There are some things you need to ask yourself before you decide to go on tour following any of the many guides of the Pacific Coast Bike Route.
1. Do you enjoy ocean views and climate that usually hovers around 60 degrees?
2. Do you mind riding your bike for hours on end as thousands of (mostly) courteous motorists zoom by, guessing whether or not you'll have a shoulder to ride on as you snake your way up steep, cliffside switchbacks?
3. Do you prefer the convenience of following a well-traveled route that has had many guides and routes written about it, with cheap camping options every 30 miles or so?
Let's start with weather. I am forever at a climate disadvantage because I think everywhere outside of Florida is cold. I can handle some cold, but I'm usually not one to seek it out. Travis LOVES cold weather. That is the number one reason why we did this route. There was rarely any cause to sweat, and there were plenty of causes to make me want to put on some layers. And this is the ocean, so it's not a one-layer-fits-all situation. This is a put-on-jacket-take-off-jacket-put-on-arm-warmers-take-off-arm-warmers situation. The weather is bipolar. So get ready.
Now traffic. I know I've already talked about this a bunch but I couldn't really get over it. The cars didn't really stop. A lot of people live on the West Coast and many of them drive on these roads. Some of these roads shouldn't have bicycles on them at all because of dangerous, shoulderless curves, but they are the only option to continue the route. This was the major drawback for me for the Pacific Coast Route. Whatever tour we do next will be purposefully plotted out along low-traffic routes. Maybe in Canada, there are no people in Canada.
The popularity of this route makes it a very easy trip. Travis spent hours and hours mapping out our Arches to Dunes tour, but he didn't have the time for that this year. Luckily, all he had to do was download a copy of Bicycling the Pacific Coast, which outlines routes, detours, elevation, attractions, and campsites every tenth of a mile. It is extremely comprehensive, and it cuts out a lot of the work and worry of trip planning. Also, Oregon and California State Parks not only recognize that bike tourists exist, but WELCOME us with $5-6 campsites the require no reservations. Not only that, but there is usually somewhere to camp every thirty miles or so, and it's nice to know that you'll have consistent, cheap places to stay. It is my guess that the guides and the cheap camping account for this route's popularity, and it is a perfect route for a first time bike tourist.
So what are my final thoughts? I'm pretty sure that I will enjoy riding my bike for six weeks almost anywhere, and epic ocean views, West Coast culture, and beautiful weather make it even more enjoyable. BUT I think I prefer to ride in an emptier, slightly warmer place. It's amazing to know that my body can become a cycling machine when coaxed, and I am still in awe that we traveled over 1500 miles. I'm already counting down till next year's tour.