Showing posts with label Touring. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Touring. Show all posts

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Interview With Russ & Laura Of The Path Less Pedaled

(Photo by Path Less Pedaled)
Over on LA Streetsblog, my third post for the Santa Monica column is an interview with Laura Crawford and Russ Roca, the bicycling touring duo from Long Beach, with the awesome bike touring website The Path Less Pedaled. I've been fortunate enough to become friends with the two of them, and when they came back to L.A. from their recent New Zealand adventure, I caught up with them about their recent travels, and asked a few bike tourism questions related to Santa Monica.

If you are at all a fan of traveling by bike, you should be following what Path Less Pedaled are up to. The full interview is up here on LA Streesblog.

In order to keep the word count a little more manageable I didn't end up including every question and answer, but I'll post up a little bonus material here.

Gary -- In-between other adventures you appear to be gravitated toward staying in Portland Oregon now. What is the draw of Portland that keeps you going back after seeing and staying in so many other places?

Laura -- the biggest draw for me is that Oregon is home. Its' where I grew up and I always wanted to go back. We used to spend a lot of time traveling there for vacation and wondered what it would be like to live there.

Russ -- The real active bike scene. It's kind of the epicenter o biking in so many ways, and it is appealing to be part of that. On this break we really want to explore the concept of bicycle travel and tourism and Oregon seems to be the  most active place in the country that i is actively promoting bicycle touring. They're launching a bicycle touring program that is trying to make Oregon one of the top cycle touring destinations in the country.

LC -- The coffee and the beer are the icing.

RR -- But not the rain. You have to come back to Southern California every few months or so for the sun.

LC -- There are two coping strategies. 1) Leave every once and awhile for the sun. 2) Realize there is no such thing as waterproof, you will get wet. Bring a change of clothes. Also the coffee and beer of course.

(Following the questions I planned for the interview, Russ and Laura also went a little further into thoughts about the Otago Central Rail Trail. A long decommissioned rail corridor that was converted into a bike trial, that was one of major highlights of their trip, and a great example of bikenomics in action. -GK)

RR -- We're also working on a new presentation on bicycle touring and travel. New Zealand was kind of a fact finding trip to see what works as far as encouraging bike travel and bring some of those ideas back so bike advocates here can be inspired.

The rail trail was kind of an ideal example where bikes helped rural communities in a tangible way. It wasn't theoretical at all. When you say that in the United States, things are on such a large scale, it isn't as obvious there are communities thriving on bike paths. 

Ironically we talked to the woman who was the chair of the rail trail trust which was put together 18 years ago, and the reason she joined the trust originally was because of a rail rail in the United States she saw in a National Geographic Article. She said the funny part was it was almost complete except for one mile that went through a farmers property that wouldn't let it go through. So she kept all the New Zealand farmers in the loop so they wouldn't feel left out.

LC -- The thing I liked the most about the Otago Trail is that when they started it nearly 20 years ago it wasn't from a lets make money off of cyclists angle, it was looking for something that was worthwhile for people who live out here. They had no idea that people would come out there and ride it. It has taken everybody by complete surprise. So they're even more grateful for the way that it has positively affected towns in the whole area. 

It was an incredible feeling that everyone wanted to do it because it was the right thing to do for the community. The financial benefits of it were a fantastic after-effect that was not the motivating factor. Its' not that it cant be the motivating factor but there's something nice about how everybody is so honest in their appreciation of you being there.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Presentation Tommorow At REI: Touring The California Central Coast

On The Road

My wife Meghan is doing another presentation at REI, this time to talk about bicycle touring, highlighting routes and tips for riding along the Central Coast of California. As part of AIDs LifeCycle we traveled from San Fransisco to Los Angeles, and on our own we toured with camping gear from San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara. These experiences and others we have had traveling by bike will inform the talk. If you are new to bike touring and have been wanting to try getting into it, I highly recommend coming out.

7:00pm to 8:30pm at the Santa Monica REI [map]. [Facebook Event Page]

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Some semblance of normality returns, and a look at riding to Joshua Tree.

