Bicycling from Coos Bay to San Francisco; routes, tips, and maps?
September 27, 2014 8:02 PM   Subscribe

So my wife decided rather last-minute to tour the So. Oregon/California Coast from Coos Bay to San Francisco, as she wraps up a summer detail in NorCal.

I'm looking for advice, route tips, maps, and any other useful info. She's rather experienced in touring, though not so much lately, but definitely the adventurous type with plenty of camping experience and keen instincts.

Primarily looking for route maps for bike touring, and camping info. Also interested in advice for her return to Orville, CA with a bunch of gear from The City. Any help appreciated greatly.
posted by klinefelter to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I recommend looking at the Adventure Cycling Pacific Coast route.
posted by mvd at 11:48 PM on September 27, 2014 [2 favorites]

I would go SF to Coos Bay as that puts you on the earthside of the highway. The 101 can be a bit perilous and drivers are a bit nuts trying to pass the RV's. The climate is about the same along the Pacific coast between those two points though you'll likely be slightly upwind if you go from south to north.

"Also interested in advice for her return to Orville, CA with a bunch of gear from The City." Greyhound is fairly inexpensive.
posted by vapidave at 1:12 AM on September 28, 2014

Seconding Adventure Cycling's Pacific Coast route. I've done it and it's great.
posted by killdevil at 3:52 AM on September 28, 2014

though you'll likely be slightly upwind if you go from south to north

My experience on the Oregon coast suggests that "slightly" is not the right term. The wind can be really strong and there is a reason that north to south is the preferred route.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:53 AM on September 28, 2014 [4 favorites]

I just finished a tour down to the border and wrote about it here. It's all pretty self-explanatory, as the route is fairly well-signed. Mostly I used the Bicycling the Coast book, which is now available as a Kindle book and I'd read the next day's route each night on my phone. The Adventure cycling maps helped too, but I didn't even pack mine on my trip.

Google Maps on a phone set to bike directions was also handy in a pinch (when there was adequate cell coverage) and I also relied on the bike directions baked into my Garmin Edge 1000 bike computer, which has a "how do I ride to ____ city?" feature that leads you mostly to the coast bike route (sometimes it told me to take the main 101 route instead of the safer side roads).

Overall, it's mostly just riding down Highway 101, which is a bit of a drag and is fairly unsafe at times, with about 25% of the entire Oregon coast for me was on frontage roads away from 101. The biggest piece of advice I'd give is don't ride on Saturday and Sundays, at all. The traffic goes up by 10x on the weekends and the unsafe parts get VERY unsafe during the weekend.
posted by mathowie at 3:19 PM on September 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

I rode the coast from Newport, OR to SF some (20!) years ago. The north-to-south route is strongly preferred, not just because the prevailing winds are north-to-south, but because at least in Oregon the highway is designed for bicycles to be going southbound. The southbound shoulders of 101 are much wider, as a result.

I thought the ride was excellent, even along 101, but I second the idea of not riding the main roads on a weekend. I rode Route 1 in Mendocino on a Saturday in August, and it was awful, with cars piling up behind me on climbs and then whipping past while I clung to the railing at the crest. When I got to Bodega Bay, I spent the Sunday sitting on the beach rather than face that weekend traffic getting into Marin County.

Really, it's a marvelous ride, not particularly unsafe, nearly all in public view, with cheap campgrounds all the way down and plenty of places to stop, rest, get water, pee, etc. And I'm sure there are fewer logging trucks barreling down 101 now than there were 20 years ago.
posted by suelac at 4:49 PM on September 28, 2014

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