Another interesting ride from Monterey to Salinas, after being so fortunate, to see a part of what appeared to be a bike race – though the details are sketchy – though more research is in order. Also seeing a walk a thon that originated at Dennis the Menace Park. It did seem to be quite the day for Outdoor Activity so I was glad to have made the trip out there.
To do that – was actually quite simple, I will admit that early on because there seemed to be a lot of fog I ended up using Bus 20 To Monterey via MST. It was on this bus I saw another cyclist – looked like he was packed for a tour on the same bus. I thought about getting a photo of his rig and him but missed the opportunity. I figure should add some media shots to this blog so stay tuned. After the ride and seeing the other Bicycle Tourist – since it was still early decided to get off at Edgewater and ride from Sand City To The Job Site job site by MPC.When I got off the bus still was foggy but I had time so I went for the ride.
As you leave from Edgewater you need to take a right and follow it down to turn left, around the back of some of the stores there in the shopping center. Relatively simple route as you come around you have a bit of a climb up the hill to reconnect with the trail but once on it, pretty good ride. That was really only a warm up if you want to call it anything as from Edgewater it is not to many miles from point A to Point B. Let’s talk about the ride in Salinas to Catch the 20 may be a bit more interesting. As I have been having some issues with the BC600 I believe it is. Will have to double-check that info and update it here but have found it has a tendency to reset itself sometimes and I have no idea why. The route spoke about here has a part of it on the bus, now more often than not I’d rather ride the full stretch, as it only equates to about 30 miles (30 miles = 48.28032 kilometers) round trip from there and back again. Though the only real challenge is if you decide to follow Blanco Road via Davis in Salinas as that is often the more direct chosen route for most cars. Yet as I think about it you are on a bike, so there are other options that would not have the same wind factor which makes blanco a challenging ride, as there is a lot of wind down that stretch depending on what time of day it is.
Back to the subject at hand,when bicycling there are certainly alternative routes some of them are mentioned at MTY County Dot Com that offers some of the approaches to experience Monterey County by bike, as well as presenting alternatives to the route prescribed. One of my personal favorites is to Follow Reservation around until I come to a turn off on the left that enters into the long retired Fort Ord. That then offers you unparalleled experiences and numerous miles without cars, on both road and an extensive collection of Single Track trails, giving you a different perspective as you are traveling the backwoods. From there you are able to connect to 17 Mile Drive, when you travel into Pacific Grove and from there you can most certainly travel into Big Sur if you are in a touring mood.
In closing Monterey County, has a well established system of paths and connecting roads to make your bicycling experience here on this part of the Pacific Coast Trail, a wonderful experience and an opportunity to see things from another perspective.
Riding To Hartnelll (www.westernstage.com) tonight for my little brothers performance in Mame, I started following proper procedure and was riding with traffic and in the road. All was well until I chose to turn back onto the sidewalk for some reason, there was water flowing and for some reason I mistook it and turned right into the flat side of the sidewalk and went down along my right side my pants leg ended up in part of the water and though my near was barely hurt it seemed my elbow took the brunt of the road rash that is a constant since most of Paradise is now paved.
As I also thought about it, perhaps it was just the clearest message that could be sent why I should spend the majority of my time driving as any other vehicle instead of switching to pedestrian to regularly. The lesson learned and the road rash as a reminder, makes me think about my techniques on the road, why it is better to bicycle as a vehicle, and why that should be a constant in someone who Bicycle Commutes on a regular basis.
There is a reason why Vehicular Cycling is constantly promoted, and spoke about in length, this experience became an example of why it is often better to travel in the road just as any other vehicle would, the lesson however harsh often needs to be learned and the reminder in and of itself can be powerful.
Also why Cable Locks Often Fail and the possible solutions for it.
I have always known the importance of security of a bike, but had to learn the hard way on more then one occasion;
“There was a time not so long ago I did not think about it as such a high priority, bike security until I myself had to experience the loss. Looking back my bike was not truly secure as was assumed. A simple lock and chain less then the recommended thickness in a location expected to be secure and the bike not all that expensive though modified to my preference. It only took a moment … the camera I expected to be watching the bike … is blocked by a service vehicle and as I watched the tape moments only out walks the thief and my bike. I must say walking was not a preference of mine.” via http://su.pr/1JCw7k
Making mistakes is often the best teacher, and to have some stories you can laugh about, when an idiot tries to be slick and steal a bike. Particularly if this same idiot is completely oblivious to the most apparent deterrents. Things such as a camera, another person who is working on the carts just outside and in broad daylight to boot.
Yet he figured he was slick, so he hangs out by the bike for awhile first, a basic single speed beach cruiser, then pulls it just hard enough to break the cable lock, which must of been a very weak cable as he was able to take the bike off the rack and start riding it towards Safeway (www.safeway.com) which is about five minutes from Target (www.target.com) across one intersection. He was so slick in fact while my brother sat there and watched him he had tried to hid the bike in the bushes, change his shirt and walk casually away except for the fact everything he did was first witnessed by the camera, second by my brother but he was slick change his shirt to make it seem like he is someone else.
