This morning I received an email from Rob Pagani, who is one of the faithful crew who ride in the mornings with the guys in Powell River. He had a message for his riding partners:
Hi guys, sounds like everything is progressing as planned. I’m sure I will be hearing a lot of stories at coffee when you’re back. Are the daily destinations the same as always, a pub? Wish I were there in my usual spot with you all, pulling up the rear.
Take care Rob P.
And we also received a comment from Steve Dull, who set out on the road on the very same day as the guys, following the same course! Except that Steve’s equipment made his ride a fair bit more leisurely. (More on that below) Still, even though he was riding a single speed bike, he kept up an incredible pace that makes me sore just thinking about it. Needless to say, he’s got some experience in the saddle. Let Steve tell the tale:
I left Powell River with these guys on September 6th, just coincidentally beginning a bicycle ride to San Diego on the same day. My trusty single-speed, coaster-brake Schwinn Cruiser carried me to Santa Barbara, where I concluded my ride due to time constraints. At the pace I had established, I would have reached the border in three more days, but needed to get back to Powell River. I arrived back home a few days ago via Amtrak and Pacific Coastal Airlines. The last time I saw these guys was in Qualicum Beach, where they had stopped for lunch the first day. As I rode down the Pacific Coast, I thought often of these guys, wondering where they were and how they were doing. When I reached Pacifica (just south of San Francisco), I called Warren, who informed me that the group had reached Eureka, and were having a great time. Yesterday, Frank Chrinko told me that they had reached San Francisco, then I read in The Peak that they had reached Monterey. Now I know they have pedaled through Santa Barbara to Ventura. Even if it’s true that these guys are spending more time drinking beer than riding, I can readily attest to the fact that they have had a good workout. Congratulations guys!
My ride? 2486 kilometers from Powell River to Santa Barbara, averaging 130 kilometers a day for 19 days. Longest day? 190 kilometers from Gualala to San Francisco (riding across the GG Bridge at dusk). Shortest day? 50 kilometers from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay (due to needed bike maintenance in SF and the previous day’s grueling ride). Toughest day? 160 kilometers from Seaside, CA to San Simeon (the guys will know what I’m talking about). Best part of trip? Probably the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway between Klamath and Orick in CA (long downhill after a short climb, remarkably little traffic, and HUGE redwoods). Worst part? Clearcuts and traffic (enough said). Best meal? A bowl of Menudo at La Costa in Davenport, CA. Worst meal? More bad meals than I can count (the guys will probably agree with me that bad meals taste pretty good and are greedily consumed when on the road). Biggest surprise? No flats (Michelin Town and Country tires). Actually, because of my one gear, I may have put as much wear on the soles of my shoes as on my bicycle tires.
As I’ve twice bicycled solo across the United States, this Pacific Coast trek wasn’t the ride of a lifetime. It was, however, a ride I won’t soon forget. I’m sure these guys won’t forget their experiences anytime soon, either. Again, my congratulations!
I’ve asked Steve to forward photos from his trip. If I get some, I’ll add them to this post, and to the flickr site as well.