Trekking the California Coast Solo: San Francisco to San Diego – Part 5

Group rides are great!  Gran Fondos, Charity Rides, Group and Club rides…I love them all.  Hundreds, even thousands of people all sharing their passion for riding.  Sometimes doing it for a cause and other times to see who can be King of the Mountain.  You get a lot by doing one of the big charity rides:  well stocked rest areas, cheering crowds, SAG vehicles, a big party at the end.  Overall, a great experience.  But…..

Sometimes… you’ve got to get out there on your own….. unsupported… with only yourself to motivate you.

There is a great freedom doing a long multi-day ride on your own.  And that is exactly what I did early last year when I rode solo from San Francisco to San Diego on a journey that would be the defining ride of my life.

Coming out of Big Sur, I made my way through the Central Coast, home to San Simeon / Hearst Castle, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly), Lompoc (home to Vandenburg AFB… think rockets!) and Santa Barbara.  In between there are plenty of farms where the smell of sweet fresh produce fills the air (aaah!)

After the 12,000 feet of climbing through Big Sur, the rolling hills of the Central Coast were a welcome relief.  As were the beautiful beaches along Goleta and the coffee shops and farmers markets of Santa Barbara.

Central Coast

Time was passing by quickly.  I was beyond the halfway point. It was a time to slow down and take it all in.  Soon I would be riding through Los Angeles, San Pedro (worst roads ever!) and the dreaded… Newport Beach (if you have ever ridden through there on PCH, you know what I am talking about!).  But for now, the Central Coast with all its quietness was my route, and I was quite content to be there.

Missed the previous posts in this series?  Here they are:

Trekking the California Coast Solo – Part 1

Trekking the California Coast Solo – Part 2

Trekking the California Coast Solo – Part 3

Trekking the California Coast Solo – Part 4

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