Santa Cruz to Monterey, California
This past Labor Day weekend marked my first bike tour. An amazing experience: Load your stuff on your bike and pedal away. The open road stretches in front of you as you pass by farmland, forests, towns, sand dunes, and ocean. We covered about 90 miles over two days on the Pacific Coast Bike Route in central coastal California.
Laura and Eric biking through farmland along San Andreas Road on day 1 -- we were treated to some stunning scenery.
The three of us camped at a hiker/biker site in Monterey. I love those campsites, because you get to meet people with amazing travel stories. There was this English guy who has travelled to 70 countries and takes only buses and trains. And there was a girl who biked three months in Mongolia before topping it off with a trip from LA to San Francisco.
Some of the basic gear we needed included decent bikes, panniers, tent, sleeping bag, and tools. As a first timer, I didn't have the best of gear. But you gotta make do with what you have. A good bike with a wide range of gears is essential to tackle the rolling hills along the route. A good set of panniers will keep your load stable on the bike. We didn't carry much food, as we had our meals at restaurants and cafes along the way. The cool cloudy days made for a relaxing ride (but were a downer for good photos). I thoroughly enjoyed the ride along the coast on sandy cliffs overlooking the blue ocean. The tour combined two of my favorite outdoor activities, biking and camping.
Eric and Laura making their way on Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail. It was wonderful to have an uninterrupted bike path for ten miles!
A biking trip is very different from a road trip in a car. It's real adventure. You travel much slower and thus get more intimate with the landscapes. You connect to the place through the sights, sounds, and smells. You can stop as much as you want and whenever you feel like it. And people are a lot more friendly toward you, and open to conversation.
A gorgeous view of the Monterey Bay, one of the high points of the trip.
All in all, a fun trip. Thanks to Eric and Laura for making it happen. I'm looking forward to the next pedaling adventure.
Trip details --
Saturday: Bus from San Jose to Santa Cruz. Bike from Santa Cruz to Monterey.
Sunday: Bike to Carmel along 17-Mile Drive and back.
Monday: Bus from Monterey to San Jose
Tip for this adventure: Check out the view of Monterey Bay from the sand dunes just north of Monterey.
Favorite local bike shop: Calmar Bicycles in Santa Clara, CA.