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  1. #1
    mac
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    I'm on the road doing my very 1st tour: L.A. to Mexico!

    Woo-hoo! I got a week off from work and decided, what the heck, I'll roll out my front door and follow the Adventure Cycling maps down to the US/Mexico border. OMG - I cramped up sooo hard riding down here. And I'm dead tired so I can't post much right now. I did learn a few things though...
    • Kryptonite NY U-Lock is HEAVY
    • Kypronite NY Fuggedaboutit Chain is even HEAVIER
    • my P.O.S. pre-dot-com company laptop at 10lbs is a BEAST
    • your legs can cramp up so much that you can't even bend your knees. ow ow ow
    • just because you are riding mostly beach bike paths doesn't mean you won't have to climb, especially when you hit a city called ROLLING HILLS
    • I'd be lost without my GPS
    • Credit Card touring is the best!!!!!
    • WTF did I bring so much gear?!?!
    • a lot of people want to talk to you about your ride (hello ladies!) and say they wish they could do that, too
    • when you are in L.A., get asked where you are headed and say MEXICO, the look of disbelief on their faces is funny
    • smiling and waving to everyone on the bike path or in residential neighborhoods almost always gets a positive response; so many people seem caught up in their own thing (esp. here in L.A.), but actively reaching out and saying "hi" does make a difference
    • I really, really, REALLY appreciate gasoline, especially when I'm sucking wind hard climbing with my bike and cars just blow right by me
    • it's quite humbling to bust your arse for 61 miles for a total of 8 hours, stay at a hotel in Long Beach, look out your window and see the Queen Mary... The same Queen Mary you went to a couple of weeks ago to see Cirque de Soleil which was only a 1/2 hour drive. :-(


    I'll post some pics later on. Cheers

  2. #2
    Just Ride! Pigtire's Avatar
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    Awesome! Keep us posted.

  3. #3
    In Memory of One Cool Cat Blackberry's Avatar
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    Keep that great sense of humor. BTW, it might make you feel better to know that on my first camping trip by canoe, I took so much crap that I sunk the boat within 15 seconds of shoving off. I was forced to lighten up and have been trying to do so ever since.
    Dead last finish is better than did not finish and infinitely better than did not start.

  4. #4
    nm+
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    The locks are why I stay in hotels in urban/high crime areas. Tiny cable lock ftw.
    /Don't steal my stuff, please?
    Breaking bike parts for more than 20 years
    Titus Racer-X AL/Trek 520 (Cracked)/Trek 930

  5. #5
    mac
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    Whew... I just rolled into Coronado tonight after spending last night in San Clemente. It's really nice meeting all sorts of people. What's funny is people's reactions. Back in L.A., I would say that I was going to Mexico and they would look at me in disbelief because they couldn't imagine doing that. But now that I'm next to Mexico and tell people I came from L.A., they're just in awe. And most of our fellow cyclists have been quite friendly and helpful. It's nice to meet the locals from every city and talk about life where they are. The funniest thing is their view of "traffic." They said to watch out for the "busy streets", but their busy streets is like an easy ride back in my 'hood. The mean streets of L.A. toughen you up.

  6. #6
    Just Ride! Pigtire's Avatar
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    Oh Man, there is this hole in the wall Mexican restaurant that serves the best carne asada burrito ever! Now I forgot the darn street Looks like you are having a blast.

  7. #7
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    How far down are you heading? Sounds like your having a blast...
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
    .litespeed.classic.litespeed.firenze.bianchi.pista.dean.colonel.plus.more.

  8. #8
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    I can't believe you're carrying the New York 3000!! Incredible.

    How are you using you're GPS?

    1. What GPS do you have and did you buy the software for it?
    2. Did you create routes and download them into your GPS?
    OR are you simply creating routes on the fly each day?
    3. Are you carrying paper maps?
    4. Do you have ALL the maps loaded into the GPS or are you using
    the laptop to create routes?
    5. Are you using rechargable batteries or are you buying them from stores?

  9. #9
    mac
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    Well, I'm back here in the states. Yup, I did haul my old POS 10 lb laptop, the Kryptonite New York Fuggedabout it chain, and the Kryptonite New York U-Lock. And I never once used them! OMG, my bike was so heavy, I couldn't even lift it over a small fence.

    1,4. I used the Garmin GPSMap60CS which came with the North America City Select Maps. You can d/l large sections of the map to the GPS which even includes details of local businesses. I had all of my maps loaded into my GPS and still had lots of memory available.

