Author Topic: Cycling from Vancouver south to the Mexican Border in July?....Alone?...Advice?  (Read 4991 times)

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Offline Daveymac

Good evening!

I am writing this from Dublin, Ireland. I am researching a trip next summer to the West Coast of America: I plan to fly into Vancouver and bike tour south, as far as I can in 4-5 weeks..
I have bike toured up to 3,600kms down through Europe and really enjoyed it..

I have a few worries and concerns & would appreciate some advice please...
Is July a bad time to attempt this trip? I am worried that most accomodation will be full and that the traffic will be really heavy... oh, and that the temperatures will be really high

I am a bit worried about attempting this alone...Is it relatively safe?
If I follow the Pacific Coast Adventure Assoc. maps, is it possible to meet and cycle with other people?

I am not a huge fan of camping and would like to stay in a lodge or Bn'b every few days if possible!

I would love to do one of the Adventure Association Group Tours, but there are none, on this particular route, next July!

Thank you for reading & I look forward to your feedback!

Dave Mac.

Offline johnsondasw

July is a great time, albeit there is lots of tourist traffic then.  Some roads have little shoulder, esp in Calif.  I recommend using a mirror and knowing how to use it.  The route is a good one, and you'll meet up with other cyclists.  The camping is very good, and very cheap in Oregon and Calif.  In Washington, there are no cheap biker sites like there are in the other 2 states.  The camping is so good in Ore and Cal, that you might decide that you don't mind it at all.  I would not hesitate in doing it alone.  Again, the main hazard is the roads with poor shoulders.  You must be experienced in highway traffic and in dealing with wide trailers and RV's coming form behind.  Also be aware that the route is very hilly, constantly up and down almost the whole way.  It'snot like in the mountains, where you climb a pass for hours and then you're done for awhile.  Instead, you often climb for 15 minutes, go down for 5 and then climb another one. 

The route has exceptional scenery.  I say go for it and have a great trip!
May the wind be at your back!

Offline Daveymac

Good morning!  Thanks a mil for getting back to me!
I cycled a 40km round trip most weekdays through Dublin city Centre, so I am kinda used to cycling in traffic...
The last 2 summers, I have cycled down through France, Spain and Portugal & have not had any issues...touch wood!
France & Spain were fine, whereas, I didnt feel too safe in Portugal, where (no offence intended) cars seemed to view bikes as an inconvenience to get around!

Could any of you recommend a cool, relaxing place to chill and rest before my flight home?
Somewhere between San Diego and the Mex. border?

Thanks so much!

Dublin Dave.

Offline staehpj1

Yes July is a nice time for the coast and it is a reasonably safe ride.  Along the coast the ocean moderates the temperatures nicely so It probably won't be uncomfortably hot.

Not sure about the cost of lodging since I camp when I ride there, but I suspect rooms will be pretty expensive for some portions of the tour.  The camping is great in Oregon and California.  Hiker biker sites are very inexpensive and you will camp with other cyclists most nights if you decide to camp.  Typically you can fall in with a group of riders and camp with them every night if that is appealing to you.  I know that I made some good friends on that route an really enjoyed their company.  I recommend that if you ever camp on a bike tour this is one where you should consider it.

Offline Daveymac

Hi! Thanks so much for your feedback.. I appreciate it!
So July sounds good...
I was going to fly into Vancouver and then home from San Diego...
I ride a Canyon Endurace AL 7.0 race bike.. It has full , Alluminium frame & carbon forks..
I put a handlebar bag up front & x2 rear panniers mounted on a rack: which is attached via clips to the seat stays and via a long quick release to the rear wheel: it is not an ideal tour bike but she is very fast & fits me like a glove...

Do you guys advise I follow the standard Pacific Coast Adventure Cycling route south?
Should I take any detours...a rounds the big cities?

Could you advise on a place to relax before I fly home?
I like sun, sea & just a chilled out place to stay before 'back to the real world!'

Thank you!

Dublin Dave...

Oh yea... Last question: should I buy the paper Adv Cyc Assoc maps or download the digital version?

Offline John Nelson

The Pacific Coast is fabulous. You'll love it.

4-5 weeks is enough to get from Vancouver to the Mexican border, but there's not a lot of room in that schedule for side trips or layovers. And you won't need any. The regular route is great all by itself.

Like a previous poster, I can't comment on accommodations because I camp. And camping along the Pacific Coast is absolutely superb. I don't really understand a previous comment about there not being cheap biker camping sites in Washington because I camped in cheap hiker/biker sites all through Washington. The great thing about hiker/biker sites is that no reservations are required and you never need fear that the campground will be full. The only place I didn't find cheap camping was in Los Angeles.

I strongly recommend you follow the ACA Pacific Coast route. Many advocate going the long way around the Olympic Peninsula, but I'm not sure you have time for that on your schedule if you want to make it the whole way. No need to detour around the big cities. ACA provides good safe routes through them. Much of the route through Los Angeles (by far the biggest of the big cities) is along the beach. And you don't want to miss Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, nor riding across the Golden Gate Bridge.

If you run out of time, that's okay because southern California is not the best part of this route. But you absolutely must make it as far as Santa Barbara. You cannot possibly consider skipping Big Sur.

Offline Daveymac

Thank u for the feedback!
Wow, it sounds really exciting!

So any advice on a chill-out place by the Ocean to relax at the end of my trip?

And should I get the Pacific Coast paper and/or digital maps?



Offline Daveymac

Hi there! I am just bumping this up to try & get an answer to 2 more questions....

1) do u know a relaxing place to stay at the end of my trip close to San Diego?

2) should i buy the paper Adventure maps or the digital version?

Thank u!!

Offline John Nelson

A) There are thousands of places to stay in San Diego, at a very wide range of locations, prices, amenities and nearby attractions. It would be very hard to recommend one. If you want to stay on the beach, I'd pick something on Mission Beach.
B) I've only used paper maps. I don't even own a device that would store digital ones. I like the paper maps.

Offline Pat Lamb

Hi there! I am just bumping this up to try & get an answer to 2 more questions....

If you desperately want an answer...

1) do u know a relaxing place to stay at the end of my trip close to San Diego?

Nope, I've only been there once, on business, for three days or so.

2) should i buy the paper Adventure maps or the digital version?

Like John, I prefer paper.  Easier to plan ahead when you can spread the paper map out.

Offline Daveymac

Good afternoon!
Pat & John, thank you for your replies...

Paper map & San Diego it is then!

Daley Mac.