Two-Wheelin’ the West Coast

San Diego to Seattle – A Business Development Adventure Ride.

I’ve always wanted to bike the length of the famous Pacific Coast. I have time and a business to build. So here it goes…

oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo

The business name: Bicimaximo

The idea: Take clients through the process of building a bike. Then lead them on an multi-day ride throughout the country to explore active volcanoes, untouched beaches, and a poorly understood history. At some point during the tour, those that built a bike will award it to a deserving person in one of the many impoverished communities we ride through so that they have transportation to school, their job, or medical clinics that might be otherwise too far. Clients learn all sorts of transferable mechanic skills, have an incredibly intimate experience with the people of the country, and see why Nicaragua is getting so much positive attention as a travel destination from the saddle of a bicycle. *We already have a shop located right next to the beautiful cathedral in Granada, Nicaragua, an entire fleet of hard tail mountain bikes to be used by clients, and a kick ass 8-day itinerary mapped out.

The connections: With such a strong bike culture on the west coast, I’m taking advantage of being so close to the many organizations that have a focus on social entrepreneurship and biking. The more people I can meet that fit into these two worlds, the better chance we have of getting this off the ground. To all the NPOs, manufacturers, retailers, and tour companies: I’ll be knocking on your door. Let’s collaborate.

The ride: Roughly 1,400 miles northbound along the Pacific Coast Highway from San Diego to Seattle, heading inland here and there for various shenanigans.

Lodging: Mostly camping but also staying with friends whenever possible.

oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo

Daily Summaries

Pre-departure: Thoughts on returning to the US of A, planning for the trip, and the value of a familiar face…

Day 1: Adios, Annie and hola, PCH | luh me some fresh adventure jitters | Why so many donut shops? | Cha-ching!: “Bikes May Use Full Lane” | karma points at Camp Pendleton – I slap a patch on other rider’s tube, he slaps 20 bucks in my hand | stop at Bike Religion yields Wheels4Life discovery | “[Hans Rey] is like the Michael Jordan of mountain biking, dude.” | Crankbrothers, unannounced | beautiful site at Crystal Cove shared with beautiful VW camper van; free of charge | lentil soup and veggies = legs for tomorrow

The Connections: Hoping to check the pressure of my tires and ask for some directions, I stopped at a bike shop called Bike Religion where I met Tim and Shawn. They told me to get in contact with Hans Rey, a world-famous German mountain biker who brings bikes into poor villages of Africa through his non-profit Wheels4Life. It would be awesome to work together somehow considering how well known he is as well as the work his organization does. Still waiting to hear back from him.

I also stopped in at the Crankbrothers office in Laguna Beach where I spoke with Amanda from the marketing department. This company makes super high quality bike tools/accessories and is a huge name in the industry. Amanda was kind enough to give me a couple minutes to explain what the hell I was doing there and introduced me to some potentially valuable contacts further up the coast.

The Ride: 57 miles from Encinitas to Crystal Cove State Park; hip, trendy beach towns with absurd boutique shops spread out by gorgeous views of the beach

Lodging: After learning that Crystal Cove SP doesn’t have biker sites, I was told I would have to pay $45 for a normal one. Lame. So instead, I found the sexiest VW camper van I’ve ever seen and asked the guy if he wouldn’t mind sharing for a night. Turns out, he’s a vet who camps for free (i.e. I was the friend of a vet who also camped for free).

oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo

Day 2: Oatmeal and chai, then goodbye | the Chapped Ass Vaseline Slap officially coined | Krochet Kids office visit inspiring (added bonus: mutual memories of Spokane) | lost, found, lost again, trails blazed | knee pain, LA insane | wealth sandwich with money patty in between through Orange County | headwinds increase, morale decreases | IPA on Kara’s dime = hoppyness and happiness

The Connections: The guys at Krochet Kids have an uplifting energy and were great to talk to. They loved the business idea, offered some constructive criticism, and pointed me in the direction of some additional resources who I sent emails to right away. One of them is Bryan Pape, the CEO of Miir, a Seattle-based company that sells water bottles to support clean drinking water programs in Africa. They also recently launched a one-for-one bike program after custom designing a bike for the needs of the local people (something I would like to duplicate). Brainstorming with this guy could lead to some cool results. Hopefully I can get him on board.

The Ride: 53 miles from Crystal Cove SP to Manhattan Beach; more rich beach towns, more gorgeous SoCal beach views

Lodging: I stayed with my friend from college, Kara. She put me up, bought me dinner, and even taped my bum knee. When she becomes a certified PT soon, you need to find her and pay for her services.

oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo

Day 3: I can take a hint, it’s time to go | public library computer frustration | expensive sweatpants and nobody seems to work | the surf bug has bitten uncle Curt | a thrift store exploded and the cool stuff stuck to the walls | vintage surf board fins and garage screen-printing | dinner w/Dawn and co. | hatching Hawaii plans, drinking Pacifico

The Connections: No networking today.