    2,3. I bought the Adventure Cycling Pacific Coast maps and used them. On their web site, you can d/l full GPS waypoints for those maps. I then auto-plotted a route between all of the waypoints and pretty much followed that down the coast. There are some places where there are separate bike paths (i.e. instead of riding on the I-5) and that is not exactly mapped on the GPS (since it's for motor vehicles), but it was close enough. It really saved me a few times from getting lost after making a wrong turn.

    5. I use 2 AA batteries at a time. Only used 4 total for the trip.


    I don't know how you older people used to get around with a GPS. Other than my bike and camelpak, that was my most important piece of equipment.

  10. #10
    mac
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    They changed things around at the Mexico -> US border. Up until last month, there used to be a bike lane where you could ride right up to the customs agent. However, I was told that Mexicans were setting up businesses renting out real junker bikes for < $10 so people could just cruise all the way to the front of the line. So the Border Patrol shut down the bike lane last month. So I had to spend about 1.5 hours to get back into the states.

    Going into Mexico was weird. There was hardly any Mexican border patrol agents. I just rode my bike expecting there to be a big "HOLA! MEXICO" sign or something like that, but nothing. I only knew for sure I was in Mexico when I came up to a red octogonal sign that said "ALTO".

    Since this was my first time in Mexico and I was on a bike, I just wanted to swing around and come back to the States just so I can tell everyone back at the office that I rode from L.A. to Mexico.


    I met so many different people on this trip - from "OCP" bicyclists, to commuters, to guys on cruisers enjoying the beach, to a pair of cute college girls riding Wal-Mart MTB junkers 100 miles down the coast in 1 day for the hell of it. It's true - you really can't take everything in barreling down the road at 80 on the interstates.

    Oh yeah, it was really cool seeing all of our military firepower as I rode through Camp Pendleton Marine Corp base and then next to the Naval Special Weapons Warfare (?) in Coronado. That's where the Navy Seals train and I spoke to one of them going for a run on the bike path. Out of everyone I met, he was the only one that wasn't surprised (or even impressed?) that I rode L.A. to Mexico. Now that's hard core for you. I saw the obstacle course and some Seal-trainees in training. Just like the stuff you see on the Discovery Channel. I also rode past two aircraft carriers in Coronado. I swell up with pride seeing just how powerful our military is and that we are #1. USA!
    Last edited by mac; 05-19-06 at 08:45 PM.

  11. #11
    Vanned. worker4youth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mac
    However, I was told that Mexicans were setting up businesses renting out real junker bikes for < $10 so people could just cruise all the way to the front of the line.
    What the heck? What would they do with their cars?

  12. #12
    mac
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    Quote Originally Posted by worker4youth
    What the heck? What would they do with their cars?
    Dude, people would park in the US and walk across the border. Coming back, it would be a long wait in line so the Mexicans rented out junkers. Sux for guys like us in our full gear and touring bike - obviously we were the ones the border bike lane was intended for.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm still unpacking. I'll post my pics tomorrow.

  13. #13
    mac
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    Here's the route I took down the coast following the Adventure Cycling Pacific Coast #5 map until Imperial Beach, then I hooked inland to cross into Mexico.

    • 4 days
    • 205.2 miles
    • 20:24 riding
    • 10 mph avg



    Last edited by mac; 05-21-06 at 10:50 PM.

  14. #14
    Guest
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    Funny stuff- but I'd take the same locks with me when I do a bike trip anyday. I'd rather have a bike with heavy locks than no bike at all.

    Koffee

  15. #15
    Desert Rat
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    I'm jealous! Nice tour! How do you like the Arkel panniers? I am thinking about getting some Arkel's for when I go on my first tour.

    How long did it take you to get in shape for this tour?
    Have I mentioned that I love riding my bikes?
    GT Timberline (1989), Home build (2012), Giant OCR3 (2007)

    Jack aka:makeitso

  16. #16
    mac
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    Day 1, Tue 2006-05-16, LA to Long Beach
    • 61.1 miles
    • 5:51 riding time
    • 1:34 rest
    • 35.5 max
    • 10.4 avg
    • 1387' ascent


    Santa Monica Pier


    Marina Del Rey. All L.A. crew teams train here.


    LA DWP right along the bike path.


    Queen Mary and Port of Long Beach viewable from my hotel window.


