The story of how I saved money, quit my job, sold my possessions,
and set off to endlessly travel by bike around the world.
My 3 Books
I write, self publish and sell
books about touring
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Places I have been
(How can I
India and Neighbors
May 2010 to present
/ Canada / USA
May 2008 to April 2010
Sept 2007 to May 2008
Sept 2006 to Sept 2007
SE Asia / China
Nov 2004 to Sept 2006
June 2003 to June 2004
AZ, Mexico, and
March 2002 to April 2003
How I started
The 5 years before I left
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Equipment Pages Index
How Much to Bring and Weight
Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
more about Sponsorship)
HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames
Steel Repair Myth.
and Aluminum Derailleur Hanger Repair.
Bicycle Touring Wheels
Phil Wood: The Best Bicycle Hubs
Panniers / Bike Bags
Cargo Trailers Vs Panniers
Tires for Bike Tours..
Bicycle Touring Saddles.
Women's Specific Bike Touring Saddles
Brooks Leather Touring Bicycle Saddle Care and Conditioning
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
Sealed Cartridge Headsets
How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps
Buying Camping Equipment
Tent and Ground
Pots and Pans
Solar Power for Camp
Bike Touring Shorts
Bicycle touring lights
Pictures of Equipment Failures
all 3 book)
Adventure Cycling Pacific Coast Bike Tour Route Maps
Bike from Canada to Mexico: Down America's West Coast - States: Washington, Oregon
The Pacific Coast Route is considered by many to be the jewel
of American Cycling Routes. It includes the misty wild beaches Oregon, the rain
forests of Washington and the unequaled beauty of the fabled California Coast.
Bike tourists come from around the world to ride this magnificent trail. Passing
through some of the coolest cities America has to offer, as well as majestic
wilderness scenery, this route has something for everyone. At the hiker/biker
campsites to the local Farmer's Markets, you're sure to find plenty of friendly
faces with tales to share.
During the peak tourist season, there is heavy recreational vehicle
traffic along coastal U.S. Highway 101, so cyclists must ride cautiously
and defensively. Stay alert: RV drivers aren't always aware of what their
oversized rear view mirrors can hit! This route can be ridden from early spring to late fall. Heavy
winter rains can cause flooding, mudslides and road closures, especially
along the coast in the spring. Fog can also be a problem during any season. Due
to changing local conditions, it is difficult to predict any major wind
The route begins in Vancouver, British Columbia and heads south through the
suburbs of this large city. Farmlands appear before crossing the border at
Blaine into the United States, and you'll continue through more rural country
after entering Washington. After crossing Deception Pass, the route is on
Whidbey Island, a funky artsy island that's also home to a large naval base. There's a pleasant ferry ride
over to Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula. The route then winds
southward through a series of small towns on the eastern side of the peninsula. In Bremerton, if you're interested, you can catch a ferry that takes
you directly to into downtown Seattle and its lively attractions. Heading south
from Bremerton, you'll head into
logging country and see forest plantations in various stages of development:
recently clear-cut, newly planted, middle-aged, or ready to be harvested. Be
especially alert for logging trucks, which will kick up a spew of drenching oily
water on rainy days. A good time to ride with high visibility clothing and
flashing lights. At
Castle Rock, a five-mile side trip leads to the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center,
which tells the tale of the volcano's eruption in 1981.
The Washington state segment ends with short ferry ride across the Columbia River
magnificent ride down the Oregon coast. You'll bike along the shoreline and
headlands passed mile after mile of spectacular scenery including lighthouses, craggy
coastal pines and haystack rock formations in the water. Innumerable parks dot the coast
and invite one to stop and take hikes down to the water for tide pool viewing.
Small towns are abundant and cater to the tourists who invade the coast from
spring to fall. The Oregon segment is also home to many hiker/biker campsites,
amazingly cheap and never full for bikers.
The route's terrain in Canada and Washington is flat to rolling hills, with a
few climbs. Biking along the Oregon coast brings some good-sized hills, some of them
steep. Those spectacular views will be well-earned. Don't forget that any uphill on one side of a coastal headland means a
speedy downhill on
the other side. It's a good idea to put on some warmer clothes at the summit.
