Author Topic: Best date to ride Pacific Coast Vancouver-San Francisco  (Read 5480 times)

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Offline whmacken

Best date to ride Pacific Coast Vancouver-San Francisco
« on: February 11, 2014, 01:50:19 am »
Want to ride south from Vancouver, B.C. to San Francisco summer of 2014 (Actually, riding a bit further to visit a Friend in Santa Clara, CA). When would be best date to go re. weather, etc.?

Offline johnsondasw

Re: Best date to ride Pacific Coast Vancouver-San Francisco
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2014, 01:05:49 pm »
I did it in late June-early July and found that to be a fine time.  We had a rain in WA on June 21 and that was the last of the rain for the whole trip.  Lots of people recommend going in the fall to avoid summer traffic, but I'm more traffic tolerant than most and rarely had a problem with it.  Fourth of July weekend in the area around San Francisco did get a little intense at times, but I still felt ok about it.  I use a mirror and was able to watch traffic coming from the rear. For the most part, drivers were very considerate and friendly.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline Patco

Re: Best date to ride Pacific Coast Vancouver-San Francisco
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2014, 08:54:28 pm »
Early to mid September. Weather is generally very pleasant in Washington and Oregon, and in Northern California the chance of the cold fog along the coast is greatly diminished. There is a reason why September and October are the best times to visit Northern California and San Francisco.

Offline mzimmerm

Re: Best date to ride Pacific Coast Vancouver-San Francisco
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2014, 07:12:31 pm »
I am planning to ride from Portland Oregon to Astoria....then down to San Fran starting in May. Probably a month on the road. Any thoughts on that timeframe? Weather/Traffic etc.

Offline Patco

Re: Best date to ride Pacific Coast Vancouver-San Francisco
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2014, 08:47:57 pm »
From earlier trips near that time frame you are contemplating, temperatures on the Oregon Coast for a May/early June trip from Astoria to SF will likely be in the low 60's; a better than even chance of cloud cover; and better than even chance of some precip. You will likely be riding with long sleeves and cycling tights, and keep your rain gear close. In Northern California, once on US 1, rain will be rare but there will be fog. I would strongly suggest a flashing rear light for the bike. It will be cool in SF and along the Sonoma coast. I have never considered US 1 as being very bike friendly. It is narrow with limited shoulders.  Traffic will increase as you move south of Ft. Bragg. Similar to an earlier poster, I am not generally intimidated by traffic so what may not be an issue for me may be an issue for others. That said, the Oregon section of the route has very good shoulders. The two Oregon tunnels get my heart rate. Be sure to activate the "Bikes in Tunnel" warning lights and then do not dawdle.

The Oregon portion of that route is one of my favorite rides. California is okay - scenic but because of the roads I consider it less bike friendly than Oregon. Enjoy the ride.

Offline mzimmerm

Re: Best date to ride Pacific Coast Vancouver-San Francisco
« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2014, 09:51:39 pm »
Really appreciate the feedback. This is our first ride of this kind. A bit intimidating learning all of the aspects of such a ride....including anticipated weather and conditions of a new route.
We will have blinking lights for sure. And we are somewhat accustomed to traffic.....but..... We don't want to be stupid either. I think we assumed that this is a very popular route and that it was pretty bike friendly. If you don't mind.... a couple of quick questions:

-Do you still think that it is relatively safe?

-I have done the "Cycle Greater Yellowstone" last year (with plenty of elevation)- does this route have multiple difficult climbs? I'm trying to determine if we have the gears needed to haul all of our gear. I am also trying to just determine if my Trek Domane 6 series road bike can make the trip with the added weight (we will be 100% self-supported).  Trailer? and different wheels?

-Are accomodations/Campsites/ Warmshowers etc., fairly easy to secure this time of year? Reservations needed?

I appreciate any feedback. Sorry to burden you with this- but you sound like you've "been there".

Thanks
Mitch Zimmerman

Offline cgarch

Re: Best date to ride Pacific Coast Vancouver-San Francisco
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2014, 03:54:22 pm »
Yes it is safe, as long as you ride safely.

