August 04, 2005

LA to Santa Barbara by Stephen & Enci

Our adventure to ride our bicycles from the Los Angeles City Hall to the Santa Barbara City Hall started with a quick ride from Hollywood (Sunset Blvd. going East to Hill Street - right turn going up the hill towards the Court House, left on 1st St. and another left turn on Spring St.) to the Los Angeles City Hall. There we met with Eric Knutzen, who had ridden from Silverlake to the Long Beach City Hall reception where he had met with Vice Mayor Jackie Kell, to then race back to the LA reception. In LA, we also met up with Bob, Matt, Revel and Kastle from the Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, and Michelle Mowery from the LADOT as well as the legendary Alex Baum, LADOT Chairman and founder of the Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committee. Deputy Mayor Larry Frank arrived at 12 noon and presented us the Proclamation from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who along with Larry was brand new on the job. Besides the Mayor's important citation, Dorothy Perez gave us a Letter of Recognition on behalf of City Councilmember Tom LaBonge.

After our photos were taken, Eric, Stephen and I (Enci) rode to the entrance of Griffith Park (via Broadway, left on Pasadena, left on San Fernando and left again on Riverside, all the way to the Griffith Park entrance), where we met and took some more photos with Honorary Mayor of Griffith Park. Louis Alvarado, and we were ready to head out of town.

We still had to make a few stops on the way, and Stephen and I reached the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) at 5:30 p.m. Traffic was not bad at all, and so we decided that we would ride to Oxnard where we continue our trip the next day.

We followed PCH through Malibu, Zuma Beach all the way to Pt. Magu. At Pt. Magu, PCH turns into a freeway. We got onto the freeway for a few hundred feet, and got off the off-ramp (the sign says "Bicycles Must Exit"), turned Left at the intersection, and followed the road curving back to the right all the way to Hueneme Road. Here. you'll pass housings, some ramps, a plane "museum" and the road will end at Hueneme Rd. where you'll turn left. You'll drive a few miles, going over rail tracks twice, until you come to Saviers Rd. where you'll turn right and follow it for two miles until you come to the "Big Five" where Saviers Rd. meets Oxnard Blvd. and Wooley Rd. If you make a sharp right turn to Oxnard, there is a Best Western Hotel, with continental breakfast. If you stay on Saviers Rd. you'll find the Bates Motel (it's cheaper then Best Western, and does not have continental breakfast) and you'll also find a small diner, where you can get some grub before you continue your trip.

Our ride to the Bates Motel had taken us late into the night, and yet the PCH was wonderful. The moon was very bright, and reflected off the Ocean, and we could hear the waves break while we rode. We made a few snack stops and lightened our load by eating our Clif bars. There were very few cars that passed us. It was peaceful and quiet. It was only us, our bikes, and the ocean. And of course some mean old frogs, that barked at us from behind bushes urging us on. We had to dodge some dead animals, some rocks and some road blocks that jumped in front of us without warning, but we stayed focused, pedaled on, and arrived at our hotel at midnight.

We stayed at the Bates Motel, where we interrupted the owners in their midnight party. They were quite surprised at our late arrival. They started negotiating our price and after the couple that ran the office stopped arguing about what room to put us in, we ended up with a room on street level where we could just carry our bikes into the room. We had to cover the floor with some sheets though, so that the carpet wouldn't get dirty and we had to make our own beds.

While Stephen went on a walk around the block to get himself a soda, I soaked my sore muscles in the tub and yet I did not feel relaxed until Stephen got back. I did not feel safe without him being there in the room. I would not have been surprised, if someone would have knocked on the door, offering a free massage, or wanting to fix something in the room. It was creepy.

It was difficult to get up the next day. We rode 80 miles total yesterday (Home to City Hall, City Hall to Griffith Park, Griffith Park to Ocean, and from there to Oxnard) and I was so sore, and so unmotivated, that I had to force myself to get going. After having breakfast at the little diner next door, we rode over to the Visitors Center (on 200 W. Seventh Street ). There we met Sherry Mullin who wrote down how to "get back" onto the PCH, because PCH disappears in Oxnard. Sherry Mullin was a great inspiration not only because she was a cyclist and she knew which way to go by bicycle, but because she is training for the RAGBRAI 2005 ( ) after having been in a bicycle accident a year ago. She was high energy, positive, and a joy to be around. I really wanted to stay and sit in a nice soft sofa, and have tea with her. I did not want to get back on the bicycle and ride. I was pooped, but the wining didn't help. We had to get to Santa Barbara, and Stephen adjusted my seat and we started peddling.

We took Wooley Rd. all the way to Harbor Blvd., and headed North toward the 101 Fwy. On Harbor we passed a lot of agricultural fields and wonderful landscape. We passed the 101 Fwy and turned left on Main, and stopped at Open Air Bicycles ( ) where John confirmed our route to Santa Barbara, and wished us a great trip. We took Main St. through downtown and turned left at the end on Bicentennial Bikeway. There is a bridge that we crossed on the left side bike path, followed the bike path signs, passed a campground to our left, drove under the 101 Freeway, curved around towards Santa Barbara, and continued until the bike path ended on Old Coast Highway. There we had to cross the road (watch the traffic!), turned left and rode for about 7 miles until the "DEAD END" sign. We rode towards the DEAD END, into the dirt road and entered the freeway after passing big concrete barricades. The Freeway bike path took us all the way to Rincon Road (we had to get off and back onto the freeway twice) and on the Rincon off-ramp we turned left and followed the road to Carpenteria Ave. and turned right. We rode Carpenteria Ave. for about 10 miles to Santa Ynez Ave. turned right, and then turned left again on Via Real which took us straight to Carpenteria. Once in Carpenteria there were plenty of hotels and motels to choose from, and it was cheaper to stay there than in Santa Barbara, so upon our arrival we checked into the south side Motel 6 and went out for a nice meal on Via Real.

Carpenteria is a very bike friendly town. We saw more cyclists than cars. The cyclists are courteous, and so are the drivers. The drivers are very aware of cyclists, they check their mirrors before pulling out, they stay in the car lane, and they don't honk at you. It was a wonderful experience.

On Wednesday morning we got up early to get a nice breakfast in town, and to roll nicely into Santa Barbara. We went to eat at John's Bagels (yummmm! and great service), then we made a quick stop at the local bike shop (Rincon Cycles - also home of the largest Torrey Pine on earth) before we headed out to Santa Barbara. It was a short ride (about 10 miles) just along the freeway on Via Real to Ortega Hill Road (we needed to keep right otherwise we would have ended up on the freeway again). Ortega Hill Road was a short steep climb and at the top we turned left and rolled down the hill continuing toward Santa Barbara until we came to an intersection, that led to the freeway. We stayed in our left lane (freeway lane went straight) and curved under the freeway onto Cabrillo Road and followed it to State Street. City Hall was at the corner of De La Guerra and Anacapa, and since we arrived a little early we stopped for some postcards and coffee, and called Mayor Marty Blum, to let her know that we were in town. Ralph Fertig from the Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition was also there to welcome us and to take some pictures.

We had a fun, adventurous ride! We'll do it again, either next year or sooner. It was fun to meet people, hear their stories, get inspired, use our muscles, get sweaty, and it will be a lasting memory for many years. We are hoping to be just as inspiring to people to pick up their bikes and hit the road (not literally) and we will continue our quest to make Los Angeles more bike-friendly, more fit, more adventurous, and to get them out of their cars and give them an alternative transportation option.

Posted by mkrieg at 11:28 PM | Comments (10)