After 990 miles of riding through romantic vineyards, protected state parks, mysterious redwood forests, and along beautiful coastal roads with views of the bright blue Pacific ocean, migrating whales, and gigantic sea rocks, we eventually found ourselves back onto a hectic road leading into San Francisco. It was time to go back to city life.
When we came over the hill from Sausalito, filled with excitement and adrenaline, I saw the enormous Golden Gate Bridge and my breath was completely taken away… by the wind. Man, you have to work hard before getting to the other side. Major winds and more ridiculously sized hills laughed at us as we powered through them, often sideways, trying desperately not to be knocked off to face an unfortunately untimely death. But despite this dramatic finale, which made me wonder if we were on the Truman show, I managed to clamber up to the peak which looks across Golden Gate Bridge and into the city of San Francisco. At that moment I felt an overwhelming sensation as I realised that I had actually done it. I was really bloody pleased with myself but also a little sad that the trip was over. It has been the most incredible experience of my life.
Once in San Francisco we met up with old friends, ate hotdogs at a Giants baseball game, whizzed around the art galleries, ate dim sum at chinatown, posed in the prison cells of Alcatraz, and made a quick visit to Las Vegas. Whaaat? It’s so close to San Francisco, we couldn’t resist the neon charm. We made $60. Apparently.
So there you have it – our EPIC journey from Seattle to San Francisco. 1000 miles cycled, and over £1000 raised for Womankind and Orchid Project (and still raising)! I strongly recommend this trip to anyone who’s interested in doing a long-distance cycling adventure. All you need is your general fitness, determination, and good kit. Ahh, the essential kit list… I couldn’t finish the blog without it!
If you don’t have your own bike, find a friend who is exactly the same size as you, and owns a bike on which she recently cycled around the world.
The Greasy Bits
Find an awesome bike mechanic who is overly-enthusiastic about fixing your friend’s slightly knackered bike. Overly-enthusiastic bike mechanics love a challenge. Give him/her only 2 days to build an entire gearing system with no parts in stock. Thank you Tim from Balfe’s Bikes (East Dulwich) for being an overly-enthusiastic bike mechanic / expert!
Touring Bike Shoes
Clip in bike shoes never fail to provide endless entertainment. Life is not just about fun though. Make sure you buy touring cycling shoes as this means you can walk around and take photos on cliff tops without damaging the cleats.
Despite popular belief, it is not actually necessary to look ugly on your trip by wearing an ugly helmet. Purchase a super light weight, incredibly well ventilated, and all-importantly photogenic Bern Helmet.
If you are going with a male in the group, you won’t need to worry about this piece of kit. He is probably already browsing the web for the best tool on the market.
Smile smugly when your cycling buddy finally gives up, and starts downloading music after 200 miles of insisting his thoughts are enough to entertain him throughout the 1000 mile trip.
Fixing a brand new Brooks saddle to your bike just 2 days before departure is stupid. Do not do that. Break it in for at least a month first.
“Use this before you need it” Tip of the trip, from James Thorne. It’s especially relevant to guys who forget to break in the saddle first.
Find a friend who thinks you are absolutely stupid for not taking any padded shorts, and as good friends do, decides to buy you a pair the day before you depart.
Not taking a tent is the only mistake we made. However, we made up for this by signing onto warmshowers and meeting some amazing hosts. A huge thank you to:
Alan, Donna, & Lewis (Shelton)
Mike & Jan (Kelso)
Steven Battaglia (McMinville)
Matt Messner (Eureka)
Gerry & Trudy (Crescent City)
You were all amazing, your homes were lovely, and your dinners were incredibly appreciated and tasty! If anyone is doing this cycle route, I recommend you sign up to warmshowers and get in touch with the lovely people above!
Find some cliff bars & shot bloks, buy them, eat them, find more, buy them, eat them. Repeat until day 30 is over.
There are other bits and bobs but, generally, you don’t need much so get on your bikes and do it!
Thanks for reading my blog… I’m thinking up a new adventure so I will be back soon!