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Guest Article: Buddies, beers, and bikes along the Oregon Coast

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 30th, 2010 at 12:37 pm

[Longtime BikePortland reader John Beaston recently completed a bike tour with some friends along the Oregon Coast. I asked him to share a few photos and a brief recap about what they did along the way. Please note: Since this ride combined bicycling and beer drinking, I asked Beaston to explain how they made sure there was no pedaling under the influence. He said they had a designated support van the entire way and all brewery stops were scheduled at dinner, so no riding was done after imbibing.]

The group at Seaside.
John Beaston is second from right.

Back in 2002, a friend and I did the Oregon Coast Bike Route. After we got home we told all of our beer buddies about what a great experience it was; a pitcher later and we had concocted the 2010 Oregon Coast Brewery to Brewery Bike Tour -- a 7-day, van-supported jaunt from Astoria to Brookings taking in the scenery and stopping at all seven coastal breweries.

We just returned and here's a combo beer and road report...

Breweries (see full list below)
The good: Those seven breweries are creating some fantastic beers. Ft George Brewing in Astoria and Wakonda Brewing in Florence were our favorites places. Wakonda's Imperial Pilsner was our standout beer.

The "needs improvement": There are no breweries south of Florence. That's a long, long dry stretch. This is a huge economic opportunity just waiting in Coos Bay, Port Orford, Bandon, Gold Beach and Brookings.

The Oregon Coast Bike Route:
The good: The scenery is spectacular. It is a world-renowned route after all. This is a Cycle Oregon-class ride. We averaged 60 miles per day and over 3000 feet of climbing. The state-supplied map is
great, and much of the route takes side trips off Highway 101 on low traffic side road. These side trips were some of the best sections of the trip. Since 2002, the state has used stimulus money to significantly improve the pavement quality in spots. There are now miles and miles of baby-butt smoothness to enjoy.

The "needs improvement": There are also miles and miles of shoulder chock-full of debris (primarily gravel and wood chips). Particularly in the southern part of the route, sections of the travel lane have been repaired or repaved but the shoulder has not. Some places have dangerously narrow shoulders that require sharing the road with massive RVs and log trucks. Bridges are often pinch-points requiring taking the lane or walking.

Our advice: Do it! Especially after Labor Day to avoid some of the traffic. Ride carefully. Many of the tourists are not used to being around bicycles.

The OCBTBBT team was John Beaston, Ted Forgeron, Steve Armbrust, Rich Bader, Cort Vaughan and John Driscoll...

The Breweries:

    Fort George Brewery + Public House
    Website
    1483 Duane St.
    Astoria, OR 97103
    503-325-PINT

    Wet Dog - Astoria Brewing
    Facebook
    144 11th
    Astoria, OR 97103
    503-325-6975

    Warren House Pub (owned by Bill's Tavern/Brewery)
    Facebook
    3301 S Hemlock
    Cannon Beach, OR 97110
    503-436-1130

    Pelican Pub & Brewery
    Website
    33180 Cape Kiwanda Dr.
    Pacific City, OR 97135
    503-965-7007

    Rogue Ales Brewery
    Website
    748 SW Bay Blvd.
    Newport, OR 97365
    541-265-3188

    Wakonda Brewing Co.
    Facebook
    1725 Kingwood St. #4
    Florence, OR 97439
    541-991-0694

    Wild River Pizza (brewery in Cave Junction)
    Website
    16279 Highway 101 S
    Brookings Harbor, OR 97415
    541-469-7454

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Comments
  • Evan Manvel August 30, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Fabulous! Of course, Rogue also has a brewery in Astoria, and there's an obscure little brewery in Newport - SKW Brewing.

    Guess you'll have to return!

    Wakonda is one of my favorites, as well...

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  • Velophile in Exile August 30, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Pelican is my favorite.

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  • kiel Johnson August 30, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    Does anyone know where I can get the route map they talked about? Looks like a great ride!

