Author Topic: Surprise present  (Read 1542 times)

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Offline Barbs

Surprise present
« on: September 01, 2018, 09:59:20 am »
Hi there

I'm new to cycling, however my husband is an avid cycler and i'm keen to be too.

His 40th is coming up (Dec) and i'm looking to arrange a surprise trip in the US next year, and have landed upon Portland to San Fran (2 places i have always wanted to visit!). I initially looked at mid May to mid June, but after reading this forum it seems very likely to rain, so am thinking May 31st to 1st July. I know this is probably a very long time for many of you, but i'd like to see Portland before we start and the same with San Fran at end.

I'd be so grateful for any tips on booking this trip and if it's a good time of year to go to avoid the rain!? I know Aug/Sep is supposed to great weather but that feels like so far away from his birthday!!

Also are there any bike rentals that do one way form Portland to San Fran + gear? I don't have a tourer at the mo just a Sirrius Pro hybrid but am I right to think it's cheaper to buy a tourer here + kit and ship over - or perhaps buy second hand in Portland and ship home?

I'm sorry for my barrage of questions and apologies in advance if this is not an appropriate thread to write - I appreciate many of you are very advanced cyclists.

However all help / ideas / info very gratefully received!!

Thank you!!!!

Offline John Nettles

Re: Surprise present
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2018, 11:53:52 am »
I know Aug/Sept is not near his birthday, but what about your anniversary? 

Depending on where you are from (you do not say) and more importantly, the air carrier company you use, each bike can easily cost US$200 each way overseas so be sure to factor in the plane company's bicycle shipping cost when buying a ticket.
I do not know or think there is a bike rental company for what you are looking to do.  Portland is a major bike city so you "should" be able to buy something used when you arrive but you do run the risk of nothing being available that fits you and/or within budget.
Also, depending on how long you plan to visit Portland and San Francisco and how many miles a day you plan to average, the 30 days may not be enough.  Be sure to factor in a day or two for sight seeing/rest/rain/ along the ride.
Finally, you are missing one of the best riding areas in the country.  South of San Francisco is the Big Sur coast road between Monterey and Morro Bay.  If you are able to extend your vacation time, I highly encourage you to ride to Los Angeles. 

Best, John

Offline jamawani

Re: Surprise present
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2018, 03:17:38 pm »
Barbs -

Actually, May 31 to July 1 is a pretty good time to do the ride.
With dried and longer summers, late summer can have fires and smoke - like this year.

I you had 31 days - you might need about 21 to do the ride -
Portland to Astoria to San Fran is 900 miles - 300 per week - leisurely.
which would leave you 5 days for Portland and 5 for San Fran.

The Oregon coast rainy season usually fades in late spring and ends by early June.
Some summer starts in mid May - - sometimes as late as mid June.

The rainy season ends a month earlier in central Calif - and you are heading south.
(You want to head south because prevailing coastal winds are northerly.)
Thus, you will leave Portland at the beginning of the dry season - but be well into summer by SFO.
Your timing is about right.


As for bicycles - I always like my own bike best - it fits me and I know its ride.
Yes, its expensive to ship them.
If you rent - rent in Portland - and plan to fly into and out of PDX.
When you finish in SFO, take Amtrak overnight back to Portland - $10.
(Or fly back to Portland or ship bikes bike shop to bike shop.)

Have fun.  Jama

Offline Barbs

Re: Surprise present
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2018, 03:56:07 am »
Hi John - I'm from the UK  ;)  Anniversary is in April!  I will look at the Big Sur - thank you for your advice, maybe i can incorporate it. I'll also look at Aug/Sep - it just seems so far away! Also I think i'd like the roads to be less busy than they are in the peak season.

Hi Jama - they were my thoughts exactly re timing! Thank you so much for the tip on going back to Portland for the bikes - that's a really good idea. I think i'm going to have to think a lot about the bikes. Do you recommend any bike shops in Portland?

Also, i have seen there are a couple of different options on the route - coastal and then via Sacremento? Which would you recommend? 

Thanks so much both for getting back to me - i really appreciate it!!!

Offline neil

Re: Surprise present
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2018, 12:34:58 am »
Took a group 3 years ago and other has gone this year to Portland and I would start at
The owner is really helpful, has a little workshop to disassemble and may even collect from the airport (charge)
  Neil (also from UK  8)

Offline PNWRider92

Re: Surprise present
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2018, 09:38:26 pm »

As for bicycles - I always like my own bike best - it fits me and I know its ride.
Yes, its expensive to ship them.
If you rent - rent in Portland - and plan to fly into and out of PDX.
When you finish in SFO, take Amtrak overnight back to Portland - $10.
(Or fly back to Portland or ship bikes bike shop to bike shop.)

Have fun.  Jama

Unless things have changed it'd be a bus from San Fransisco to Emeryville and a train from there to Portland. In order to bring your bike onto the bus portion you'd have to box it. The Coast Starlight from Emeryville to Portland does offer roll-on service.

Tickets are between $70-$100 with an additional cost of $20 per bicycle.

Otherwise.... Barbs; His dates are really accurate. I lived in the PNW for a few years and lately summers have been starting earlier it seems every year. It can also rain well into July. Great place to visit in the summer and nice place to live if you can survive not seeing the sun and nearly constant rain for 8 months straight  ???
Instagram: Portland_2_Portland

Offline danny dea

Re: Surprise present
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2018, 08:18:08 pm »
Barb, Portland has many excellent bike shops.  Two that I used while living there until recently were Universal Cycles and REI.  Both carry good touring bikes and are very customer friendly.  They also have informative web sites.  Universal is  a good source for almost anything you need for cycling.