To bad the case was already made, the witness found and talked to and the camera video verified all pointing back to this “slick” thief with his long beard and hair. Not to mention the security were right on it, so needless to say he didn’t get far before he was in handcuffs and on his way to the clink to try and tell his story walking.
Short but sweet, this serves as a reminder that often to many people who are perhaps casual riders, don’t realize that no matter the bike or the design, there is always people who are out to get what they can. And those cable locks that tout security, only to give the person who spends the money a false sense of security. They are not even close to what could be considered a deterrent, better to take the time and invest the money in a solid U-Lock and learn the proper technique of securing your bicycle. Otherwise this cable lock that lulled you into pulling the card out of your wallet to purchase it will also prove to be the only reason that your bike became an easy target for a thief with bolt cutters.
An amazing ride today, not only because it was a beautiful day but the fact that I did the entire ride with only two pieces of bread with Peanut Butter on them in the morning and water for lunch, nearly running over a skunk on the way back. This article tells the story, of one day’s ride and the weekend to come and the rides it will entail.
To start the day, I begin to ride to the workplace, to catch a ride from there into Carmel By The Sea, as there was only an hour between the time I arrived and the time I was supposed to be there. Had I started earlier, or known earlier about the position, I would of rode my bike round trip, but was only made aware of the need right around 8a this morning. So had to eat quick jump on my 21″ Giant Rincon and cruise on over to the office. I made good time actually, was about 5 minutes early when I arrived so gave me time to cool down a bit and get some extra water then load the bike up on the car with it’s rack on the top. It was one of those racks I see every now and again, had a center restraint and the front and back on ratcheted straps, which increased my confidence as it seemed to be a well built rack. I will have to find out the company that makes it and add that to this post later.
We took the ride from Salinas to Carmel by the Sea, was not to bad, though would of been better by human power, the only challenge with that though for me from Salinas to Monterey takes about two hours, which would not of worked when you have only an hour. It is not to say that on a bike it cannot be done, but instead to say there are other alternatives like a bus with racks on the front like the ones MST (Monterey Salinas Transit) uses that enables you to combine public transit, using Environmentally Friendly Vehicles, and Human Power – Pedaling point to point, travel by Human Power.
Once I arrived in Carmel by the Sea – Dismounted the bike and locked it up, I thought about it later, considering that many of the people in Carmel by the Sea have a tendency to leave their car doors open, partly because it is Carmel by the Sea, and the people who frequent it, are not usually the sort that would steal a vehicle or rummage through your car.Even so I still decided to lock my bike up as the saying goes better safe then sorry. Why I also took the individual pannier off the rack on the back because one of the securing points had been damaged so it was not as solid as it should be particularly with tires at their Max PSI. Which in my case was 65 psi, as they are really Hybrid Tires, the exact Model is the Drifters which I have found to be an amazing product and has covered many miles and still running strong they max out at 2.20 which is a pretty big tire though they excel on road and even some Mountain Biking. It is a very versatile tire.
With the bike locked up – the bag in my custody the day begin, fortunately I was able to do alot of walking, may not of made up for the ride I should of taken, from Salinas to Carmel by The Sea and back again, but it was a good workout nonetheless. It does seem that Human Power is often the preferred mode of transit in the Shops of Carmel, and I was glad to see that. To many, at least on my side of the tracks, seem to choose a car over human mobility. Which is often also why there is that tendency to add some extra poundage, because a car is a lazy way to travel. While walking, biking, or public transit are often better options then driving your own car, because at least then you get some exercise even if it is only to transfer between two buses. At the very least using Public transit makes sure there is at least a few less cars habituating the roads.
The day went fast as it often does, when you are constantly on the move or constantly busy, as you begin to just focus on what you are doing, and in that effort more gets done and time flies by, which it really did today even if it was only about a 5 hour day. To make it more unique, I took 30 minutes for my lunch, in that time I did not eat anything just drank water. Up to this point I was working on a breakfast that only consisted of two pieces of bread and some Peanut Butter on them. As in another sense it was a test to see if that – as the entire breakfast can keep you going enough for one day with about a 3+ hour ride traversing 4 cities in a hybrid route with bits of highway and connecting points to bike lanes from streets using proper vehicular cycling technique to show those who drive that a bike should also be considered a vehicle as it legally is just that. All the while giving you enough energy and drive to keep cranking those pedals.
As the workday came to a close I checked to make sure that going uphill on Ocean in Carmel by the Sea is the proper way to reconnect to Highway 1 – which is the connecting point of Carmel By The Sea and Pacific Grove. Which then connects into the bike trail from Pacific Grove to Marina, en route to Salinas. A well established route covering just about all of Monterey County, with well connected routes making bicycling a great thing to do throughout. Once everything was verified I begin a gradual ascent first, until I was about a block or two away from Ocean & Monte Verde, when the real climbing begin, as ocean becomes quite steep going back up to Highway 1. Once I arrived at the top, the ride was not so bad, though I really felt the climb up so cruised pretty slow for the moment 12 mph is pretty slow when I am usually running at least 15 or 16 on a regular ride. It’s not time trial speed or status, it’s a speed I am happy with and with that consistent effort I get where I need to be. Along Highway 1 I realized there was still more climbing though it was a more gradual incline, then anything else and in that realization I understood better why the speed seemed overly slow.