That hot sweat you built up on the climb will quickly turn to a mean chill in
the misty climate.
There are plenty of services along the route. The Oregon Coast draws a large
amount of tourists, so it has the facilities to cater to them. For those who are
camping, there are many state park campgrounds near the beaches with hiker/biker
sites. These campsites may get unpleasantly crowded and noisy on weekends, but
there no cyclist will ever be turned away.
The curvy, winding roads along the Pacific Coast Route are shared with farm
and logging trucks, cars and recreational vehicles. On some sections, the route
runs along major highways, so be prepared to deal with merging traffic around on
and off ramps. Get ready for some defensive urban cycling in some of the large
cities. This route can be ridden at any time of
the year, but spring and autumn are optimal periods to avoid the increased
tourist traffic in the summer. Winter rain and wind could potential turn your
dream tour into a miserable slog. Fog can be present any time of year. Due to changing local conditions,
it is difficult to predict any major wind patterns, but during summer strong
winds will prevail from north to south.
Soon after passing the California border, just after Crescent
City, you will be entering the
awe-inspiring redwood country on roads shaded by trees reaching high into the
sky. A herd of elk live near Orick and are usually easy to spot. The redwoods
are a big tourist area, so you'll have the opportunity to bike through trees
that most people drive their cars through. After leaving the redwoods, you'll
climb over the connecting highway to the coastal headlands and the laidback
Biking over the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco is a real treat, and
the route stays on the western edge of the city. Heading southward along the
coast, there are numerous state beaches. If you're at the Año Nuevo State
Reserve during the elephant seal mating season in January, viewing the seals is
not to be missed. Around Santa Cruz, there are numerous pull-outs to view packs
of surfers braving the chill waves. North of Monterey, acres of farms begin to appear in the
Salinas Valley, a prime agricultural area known as the "Artichoke Capital of the
After leaving Carmel, the ride south along the Pacific Coast Highway is
one of the most spectacular portions of the route. This winding, scenic
road high above the Pacific has been seen many times in television shows,
commercials, and movies. Leaving the Santa Lucia Mountains and the coast, the
geography switches back to flat agricultural land. You'll encounter many fertile
farms and more rural towns. Santa Barbara is an easy
town to cycle through. When you reach Malibu, you'll find tremendous congestion
and view hundreds of movie star houses built into the hillsides and along the beaches.
This is the northern end of the Los Angeles megalopolis.
Beginning in Santa Monica, the route uses some beautiful bike paths
right on the sandy beaches. Watch out for drifting sand and the crowds of SoCal
beautiful people. The path wanders through
residential and industrial areas before rejoining the Pacific Coast Highway
south of the city. All the way to San Diego, there will be a mix of urban
cycling through towns, bike paths, highways and shore roads. Through San Diego
and its suburbs, the route follows residential streets and bike paths to the
Coronado Pedestrian-Bicycle Ferry, which takes you to Coronado and a bike path
along Silver Strand State Beach, then to the route's end near the Mexican
border. Pay especially close attention to the map in all the Los Angeles and San
Diego regions, as there are numerous unmarked turns from path to residential
area to busy streets.
This route segment is generally hilly, with lots of ups and downs following
the coastline in the northern part of the state. Some sections in the southern
part of the route are rolling to flat, especially along the various cities' bike
paths along the beaches.
Services abound on this ride. There is a stretch between Half Moon Bay and
Davenport that doesn't have much to offer, so plan ahead with extra drinks and
snacks. The California Coast is a high-profile tourist area, so it has
facilities that cater to tourists, but be prepared for higher prices. For those
who like to camp, there are many appealing campgrounds at state parks near the
beaches, perfect for watching dramatic sunsets.
Tips & Advice
Tools and Spares
Pots and Pans
Preventing Flat Tires
Bike Touring Shorts
Have Learned On The Road
Injustice of Poverty
Much MORE Gear Here!
Cycle Touring Racks
Tents and ground