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Riding in the U S of A

Discussion in 'Roads, Touring, Journeys, and Travel' started by kazhere, Feb 14, 2009.

  1. Hi all,

    Has anyone been to the States and managed to hire/borrow/steal a bike while there?

    I'll be going in late March to California and then New York and would love the chance to ride while over there

    Riding along the Pacific Coast Hwy would be so cool or cruising over the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan

    Any hints, tips or forum links even would be appreciated


  2. ADV rider is probably the best forum for riding in the US, they even have a tent space program if your on a budget.
  3. The hardest thing to get used to is having the brakes on the left and the gear leaver and clutch on the right.
  4. Hey there - lived there for about 5 years - 3 years full-time.

    Where is California are you going to be? let me know and I will put you onto the BEST roads.

    ALSO, goto the following two websites, join up, let them know "Aussie Stalker" recommended you join - its free.

    Tell them what you would like to do, they will advise where to rent and will most likely show you around also.

  5. Although NY drivers (US drivers in general) are pretty laid back Manhattan is the last place I'd want to be riding. To many cabs and other vehicles pulling out all the time. Jump on a tour bus if you want to see the sights. I cant remember seeing one private bike the whole time I was in Manhattan (4 days)
  6. :LOL:
  7. I did a 2-3 week 'Moto California' in July/Aug 2007. Just me and a BMW 1200RT. It was a fantastic experience. The state of California is extremely diverse and the roads and landscape are sensational. from Hwy 1 which hugs the pacific coast to the high passes of the sierra nevada, to the outstanding and cage-less roads of northern california. havent got the time right this moment, but I can put together the route I travelled for you in google if you give me a day or two.

    in regards to hiring a bike, i have no hesitation in recommending Pacific Cycle Co in San Jose......its a small one man operation (it was when i was there anyway - he was only in business for 6 months at the time i rented from him) run by a touring nut by the name of Mark McGuire. Im actually wearing the Pacific Cycle Co. tee-shirt as i type. his rates are much more reasonable than the bigger companies in the bay area, liability is limited to US$1000 (was at the time anyway - dunno how he could maintain it) with no BS clauses and additional costs to keep reducing it........you should do the smart thing and take out travel insurance anyway), and you get a current model steed to tour the land. I went through a brand new rear tyre (down to the belt) half way through my trip and he hooked me up with a bike shop in short time to get me on my way with a little loss in time. He operates his business with outstanding customer service which is rare these days. I plan to do some more riding in the USA in future and will definately go back to him for a rental. here's the website. http://www.pacificcyclecompany.com/

    and pashnit.com is a fantastic resourse for bike roads in California. I subscribed to the website and used the info there to map out my route.

  8. Yip - dont forget to "keep right". Can get confusing when you first start there, especially at Tee intersections. Also note that you can "give way" and turn right at a red light at an intersection (in case your wondering why the cars behind you are honking there horns). Your bike will run on "Gas" over there. The have no idea what "petrol" is.

    I think California is one of the states you can ride without a helmet, but I would not recommend it!!

    Final advice, watch out for cagers. Nothing more scary than seeing a pimply faced 16 year old behind the wheel of a his dads "truck" (say a F350, like the Aussie F150 but twice as big) trying to impress his mates. You could get run over by one of those without them even noticing!

    Good luck and enjoy!
  9. i tended to veer to the left when exiting 'gas' stations, or getting back on the bike after taking in some scenery by the side of a country road.....can be life threatening when an oncoming semi is consistently required to remind me that im not in good ol' oz. and i very nearly ended my trip on day one in santa cruz.......just remember to look left-right-left at intersections, as opposed to right-left-right, then all will be fine.
  10. Totally awesome dudes! Oh sorry just practising the local lingo

    Thanks all for your feedback, will do lots of surfing between now and then to sort a ride out

    May give NYC a miss on the bike too! Didnt think about the logjam traffic there

    I heard that its the law to wear sunnies while riding in California but not a helmet? Therefore if you had a helmet on without wearing sunnies you'd be booked??
    And maybe I just have to try that so I can meet a CHiPs :grin:

  11. It really is like another language there! The "bonnet and boot" are a "hood and trunk". There is a different word for everything. And the accents are the funniest. If you head down south, everyone sounds like Gomer Pyle.

