Scott

Offline staehpj1

Re: San Fran to LA along Pacific Coast in February
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2011, 09:51:29 am »
That section, however, from SF to LA is super nice in the summer with, in my opinion, superior riding conditions that what is found in Oregon.
I'd be curious why you think that.  Just my opinion, but I found both the part of California above San Francisco and Oregon much nicer myself.  I am sure you have good reasons for your opinion, I am just curious what your reasons are.