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Old 06-04-13, 02:32 PM   #1
calamarichris
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CreditCard Touring South from Santa Barbara to San Diego

For future reference, riding from Santa Barbara back down to San Diego is completely AWESOME! I took my bike on the train up to Santa Barbara on Friday morning, spent the night in Santa Monica, then rode the rest of the way down to San Juan Capistrano, where I warmed up, had dinner, and caught the train and got home. Rode about 90 miles both days as a noodling-along, siteseeing pace, and stopped at least 3 times a day for a beer.

SoCal has recently made colossal leaps & bounds toward becoming more bicycle-friendly and the entire trip (except for Houston [err, I mean San Pedro]) was a complete joyride through one idyllic scene after another...
May 31 - Some place called the Missile Garden in Port Hueneme



Oxnard. (I spy something beginning with a letter "G"...)


Point Mugu.



The Southbound shoulder was nice & wide. I saw a few riders on the Northbound shoulder, and their shoulder looked less wide and even a little scary in spots.



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Old 06-04-13, 02:48 PM   #2
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Stayed at the Doubletree in Santa Monica, a few blocks from the pier. There were dozens of great restaurants around, sharply dressed women, and the men's cologne was so thick on the street it burnt the back of your nasal passages.


The Santa Monica Bike Center was open nice & early, which was fortunate, because I somehow got a flat tire overnight in the hotelroom. There was a cute couple running the place and they were laughing their heads off about Prince's conversion to a certain religion. It was a great shop and they were very helpful.
Saturday morning, June 1, breakfast in Venice Beach, just off the strand so I didn't have to worry about my Peloton.




If you don't want to ride amongst the ...culture of the Venetian Bordwalk, there is a pretty terrific bike path for much of the way down to Marina del Rey.


More to come soon... work's busy.

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Old 06-04-13, 03:49 PM   #3
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As you leave Venice, make your way around Marina del Rey, the sweet smell of patchouli dissipates, and more shopping centers & franchise restaurants start popping up.
You're in Redondo Beach.





And the beach bike path snakes right through the underground parking garage leading up to the shopping/restaurants.


And that big peninsula sticking out on the horizon is the Palos Verdes Peninsula.


Palos Verdes Estates is a pretty snazzy neighborhood, but sadly most of the restaurants around this neat fountain have been turned into real estate offices.



But I still found an awesome French place called La Rive Gauche, where this awesome old fella Jacques told me stories about touring on his Peugeot, getting hit by cars, and riding all over without a helmet.


And riding on Palos Verdes Peninsula turned out to be another great surprise! Smooth roads, wide shoulders, and moderate traffic. And the scenery is GREAT!


[

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Old 06-04-13, 03:57 PM   #4
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I've done both rides - just not consecutively. Nice work. I am, however, going to be "that guy" who says "San Juan Capistrano isn't San Diego!"
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Old 06-04-13, 03:58 PM   #5
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Thanks for posting - looks like a great ride. I assume you resisted the urge to turn left up Decker to relive that portion of the MC!
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Old 06-04-13, 04:02 PM   #6
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The road through to the Korean Friendship Bell (where that great scene in The Usual Suspects, where Billy Baldwin almost lost his eye when another actor flung a cigarette butt into his face, was filmed.)



Fortunately you can always rely on the kindness of strangers, especially after you've got them laughing while watching you fiddle with your camera's timer, and scrambling over to pick up your bike before the flash goes off...


After the Friendship Bell, however, you're going to have to endure some ugliness. San Pedro is like a little chunk of the Texas coast transplanted to Southern California.



Every breath I took for about 45 minutes smelled like a strong, toxic combination of fresh asphalt, spilled diesel, and spray paint fumes. Despite riding slowly through this area and very nearly holding my breath, I still had tightness in my chest for the rest of the afternoon, from Seal Beach on South. Pity the poor souls who have to work or even live in this place.

But the rest of the trip was only continued delight. Plenty of kindly strangers in Long Beach, looking at the Queen Mary & stuff.


Dead-end in Long Beach, with Seal Beach on the other side of the channel. A good rule of thumb for coastal riding is If you start seeing masts on your left, you'd better check your map for a bridge.


And once I got to this familiar part of Seal Beach, it was pretty smooth sailing (but a lot more OC traffic.)

And of course once you get to Newport & Laguna, things look even more familiar...

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Old 06-04-13, 04:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
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"San Juan Capistrano isn't San Diego!"
True. But I already know and can vouch for my staple rides in my own backyard very well. This is posted for the benefit of anyone considering this stretch.
I was going to ride it all the way back to Oceanside, but I had to rein in the ponies after the tightness in my chest after San Pedro's cancer alley.
It was also getting chilly and I didn't have any long sleeves with me. Also, the point of the trip was to explore and see new junk, not Strava-flexing. Rode about 90 miles both days and I'm looking forward to doing another trip like this. Next time from Paso Robles, or perhaps from San Francisco.

It was a great adventure, and I stopped at least 3 times a day for a beer to remind myself not to let it turn into a hammerfest.
We're very lucky to live here and I encourage anyone to take this ride. It's gotten MUCH more bicycle-friendly than I remembered. I don't think I had a single close call until I got to Laguna. (We need to get that town on board with the program...)