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  • John Beaston August 30, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    The state bike maps are available at

    http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/maps.shtml

    -John

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  • Steve Armbrust August 30, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    We didn't know about SKW Brewing, but according to their website, the pub has closed because of the brewer's illness. That's really too bad.

    Another place on the coast that we didn't visit was McMenamins Lighthouse Brewpub in Lincoln City.

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  • Ted Buehler August 30, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    John --

    Thanks for the report.

    The spots where the driving surface is repaved and the shoulder is not are "reportable defects." If you know the milepost numbers you can report to ODOT and I would think they'd get it fixed pretty quick.

    Oregon Pavement Design Guide, p. 22
    http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/CONSTRUCTION/publications2.shtml

    "6.1.2.2 Shoulders
    "For new work or reconstruction where shoulders are built at the same time as travel lanes, shoulders will be designed to the same asphalt thickness and materials as the travel lane."

    I would think that a phone call with the mileposts of shoulder debris would also see results.

    Ted Buehler

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  • SilkySlim August 30, 2010 at 9:51 pm

    There really isn't anything better than a good brew after a day of touring.

    The highlight of my summer tour of the Oregon Cascades: discovering Brewers Union Local 180 in Oakridge at the end of long day which included an unexpected 25 miles of gravel over a mountain pass!

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  • esther September 3, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    My husband and I have cycled the coast twice, credit card touring style.

    We think Pelican cream ale in Pacific City is the best.

    We found Brookings to be a strangely unappealing town since it probably has some of the best weather in the United States.

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  • Ted Buehler February 7, 2011 at 12:39 am

    Here's more information for how to report the defects in bike lanes. If anyone rides ODOT roads and wants to see them improved, sending in simple maintenance requests can be the best strategy -- AskODOT@odot.state.or.us

    Make each request as specific as possible. Avoid broad descriptions like "There's crap on the shoulder all the way from Coos Bay to Bandon." Instead be as precise as you can, with reports like: "There's woodchip debris in the southbound shoulder of Highway 101 from milepost 121.6 to 120.3, and again from 119.8 to 117.2" Break it down into manageable work orders for ODOT staff.

    The basics --

    First -- note that ODOT requests that bicyclists inform them of unsafe road conditions. From the Oregon Bicyclists Manual, page 4:

    Road Surface Hazards
    ... To make riding safer for you and other bicyclists, report unsafe road conditions to local authorities as soon as possible.

    http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/docs/bike_manual.pdf (as linked from http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/planproc.shtml )

    Second -- To report unsafe conditions, go to the "just ask ODOT" page and give them as much information as possible. Type of defect, mileposts, etc.

    Fill out the form at
    http://highway.odot.state.or.us/cf/comments/comments.cfm
    or email them at AskODOT@odot.state.or.us

    You can email them with a photo of the defect. (You can't upload a photo to the form, but you will receive an email confirmation from each submission, and you can reply to it with a photo.)

    ****************

    Here's how the four types of problems John observed can be reported:

    Problem 1) "There are also miles and miles of shoulder chock-full of debris (primarily gravel and wood chips)"
    To request shoulder sweeping, cite Oregon Bike Plan

    Solution -- send in a maintenance request. Give them the mileposts affected, in as accurate of detail as possible. (southbound shoulder, mp 40.5 - mp 38.9). If you break it into chunks of 5 miles or less they'll probably find it more palatable.

    Send photos of the worst spots. Photos will help the dispatcher decide whether to send out the sweeper, the grader, or the shovel team.

    Refer to the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, p. 173. Section B.1. Sweeping.
    "Sweep walkways and bikeways whenever there is an accumulation of debris on the facility;"
    http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/docs/or_bicycle_ped_plan.pdf
    (as linked to from http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/BIKEPED/planproc.shtml )

    -----------

    Problem 2) "sections of the travel lane have been repaired or repaved but the shoulder has not."