Gears? There are some long climbs, not too bad, but you will wish you had lower gears (Crescent City south, Leggett . . ). Oregon grades seldom exceed 6%, California is not as kind.

Lots of HB sites open, no reservation required.

Strongly suggest you check out Pacific Coast journals at CGOAB http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/categories/?o=RrzKj&category_id=10&doctype=journal

Craig

Offline Patco

Re: Best date to ride Pacific Coast Vancouver-San Francisco
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2014, 09:20:30 pm »
Agree. It is reasonably safe. As said earlier, Oregon is very bike friendly. Nice shoulders. Accomodations are easy to find, particularly at the time of year you are considering. California roads do not provide the same type of shoulders but I still consider the ride as "safe". I do use a mirror and I am aware of what is coming up on me.

As to climbing - I consider the short climb out of Charleston (Seven Devils Road) as strenuous but there is no rule that says you can't stop on the ascent for a break. The climb over the Crescent City Hills south of Crescent City is just long and, again, minimal shoulders. A number of climbs in Oregon, as you would expect, but nothing out of the ordinary. As I thing about it, if you take the Three Capes Scenic Route (I do suggest this alternate) there is a rather steep climb. My gearing is rather low because after a number of trips I decided I would rather have low end gears I do not use rather than high end gears I will never use when touring. The descents can be exhilerating. On one of my earlier trips, on the descent from Cape Sebastian I reached 53.9 mph, and the whole time I was thinking, 'this is sooooo stupid'.

In addition to the CGOAB site, the Tom Kirkendall and Vicky Spring book, Bicycling the Pacific Coast, is a good guide. Oregon has a specific bike map for the coast trip. You will likely find that very helpful. California does not have a specific map (at least I haven't been able to find one).

A final thought - whenever an alternate route is suggested that will take you off of 101, take it. I have never been disappointed.

If you are thinking you will take a month for the ride, you should have an incredibly enjoyable trip. Plenty of time to stop and enjoy the coast and the redwoods.

My best to you.


Offline mzimmerm

Re: Best date to ride Pacific Coast Vancouver-San Francisco
« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2014, 05:44:31 pm »
Thank you SO, SO Much!!  We appreciate your thoughts and comments. VERY helpful!!
Mitch

Offline mzimmerm

Re: Best date to ride Pacific Coast Vancouver-San Francisco
« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2014, 05:53:08 pm »
OK......I suppose I may be taking advantage of your willingness to respond.......but another brief question if you don't mind:
What are your thoughts on the need for "Protection" on this route? My wife and I on the Bike for a month on the road/ campgrounds/ B&B's/ Warmshowers/ etc.  Dogs/animals/unwanted humans etc.
-No need
-Mace
-club
-horn
-heavy artillery
?????

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Best date to ride Pacific Coast Vancouver-San Francisco
« Reply #10 on: February 17, 2014, 09:37:47 pm »
What are your thoughts on the need for "Protection" on this route? My wife and I on the Bike for a month on the road/ campgrounds/ B&B's/ Warmshowers/ etc.  Dogs/animals/unwanted humans etc.

Biggest need is for situational awareness.  Be aware of where you are, the people, and so forth.  A vast majority of the people out there are not out to get you.  If you feel something's off, don't be specific about where you're going tonight and keep going, or get inside a B&B/motel if it's late.  A can of Halt on a handlebar mount (if you can find one) might be a good idea for dogs, or you might never need it.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Best date to ride Pacific Coast Vancouver-San Francisco
« Reply #11 on: February 17, 2014, 11:28:08 pm »
Discussions on "protection" come up from time to time. Given the debates in this country over the second amendment, it's a sensitive subject. If someone feels they need protection, it's hard to convince them otherwise. I recommend that you carry the same protection on tour that you carry around your home town, given that you follow all applicable laws of the states you tour through of course.

Offline mzimmerm

Re: Best date to ride Pacific Coast Vancouver-San Francisco
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2014, 01:49:37 am »
Thanks so much. Makes great sense. Appreciate the comments.