Nice to see another rider traversing the West Coast utilizing a B.O.B. trailer. 
patagonia:

Dan Malloy overlooking San Francisco on the #slowisfast trip. Photo by @kanoazimmerman

Nice to see another rider traversing the West Coast utilizing a B.O.B. trailer. 

patagonia:

Dan Malloy overlooking San Francisco on the #slowisfast trip. Photo by @kanoazimmerman

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By the Numbers (Time and Space)

During this trek from San Francisco to Los Angeles, I completed my biggest week of riding ever in terms of mileage and elevation. While I’ve likely been faster and more fit, especially when I was riding competitively, last week is a new kind of physical accomplishment. As I’m resting a case of Achilles Tendonitis this week, I’m enjoying a rehash of the trip by way of the data. Here are the general stats.

Days Total Mileage Daily Average (Miles) Total Elevation Daily Average (Feet)
7 508 Miles 72.6 Miles 22,391 feet 3,199 feet

Looking at the information below, I note a couple things. The majority of the elevation gain is in the northern “half” of the route and our average speed increased as the trip progressed. I attribute this increase in average speed partly to less elevation gain, but also to tailwinds. Particularly later in the day, they were notable. I remember thinking to myself on several occasions that I was glad we were headed south. This is one argument for picking what seems to be the predominant direction, north to south, at least during the summer.

I also feel the mileage we chose for each day was about right. It was enough to make good progress in a limited time frame, but no day was monumental and the shorter days afforded us some physical and mental recovery time. I wouldn’t have wanted to add or remove a day. Click on the Strava icon to see complete ride details for each day.

Day Segment Mileage Elevation Average Speed Strava Data
1 San Francisco to Santa Cruz 85 mi 4,291 ft 13 mph
2 Santa Cruz to Carmel 56 mi 3,002 ft 12.8 mph
3 Carmel to Ragged Pt.

76 mi

6,224 ft 12.9 mph
4 Ragged Pt. to San Luis Obispo 61 mi 2,070 ft 14.8 mph
5 San Luis Obispo to Lompoc 61 mi 2,096 ft 14.3 mph
6 Lompoc to Ventura 90 mi 3,081 ft 14.2 mph
7 Ventura to Torrance 79 mi 1,627 ft 15.0 mph

As I mention in my ride report for the first day, it took some time to get in the mode of thinking of this as a tour. For me, touring came to include backing off a gear or two, stopping to take a photo, resting or relaxing, eating a full meal, slowing to chat with fellow riders on the route and the like. Most of my rides at home have a purpose: getting to work, training for an event or simply working to stay fit. There was always, of course, a purpose on this route as well, such as getting to the next lodging stop, but there was also more time to simply experience the present. The only thing we had to do each day was ride and we had the flexibility to take time along the way as we saw fit. I must say the days that involved more stoppage time were generally more memorable and more rich. Thus, I put together one last table to ponder how we spent our time covering and getting acquainted with this space.

Day Segment Mileage Moving Time Total Time Stoppage Time
1 San Francisco to Santa Cruz 85 mi 06:23 10:58 04:35
2 Santa Cruz to Carmel 56 mi 04:24 05:39 01:15
3 Carmel to Ragged Pt. 76 mi 05:56 08:52 02:56
4 Ragged Pt. to San Luis Obispo 61 mi 04:07 05:00 00:53
5 San Luis Obispo to Lompoc 61 mi 04:17 05:41 01:24
6 Lompoc to Ventura 90 mi 06:21 09:23 03:02
7 Ventura to Torrance 79 mi 05:18 06:24 01:06
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Terry Allen “Wilderness of this World” (by Austin and Beyond)

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The Wilderness in This World (Summary Thoughts)

Route-finding South of Santa Barbara

All this week I’ve been thinking about last week. The Sunday after we finished was the strangest day. I didn’t miss being on the bike, but it was strange to be still. I noted a few disjointed thoughts throughout the week, which I’ve captured below, to take a shot at summing up the experience.