    One other hint - be very courteous on the road. If you cut someone off, apologize straight away and if someone cuts you off, tell them no problem. You'd be surprised how many people have guns! In Dallas I think the figure is 40% of people have a concealed handgun license.
  12. its compulsory to wear a helmet in California now.......came in over the last decade. many of the old timers havent taken to it all that well though, with many wearing bare minimum.......i saw plenty styles which didnt even cover the ears.

    if you want to legally ride without a helmet, Pennsylvania is your state.
  13. Hi kazhere,
    As others have said, and you yourself have decided, New York is NOT a great place to be riding.
    I'm in New York right now as I type(what can I say..I'm a traveller) :cool:
    Staying in both Manhattan and Brooklyn during my frequent visits, I have NEVER seen a bike anywhere in sight, whether it be during my locals walks/drives or during the 30+ minute drive to/from JFK International Airport. Traffic is a real thing over here, and if you think the cabbies are crazy back home, you should see them here !
    With Los Angeles a regular destination also during my travels, seeing the odd bike is more common and pleasing.
    I wish you safe and happy riding adventures during your California visit.
  14. Yeah, you'll love the roads in CA. I grew up there. NY on the other hand, I can't say.

    You already got a lot of good advice up there (+1 on pashnit.com). Helmets are mandatory as of early 1990s. Lane splitting IS legal, as long you don't do it over 10MPH over what the rest of the traffic is doing, and the rest of the traffic isn't going over ~35MPH or so... (Basically, you can do it at traffic lights or when there's a traffic jam. Just don't blow past between traffic at freeways.) These tips are ONLY for CA. Things like helmet laws/lane splitting laws change from state to state (i.e. in Arizona, no helmet ok for 18+ riders, but can't lane split).

    I don't know what type of rider you are, but PCH gets better the farther north you go up. It's more of a "cruising" type of road. For real twisties, top 3 recommendations in So. Cal would be Angeles Crest Highway, Malibu Canyon / Rock Store, and Ortega Highway. And if you can, try to ride these twisties on weekdays as opposed to weekends. There are crackdown periods by cops in these places on weekends from time to time. I don't know too much about twisties in Nor Cal, but I hear there's bunch of 'em up there as well.

    I don't want to give you info overload, but a lot local info can be had at forums like http://www.socal-sportbikes.com

    You'll have a ball!
  15. Hiya,

    I got back this morning and wanted to post a big thank you to everyone's help here - especially to wizza of oz. Mark at Pacific Cycle was a totally friendly and helpful guy who made my bike rental experience a real pleasure. He was very thorough and pointed out things to me at the time which I considered to be quite obvious but once I was out riding on the roads realised I needed to hear! The CA highways are some of the scariest roads I have done - but they got me to Saratoga and through Skyline Blvd to some of the most beautiful and twisty roads ever

    I did end up on the wrong side of the road a couple of times and got 'honked' for not turning right at a red light (which totally feels wrong!) but the rest of the time I'm pretty sure I passed for just another Californian motorcyclist - yeehaa!

  16. that's great to hear kaz.

    i didnt get around to posting a map of my road trip - i wasnt sure whether you wanted that level of detail - but it sounds like Mark was plenty of help for you which he always is. Service such as his isnt something we're used to these days.....he was someone just like you and I who would travel OS and hire a bike, but he would get jack of the 'take the money and run' mentality of most operators in the business. he literally puts himself in the customers shoes and does everything he can to make the experience of hiring a bike a pleasant one. getting a decent bike at great rates without the BS clauses, and imparting his bit of local knowledge went a long way to making the trip a memorable one for me too.

    so tell us all more about it. how long did you tour and which roads did you take/places you visited along the way?? i did skyline blvd, the big basin redwoods state park (where the bike fell off its stand while i was taking a photo!!!) and the empire grade down to santa cruz on the 1st morning of my tour and thought at the time that if its like this on my whole trip, then i was in for the most sensational time.......and it was.