The fourth annual Amgen People’s Coast Classic got off to a near-perfect start today. The ride is a fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation and everyone on the ride has been impacted by some form of arthritis in one way or another. Some people are riding for their children or other family members who have been stricken with the disease, others are riding for friends, and some are riding for themselves — using bicycling as a key part of their ongoing treatment.
The PCC is smaller than its sister ride, the California Coast Classic. There are only about 50 riders here this year. Add in all the support staff and volunteers and we’re still shy of 100 people. But what this ride lacks in size, it more than makes up for in the essential elements of any great organized ride: the support and food has been top-notch so far; the people are fun and friendly; and the route is world-class (even if the infrastructure itself is subpar in many sections).
We set out from the Columbia Maritime Museum in Astoria and rambled about 67 miles south to Tillamook. Along the way we were treated to the typical highs and (very) lows of the Oregon Coast Bike Route; from wide and smoothly-paved shoulders to the hair-raising Arch Cape Tunnel (more on that later). One of the best things of riding the Oregon Coast is that every few miles there’s another little city to ride through. Today I rolled slowly, with eyes wide open, through towns like Seaside, Cannon Beach, Arch Cape, Manzanita, Nehalem, Wheeler, Rockaway Beach, and others. Most of these towns have histories that go back at least 100 years and they share similar storylines that feature either fishing, forests, farming, or some combination of the three.
See a bit more of the towns, the people I’ve met, and the conditions we’re riding through in the photos below…
The Arch Cape Tunnel really annoyed me…
Thanks for checking out my photos and recap. Stay tuned for more thoughts about riding on the coast, photos from the road, and other random tales. Browse more images in our photo gallery.
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Seems like walking your bike on the sidewalk through the Arch Cape Tunnel might be a safer alternative than trying to ride in the inadequate bike lane. That’s what I’ve done. Great pictures of the rest of the ride.
Thanks for drumming up my own memories of touring down the Oregon Coast!! FYI, ODOT produced this rather adorable guide to touring the coast a few years back. Lots of great information, included all their well suggested detours off of 101.
The Arch Cape Tunnel traverse is as much an embarrassment as it is an insult.
Thanks for the happy memories you brought up. That tunnel! – I remember coming out of it with my hands stiff from squeezing —unconsciously! A gorgeous report.
“ODOT wants people to drive 30 mph when someone on a bike is in a dark tunnel that has just one narrow lane and no shoulder. They should make this a “No Passing When Bike Riders are Present” sign.”
That white car is passing against the law. The double yellow line is a “no passing” zone for both directions of travel so no additional signage should be needed. I too would have played it safe and walked my bike on the narrow sidewalk.
BTW Watch for Gray whales very close in to shore (within 100 yards) anytime you are alongside a rocky shore. They are feeding there at this time of year.
The double yellow law has an exception not specifically for bicycles and slow moving farm vehicles.
“That white car is passing against the law. ” Actually, in Oregon it is legal for cars to cross the double-yellow to pass cyclists. The law was changed a few years ago to allow this.
Be sure to share your opinions, comments and questions with ODOT, re: Cape Arch Tunnel or anything else.
If coast bicyclists would have complained about the partially paved shoulder when it was first done in 2011, then 2 years worth of summer bicyclists wouldn’t have had to risk their necks while riding on it.
& that activated flashing yellow light system for the tunnel was innovative and effective in, say, 1979, but is begging for an upgrade now.
from ODOT —
“Welcome to the Oregon Department of Transportation. If you have an opinion, comment or question, or if you need assistance with an ODOT issue, we want to hear from you.” –http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/Pages/contact_us.aspx
& (re: road surface hazards)
“To make riding safer for you and other bicyclists, report unsafe road conditions to local authorities as soon as possible.” (p. 4)
I’ve never been through the Arch Cape tunnel… would the geography not allow for a bike path around it, even if it was just a gravel trail? I’m thinking of paths that allow you to go around the tunnels on uphill direction of Cornell rd here in town…
Here is a topographic map of the cape: http://goo.gl/maps/CwMgG
There is very steep cliff and hill which the tunnel avoids. A new path would be expensive due to the terrain, and would add 1/4 mile to the trip. It would also require north-bound bikes to make 2 left turns across the highway. It would be better to bore a new tunnel or widen the current tunnel. Or the small “sidewalk” could be changed to function as a shoulder for bikes, perhaps?
Ah yes, thanks for the link. That does look like challenging terrain…. it’s too bad the sidewalks aren’t wider (or that drivers can’t just be patent for 2 minutes…)
Jonathan this is amazing! I can’t fathom riding from Astoria to Tillamook in a day, especially with all those steep mountain climbs. Did you get to hit up Manzanita? There’s an amazing seafood spot in Seaside called Bell Buoy as well
(Disclaimer: I haven’t ridden this myself.) Steve Greene recommends this Coos Bay Bridge bypass route:
Hi there! Do you happen to have strava routes/any sort of map/leftover scribbled directions for any of these days back in 2013? I am planning an Oregon coast Astoria –> Eureka cycling trip in the fall and am trying to finalize my overnight stops/route. I’ve cycled highway 1 in California several times but I’ve heard Oregon’s 101 is not quite as bike friendly….and since I’ll be doing this solo I’d like to be safe 🙂 Any tips at all would be much appreciated!
P.S. Your thoroughness in these posts is helping a TON to someone who has never been to Oregon!
Thanks a bunch!