March 20, 2016 – Riding Home

Sycamore Canyon to North Hollywood
54 miles 50 miles

Today’s ride can be categorized as another learning experience (cue the sad clown music).  This morning I packed up camp and headed out in good time.  At mile four I heard a loud ping on my back wheel – not a good sound.  Upon brief inspection there didn’t seem to be anything wrong but half a mile further the problem presented itself: I broke a spoke!  Good grief, bike problems are frustrating.  So on the side of the PCH I flipped my bike and pulled out my spoke wrench to do the best I could for a temporary solution.  I’ve ordered a spoke kit already and it’s en route, but it would’ve been nice to have it today.  I ultimately had to make a decision: push on and through the Santa Monica Mountains or change the route to ride to Santa Monica where the bike shops are and fix the wheel.  I chose the second option – no reason to put myself at risk.  As I headed south I ran into a woman on her own solo tour – San Francisco to San Diego – who I’d had a brief conversation with yesterday.  Willie had been heading south and I was heading north but today we were both heading south.  I had so many questions for her so we decided to stop for coffee in Malibu to chat.  Another cyclist joined as well and we had a nice little afternoon together.  I rode with Willie until we arrived at her hostel, exchanged info, and then I was off to find a bike shop.  I arrived home as it was getting dark but at least there wasn’t a tent to pitch tonight.  Glad the wheel is fixed.  So nice to make new friends on a frustrating day – I expect this will happen often on my tour.

Meeting Willie on the PCH
Meeting Willie on the PCH
Riding into Santa Monica, CA
Riding into Santa Monica, CA


March 13, 2016 – Riding Home

Leo Carillo to North Hollywood
50 Miles

Wow, what s great ride!  Wesley guided me through the Santa Monica Mountains and into Thousand Oaks.  The views were incredible, and the downhill was awesome.  I learned a few things from that crossing: My seven gears couldn’t hold a candle to Wesley’s nine.  I’ve climbed much of that road before and compared to others it’s not a big one; riding loaded has changed the dynamic of my ride and I’m going to need to add gears to my bike if I expect to climb the Rockies.  The downhill taught me a lot, too: My brakes suck.  I rode them the whole way down and was too scared to pick up speed for fear they wouldn’t be able to stop me quickly if need be.  At one point we had to pull over to let my burning rims cool off – if they overheated too much my tires could blow up.  So I’m going to have to look into getting better brakes for Bruce.  On a positive note, no flats!!!!!!
Once entering Thousand Oaks we stopped at Jamba Juice for a smoothie and a rest.  From there we rode to Calabasas and I treated him to a thank-you lunch at a local favourite for cyclists called Pedaller’s Fork.  Wesley has been cycle touring for a long time and it was invaluable learning his habits.  After Calabasas we ride to the San Fernando Valley where we parted ways.  Thank you Wesley for the guided ride and the education!!! Happy Tailwinds to you!