The Pedalshift Project 127: Summer bike tour with a twist (Live)

Recorded live from Washington, DC, this episode of the Pedalshift Project includes my summer tour reveal, including the interesting twist to make it end where I start. Plus, amazingly good news on two big closures on important touring gems, the C&O and the Pacific Coast route. Plus banter with you… because this was live!

The Pedalshift Project 127: Summer bike tour with a twist (Live)

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Summer bike tour with a twist!

My next tour is… the Oregon Coast, with a twist.

I love touring the Oregon coast in the teeth of summer.
Great amenities
Beautiful coastline
Challenging days
But but but…

In order to do the southern reaches of the coast before, I’ve always had to continue well into northern California, if not all the way to SF.

What if there were a way to get back to Portland from Brookings?

“The Book” has for years mentioned a long-discontinued Greyhound bus, which would still mean boxing up the bike and other annoyances.

For years I’ve been keeping an eye on the public transit options on the coast, with an eye towards a northbound return option.

Problem was, for years the southern most point was Yachats, which is pretty much mid-coast. That meant a lot of days of northbound cycling to get back.

Fast forward to 2018. Curry Public Transit has added a key connector. I’m going to pull it off!


1 –     Bus to Tillamook, bus to LC, bus to Newport
South Beach SP
2 –     Honeyman SP (Fred Meyer in Florence)
3 –    Sunset Bay SP (Safeway in North Bend)
4-     Humbug Mountain SP (Rays in Port Orford)
5 –     Border run… stay at Harris Beach SP (65) (Fred Meyer in
6 –     Curry Public Transit ($20+$5 for bike)
7:20am Brookings
10:55am North Bend
Ride to Washburn SP (60) (Fred Meyer in
7 –     Ride to Yachats (11)
Yachats-Newport (Lincoln County transit)

A few notes:

I’m buying the 7-day pass from the NW Connector – it’s the alliance of all transit agencies in the counties of the coast. For $30 I get a ride from PDX and back, plus unlimited rides on the coast from Astoria to Yachats for the whole 7 days. It comes in handy because it buys me an extra few days in Portland for less.

The border run day is probably going to be fun. The miles between Harris Beach SP and the border are flat and easy, so even if there’s some headwinds, it won’t be too bad. I may offload at HB SP and ride unloaded to the border, then pick up dinner in town on the return.

Early. Mornings. The only way this works is if I hit the connections. HB SP is about a mile from the bus pickup by the Fred Meyer so I plan to be up early to get some breakfast and have plenty of time to grab that 7:20am bus.

A long 3-ish hours later I’ll be unloading the bike and gear in North Bend, but I have a full day of riding ahead with some decent hills and likely headwinds. Long day, but it’s key to making it work.

Final day is a crazy one. A very early morning hour ride to Yachats followed by 4 buses, with 3 connections. The good news? These are designed connections, so it should work. Up rolling at dawn in Yachats gets me pulling into PDX by 3pm. Crazy!


I am probably going stove and cook kit free.
This allows me to experiment with a modified bikepacking setup with no panniers. All campsites have a really convenient grocery store option for dinner. I can do the rest on the road as I ride!
less profile, less wind resistance
lighter weight
easier packing
No in-camp cooking
No morning coffee in camp
Less waterproof storage, but I may use some trash compactor bags to help with that.

Which Bike?

I can fly my main bike in for free on Alaska Airlines, so I think I’ll do that. The Goblin performs well, but last tour it was starting to show some signs it might not be as reliable as I’d like. Sequoia rides again!

Quick sidebar on this new Curry Transit discovery (I think this is new, but someone locally may know otherwise). It extends past Brookings to Smith River, CA… with connections on Redwood Coast Transit all the way to Arcata! That’s a seriously interesting option for people with limited time who want to fast forward days worth of riding north or south! Example: you could jump ahead from North Bend, OR to Arcata, CA in one day, which translates in 3-4 days of riding fast forwards. Granted, you miss some great spots, but if you want max redwoods, need a zero but want to stay productive, or you’re running out of time… what a great option!

C&O and Pacific Coast coastal updates

Big Sur, yessir!

Good news… Big Sur is just about ready to open. Some reports of bicycles being permitted through on a nicely compacted dirt/gravel road, some reports of a security dude sitting on a chair at Gorda. All signs point to this mudslide finally being officially traversable though!

LA Times: Big Sur road coming back: Highway 1, closed for a year and a half because of massive slide, to reopen by July 20

Caltrans announced Tuesday that full access to the blocked area south of Gorda would reopen by 11 a.m. July 20. The new stretch of road could open to traffic a few days sooner, depending on when work is completed, according to Caltrans.

The Mud Creek Slide, which rained debris in one of the state’s largest landslides, destroyed a quarter-mile section of roadway on May 20, 2017.

C&O: Finding a way

The C&O closure at MM 51 seems to be in full ¯_(ツ)_/¯ mode for NPS if all you look at is the website:

Catoctin Aqueduct- Brunswick Family Campground (MP 51.5- MP 54)

Towpath Closed. Due to a washout at Culvert 82, the towpath is closed in this section. There is no detour in place at this time. From the west, exit the towpath at Brunswick (MP 55), or from the east at Lander Lock 29 (MP 50.9). Please contact Shepherdstown Pedal and Paddle at 304-876-3000 or River and Trail Outfitters at 301-834-9950 to arrange for a shuttle around the detour.

I rode there this past weekend and checked it out. Look for a video on the weekend adventure soon.

I want to be really clear here at the outset… I am not advocating for anyone to do anything illegal here. BUT, I witnessed a few things that I want to pass along here if the C&O is on your list and you’re worried about this.

It appears NPS is actively working on a bypass. There are clear areas with red marking flags and cut down tree stumps leading you away from the train tracks and the culvert down to the creek level. From there, the water levels are much lower and shallower.

I watched a pair of cyclists do the crossing much closer to the culvert and it was really hard. The other route is substantially easier, and has the added bonus of being – it seems – the option that the Park Service is working on.

Signs say the towpath is “closed” but they do not say “no trespassing.” That may not be much of a distinction, but worth noting. This is not an official crossing yet.

Update: C&O fix confirmed

Thanks to Preston for the followup!


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