A note on the wind… we’re not crazy, it is that bad!

The below is taken from “THE BOOK” – Bicycling The Pacific Coast – it is the preface in it, and the section that we’ve been asked many times if we’ve read, and which yesterday Ryan told me I do not want to read, because I’ll then want to jump on the train and follow them north to be able to ride south. So naturally, when I found it online I immediately wanted to read it.


Why North to South?

If, in 1981, tom had decided to ride the Pacific Coast south from Canada to Mexico, he would have had a great time, and this book would never have been written. However, in 1982 Tom decided to ride from Mexico to Canada, and the results are as follows.
I rode with him from Mexico to Santa Barbara, ending the short trip with a sunburn and a great enthusiasm for bicycle touring. As he continued to pedal on, I drove north heading to a summer job, certain that I was missing a great ride.

Something happened as Tom rode on by himself. North of Santa Barbara, he encountered stiff headwinds that blew the fun right out of his adventure. Scenery and the thrill of exploring became secondary to his daily battle with the wind. The wind created an invisible, never-ending hill that had to be constantly climbed. the wind beat dirt into his face, produced an annoying whistling sound through his helmet, and attempted to push him back to Mexico. By San Francisco, riding became a chore. In Oregon, 80-mile-per-hour winds blew him to a stop while going down a steep hill. In Washington, he had 3 hours of peace when a very wet storm blew through from the south, giving him a much appreciated tailwind.
When describing that trip, tom will pull out his trip journal. The beginning journal is full of his thoughts and impressions; in the second half he wrote only of the wind. His journal describes how he got up early in the morning to avoid the winds that blew the strongest in the afternoon.

The following summer, Tom and I rode back down the coast to prove it can be fun. It was an incredible trip. Oh yes, the wind was still blowing, but this time, it was pushing us south. near the Sea Lion Caves in Oregon, I had to apply my breaks to stop at a viewpoint on a steep uphill grade. The miles flew by, and we had plenty of extra time and energy to stop and explore the forests and beaches.

To help other bicyclists avoid the disappointment of nourthbound travel, we spent the following year organizing this guide.

When you plan your first tour down the coast, take advantage of the tail winds, head south, and leave yourself plenty of time to explore and enjoy the coast.

Vicky Springs, Seattle 2004

However I must also add, at the time of publishing this, the forecast for San Francisco for tomorrow and the following day are both showing South Eastern winds… and thus, a tailwind!