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Tours

The USA pacific coast highway

USA – Pacific Coast – 2019/20

£3,645.00£3,699.00

TOUR REF: PC91 / PC20
TYPE: Road Cycling
LEVEL: Challenging
DATES:
31 Aug – 28 Sept 2019
29 Aug – 26 Sept 2020
DURATION:
29 days / 28 nights
ACCOMMODATION LEVEL: Standard
 
Clear
  • Optional extras

    • 750 £

Pacific Coast Highway

An epic ride down the Western US seaboard from the Canadian to the Mexican Border.

One of the greatest ‘End-to-End’ trips out there, with stunning scenery, exotic wildlife and the full ‘American Experience’. Starting in Seattle and averaging around 65 miles per day we will travel the length of the United States in 4 weeks along some of the world’s most scenic coastline to the palm-lined beaches at the Mexican border.

Our route is based on that published by the Adventure Cycling Association and ridden by many hundreds each year. Each day you will be provided with maps and turn-by-turn instructions, though these will be in a different format to the famous Bike Adventures ‘yellow sheets’. For those with SatNav a .GPX file will be made available before departure.  

We will be following Routes 105/101/1, mostly hugging the coast and regarded as amongst the most scenic coastal roads in the world. As well as stunning scenery there is a good chance we will see seals, sea-lions, eagles and perhaps even glimpse a bear. The coast road rises and falls and there are plenty of ‘lumps’ to maintain interest but most hills are only around 500 feet with a very few just over 1000 feet. 

The area known as Big Sur offers probably the most challenging climbs but the scenery makes it well worth it! The trip has been timetabled to avoid the busy summer period and US roads are generally very cycle-friendly with wide shoulders, but the route follows major highways and riders should expect some traffic. In particular, we must skirt Los Angeles and, while much of this is done on paved tracks along the beach, there are some busy sections during this part of the trip.

Note: If you cannot make the whole trip it may be possible to join or leave in San Francisco. Please contact us to discuss.

If you would like to read other people’s comments on our holidays then check out the Customer Comments page.

 Tour Price includes:
  • All accommodation within the US in a mix of bed-only and bed and breakfast accommodation
  • Full tour leader support, typically 1 per 6-8 guests
  • Full vehicle support with tools and spares
  • Airport transfers (see detail) within the United States
  • Detailed route guides
Tour Price does not include:
  • Meals other than breakfast as mentioned
  • Flights or other travel to/from start/finish
  • Insurance

 

Itinerary: 

Arrival Day:
We will meet you at Seattle Tacoma Airport (if you plan to arrive other than via this airport please let us know) and transport you to your hotel close to the start point at Port Townsend.

Washington: Sunday – Wednesday (Days 1-4)
The coastal region of Washington State prides itself on its lush vegetation, lakes, rivers, rugged coastline and glacier capped mountains. Fortunately the latter are viewed from a distance! Our starting point is some 100 miles inland at the entrance to Admiralty Bay. Initially we will head due south, avoiding the Peninsula Route, as the roads are more cycle-friendly and with better access to services, less traffic and less chance of rain! On day 3 we will reach the Pacific coast, at Twin Harbours State Park just south of Grays Harbour, and will follow Highway 105 as it meanders around the many bays and inlets that make up the southern Washington coast. By the end day 4 we will have crossed the Columbia River and our first state line into Oregon, after which we will follow Route 101, our companion for many miles.

Northern Oregon: Thursday – Saturday (Days 5-7)
For anyone who wants a short-cut home Astoria, just across the border in Oregon, marks the start point for the official trans-America route. Just turn left and you will be on the East coast in next to no time! The Oregon Coast Bicycle Route has 378 miles of spectacular ocean views, long beaches, sand dunes and rugged headlands. With fewer bays the compass will point steadily south and as we head towards the Californian sun. In October there can be some heavy and prolonged rain but hopefully we will sneak through just in time!

Rest Day: Sunday (Day 8)
The first of our two rest days will be spent somewhere close to Florence, Oregon. This will provide a chance to rest, play tourist and catch up on bicycle maintenance, blogs and emails.

Southern Oregon: Monday – Wednesday (Days 9-11)
Sand. Lots of it. The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area stretches south of Florence and it is worth taking some time off the bike to explore. The route continues to follow US101 but with a number of detours to exploit quieter roads and spectacular views. On day 11 we pass into California….the last state but still a LONG way to go.

