Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Bicycling the Pacific Coast: A Complete Route Guide, Canada to Mexico

Rate this book

CLICK HERE to download the 42 mile ride near Anacortes and the 48 mile ride along the Oregon Coast from Bicycling the Pacific Coast

* Bicycle touring the Pacific Coast is outlined in one trip or four separate adventures
* Road directions, points of interest, and available restrooms and provisions all built into daily mileage logs
* Elevation profiles and Table of Essentials overview for each day's ride

From Canada to the Mexican border, Bicycling the Pacific Coast is the most popular guidebook to bicycle touring this gorgeous edge of the U.S. Tom Kirkendall and Vicky Spring guide you turn by turn along the length of Pacific Coast Bicycle Route -- all 1816.5 miles. These forty-two suggested daily itineraries (averaging 53 miles each) begin and end at campsites.

Everything you need to know about each day's ride is included: from tunnel-riding strategies to where to buy a new derailer, from one-of-a-kind museums along the way to side trips to lonely lighthouses and towering sand dunes. Cyclists will find a quick-glance Table of Essentials for each daily itinerary, listing availability of bike shops, beach access, hiking trails, youth hostels, and activities while touring through California, Washington, and Oregon.

272 pages, Paperback

First published May 1, 1984

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Vicky Spring

18 books

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
64 (41%)
4 stars
63 (40%)
3 stars
25 (16%)
2 stars
3 (1%)
1 star
0 (0%)
Displaying 1 - 17 of 17 reviews
Profile Image for Scott Brown.
7 reviews2 followers
January 30, 2017
I bought this book at very last minute. I didn't even know it existed until I was told by my Air Bnb host 3 days before I left on my ride to San Francisco. Once I got it I studied it over those final 3 days, with my pencil ready to make notes and jot things down.
I had never done a bike tour before, or any tour which I had to organise myself so I was in new territory here. Bicycling the Pacific Coast made the whole experience so much easier.
Each chapter resembled a leg of the trip. Some legs were more manageable than others but legs none the less. After a brief description of what you would see in that day, it goes into step-by-step log of directions. It's very much like a recipe book, with a detailing the itinerary very precisely.
The book was first written in 1984 and has had a couple of updates since, but they have done a good job not to give too many directions based on things that change "the Domino's pizza on the corner". Instead they use Mile Markers on the road, road names and well established points of interest to make their point.
Each chapter is accompanied by a map that details the camp sites, hostels and side trips, as well as an incline chart. This is really helpful in not only identifying where the sites are, but also how close (or far in some cases!) they are from each other. If you're flagging then you had an idea on if you'd be able to push on to the next one. The side routes are interesting as well. The 101 isn't always the most pleasant of roads to be on so any opportunity to get off it, we decided to take it.
In the written instructions you will also find that they note where the last supermarket of the day is as well as the nearest bike shop, if you need to get supplies. This was very useful, as it prevented you from stocking up too early and weighing yourself down at the first available market, but also put your mind at ease when your bike is a little dodgy! On top of this anything of interest in the area can be found here too, from quirky museums to hot springs that aren't to be missed
As a first time cycle tourist, and having never been to the west coast, this book was an absolute life saver. About 50% of the riders that I met on the trip also had this book which is testament to it. It was easy to follow and had all the key information that you need. The distances didn't always feel 100% accurate and the inclines could be a bit deceptive but otherwise the book had everything I needed.
I would compliment this book with a detailed road map, either on your phone or on paper. They are far more detailed so it will give you a little more freedom to find some more of those side roads and little trips that aren't in this book.
Profile Image for John.
81 reviews1 follower
October 26, 2009
I haven't read the whole book, just the Pacific City, Oregon to San Francisco section. Excellent resource for bike touring on the Pacific Coast. Mile by mile description list of resources, camping spots, watering holes, etc.

The book is divided up into roughly 50 mile days which is a little useless as I only met one solo 65 year old on a recumbent who was actually riding that little each day. Usually we'd just ride out two or so sections of the book a day. The author gives in depth descriptions of the campground that she has selected as the destination for that day's ride which did sometimes make the sure promise of hot showers hard to pass up. Amenity lists of campgrounds and small towns did seem fairly accurate.

Where the book did fall short was that if you strayed from the exact route described in the book you were quite literally lost in the woods. No maps in the book encompass even the slightest area outside of the described route. You have to be pretty choosy about what you are going to bring bike touring as you're going to be carrying it for hundreds or thousands of miles. We left behind any maps and just brought this book which was kind of a mistake. Off the author's route we were really just guessing. Oh well, we figured it out...

Bring this book and bring some maps and have a great ride!
Profile Image for Nick.
141 reviews
July 29, 2020
I rode Bremerton/Seattle via ferry to Jenner/Santa Rosa and this book was indispensable. I heard it referred to as the Bible on the trip. I’m rating the book based on my experience from following the guide. Not from reading it. Get a bike and ride it.
212 reviews1 follower
August 18, 2018
Just a great first hand guide to riding the pacific coast. I have used this to ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles - first in the 1980s (first version) and then again in 2016. Now when I get lost, I can supplement with Googlemaps on my phone, which is great. Terrific information and perspective! I am now using it to plan a ride of the Oregon coast this summer (2017), and plan to fill out the other sections eventually.

7/8/17 - Used this as a guide to riding down the Oregon Coast over five days. Except for one place where the road is closed, which I worked out, this continues to be an excellent guide to start from and adapt. I saw several other riders using it too! Great to study well in advance to sketch out miles per day and stopping points, then to review the night before each ride for profile and places to stop for coffee and lunch, and then review during the ride when you want to figure out where you are, places to stop, or distance to finish. Just great! (Plan to use it next summer for another leg on the U.S. coast!)

