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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 Plan

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I write, self publish and sell books about touring

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Equipment Pages Index

Introduction
How Much to Bring and Weight
Some Advice About Advice
A Note to Perspective Sponsors and Gear Suppliers
(See more about Sponsorship)

START HERE for Touring Bikes and Commuting Bicycles
Custom Touring Bicycles and Bike Upgrade Buyers Guide
Bicycle Touring Frames 
The Steel Repair Myth.
Steel 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
Bike Computer
Touring Handlebars, Bar Ends, Adjustable Stems, and Padded Grips.
Kickstands
Sealed Cartridge Headsets

How to prevent flat tires
Bike Route Trails and Maps

Camping
Buying Camping Equipment
Tent and Ground Cloth
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Pad
Camp Stove
Pots and Pans
Water Filter
First Aide Kits
Solar Power for Camp

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(see all 3 book)

        Adventure Cycling Pacific Coast Bike Tour Route Maps
Bike from Canada to Mexico: Down America's West Coast - States: Washington, Oregon and California

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 patterns.

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  to the 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.

Terrain

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 fairly 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.

Logistics

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.

CALIFORNIA COAST

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 Mendocino region.

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 World."

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.

Terrain

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.

Logistics

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.

 

 

 

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