What you should expect from a long bicycle journey
Bicycle touring for a sustained period of time is a…
The last fortnight has been a section of the journey where a lot of things have been happening off the bike. It’s been great and it’s been hectic in all the right ways. Hence the delay in posting! There’s also been loads of time spent filming with a whole bunch of different people, and many of those are being shaped to put online. Oh, and a bit of cycling too!
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Day 142: Monterey to Capitola (45 miles)
At this point, the bike isn’t in a great way. It’s basically restricted to the smallest ring at the front, which means all pedalling is slow, and there’s still a spoke missing since Big Sur. Ignoring this it was a simple ride really. Nothing too strenuous or any hills of note – such a relief since Big Sur. Pulled in to Capitola, where some friends from the UK, Karen and Jonathan, are now living. They very kindly offered their outhouse as accommodation and an amazing home-cooked meal. It was awesome to hear some homely accents after so much time on the road and the meal goes right to the top of the list. Thanks!
Day 143 – 144: Capitola to Santa Cruz (3 miles)
It was only a very quick ride to get to the next stop. A good pal Shannon lives in Santa Cruz, right by ’38th’ – one of the surfing hotspots. Her apartment is literally a stones throw away (if you have a really long throw) and her other half Ryan is big into his wave riding – so it was a couple of days of yet more amazing home-cooked food, hanging out, getting worked by some Pacific swell and catching up after a couple of years. Time flies when you play guitar!
Day 145 – 146: San Francisco
Had some filming to do and meetings to go to over in San Francisco, and coincidentally Karen was driving her daughter and friend to San Francisco Zoo, so kindly offered a lift. Back in a car again – whoah what is this? We’re going more than 10mph! SF was ace. Always enjoyable being immersed in city life after time away – there’s nothing quite like getting lost on the public transport and slowly plodding up the crazily steep streets.
Day 147: Santa Cruz
See 144 except add the part about getting the 3am bus to Santa Cruz from San Francisco – wondering round San Francisco at 2am on a Saturday is a bit intimidating. There’s definitely a lot of interesting characters out and about!
Santa Cruz surfing is really fun. Below is a group shot courtesy of Shannon. From L-R: Ryan ‘The Shredder’, a Brit who’s crap at surfing, and Nick ‘The Barrel’. They don’t actually have those nicknames but probably should.
Day 148: Santa Cruz to Half Moon Bay (53 miles)
Windy. Super windy but keen to get a move on so music on and keep pedalling. There was a woman in the distance who had parked in a lay-by. She got out and was waving from the distance. It had all the signs of a breakdown (car, not mental). But no, it was a local called Amelia who was a touring cyclist and had just driven past. She had a lot of great stories about her various trips – and was in the process of planning a new trip. Super fun chatting with people who have been on rad bicycle-powered adventures. Back to the ride and a good few miles ticked off. But of course things never go that smoothly for very long. Ping. Another snapped spoke. Good-o.
Day 149: Half Moon Bay to San Francisco (27 miles)
Took the bike to get fixed at a shop in HMB, and got a few spare spokes (the ones in the toolkit were the wrong size after the breakage in Alabama), so now wheel problems shouldn’t be as much of an issue. Hilly but problem-free ride into the city. There was a huge climb, which sucked, but the reward was a crazy-fast drop into the city at sunset. Not a bad way to end the day.
Day 150 – 152: SF / Silicon Valley
Another section of time concentrating on other stuff. Had a great time once again though and getting deeper than the tourist layer in San Francisco and surrounding areas totally brings out the best in the Bay. Checked in with the folks from Magellan to catch up, and then went to Redwood City, home of the ever-rad Evernote (new catchphrase?) to do some filming, nosey around HQ, and deliver a keynote.
Day 153: San Francisco – Stinson Beach (30 miles)
Nothing but good memories from SF. Back on the road and with one goal in mind – make up some ground. I’m on a bit of a deadline now when it comes to crossing into Canada, so basically most days now need to be movement days. And the bike is working again so there’s no longer a single gear restriction – get in. What a day. Awesome is the most overused word on this blog – but it was awesome. Cycling through downtown San Francisco involved the standard bus and car dodging which is always exhilarating. Leaving the city was topped off by crossing the Golden Gate Bridge. Holy smokes that’s one of the highlights of the riding so far. Absolutely epic. And then the scenery gets just ridiculous. It’s absolutely amazing. Dense green forest and jaw-dropping coastline. Unfortunately it gets really hilly too, but it’s all worth it really. Ended up stealth camping at Stinson Beach.
Day 154: Stinson Beach to Nr Tomales (32 miles)
Today may, or may not, have begun with a friendly conversation with a ranger. Ultra early start it is, then. But sometimes things fall into place and this was one of those mornings. I met Brad, who may or may not have had a similar friendly conversation with said ranger. Brad is from Boston, and wound up being arrested as a teenager. He got 2 years, and then for various reasons his sentence was increased to 10 years. He decided to change his life upon release, and started walking. He’s been walking for 13 years, all across the country. We spent the morning working on a short film which will be on the blog at some point. He has an incredible story, one of the most unique I’ve ever heard, and it was a really great experience working with someone who was so open about a potentially sensitive topic. More on this soon.
So back to the ride. It was the first day of the trip so far, that the wind has been so strong it’s affected riding. To the point of leaning into the wind to keep balance. But of course there’s a downside to that. When the wind stops you swerve into the road. It was super sketchy on a couple of occasions so I called it a day – only to hear from a local that “this is the windiest it’s been for years!”. Stealth camped by a water tank in an attempt to reduce getting pounded by the wind. Didn’t work. As seen in the video below.
Day 155: Nr Tamales to Bodega Bay (17 miles)
Urghh. The wind didn’t stop. Another horrendously slow day. Also very aware that it’s been ages since an update, and the landscape from here becomes very sparse. So it was a morning of wind-avoidance and then working up to embracing the wind for a couple of hours. Found a spot with wifi at Bodega Bay – that’ll do. Apparently the gusty nature is due to get weaker in the coming days – fingers crossed. Here’s a video showing the gusts:
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