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Touring with a B.O.B. Trailer

On the road to Ragged Point

As I wrote before I embarked on this ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, I chose to carry my gear using a B.O.B. trailer largely because it was equipment I already had. We came across a number of different individuals doing some version of the route we were on heading both north and south. I didn’t see another rider using a trailer. Having never used panniers, I’m not sure if this makes me a maverick or simply uninformed. In any case, the trailer was functionally excellent. Here are a few pros and cons going with this method based on my experience.

The Good

  • Despite the overall weight of the trailer without a load (15lbs.), it pulls very well loaded or unloaded. I knew it was back there, but it was not cumbersome when in motion. The weight is most noticeable on climbs. Even over rough terrain, the bouncing trailer never felt dangerous. It was a very stable ride.
  • When standing on the pedals during a climb the bike rides almost as if there wasn’t a trailer attached, at least towing the modest I was on this trip.
  • The weight of the load is off the bike. With the modest weight of my load, I did not experience any frame flex or shimmies. (When pulling a very heavy load, I felt the frame flexing almost continuously.)
  • Ample space storage space that it is easy to access. I found this particularly useful when, for example, we had a partially used gallon jug of water it was easy to transport until we were ready to use it. 
  • Visibility. I think the flag and the yellow bag made me easy to spot.

The Bad

  • While the trailer is functionally excellent when moving, it can be cumbersome when you stop.
  • The bike-trailer combo is, like any trailer, awkward to maneuver backward. I often found myself doing a long loop to go a different direction rather than trying to backup the trailer and do a ‘three-point turn.’
  • You have two pieces to load. When getting the gear into a motel room or on a train, for example, you rarely can move your bike and the trailer as a unit. Thus, you have to disconnect the trailer and move it and the bike in two trips.
  • You have an additional tire and tube that could flat. I brought a patch kit rather than a space tube, but I realized on the road that the tube utilizes a Shrader valve stem. The wheels on my Willits use a Presta value, requiring a pump that supports both.
If you do plan to use the B.O.B. trailer, you’ll need to bring along an essential spare part: frame clips. These small metal pieces connect the trailer to the bike. Without one (or both) of them, your setup will be unrideable. The connecting cord on a new trailer keeps these units securely attached to the trailer, but if they broke or you lost one of the clips, you need a backup. (Thanks to Jason Shelman at Subculture Cyclery for giving me this advice years ago.) B.O.B. Trailer Frame Clips
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Powered by Icelandic Arctic Char (Ventura to Torrance)

Snail-eating Icelandic Char

Perhaps as a partial celebration, we broke from habit of eating modest fare for our big meal of the day to going a little upscale on our last night on the road. I didn’t think there was a next level after the burrito I ate for lunch at Romanti-Ezer, but we managed to rival or surpass it with dinner at Lure Fish House in Ventura. Being from Colorado, I grew up landlocked many miles from large bodies of water. The only plentiful fish around was trout and I like trout, but I’m definitely a chicken and beef eater. Said another way, I can do fish, but I will always pick the steak if it’s an option. For this meal I chose Arctic Char, as steak was not an option. I was pleasantly surprised. If you like a meatier fish without fishiness, this wriggler could be for you. With a side of roasted brussel sprouts and a quinoa salad, we joked that we were definitely doing it ‘Tour De France’ style for our last dinner.

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The Tour’s Complete

After two long, lower elevation days, we rolled into Torrance midday today in one piece. It’s good to be home. I’m saving the ride report for tomorrow.

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Ride Data: Day #7 (Ventura to Torrance)

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Today Was a Good Day (Lompoc to Ventura)

image

Being that we had a big day ahead of us, and Lompoc wasn’t conducive to lounging, we were doing our best to get outta Dodge by 7:00 am. I think we managed a time closer to 7:30 am. It was cool, the clouds were low and it was misting - the closest we have come to precipitation the whole trip. After rolling through a few neighborhoods, we were headed up the last big climb of the trip. 

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Ride Data: Day #6 (Lompoc to Ventura)

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