Chris from Topanga Creek Bicycles has been doing overnight and longer bike trips since last year. When he invited me to join him on his next trip to Ojai late last April -- it would consist of a train ride into Ventura and then riding up to Ojai -- I jumped at the opportunity to travel with a group of like-minded individuals. The details were actually very sketchy until a few days before the trip; I suppose Chris had been too busy running his business to get the information out. But he got it out with enough time for me to figure out what I was going to bring.
Apparently the Bike Overnights website manager, Mac McCoy, thought he could escape his computer for two weeks and ride the Grand Canyon North Rim without consequence. Clearly he thought wrong, as the Adventure Cycling Association membership team is taking over today’s post to thank our current members, and provide prospective new members with a special incentive if you join by June 30th.
The purpose of this trip, besides having fun, was to prove out my method, packing, and fitness for longer trips later this summer. We decided to drive and park at a friend’s house so we could keep the distance down to about 50 miles for this first trip.
The Northern Neck of Virginia is a region with many options for bike overnights, from camping to cabins to inns and bed and breakfasts. Great bicycling can be complemented by hiking, kayaking, wine tasting, and other activities. The following is based on my 15 years or so of occasional visits.
Here was the idea: A getaway weekend. Not too far, but far enough. How to get there, and how to get back? The plan was hatched to take the Amtrak train to San Luis Obispo and return by bicycle. It was about 150-160 miles, as near as we could estimate, so that would be a two-day return trip.
Check out Bike Overnights on Flickr, where we have 755 photos posted by 204 shutter-snapping members.
Winter had stayed too long; although I had been active -- walking, hiking, cross-country skiing, and cycling for transportation -- I had not been bike touring. I felt the need to do something that would pare the fat off the soul, and maybe even scare the **** out of me. Even though the adventure was going to be only about 90 miles round trip and close to home, the bike with gear weighed 60-plus pounds and we were taking a route I had never been on. So, my imagination wandered, but I was ready for the new adventure.