Northern California: Thursday 27th – Monday (Days 12-16)
A top to bottom of California is about the same distance as a Land’s End to John O’Groats only with better weather (although Northern California gets its share of rain). In the north we will pass through an astonishing variety of terrains: testing hill, misty redwood forests, rugged coasts and tourist sites abound. On Day 14 we will pass through Westport and maybe stop for a brief celebration as we pass the halfway mark and head metaphorically downhill. On Day 16 we will cross the iconic Golden Gate Bridge with views across the bay to Alcatraz and enter the outskirts of San Francisco.

Rest Day (Day 17)
A chance to explore the fantastic city of San Francisco

Central California: Wednesday- Monday (Day 18-23)
We will now follow Route 1 which offers surprisingly traffic-free riding as we edge past San Francisco and though the cities that once formed the Spanish mission chain: Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara. It is impossible to miss the fact that we are entering one of the most populous parts of the United States but the scenery remains stunning and even the tourist traps have a charm lacking in some other parts of the country. After a night in or around Carmel (where Clint Eastwood was once Mayor) we head for the (literally) high spot of the region – Big Sur. Not actually especially BIG but some tougher climbing but with breathtaking scenery. If the riding gets too tough take some time out and watch for sea otters!

Southern California: Tuesday  – Friday (Day 24- 27)
Before the sprawl of Los Angeles we reach Malibu, where even modest beach-front houses fetch $tens of millions. The last one to count 20 Ferrari’s has to buy dinner! As we skirt LA all the places will feel familiar: Santa Monica, Venice Beach, Long Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach; it is a day out of the movies. For some of the time we will actually ride on the beach, sharing the paved path with the young and the beautiful that jog, skate and roller-blade there. South of LA we return to more open countryside, actually cycling through the huge US Marine facility of Camp Pendleton. Thanks to some excellent causeways and a ferry we manage to miss most of the busier San Diego traffic, arriving at our final destination, Imperial Beach, just shy of the Mexican border. For obvious reasons the border itself is well secured, the major tourist crossing being inland at Tijuana, but it makes for a great end of trip photo opportunity.

Departure Day:
We will help pack bikes ready for the journey home and transfer people to San Diego Airport. Depending on numbers there may also be an opportunity to travel with the support vehicle back to Los Angeles where a wider choice of carriers operates.

Holiday Details:

Accommodation: The United States offers little of the small hotel/Inn/B&B accommodation that Bike Adventures is known for. Instead accommodation will be mostly in corporate motels/hotels. 

A growing number of US hotels/motels include breakfast, though this may be limited to coffee, cereal, toast and pastries. Wherever breakfast is not included we will provide a continental breakfast in your room.  We will always endeavour to book accommodation close to suitable restaurants for evening dining, where this is not possible, transport will be provided.

Weather: We will be covering over 1600 miles so will encounter a wide variety of weather. In Seattle, September is the start of the wet(ter) season and some rain is to be expected. Average temperatures at this time are around 70 Degrees F with average rainfall of 1.5 inches/month; the coastal road in particular can be prone to morning fog. In Southern California in mid-October average highs are 73 degrees F and average rainfall is about 0.5 inches/month.

Flights: Your booking excludes flights and you are responsible for making your own flight bookings. Seattle and San Diego are well served with carriers though many only offer indirect flights with a change of aircraft at a US hub. British Airways operates daily non-stop services to both airports.

Airport Transfers: You will be met at the airport upon arrival (Seattle ) and transferred to your hotel. You will also be transported to your departure airport (San Diego ). 

Transporting Your Bicycle: The policies of airlines vary and frequently change. Some will carry your bike in addition to the standard luggage allowance, some allow the bike as part of the standard allowance and some will charge extra. At the time of writing British Airways allows bikes as part of the overall allowance provided they are ‘properly’ boxed.  You are responsible for checking with your airline that your bike can be carried. Please note that, due to space limitations in the support vehicle, we cannot accept hard sided bike cases.

The rules regarding how the bike must be prepared also vary widely. Regardless of what the airline will accept, we recommend that your bike is properly boxed, either in a purpose-built case/bag or a stout cardboard box (most bike shops have these and are happy to give then free or for a few pounds). For advice on exactly how to package the bike contact us. Again, you are responsible for ensuring that your packaging meets the airline’s requirements.

 

Get In Touch

If you have any questions about any of our trips, please call us on 0800 002 9559 or send us a message below.