The Ride: A handful of miles from the library to downtown Manhattan Beach

Lodging: A beautiful home owned by the kermudgeonly couple who are letting Kara live there during her internship

oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo

Day 4: HOLLYWOOD | “Hey, Billy, wanna go for a ride?” | Cuban sandwich deliciousness | LA not so big from the observatory | Curt knows all the famous spots | stretch muscles | dip in the pool

The Connections: N/A

The Ride: N/A

Lodging: My uncle Curt and his lady friend Dawn have got a low-key place near Studio City. Aesthetically, the inside is what you might call “thrift store funk art meets estate sale quirkiness” – the giant canvas painting of a koala bear eating eucalyptus leaves can be found next to a framed key of the city of Tacoma… signed by the mayor. My eyes couldn’t get enough of it. A comfortable bed with space to relax was excellent as well.

Lodging: Mostly camping but also staying with friends whenever possible.

oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo

Day 5: Traffic. Everywhere. Always. | stories of Topanga Valley and bizarre art construction projects | here’s a break, there’s a break, everywhere’s a surf break | wetsuit wiggle dance followed by waves at Ventura | sit, soft sand, sunset | discussion about Frank Herbert and merits of fantasy genre | Patagonia sponsors me! (sort of) | Spokane-esque restaurant, Spokane-esque booths | upon seeing a civil war diorama: “This shit THRILLS me.” | I give Portlandia a try. It fails. | Justin Bieber pillow puts his face too close to mine, weirds me out

The Connections: Curt’s friend, Len, is a sculptor who makes masks and all sorts of crazy props for movies. His girlfriend, Kena, has been working for Patagonia for 16 years and loved my story about biking up the coast. She looked at me, disappeared to a room behind the kitchen, and emerged with an awesome lightweight jacket that packs up to the size of your fist as a support gift. So, yeah, totally got sponsored by Patagonia.

The Ride: 5-6 waves, all really fun rights that peeled nice and slow, perfect for the long board Curt let me borrow.

Lodging: Len’s beach side apartment, cuddled up with his daughter’s Justin Beiber pillow.

oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo

Day 6: Arrive at El Capitan State Beach on 4 wheels instead of 2 – am I cheating? | skip Santa Barbara for some old school surf mat fun | campfire wine with Len and Kena | marshmallow beard

The Connections: Kena says it would at least be worth reaching out to some people at Patagonia who work on helping out grassroots ideas that support the environment, etc. etc. So I do. Would be surprised if they’re interested since it doesn’t have much to do with their mission, but making some contacts at Patagonia can’t be a bad thing, right?

The Ride: Tons of beach brake waves, ripping around on what is essentially a small inflatable mattress, the surf mat.

Lodging: Camped at El Capitan State Beach.

oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo

Day 7: saddle soreness | Are they all homeless zombies here in Lompoc? | Headwinds. Long climb. Suck. | first hiker/biker site – the routine begins | glorious shower fueled by tokens, NOT quarters | I poach a plug-in, charge the phone | sketchy camp host, but what’s new? | Teddy Grahams – not sure why, but so worth it | thank God I didn’t go on to Guadalupe, way too tired

The Connections: I stopped at a bike shop in town to give the shpeel and ask around. They said to look online. Helfulness: 0.

The Ride: 44 miles from El Capitan to Lompoc; first time away from the coast, a tunnel, and a long, windy climb

Lodging: Camped out at Lompoc RV Park, which had smaller sites specifically for hikers and bikers (referred to as H/B sites).

oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo

Day 8: Agriculturally Mexican | strawberry fields forever | Headwinds. Goddamn headwinds. | tacos for lunch, locals intrigued by bike as well as accent | Farts. So many farts. | more headwinds but this time, I’m in the zone | more headwinds but this time, there is no zone | feel like I’m not going to get to Pismo until the Pismo’nin | Sooo, there really are dunes. Like for real. | surfer cam from the boardwalk | catch up with Jason – of course he got 4.0s | share a site w/anniversary couple | soup and sunset on the beach

The Connections: Nada

The Ride: 47 miles from Lompoc to Pismo Beach; Mexicans hunched over picking strawberries and then Pismo Beach – that’s all I remember

Lodging: I looked for the site closest to the beach, found a camper, and asked the couple if they wouldn’t mind sharing a site. Turns out they’re celebrating their honey moon, all smiles and nods, so I camp for free.

oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oo

Day 9: Cinnamon rolls! Sweet, old-fashioned cinnamon rolls! | gotta love getting into a good bike grove | San Luis Obispo only so-so | Madonna Ranch? | swear at the headwinds | car commercial flashbacks at Morro Bay | mutant fish and pasta burrito provides much needed calories | the ride gets mental, challenges | H/B site underwhelming but neighbors redeem with cute faces and a fire | raccoons rip through rations | Cold. Why so damn cold?

The Connections: …

The Ride: 58 miles from Pismo Beach to San Simeon State Beach; vast, open ranches spliced with rolling hills

Lodging: Camped out at San Simeon.

One response to “Two-Wheelin’ the West Coast

  1. Pingback: Two-Wheelin’ the West Coast | Contiñual Exploration·

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