A must ride for all cyclists whatever your level of expertise.
Oct 18, 2023
The West Coast is known for its sunny beaches, good weather and friendly people, but what about its incredible bike routes? The Pacific Coast bike route is a 1,578-mile bike route that stretches from Vancouver, British Columbia, down to San Diego, California. Riders will be treated to the best that the West Coast offers in incredible scenery as you dance along the coastline, switching between highways, bike paths and urban roads.
The route follows highways, urban roads and bike paths, so you won’t need a fancy mountain bike to ride this route. Generally in good condition, you’ll find the terrain smooth and be perfectly comfortable on skinny wheels. If you’re looking for more comfort, opt for a gravel bike with wider tyres or an e-bike to cover the distance quickly. The geography varies as you pedal through British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and California. One can expect farmlands that become rural areas as you head out of Vancouver, over the border and into Washington. Two ferry rides break up the riding, one across to Port Townsend after deception pass and another across the Colombia River into Oregon. From Oregon, you’re onto the coastline, and you’ll encounter shaggy coastlines, beautiful old lighthouses and many tidal pools urging you to stop for a dip in their calm waters.
The best time to ride the entire route is during Spring or Autumn when the weather is warm but not too hot. The roads are also quieter in Spring and Autumn compared to the peak Summer season when the coastal towns are buzzing with tourists.
California is known for milder winters; this section of the route is ridable all year around, although it will be cooler and rainier in winter.
Don’t be tricked into thinking that if you’re going in Summer, you won’t experience cooler weather. It’s best to be prepared for anything and have enough cold-weather gear.
Accommodation and resupply
You’ll be spoilt for choice if you tackle a longer section of the route and need somewhere to stay overnight. Beautiful beachside campsites are scattered along the way, and great hostels, Airbnb and upmarket hotels are available to suit any budget. There is also no shortage of restaurants and shops along the route. In between Newport and Laguna beaches is a spot called Crystal Cove Shake Shack. We highly recommend stopping by for one of their legendary shakes and sandwiches.
Logistics are often a nightmare when it comes to one-way-routes; however, with multiple buses, trains and airports along the route, you’ll find it easy to get back to your starting point. You can easily ride a section of the route over a couple of days and then take the train back home, or if you’re feeling particularly brave, tackle the entire route and book a flight back home from San Diego airport at the end of the trail.
Try the Amatrack if you’re looking for an easy, hassle-free solution to getting home after your adventure. Their carriages have bike storage downstairs. Pack a lock to secure your bike while locked in the carriage for additional safety. You can hop onto the Amtrak Cascades line if you’re looking to get from Vancouver to Seattle or back. The Coast Starlight runs from Seattle to Los Angeles, with multiple stops along the way. Once in California, you can hop on and off the Pacific Surfliner from Los Angeles to San Diego. You can book from station to station, allowing you to tailor your trip easily. With multiple daily trips, you’re bound to pick up a last-minute trip.
Multiple other buses and even Uber and Lyft options are available if you’re in a pinch.
This route has tourist attractions, off-the-beaten-track beaches, hole-in-the-wall restaurants and breathtaking views. Whether you decide to take on the entire trail over a couple of months or just do a section in a day, this route is an adventure to add to the list of must-do routes for any cyclist or adventurer.
Did you know that Sundays has your bike covered from theft away from home and domestic and international travel? This means you can confidently take the Pacific Ocean bike route without worrying about your bike. Sundays understands how expensive your bike gear can be, too, so they allow you to add your accessories to your policy, just in case something happens to them.
You can take out a quick obligation-free quote here.