Author Topic: Is touring the Pacific Coast in July safe?  (Read 3491 times)

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Offline Daveymac

Is touring the Pacific Coast in July safe?
« on: April 16, 2017, 07:36:17 am »
Hi...


I am planning a bike tour from Vancouver to Mexico in July.
I started another topic and added this question at the end...but just wanted to get more feedback..

I commute daily in Dublin & generally have no issues... a couple of close shaves...
Recently, there has been an increase in the number of cyclist fatalities in my city & I am worried about the volume of traffic in the States, the size of RV's & possibly areas where drivers are not accustomed to cyclists....

Do you think this route is safe?

Are there any precautions I can take to make the trip safer?

Clothing/ lights/ mirrors/ time of day to cycle/ route detours etc...


I appreciate your feedback...


Dave.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Is touring the Pacific Coast in July safe?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2017, 07:41:28 am »
The Pacific Coast will be 100 times safer than commuting in Dublin. Just go. You'll have a great time!

Offline walks.in2.trees

Re: Is touring the Pacific Coast in July safe?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2017, 08:35:57 am »
One quick tip: on Google Maps, do a search for 24hr places that serve coffee, food, or gas along your route... Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, truck stops, etc...  Choose one and scroll down through the business description until you see "popular times" while they don't give you any numbers to work with, the graph gives you a pretty good indication of how busy the store is at different times of day and from this you can infer how busy traffic will be. Note that you can change the day of week that you're viewing.  You can get a feel for it by checking places you're personally familiar with.  It's not perfect, but it will give you an idea

For instance the first screen shot is my local Dunkin Donuts that has a 24hr drive-thru... You can clearly see when church let's out on Sunday, the second screen shot is a Denny's, a 24hr restaurant, on the 101 in McKinnleyville, in northern California.  looking around town at different venues like the grocery store, some restaurants, gas stations, etc, almost nothing is open 24 hrs except the grocery store and the Dennys, not even the gas station is open from this I would infer that the amount of traffic coming through town isn't typically enough to stay open through the night for. However, compared to my home Dunkin Donuts you can see that during the day it gets pretty busy, and pretty early.

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Offline walks.in2.trees

Re: Is touring the Pacific Coast in July safe?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2017, 08:42:03 am »
The Pacific Coast will be 100 times safer than commuting in Dublin. Just go. You'll have a great time!
Having never been to either I can't say one way or the other, but I can agree with the sentiment... If you keep worrying about it you'll build it up to be worse in your mind than it will ever be in real life, sometimes it's best to to just dive into that pool and get used to the water temperature all at once rather than dip your toe and convince yourself that the waters too cold.

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Offline Daveymac

Re: Is touring the Pacific Coast in July safe?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2017, 09:38:09 am »
Hi... Thank you for the replies!
That is cool, how you can track the traffic on google maps...

I dont know what it is.. But recently i was following the Indi Pacific Wheelrace in Australia... Poor Mike Hall was hit by a car & died & there has been an increase in fatalities in my city... So i think the safety aspecr is just playing on my mind....

I am defo going to go for it... But as I said, just feeling a bit anxious about it...

Thanks for the feedback!

Offline BrianW

Re: Is touring the Pacific Coast in July safe?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2017, 01:42:57 pm »
The challenge with traffic on the Pacific Coast in the summer is that quite a lot of it tourists who are busier looking at the amazing scenery than piloting their vehicles. Couple that with rental RVs or unfamiliar cars and you just need an extra dose of caution. I always ride with a mirror and the couple of times I've biked along Calif Hwy 1 in the Carmel-Big Sur area I've been happy to have my rear blinkie light and bright top along.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Is touring the Pacific Coast in July safe?
« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2017, 07:33:37 am »
Do you think this route is safe?
Yes, but do have bright colored clothing for the inevitable fog that seems to roll in or out at seemingly random times of day.  The PCH is a great ride IMO and I highly recommend it, at least the portions I have done.  I did the parts between Seattle and San Luis Obispo and loved the Oregon and California portions.  I was less crazy about the Washington portion and suspect I would also be that way about the most Southern part, but I would do them if I wanted to say I completed the whole coast.

I really didn't give the traffic that much thought before going and still wouldn't be concerned much about it after having ridden the coast.

Offline Daveymac

Re: Is touring the Pacific Coast in July safe?
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2017, 12:10:03 pm »
Good afternoon guys!
Thank you for the feedback..
I think:

- bright cycling top
- lights (in fog)
- a mirror (optional extra)
- then just relaxing and using common sense , particularly in busy traffic

Should add up to make the journey safer...

To be honest with you... I'm really looking forward to it... & just a little bit anxious!

Dublin Dave.


Offline BikeFreak

Re: Is touring the Pacific Coast in July safe?
« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2017, 06:17:06 pm »
I live in Europe and biked the Pacific Coast in the summertime. I can assure you that the traffic in Europe is much worse.

Offline Daveymac

Re: Is touring the Pacific Coast in July safe?
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2017, 04:17:11 pm »
Thanks bike freak... that's good to know!

Offline aggie

Re: Is touring the Pacific Coast in July safe?
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2017, 08:08:55 pm »
Don't forget to get the detour directions around Big Sur.  The bridge there will be out until the end of the year (at least) and the trail around the bridge is off limits to bicycles.

Offline Daveymac

Re: Is touring the Pacific Coast in July safe?
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2017, 04:28:52 am »
Thank you Aggie!

Offline ridingsomewhere

Re: Is touring the Pacific Coast in July safe?
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2017, 11:07:30 am »

- a mirror (optional extra)

I would say that the mirror is a critical piece. I too come from an urban commuting background where you're constantly doing shoulder checks and I never felt I needed a mirror, but when I started riding rural roads (longer stretches, fewer cars but faster-moving) I found a mirror to be an absolute game changer and I'd never tour without it. I bought the $20 Zefal Spy Mirror and mounted it to the drop bar.

Otherwise, yes to everything said above. I'm hoping to be out that way in July/August!