Author Topic: Transam West to East; Florence or Astoria?  (Read 4647 times)

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Offline Buddy_Hall

Transam West to East; Florence or Astoria?
« on: July 11, 2015, 08:53:00 pm »
I will be riding from Oregon to Canon City, CO on the transam starting in early August.   I initially planned to ride from Astoria, but a cyclist I met told me that the route from Astoria down the coast was pretty awful for cycling and he recommended starting in Florence.  I would appreciate advice from others who have ridden the routes; would you recommend Florence or Astoria?  I'm flying to Portland and will have to arrange transportation from there for myself regardless of which city I choose.  I will ship the bike via Fedex to a motel in the city I choose such that it arrives the day before I do.

This will be the 2nd half of the Transam for me; I completed the 1st half in May-June riding from Yorktown, VA to Canon City, CO.  So I'm doing a "both ends to the middle" tour.  Should you wish, here's the 1st half; www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/BuddyHall

The Florence alternate is a bit shorter, saving about 150 miles, so that is 1 thing in its favor.  I have 5 weeks to complete the tour, and taking this alternate would buy me a couple of extra days of "slack" time to account for the inevitable issues.  But really, that's not a primary concern. Looking forward to the opinions of those in the know, thanks

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Transam West to East; Florence or Astoria?
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2015, 09:42:05 pm »
When do you plan on starting? This can make a difference. The "horribleness" that this other cyclist talks about is probably the high volume of traffic on US 101 during the peak season, not necessarily the hardness of the route itself, though there are a few significant hills. But the scenery can be great. Many people ride the coast in the middle of summer, so it isn't the worst thing in the world, but there will be lots of traffic, and shoulders are not always as wide as they should be. Plus, there are a couple tunnels. There are several places to get off 101, so you can do that where you can.

Also, no need to post this in multiple forums.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2015, 09:44:50 pm by adventurepdx »

Offline Buddy_Hall

Re: Transam West to East; Florence or Astoria?
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2015, 10:31:29 pm »
You asked "When do you plan on starting?"  Per my post; "I will be riding from Oregon to Canon City, CO on the transam starting in early August." In my case, early August is Aug 8.   And indeed it was the traffic and lack of shoulders that the cyclist was referring to.   I did also post this in the Pacific Northwest forum as I thought that may help it come to the attention of those familiar with both routes.  Thanks

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Transam West to East; Florence or Astoria?
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2015, 10:47:27 pm »
You asked "When do you plan on starting?"  Per my post; "I will be riding from Oregon to Canon City, CO on the transam starting in early August." In my case, early August is Aug 8.   And indeed it was the traffic and lack of shoulders that the cyclist was referring to.   

Oops, missed that part. I think if you avoided the weekend, you should be better, since the traffic will be heavier then. So maybe wait until Monday August 10th to depart from Astoria? And make sure you use any "get off 101" routings you can!

Offline staehpj1

Re: Transam West to East; Florence or Astoria?
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2015, 07:58:03 am »
I will be riding from Oregon to Canon City, CO on the transam starting in early August.   I initially planned to ride from Astoria, but a cyclist I met told me that the route from Astoria down the coast was pretty awful for cycling and he recommended starting in Florence.
If you want to opt for a few less miles or feel the logistics work better for Florence it is an OK place to start, but I am baffled that anyone would find the start in Astoria awful.  I thought that part of the coast was very pleasant.

You might also consider starting in Canon City and deciding between Florence and Astoria when you get there.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Transam West to East; Florence or Astoria?
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2015, 12:13:35 pm »
If you want to opt for a few less miles or feel the logistics work better for Florence it is an OK place to start, but I am baffled that anyone would find the start in Astoria awful.  I thought that part of the coast was very pleasant.

I think a lot of it has to do with how tolerant one of is traffic while riding. For some folks, they can only fixate on that, rather than all the beautiful scenery around.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Transam West to East; Florence or Astoria?
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2015, 02:03:03 pm »
I also found the ride to/from Astoria extremely nice (both times). I'm surprised to hear that someone found it awful. I don't know how much stock to place in one experience. For almost every gorgeous stretch of cycling road, I'm sure you can find someone who found it unpleasant.

Offline jamawani

Re: Transam West to East; Florence or Astoria?
« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2015, 01:50:53 pm »
Starting in Astoria means you have a lot of riding on US 101 - which ain't the finest -
Not to mention that you don't have good ocean views for much of the distance.

Starting in Florence means that you miss some of the most spectacular coastline in the world.
Plus Florence is pretty tough to reach with your bike and gear and all.

What about starting in Tillamook?
There are two direct busses from Portland every day.
There's a bike shop in town for final tune-ups - plus the cheese factory.
And you can ride the Three Capes Loop - maybe camping at Cape Lookout.
You save some miles, get great coastal riding, and avoid most US 101 traffic.

Pic - Cape Kiwanda

Offline John Nelson

Re: Transam West to East; Florence or Astoria?
« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2015, 04:07:24 pm »
Unfortunately, the Three Capes Scenic Loop has been closed for the last two years and will be for the next two. But there's plenty else to see and some spectacular places to camp. Cape Lookout State Park is one of my favorites.