The nice thing is not long after as I took the exit heading towards Pacific Grove off of Highway 1 and shortly thereafter I was greeted by a nice downhill. Before that though in the first leg of that exit I damn near hit a skunk. That had to be the closest I have ever been to one of those, the skurge of the roads, even after death you know they were there because they wreak royally. Fortunately I maneuvered well enough to make sure I came no closer and that my tire never touched that little beast. Afterwards I just kept on, getting things done, and then the downhill.
This was a massive and long downhill, with plenty of curves to make it interesting, where you could easily reach speeds of 40 or 50 miles an hour on a bike if in the top gear and pounding the pedals all the way down, No picnic but clearly a great way to recover from a long and steep climb like Ocean Avenue in Carmel by the Sea by just cruising, pumping the brakes if need be to keep a gradual speed even down such an amazing hill. I had more fun then you can imagine but I was also careful to make sure things got done and I didn’t end up on the ground bleeding from road rash. Even from this point on this downhill, since I was going into Pacific Grove to return to the Multi Use Path, it was primarily downhill so that improved my overall speed considerably. As I reached the bottom of the hills through Pacific Grove I reconnected with the path that was going from Pacific Grove towards Marina to connect back into Salinas.
I was certainly in for a surprise, as I entered into Monterey by Fisherman’s Wharf, I saw first what appeared to be a an Art’s And Craft’s Fair and then later down the road, I also saw the Classical Cars, that were all lined up in the parking lot there, and remembered from times previous, that this was a great time to visit Monterey, though the difference this time was simply I was in a bit of a rush to get back into town so only looked around briefly and pounded the pedals some more. Once I got into my groove, I was cruising strong, traveling at a constant 19mph speeding down the paved road that served as the Bike Path.
There is a point on the path that was recently added, that detours off to the old Fort Ord, which was an active base for many years but was closed down sometime back, now used as open space and great Mountain Biking Single Track with it’s diverse terrain and exciting vistas. Well worth checking out in the link offered above about Monterey County they have some great maps to give you an idea about Fort Ord. Following this bike path is nice, in part because you are farther from the traffic and your view is more clear of the ocean that is near. It has a bit more climbs, though each one is well worth the effort. As you continue on, the climbs are not as difficult because you get in a groove, the only challenge I had today was with the fog that got to rolling in, and it was dense, to a point where you could see maybe five feet in front of you particularly with the glasses fogging up, made for an interesting ride though as fog always does so in the end it worked out well.
Once I got into Marina the fog lifted, and the sun was shining a bit so made for a nice ride as the route continues through there until you make the turn onto Blanco which for a rider who is relatively new to bicycling as a vehicle instead of as only a toy, may find difficult as it requires you to leave the bike trail and cross about 2 lanes of higher speed traffic in order to make the turn so that you will continue on Blanco although you can continue straight ahead if you rather, it is a bit longer a ride with a bit more difficulties but can get you to the same place without having to deal with the turn to Blanco.
For me though I made the maneuver work, got to where I needed to be in the turning lane and transitioned smoothly to Blanco. The nice thing about Blanco is that almost immediately you have another fast downhill which makes the ride even more enjoyable, and once you get past the downhill you have a clear route all the way into Salinas whether you turn onto Alisal or Davis. Regardless of how you enter Salinas, you will notice there are quite a few bike routes throughout Salinas, though the bike Culture is not so apparent but it exists.
The ride back into town was uneventful, though in conclusion I made great time, and glad I had the opportunity to experience this ride and plan to do it again in the not to distant future, minus the skunk at least.
Phil’s courageous journey has consisted of of nearly 8,000 miles of riding in various climate and traffic conditions while facing frequent elevation changes. He races in honor and remembrance of his late uncle who died from acute Leukemia (cancer). Phil also hopes to raise $48,000 in funds from this ride that support research for a cure. He will be returning to our home town of Tipp City, Ohio tomorrow, Monday September 14th at 6PM in the CVS parking lot.
Proves the simple point that all things are possible with each rotation of a pedal, and for a cause to boot. Really that is a great way to fund a tour – in helping a cause further progress, to the direction of solutions,to help something make the progress it needs to make. This is only one example there are others, of people who have decided to live their life on a bike, in fact Family On Bikes is doing just that, together home schooling their children and touring the country by human power and on two wheels.
Just as I am thinking about a bike tour cross the country to see my relatives, figuring either later this year or early in summer next year depending, really need to get back out there and tour. Which is the plan in the not to distant future, how many others who are reading taken bike tours?
The wonders of bicycle commuting, as a part of the journey to be had and the experience of driving your bike as a vehicle, with traffic in the flow, to make sure that it is clear to the drivers of the cars who still seem lost to the convenience instead of the benefit of riding a bike instead of driving a car.
The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man. Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart.
~ Iris Murdoch via The Red and the Green