I just checked off another item on my “to do list”. Why? Well, first of all, it was done over Thanksgiving, and I needed to have another excuse to eat more turkey and dressing. And secondly, why the heck not?
Ride down the coast. Done. Check.
It took me 4 days to ride down the Coast of California from Marin to Santa Barbara County. We were self-supported, and although we didn’t have anything fancy, we carried one small backpack. Let’s be honest, I didn’t even have to care the backpack! It was my first multiple day adventure ride, and I didn’t know what to expect with the long miles and the limited supplies. What did we ever do before smartphones and credit cards? I know most people have done this route before, but if you have not, I highly suggest it. If you hit the weather just right, you will be warm, sunny, and logging in some great base miles and scenery. Maybe even with lots of tailwinds! I was thankful to be able to do this ride with no agenda, no intervals, no concerns, just pedaling between scenic outlooks and local bakeries.
Day 1: Marin County to Scotts Valley. Highlights: Golden Gate Bridge, Half Moon Bay, Pescadero.
Day 2: Scotts Valley to Carmel. Highlights: 17 mile drive, Blood Marys with Anthony and then Salinas taco truck.
Day 3: Carmel to Cambria. Highlights: Big Sur Bakery, Elephant Seals, Zebras, Hearst Castle, and Moonstone Beach
Day 4: Cambria to Santa Maria. Highlights: Morro Bay, Edna Valley Vineyards and it’s your last day!
(if you want to see the routes, you can check it out on my STRAVA account)
My favorite day was Carmel to Cambria. The views from the rugged coast into Big Sur, then the elephant seals of San Simeon, on into Moonstone Beach of Cambria. If you ride any part of this California adventure, this is the best part of the journey.
I have been asked how the shoulder and safety of the roads were for the duration of the trip, and for the most part, the roads are suitable for riding. The quick glimpses of non-ideal conditions are swiftly returned to good safe roads. Nothing is perfect, but navigate your route accordingly.
We had friends join us on segments of the trip or a couple days of the adventure, and it was helpful to ride with good friends and enjoy the beauty with a few special people. Something about this ride was really touching to me, no matter how often or how long I ride my bike, this was cataloged into a different genre completely. To be able to have a destination in place, and the freedom to enjoy many parts of my home that I love so much, grasped a part of my soul. I captured each moment I could and although I did not get everything photographically documented, there will be that independent surge of emotion each time I think of all the places that my bike can take me.
What to pack?
- 25mm durable tires. It made the ride squishier and more comfortable, and the tires withstood the different conditions and terrain while not getting any flats.
- Extra tire just in case you suffer a blowout, and of course plenty of tubes (think about if you need valve extenders or not).
- 1 Rain jacket. No matter what the weather predicts, bring this just to be prepared. I used only one jacket the whole time for the morning starts, so this was a great multi-purpose jacket.
- 1 Vest. Easy transition and layering.
- Baselayer. This helps with temperature modulation through the different climates of the coast.
- Arm Warmers/Leg Warmers. You can use them or not, but you don’t have a choice on whether or not to bring them.
- Travel Size DZ Nuts Chamois Cream. You could even reapply it if you like! No need to go into detail, but chamois cream is essential.
- Travel Size DZ In Heat Embrocation. I prefer not to have to wear leg warmers if I can get away with it, and this stuff really helps.
- The Alchemist. No joke. I carried a good book with me. If I am going to be fulfilling my life purpose, I should be reading it about. And I know you can go digital, but I love the feeling of pages turning!
- iPhone and charger. Duh. We can’t leave home without it! Plus, this is where our photo ops came from!
- DeFeet Neon Hi Vis Slipstream booties. Even if the weather was warm, I still wore the booties. I thought the extra pop of color would be good to be able to be seen on the roads.
- Shorts, long sleeve tee shirt, and flippies for quick and light off-the-bike transitions and into happy hour and dinner!
- Swimsuits. Hot tubs are necessary of course.
- Credit cards. Because that’s how we buy dinner, book hotel rooms, etc.
- Don’t forget a toothbrush!