cycling from Denver to San Francisco (around half november 2012)

Discussion in 'Touring and recreational cycling' started by Joyce123, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. Joyce123

    Joyce123 New Member

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    Hello everybody,
    I am for work in Denver from 4 - 10 november. Afterwards I like to cycle from Denver to San Francisco. In San Francisco I will stay a couple of days and will take the plane to Amsterdam.
    I wonder whether there are people who like to join me. I have a very good physical condition and can easily make a lot of kilometers per day.
    Just give me a sign when you are interested.
    Joyce
     
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  2. jpr95

    jpr95 Active Member

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    You do realize that is about 2000 km, and probably at least 10-14 days worth of cycling, don't you?
     
  3. Joyce123

    Joyce123 New Member

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    Hi Jason,
    Thanks for the reaction and yes I know, it's a big distance. But it will be my holiday, I like to take 2.5 or 3 weeks for it.
     
  4. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    The big thing at that time of year could be snow in the mountains. There's probably a few big hills to climb near Denver and then closer to SF you have the Sierra Nevada mountains. There, most of the road passes are between 7,500 and 9,000ft. It's hit and miss whether there'll be enough moisture for snow but it will be darned cold! You could head up past Reno to Susanville and Reading and find a pass about 2,000ft lower but that's a mighty long detour and there's probably more of a chance that if there is snow that the snow ploughs have kept the road open.

    Snow in November is very hit and miss. Some years there's nothing until January. Some years it's 10m deep at 9,000ft by the end of October.

    What route were you thinking? Hwy 40 to Provo, UT then Hwy 50 to Carson City, NV? There's not much in the way of roads in between those places.

    From there I'd drop down through Minden, NV and over Carson Pass on State Route 88. maps.google.com and put these numbers in the search field:

    38.695944,-119.989951

    That's the top of Carson pass. Carson Pass is a bit of a grind.

    [​IMG]
    Click on it to make it bigger.

    Coming from Minden there's a few hundred feet of climbing before you hit the tiny village of Woodfords at the base of the climb. On the deathride they go to the top of Carson and then turn around and come back down. When you're up there - there's a plateau for a while. Kirkwood might be a nice place to stay but book in advance. Check weather often up there as it changes on an hourly basis and check the Caltrans website for roads being open/closed.

    I'd continue on 88 to Stockton, jump on 4 to Brentwood, zig zag via Clayton to Walnut Creek and end the trip on the bike at Orinda (via Moraga). At the furthest I'd go to Berkeley but Orinda is nice place to end the trip - from there jump on BART (the underground train) to get to San Francisco. If you want a view of SF as you finish the ride, head a bit west of Orinda and there'll be a view from there somewhere. Use google maps and check out the photos. Orinda is in hills - you just need to get over the top to peak at the other side ;)

    If you want to ride all the way to SF then you'll have to go somewhere close to San Jose and ride up the Peninsular to the City.

    Avoid Richmond like the plague - ride through there and you'll be (at best) without a bike and it'll be sold for crack (cocaine) within minutes. Per capita it's pretty much the murder capital of the US. Same too with Oakland, although the north of the city isn't too ghetto - but it's not great hence the reason for stopping in Orinda and getting the train the last 10 miles ;)

    I mentioned the Caltrans (California Department of Transportation) website:

    http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/mtnhwys.htm

    You'll be mostly likely interested on the "Truckee and Lake Tahoe Basin" section. SR = State Route which are good roads that are not large enough to be called Highways or Freeways. SR88 would be a good choice, IMHO.

    SR88 for example is Carson Pass. Google maps shows the road as being 88 in an oval - the oval designates State Routes on a map. Highways are bigger roads than State Routes and have a "white shield" surrounding the numbers when you look at them on the map. These roads are often best avoided unless there's no other route. In rural areas there's often no difference between a big state route road and a highway. Although Highway 50 from Lake Tahoe looks appealing, it's the major highway for the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento to get to Lake Tahoe and all the ski restorts up there in winter. If there's any snow at all on the hills, highway 50 will be packed with traffic, often fast moving - 100km/hr+ even in the mountains. It's also a fairly narrow road. Interstate class roads have a colorful shield with the number in it - example I-80 between San Francisco and Sacramento. No cycling on these roads...
     
  5. Joyce123

    Joyce123 New Member

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    Hi Swampy,
    Thanks a lot for all these info. After your message and also the messages of the other respondents, I decided not to cycle from Denver to San Francisco, but an alternative way, with also options like flying to SF and start cycling there...
    With cycling from Denver to SF I can wait for another, better, time period...
    Again thanks for the info, it seems you cycled yourself a lot around there.
     
  6. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    I live about 50 miles outside of San Francisco, commute to the San Francisco Bay every work day and ride up in the Sierra Nevada mountains a few times each year. So I know the area fairly well :)

    Cycling through the Sierras in November is decidedly hit and miss and if you're riding a bike it'd be fairly easy to get stuck somewhere in dangerous conditions.

    If you're flying to SF you can go long haul and get a direct flight via KLM. When I lived in England prior to moving here I did the Manchester - Amsterdam - SF flight a few times. Going through Customs/Immigration at SF is easier than airports such as Newark or Atlanta.
     
  7. Joyce123

    Joyce123 New Member

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    Hi Swampy,
    Yes I will/ decided to do that, directly Amsterdam- SF, in spring next year.
    This November I have to fly Amsterdam- Denver, because of work. I decided to do after that only a couple of day trips from Denver and from Boulder, cycling and hiking, and than return to the Netherlands.
    Long distance cycling, I will do than in Spring time.
    Thanks for the comments, Greetings Joyce
     
  8. swampy1970

    swampy1970 Well-Known Member

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    Joyce,

    Did you ever do this ride?
     
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