Trekking the California Coast Solo: San Francisco to San Diego – Part 1

Approaching the age of 50 is a daunting prospect and something I wanted to approach by doing something bold.  Something that would really challenge me.  Call it my mid-life crisis, but I needed to do something… big and on my own, unsupported.  A Gran Fondo, if you will, but on my own terms.

So, This past May, I set off on my journey, a ride that would take me 710 miles, across the Golden Gate Bridge, through a grand scenic tour of San Francisco, then down the coast of California, eventually finding my way to San Diego and the Cabrillo National Monument at the top of Point Loma.

Sure, there are many people out on the road trekking across the country; some do it  on group rides, where everything is taken care of for you.  Others are on solo rides, roughing it,  and they are doing it on every type of bike imaginable and traveling in every possible direction (inspiring me all the more).

So why was this one so different? …Well, It wasn’t.   But… this was my turn, my chance to challenge myself, an opportunity to face the challenges that came before me, whatever they might be, from riding day after day in places I’d never been, to the mental and physical demands that were sure to come.  What would happen?   How would I deal with them?  I wanted to see for myself, I wanted to try.

And so I did.  After spending a great deal of time studying maps,  making plans, revising plans, re-revising plans  and spending a great deal of time on Google Earth, I settled on my official route: San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Big Sur, San Luis Obispo, Lompoc, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles and San Diego.

My bike: a 2011 Scott Speedster S30 that I purchased from A Road Bike 4U a year before. Sure, it is not a touring bike, but I would make it work.  I would travel as light as I could, adapt the bike for the journey with a rear rack, panniers  and a mere 30 lbs of equipment to get me through.

So, on May 7th, I got on the Amtrak heading north, my bike boxed up and my journey begun.   Next stop: San Francisco for the start of my grand adventure.

5 thoughts on “Trekking the California Coast Solo: San Francisco to San Diego – Part 1

  1. I own a 2012 Scott Speedster S30 and would like to use it for light touring. How did you attach your rear rack? The frame doesn’t have any rear eyelets to attach a rack. Did you make any other changes to the bike in order to use it for touring? Did you change to wider tires such as 25mm?

    • Hi Steve,
      Adding a 25mm tires will definitely offer a smoother and more stable ride. You can run slightly lower pressures while still maintaining control and comfort. Since your bikes doesn’t have rear eyelets, you should look into something like this:

      Good luck!

    • Hi Steve,
      My Scott S-30 did in fact have attachment points on the bottom of the frame, however not on the upper frame near the saddle. So, I was able to find adapters on Amazon that worked just fine. Like Tony mentioned, I did change out my tires to 25mm, and I tried to keep the weight of my panniers to below 35lbs. I only had one problem when, on the last day I over inflated my tires, and with the weight of on the back, caused my innertube to burst as I was riding. it sounded like a gun shot and scared the crap out of me!
      good luck

      Russ K.

    • Hey Steve,

      one last thought, when researching for my bike ride, I did look at racks that connected to the seat post, but ultimately decided against it. I think they are great for commuter type rides, however if you are going to go on any type of tour, I wanted something more stable. I went with a Topeak rack (although I did look at the Blackburn EX-1 and others, and they would have been just as good). in other words, having two point of attachment ( lower to support the weight and the upper for stability) is needed for this type of ride.

  2. Hi, I did union square sf to old town sd about 2 weeks ago i’m guessin’ thanx to a nasty detour i clocked in @ over 600 miles in 6 long days. Don’t take detours! If you can just wait it out… I ended up on 101 after the 1 was closed between oxnard & malibu i am lucky to have survived. thank god for scoobie snacks !

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