    Solution -- send in a maintenance request. Again, give them the mileposts with as much accuracy as possible. Take photos of the worst sections. Use a Contour Gauge if you have one ($20 at Woodcrafters) Trace the gauge shape on 1/4" graph paper for best presentation. If you don't want to bring one, bring a lightweight ruler you can use with any straightedge to report the height of the "step" between the shoulder and the travel lanes. Take photos of the ruler, straightedge, and a recognizable roadside feature in the background.

    Refer to the Oregon Pavement Design Guide (2007), p. 22. Section 6.1.2.2 Shoulders.
    "For new work or reconstruction where shoulders are built at the same time as travel lanes, shoulders will be designed to the same asphalt thickness and materials as the travel lane."
    http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/CONSTRUCTION/docs/pavement/odot_pavement_design_guide_2007.pdf (as linked to from
    http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/CONSTRUCTION/publications2.shtml)

    Contour gauges are available for $21 at Woodcrafters at NE 8th and Davis in Portland. http://www.generaltools.com/Products/10-Contour-Gage__833.aspx

    -----------

    Problem 3) "Some places have dangerously narrow shoulders that require sharing the road with massive RVs and log trucks."

    Solution -- bring a measuring tape or measuring wheel. In these "zero shoulder" spots, measure the width of the driving lanes. If they are more than 12' wide, they are out of compliance and should be narrowed by moving the white stripe towards the center lines until they're only 12' wide.

    Send in your maintenance requests. Anywhere where the bike lane/shoulder is less than 5' wide and the car lane is more than 12' wide is a candidate for stripe-moving. Take photos of your tape measure or measuring wheel, ideally with a recognizable roadside feature in the photo.

    (This one will take them about a year to complete, but it certainly isn't going to happen unless you send it in. I sent in a request for this on NE MLK (Schmeer - Marine) and N Denver (Argyle - Schmeer) in 2008. It took 2 years, but it's a big improvement now that it's done).

    Refer to the Oregon Highway Design Manual (2003), p. 7-10, Rural Highway Travel Lane Widths.
    "Highways identified as freight routes by the Oregon Highway Plan should utilize a 12 foot lane, regardless of volume."
    ftp://ftp.odot.state.or.us/techserv/roadway/web_drawings/HDM/Rev_E_2003Chp07.pdf
    (as linked to from http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/ENGSERVICES/hwy_manuals.shtml )

    Buy a measuring wheel at Harbor Freight for $10 -- you can use it as fast as you can walk across the street.
    http://www.harborfreight.com/1000-ft-measuring-wheel-95701.html Alternatively, you can use a measuring tape -- wait for a gap, and be careful not to get run over. Have a friend hold one end for you.

    -----------

    Problem 4) "Bridges are often pinch-points requiring taking the lane or walking."

    Solution -- each of these bridges should have a "[Bicycles] ON BRIDGE ROADWAY" sign at the entrance to the bridge. This is a diamond yellow "bicycle symbol" sign (W11-1) and a rectangular yellow "ON BRIDGE ROADWAY" sign (OBW1-7) below it.

    Send in your maintenance request for each of these. Look at both ends of the bridge to see if a sign is necessary for both directions.

    Refer to the Oregon "Sign Policy and Guidelines for the State Highway System" (rev 3-23-2007) p. 8-32 for the "ON BRIDGE ROADWAY" sign
    http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/TRAFFIC-ROADWAY/docs/pdf/english_chapter_8.pdf
    (as linked to from http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/TRAFFIC-ROADWAY/sign_policy.shtml )
    and the "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices" (2009) p. 129, sec 2C.49 for the diamond bicycle sign. http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/pdfs/2009/pdf_index.htm
    (as linked to from http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/kno_2009.htm )

    If you want to browse additional ODOT manuals, they're all at http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/TECHSERV/alphamanuals.shtml

    **************

    To wrap-up, remember ODOT's request to us bicyclists in the Oregon Bicyclist Manual --
    "To make riding safer for you and other bicyclists, report unsafe road conditions to local authorities as soon as possible."

    Go out and ride, shoot pics with your cell phone, make notes at stops, and send in those maintenance requests.

    Ted Buehler

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