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Bicycling The Pacific Coast Paperback – October 1, 2005

59 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


If you've ever dreamed of riding part or all of the Pacific Coast this is a great source of information. -- The Cascadian

This is a book to inspire dreams of rolling adventure. -- San Francisco Chronicle

[A] no-holds-barred look at doing the mighty coast highway on two wheels. -- Oregonian

[T]his comprehensive guide will help you down the road. --Adventure Sports Journal

About the Author

Vicky Spring and Tom Kirkendall, noted outdoor photographers, are the authors of 100 Best Cross-Country Ski Routes in Washington, 3rd Edition, and 100 Hikes in(tm) California's Central Sierra and Coast Range, 2nd Edition, among others.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Mountaineers Books; 4 edition (October 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0898869544
  • ISBN-13: 978-0898869545
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 56 people found the following review helpful By John Shim on October 5, 2005
Format: Paperback
This route guide is one of the best I've seen out in the market place. It has all the details that a long distance biker on a budget would need including: road map, elevation map, descriptions of interesting sites, road conditions, traffic conditions, mileage, camping sites with levels of amenities (esp important shower), and where to get food and other supplies/services. I also liked the fact that it wasn't trying to be everything to everyone by not including detailed information on hotels, motels, restaurants, etc except for the fact that they exist or don't exist in a particular town or area.

So why did I not give them 5 stars?

1) Internal inconsistancy - there are a significant amount of these. Mostly it is where the mileage of the description doesn't match with the mileage of the elevation map. Here's an example. In the Oregon Border to Elk Prairie Campground the written route description indicates that the first summit of the Crescent City hills is at mile 34.6 but the elevation map shows that summit at 28 miles. Am I cutting hairs? You decide. But depending on your ride pace a 6-7 mile difference can be 1/2 hour, not so much of an issue in the middle of the day but it might be at the end of the day.

2) Updated content - I have a suspicion that the guide hasn't been updated even though the 4th edition came out just recently. For the most part, the guide was written in a timeless manner that prevents it from showing much age. For example, it doesn't recommend particular restaurants. But things do change. For example on the Elk Prarie Campground to Eureka KOA day the recommended route is on Hwy 101. It's very busy and a couple of nice smaller roads are recommended (Patrick's Point and Little River St Beach).
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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Gaines on November 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
This guide is a must have for anyone wanting to ride the Pacific Coast. I just used it to for a solo ride from San Francisco to the Mexican border. The guide provides turn by turn instructions to navigate through unfamiliar territory and can even provide some surprises in areas that you may know pretty well. It was very helpful in daily planning for stops for food, water, etc. and for some unplanned needs like bike shops for repairs. The elevation guide was also very helpful in gauging when to take a break or when a big climb is over. The guide provides recommended daily rides which I altered as necessary to stop and visit friends. Obtaining a good tourist guide from AAA would provide a nice supplement to the book for other sight seeing opportunities if you have the time. This leg of my journey was 600 miles and I am looking forward to using the guide next summer on a 1200 mile ride from Vancouver, BC to San Francisco.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Will McDonald on June 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
I biked the entire Pacific coast in September 2005, and used this book to help plan my trip. Were I to do it again knowing what I know now, I wouldn't buy the book.

Don't get me wrong, this is a good book - I read it ahead of time and it helped me figure out relative distances and times, which helped in planning. In general it seemed very thorough and well put-together, and I met people on my trip that used it.

It's main drawback is that it's a BOOK. It's not convenient to refer to on the road, and the directions, while nicely detailed, are too verbose for real reference. In addition, because it's fundamentally a linear narrative of how to get from here to there, it's not very convenient if you need or want to get off of their path for any reason.

I mailed this book home after I discovered that my Adventure Cycling maps (adv-cycling dot org) fulfilled all of my needs - directions, detail in cities, where to shower, sleep & eat (including phone #s), elevation, and distances. Besides that, they are small, waterproof, and easy to refer to while riding or pull out at a stop-sign.

In general I'm a more visual/map guy than a directions/narative guy, so your mileage may vary. If you want a book to tell you how to bike the Pacific coast, this is the one. If any of what I said sounds like you it applies to you, feel free to skip the book.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mike Eberts on September 19, 2003
Format: Paperback
I bought this book from Amazon in 2002 and used it during a ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles in August 2003.
It's a very good guide. The directions for their main route were quite detailed and usually clear. I got lost a couple of times, but never badly and it may not have been the book's fault. Milage totals were usually pretty close, although there were a couple of segments that were off somewhat. The guide is much more useful if you photocopy the pages with directions. Then you can use them as daily route slips. The book can be kept in a pannier during the trip to be brought out in the evening to get an overview of the next day's route and stuff you might see along the way.
I also enjoy the overall feeling that it was written by dyed-in-the-wool cyclists for dyed-in-the-wool cyclists. This authenticity comes out sometimes in little asides, such as the authors' comment that a northbound tunnel near Gaviota (CA) is like riding through a high-suction vacuum hose. If you've ridden a bicycle through that tunnel, you'd know how dead-on that description is.
I didn't give the book 5 stars (although I would have given it 4.5 if there was an option) because it doesn't provide much for the bicycle tourist who prefers hotels and hostels to camping. An appendix with a listing of youth hostels and a selection of cyclist-friendly hotels on the route would make the guide more complete. It would be especially helpful if the authors did this for the more remote regions on the route. The authors also might want to add a little more commentary and detail to the alternate routes they sometimes suggest.
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