    Long Beach at night. Dude... I didn't know nighttime photos are time-lapsed. I think I'll use this as my desktop wallpaper.

  17. #17
    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    Hey nice pics....

    (I deleted my previous 'worthless without pics' post)
    .cinelli.olympic.surly.long.haul.trucker.kona.ku.surly.steamroller.
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  18. #18
    mac
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    Day 2, Wed 2006-05-17, Long Beach to San Clemente
    • 45.8 miles
    • 4:12 riding
    • 1:05 rest
    • 33.1 max
    • 10.9 avg
    • 1119' ascent


    Long Beach No Fishing.


    Offshore Island. I'm not sure what it is, but there were several man-made like islands along the coast.


    Offshore Oil Rig. We need more of these here in CA.


    Secluded beach down the coast.


    View from my hotel room in San Clemente. This was my favorite placed I stayed at. The quiet roar of the waves was so relaxing. And the clean ocean breeze blowing through my room was so refreshing.



    San Clemente pier. This is the only place to hang out in SC.


    San Clemente local high school kids surfing.


    My hotel room. Find the yellow building and go down. My room is right on the lawn.

  19. #19
    mac
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    Go Bruins!


    Amtrak SurfLiner and Metrolink passes through here right next to the ocean. What a view from the train.

  20. #20
    mac
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    Day 3, Thu 2006-05-18, San Clemente to Coronado
    • 66.8 miles
    • 6:50 riding
    • 1:41 rest
    • 37.9 max
    • 9.8 avg
    • 1944' ascent


    Coast Highway Bike Lane. Wide and clean.


    San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant. (The twin, ahem, chest parts...)


    San Onofre Beach


    You are now entering Camp Pendleton. Caution. Watch out for TANKS!!!


    Just an FYI. If you own a vehicle weighing over 20 tons, you can only go 15 mph on the bridge. This was right after the tank sign.


    Finally, a downhill!

  21. #21
    mac
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    Oceanside Beach




    Entering Encinitas


    Solana Beach. Dude... practically my whole ride had a beach view like this. Totally relaxing!


    Approaching La Jolla


  22. #22
    mac
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    Climbing up to UC San Diego in La Jolla





    Downtown San Diego / Coronado during the day


    Downtown San Diego / Coronado during the night. (I figured out the time-lapsed nighttime exposure.)

  23. #23
    mac
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    Day 4, Fri 2006-05-19, Coronado to Mexico
    • 31.5 miles
    • 3:31 riding
    • 2:01 rest
    • 22.6 max
    • 8.9 avg
    • 208' ascent


    Aircraft Carrier docked in Coronado


    On ferry to Coronado


    Another Aircraft Carrier. I saw two of them docked in Coronado.


    Coronado Bridge. Bikes and pedestrians are not allowed so you need to use the ferry.


    Coronado Boat House


    Silver Strand State Park. This is where the NAVY SEALs-trainees are trained. (See Naval Amphibious Base.) I saw the obstacle course and some trainees working out. Even ran into a SEAL going for a run on the bike path. Bro, those guys are 110% hard-core!


  24. #24
    mac
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    Tijuana, Mexico


    Bike Lane entering into Mexico. I saw surprised that there were no Mexican Border Patrol agents scanning people going into Mexico. I just kept pedalling, looked up, saw signs in Spanish, and realized, "dude, I'm in Mexico!"



    Need prescription drugs? No problem! Just pick it up in Mexico. Of course, you have no idea if it's real or not.


    Waiting in line for over an hour to get back into the US. It's very easy to leave the US, but a PITA to get back in.


    Mexican Police were everywhere. And every store had armed guards. Can you imagine going to your local outdoor mall and have armed guards at every store and police on every corner? Wow. It's like I'm in a totally different country... oh, wait a minute, I am.


    Dude, how much longer do I have to wait? They closed the bike lane so I need to wait in the pedestrian line in my full spandex.

  25. #25
    pierced member
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    Great job, man. I did the SF to SD route, so I remember clearly the portion through Pendleton Marine Base, the 12 miles eating exhaust down I-5. Eh.

    Two things: You brought a crapload of gear, but really the first week sucks no matter what, so no foul. You could train for weeks with lead weights strapped to your ankles and week 1 still sucks.

    That and the NY lock is a must, even if the beast weighs 5 pounds. I would sooner jettison the laptop than a NY 3000, the world's most sturdy lock.
    Go big.

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