Things are finally winding down with work for me right now (after about 3 months of overtime scheduling), so I'd like to get back to the occasional post again. Thanks for staying tuned, I was surprised the number of subscribers continued to grow even as content basically trickled to zero. I think interest in cycling is certainly on the up trend.

The big news for me, is amidst the middle of the craziness I did take a mini vacation to ride to Joshua Tree from San Bernidino with Meghan (LA to San Bernidino via Metrolink). But the really big news is I proposed on our trip, so it's official, we're getting married! The most memorable moments of my life the past 2 years have revolved around us riding bikes together, and I look forward to a lifetime of more adventures on two wheels. Time to start saving for that road tandem we have been dreaming of...

Soon I would like to do a follow up post with more details about our trip and routing for the travel curious. For now, here is some images of our trip to the beautiful desert lands to our East (shot with my new Canon G11) . Once you have a solid base of aerobic fitness, really the only limit to how far you can go on a bike is how much vacation time you have. I'd also like to give a shout out to Russ and Laura of The Path Less Pedaled, who's trip to Joshua Tree a while back inspired ours, and who's writing got us more into this whole self supported bicycle touring thing in the first place.

Cabazon Dinosaurs

The Road Less Traveled

Me And My Bike

Cresting The Climb Into Yucca Valley

Bike Route

Around The Campground

The Proposal

Morning Campsite

Almost There

Santa Fe Depot Train Station In San San Bernardino

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Car Free Vacation, Adventure On Two Wheels

Bike Lane, Rail Road, & Highway, A Pacific Coast Transportation Layer Cake

The latest form of cycling that I've become passionate about is touring. This is where you pack your bags, load em on to the bike and go ride, find a suitable place to camp, and keep doing this until obligations reel you back into reality. I mentioned briefly my first adventure of this sort with Meghan from San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara over 3 days, with Amtrak to get to the start and the last leg home. Well recently Meghan and I set out again, this time from L.A. to San Diego in 2 days, and again Amtrak for the ride home. So far both trips have involved stopping off to a Mission, which was exciting for me because as a California native we learn about them in school, but I never actually saw any of them before.

Mixing train and bike travel is a great and economical way to get out and explore California, especially when your free time is limited and a round trip by bike is impractical. The pace of bike riding gives you a completely different perspective on travel than everything blurring by in an automobile. It's not something for the beginner cyclist, but with a little base training it's pretty easy to go far even with all the gear on the bike. With the right training and maintaining a comfortable pace you can just about ride forever..

When I get some more time I'll write some specific tips about touring and some of my experiences and perspective on it. In the mean time I'll leave you with a link to Russ Roca's touring focused blog, The Epicurean Cyclist, which inspired Meghan to start planning our first trip, and a few photos of our journeys so far below.

San Luis Obispo To Santa Barbara:

Meghan On Amtrak

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

On The Road

Victory Over First Big Climb

Margo Dodd Park Panorama View

Gaviota State Beach

Meghan At Our Gaviota State Park Camp Site

The Fog

Long Beach To San Diego:

Pacific Coast Highway

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Meghan + Lens Flare

Our Camp Site

Stopping For The View

On The Path Less Traveled

Getting Ready For The Last Stretch

Bicycle Public Sculpture, We Made It To San Diego

[Flick Collection Of Bicycle Touring]

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

San Louis Obispo To Santa Barbara Bike Touring, A Success

I ♥ adventure! It was an absolutely amazing weekend of riding trains, riding bikes, and camping under the stars with my wonderful girlfriend Meghan. More details and photos to come.

My Bianchi Bergamo Fully Loaded

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Going For A Mini Bike Tour Over Thanksgiving Break

My girlfriend and I are going for our first unsupported bike tour with overnight camping this weekend. I'm very excited and can't wait for the adventure. I'll be loading up the commuter bike with gear and making final preparations over the next couple days. We are taking the Amtrak to San Louis Obispo to start our journey. From there we will ride around and eventually make our way down to Santa Barbara, where we will catch the Amtrak back to Downtown Los Angeles.

I hope that you all enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday, and put epic amounts of delicious food in your faces. Somewhere I heard someone in regards to cycling say, "Ride to eat, eat to ride". Wise words.