8/18/18 - Used this as a guide to prepare and plan for riding down the State of Washington. Just love the way it describes the highway, conditions to be expected, places to stop, places to shop, etc. I tended to use GoogleMaps guide me during the actual ride, but would check the guide overnight. Also gave away some pages to another traveler without a guide where the rest of my ride for the day was "stay on the 101." I ran into other riders that were following the book, so it also links you into a community of riders. The days ride are a bit short for what I am looking for (70-80 miles a day), so I tend to do 1 1/2 days ride or 2 at once. Stands the test of time well!
Profile Image for Jenifer  R..
32 reviews11 followers
September 13, 2014
I used this book to do a bike tour of the Pacific Coast this summer. Pretty much everyone in the hiker-biker camps had this book, or wanted to get a look at it. Great book - the authors make good suggestions, and most of the information is up-to-date. There were a few towns where grocery stores had moved & a few towns where there were now grocery stores, but nothing too troubling. The elevation profiles in this book were not the best. For that I would recommend the Adventure Cycling maps. This book tends to keep you on 101 on the northern section of the coast. There are some great detours suggested by the Adventure Cycling Association that aren't in this book. I used some of those detours, but then also chose to stay on 101 in order to cut mileage down on other days. I think the ideal combination was to have both this book and maps. The book is by far best for suggestions of things to do, mileage logs, etc. The Pacific Coast is amazing, though - you could have an adventure without a guidebook... but you may miss a few awesome things (whale watching, hiking side trips) without some heads-up.
Profile Image for Benjamin Richards.
237 reviews2 followers
September 2, 2015
Make sure you have the latest edition! Yes, it is an invaluable aide to the Pacific Coast tourer, although, like Lonely Planet/Rough Guide addicts it is easy to become too focussed on the routes and activities listed in the book. Personally, I found myself following the book less and less as the cycling progressed as I stayed at as many 'Warm Showers' as possible and also wild camped in the more expensive areas. One up-shot of the guidebook was that it became possible to rendezvous with friends made along the way as you could plan ahead to see where they would be camping at dates in the near future due to the rigour of attending to the schedule.

There is a wealth of information included on areas that you will visit, so, although I have semi-slated it above, I would still class this as an invaluable aid to preparing and then touring along the route.

Finally, you might, like me, find it amusing looking at the dated pictures used in the later editions that were evidently used in the first editions!
7 reviews
March 10, 2014
The good: This books is a fairly complete guide to bicycling the pacific coast. It has nice mileage logs,suggestions of places to stay and suggested bike touring daily itineraries.

The not so good: This book is in its FOURTH edition, and should not have so many errors in it, still. It's not the Henry O. Hatfield Marine Science Center but the Mark O. Hatfield Marine Science Center. It's not Olisan Street in Portland but GLISAN Street. It's not Humbolt County, CA, but HUMBOLDT COUNTY, CA.

The material in this book is getting kind of dated. I hope they update it soon. I plan on photocopying the maps of the area I plan to cycle and leave the book at home.

This is the best book on the topic out there, but only because it's the only book on the topic out there.
Profile Image for Velma.
709 reviews61 followers
January 25, 2009
Indispensable guide for riding the Pacific Coast route between Canada and Mexico. I used my now well-thumbed copy on a 1,317 mile trip from British Columbia to San Francisco in summer of 1988, and found it invaluable. Didn't come across many other riders on the road who hadn't at least consulted it prior to embarcation; only the ones riding from south to north, in ignorance of the prevailing wind direction.
Profile Image for Bo.
47 reviews6 followers
May 27, 2010
A really handy book for travelling the PCH on bike. Kept up to date too, with plenty of things too see and side trips to explore. My only problem is that the book is that it's written for travelling Southward. They do explain this reasoning, and I did learn the same lesson when I tried going Northward. The wind makes what would be a pleasant ride insanely difficult and slow. I guess I should appreciate the book more, now that I think about it. I'm changing my rating to five stars, because I should've taken their advice to begin with. Next time this book will prove a little more handy.
5 reviews2 followers
July 13, 2008
This is the book that everyone talks about at the hiker/biker camp sites! With simple maps. mileage waypoints, day trip descriptions and campground information, this book gives you a great sense of comfort as you set off. Although I biked only a small portion of the coast, not in the intervals recommended by the book, I read almost the entire thing. I treasure this book and can't wait to hit the rest of the route.
Profile Image for Risa.
86 reviews11 followers
August 8, 2008
a real page turner, i know. But eventually, when you can, you might want to ride your bike from Monterey to Big Sur and beyond to see the most gorgeous part of the coast and stop for deep fried artichoke hearts and beer in the middle of the day. and when that time comes, you can borrow my xeroxed pages from this book becuase i intend to return it to Borders. unless it proves to be really, really riveting.
Profile Image for Stasia.
234 reviews4 followers
January 5, 2011
Super informative! I photocopied only the pages I needed and took those on my bike from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. What's super helpful is that the book lays out all the campgrounds you'll run into along the route, as well as any fun things to do or random side trips. I felt super well-prepared to go anywhere, even though it was my first time biking this route. Very well done.
Profile Image for Aathavan.
67 reviews6 followers
June 7, 2007
The book is a great guide to anyone who wants to tour the Pacific coast on a bike. My advice - read the book, toss it and then run off the road! There is plenty to be had off the beaten track described in the book.
Profile Image for Lisa.
70 reviews7 followers
July 27, 2014
A bit outdated by now in some parts, and she tends to underestimate distances, but a very useful resource to have with you on your trip!
Profile Image for Erin Sward.
6 reviews3 followers
June 27, 2015
it is a NECESSITY while biking this coast. it's all you need.
Displaying 1 - 17 of 17 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.