From the Brochure:
Oregon has been supporting bicycling since 1971 by developing bikeways throughout the state. Thousands of bicyclists enjoy the natural beauty of the Oregon Coast Bike Route annually. For the most part, it follows US Highway 101 as a shoulder bikeway. In several areas, the route departs from the main highway and follows county roads and city streets. These sections are closer to the ocean, are more scenic, and have lower traffic volumes and slower traffic speeds. The total length of the signed bike route is 370 miles (595 km). It can be lengthened to 380 miles (610 km) by taking the alternate Three Capes Scenic Route. On average, most cyclists take six to eight days to tour the coast, by cycling 50 to 65 miles (80 to 105 km) per day. This is a reasonable rate, due to the mountainous nature of the coast: the total rise and fall is close to 16,000 feet (4900 m).
Note: Some alternate routes were used when creating this map. The original map can be seen below.

In a previous post I showed you how to make your own panniers. I’ve seen my site show up in the Google search results for this keyword so I thought I’d share some of my experiences with them.

My bike with fully loaded bike buckets.

This past summer I toured the US Pacific coast using homemade panniers or bike buckets. I made the buckets using cat littler or mayonaise buckets, rope hooks, bolts, and webbing. They were easy to make and pretty cheap compared to buying good panniers.

The buckets preformed really well. I made it all the way from the Canadian border to the Mexican border without breaking a bucket. One of the front buckets cracked but I was able to stabilize it using a discarded inner tube I found on the road. The cracks resulted from the bucket swinging on the mounts which stressed the plastic. In my how to guide I mounted the hooks at an angle to counteract this swinging. I haven’t tested the new design on a big tour or a big ride but the riding-around-my-block test camp out positive.

Bike bucket repaired using an inner tube.

The buckets were super useful. I loaded them to nearly full and strapped things to the top for easy access. They held so much that loading them completely full is a bad idea, it gets to be too much weight. They are amazing for lugging things around town or on long tours.

The main drawback is their profile. In any kind of wind they act like sails. If the wind is against you it is very apparent. If the wind is with you you literally sail down the road. It is amazing when that happens.

Overall I’m really glad I made the buckets. They weren’t just cheap and useful, they were recycled and a medium for art. I got a lot of comments of the art and the design of the buckets while I was on tour. So much that I wanted to sell bike bucket kits on the internet. I never did anything with that because the design improvements I had in mind didn’t pan out, at least not with the most commonly used racks. My current design should work for all racks though.

I feel like I should really use this paragraph to sell you on the idea of bike buckets. Instead I’m just going to add another picture.

Fierce! Oh and nice bike buckets.

If you have any questions write a comment and I’ll answer it asap!

In this part of the guide I will focus on maps. You can read this section alone but I recommend checking out and of this guide first.

The bike maps you carry can make or break parts of your tour. You should get some kind of handlebar mounted bike map holder so that you can read relevant sections while you are riding. The bike maps should also be formatted for use while riding a bike. Taking a region map and folding it into a shape that will fit onto your map holder is not nearly as effective as using a map that was designed for cycling. When it comes down to it you have three major options with maps. The first is plain text directions. While they aren’t strictly a map they are sufficient, provided you don’t miss your turns. Personally I can’t use just the text alone.

I like to use a combination of text and graphics. The maps I used had a graphical representation of the route and on the side the text directions were given as well. Lastly if you feel that the route you will be taking is simple enough you could use maps without text directions. Regardless of the map format you choose if you want to read a bike map while riding it will need to be divided into panels. Each panel will only show a portion of your total route. This allows a better level of detail and can help you organize your ride. How the maps are divided into panels determine how useful the map is.

If the maps show too much area then then off route areas will lack detail. This can become a problem if you take a wrong turn; are forced to detour from construction; or you just want to go off route. On the other hand maps that are too detailed wont show much distance and will force you to stop and switch panels often. If you ride through cities then having a high level of detail is a good thing. On the other hand long stretches of highway riding are good places where the map can zoom out and show a lot of ground. Ultimately the best bike maps will strike a balance between detail and distance.

While you are planning for your tour try not to over think things. Riding off into the sunset on a bicycle is not like firing a cannon, you can always change your course. If something isn’t working for you, fix it. If you aren’t having fun then stop riding. Take a rest day, enjoy your time! Lastly always remember: There is no wrong way to tour.

Ian Harper is an avid cyclist and publishes the blog about bike maps and other topics. The blog also hosts a bike map creator web app.

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How to Go on Tour – Thoughts From a Cyclist That Rode the Pacific Coast (part 2)

In of this guide, I discussed two of the most basic issues when planning a tour, lodging and training. If you have not read it yet I suggest you start there. In this article I’ll tell you about my favorite aspect of touring, food!

Eating while you are on tour is perhaps that most important thing you do. The food you eat is literally the fuel that gets you down the road. With that, all I can tell you about eating on tour is, it depends. One of the most limiting factors is simply what is available. If you are riding through moderately populated areas then finding a good grocery store shouldn’t be a problem at all. However if you find yourself nearing the end of the day at a gas station in the middle of nowhere, do what you can. Hopefully by the time you find yourself in that position you will know what foods get you down the road best. For me foods high in fat and protein worked best. Occasionally areas of limited food choice serve up amazing treats. Areas with lots of farmland are usually sprinkled with roadside produce stands so be on the lookout for those.

I had a simple strategy for diet: I literally tried to eat as much fat and protein as I could. I found that fat and protein gave me better energy than carbs. Your body and metabolism are unique and what works for you may be entirely different. I’ll leave you with the advice that was given to me and a word about applying it. When you are on tour put yourself on the 6,000 calorie diet. When something edible is out in front of you, eat it. It is better to eat too much and feel bloated than to eat too little and hit ‘the wall.’

In the final article I’ll discuss bike maps.

Ian Harper is an avid cyclist and publishes the blog about bike maps and other topics. The blog also hosts a bike map creator web app.

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