Saturday, September 10, 2011

Bike touring – Backpacking on a bike

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 you as you pass by farmland, forests, towns, sand dunes and the ocean. About 90 miles on the Pacific Coast Bike Route over two days in central coastal California .

We camped at a hiker/biker camp 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 3 months in Mongolia before rounding it up with a trip from LA to SF.

Some of the basic gear needed includes a decent bike, panniers, tent, sleeping bag and tools. As a first timer I didnt 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 didnt 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 pictures. I thoroughly enjoyed the ride along the coast on sandy cliffs overlooking the blue ocean. The bike tour combined two of my favorite outdoor activities, biking and camping.

A biking trip is very different from a road trip in its sense of adventure. You travel much slower and thus get more intimate with the place. You connect to the place through the sights, sounds and smell. You can stop as and when you feel like it. And people are a lot more friendly and open to conversation when you are on a bike.

All in all, a fun trip. Thanks to Eric and Laura for making it happen. 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 the 17 mile drive and back.
Monday: Bus from Monterey to San Jose

Addendum: This post is published in Bikeovernights.