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Old 06-04-13, 04:23 PM   #8
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Nice trip report. Looks like you had fun. That's what it's all about. If you have the time take the Surf Liner to the end of the line in San Luis Obispo and then ride back. The first part of the ride to Santa Barbara is more isolated, but you will be riding through cycling heaven.
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Old 06-04-13, 04:29 PM   #9
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P.S. Effective June 1st, we must make the reservations for our bikes on the Amtrak BEFORE boarding. It might sound like a PITA, but at least we won't be turned away when the bike cars are full anymore.
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Old 06-04-13, 05:05 PM   #10
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P.S. Effective June 1st, we must make the reservations for our bikes on the Amtrak BEFORE boarding. It might sound like a PITA, but at least we won't be turned away when the bike cars are full anymore.
Is there a cost for Amtrak to haul our bikes? SLO to Santa Monica sounds like a nice ride.
Love the pics and write-up.
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Old 06-04-13, 05:15 PM   #11
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Is there a cost for Amtrak to haul our bikes? SLO to Santa Monica sounds like a nice ride.
Love the pics and write-up.
Thanks Volo! Nope, no charge. The bike reservations are free. It's actually a good thing, because sometimes they fill up.
Sorry I didn't get any pics of you. I'd just started out in SB and hadn't really busted out the camera at the point we ran into each other.

Here's pretty much the route I took, although looking at it from a satellite's-eye-view, I see that I missed a few roads that would have been more pleasant, and took a few that that were less so. That's half the fun of adventure.


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Old 06-04-13, 07:37 PM   #12
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...Sorry I didn't get any pics of you. I'd just started out in SB and hadn't really busted out the camera at the point we ran into each other...
No worries. I know what I look like. Good to finally meet you. And thanks for going easy on me. Looking forward to riding with you again someday. Good to know about the bike charge. That opens up a whole lot more opportunities.
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Old 06-04-13, 09:26 PM   #13
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I've done both rides - just not consecutively. Nice work. I am, however, going to be "that guy" who says "San Juan Capistrano isn't San Diego!"
Upon further reflection, THANK YOU for being That Guy. I might still do Ride Around the Bear this weekend, but one of these weekends, I'm definitely going to take the train back up to San Juan Cap and take pics between there and downtown SD. We've got some seriously great riding, scenery, and people here. I even feel patriotic about calling myself Californian after this last weekend.

Torrey Pines Grade


La Jolla.


Goldfish Point Cafe, overlooking the La Jolla Swim Cove.


Ocean Beach


Amtrak. (God bless Amtrak--if you haven't taken your bike on a train yet, you really should.)
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Old 06-05-13, 07:02 AM   #14
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Awesome

Nice write up and not just a little a bit inspiring
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Old 06-05-13, 08:00 AM   #15
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Great write-up. The area north of Malibu isn't too bad for bike lanes; south it's a bit dicey. My wife and I rode from Ventura to Santa Barbara one day (roughly 30 miles) and took the train back after lunch. They had vertical bike racks. Glad you enjoyed the trip and thanks for reminding us that not every ride is supposed to be a hammerfest.
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Old 06-05-13, 08:50 AM   #16
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Thanks for the photos Chris, drop me line if your in the Santa Maria area and I'll try to ride out with you for while.
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Old 06-05-13, 08:59 AM   #17
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Thanks for the report and photos. I have ridden all the same parts - together on one trip and at separate times. Not certain if I will ever do any of it again but I "ride" vicariously through you!!!
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Old 06-05-13, 01:43 PM   #18
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Nice travelogue Chris!
Heading up to San Juan Capistrano this Sat June 8th with 5 friends on the Amtrak from Old Town. Yes, we already have our reservations!
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Old 06-05-13, 02:25 PM   #19
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Great writeup. I think I'll have to add this to my bucket list.

There is a club called the Fireflies. They do a fundraising ride every year from San Francisco to Culver City. They're made up of mostly TV and movie people. But they raise money for City of Hope (which is near and dear to me!). I hope to be able to ride with them someday.
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Old 06-05-13, 06:22 PM   #20
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Dude ... you were in my South Bay hood!

You missed a very sweet place to stop to eat in Malaga Cove ... the Yellow Vase. Right in the corner of the plaza.
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Old 06-05-13, 08:32 PM   #21
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Great writeup!

By the way - the amtrak site says it's $5 to reserve a spot for your bike starting June 1. Did they charge you?
Beginning June 1, 2013, bike reservations are required on the
Pacific Surfliner. The reservation fee is $5.00 per travel segment
and may be booked at Amtrak.com by clicking the “Add Bike
to Trip” tab after selecting your departure and class of service.
Passengers are required to properly secure bicycles in bike racks.
Book early as reserved bike space is limited and may not be
available on all trains or departures.
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Old 06-05-13, 08:51 PM   #22
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Quote:
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I might still do Ride Around the Bear this weekend, but one of these weekends, I'm definitely going to take the train back up to San Juan Cap and take pics between there and downtown SD. We've got some seriously great riding, scenery, and people here. I even feel patriotic about calling myself Californian after this last weekend.
You are becoming a professional poser, boet! Nice ride report, inspiring, as Gallo put it. How about you organize a poser ride in your area instead of hassling with the train? Carlsbad is right in the middle between SJC and SD, so we can get all that great riding, scenery and people right there.
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Old 06-05-13, 09:19 PM   #23
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Beautiful idea, and a beautiful job with your narrative and pics. I forwarded to a bunch of folks.
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Old 06-06-13, 12:08 PM   #24
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Nice pictures.

I didn't know there was a Korean Friendship Bell but i stay near there pretty regularly. I like San Pedro; it's nice to cruise around the harbor and look at the shipping activity.
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Old 06-06-13, 12:12 PM   #25
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Awesome job, Chris!
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