My cycling journey around the American perimeter
36 miles – Total so far: 1580 miles
A relatively short ride today, all things considered, but no less invigorating. We left the campground in Lakeside knowing this trip’s final destination was well within our grasp, but also sober to the fact that we had lots of logistics to deal with upon our arrival.
Most of today’s ride meandered through San Diego’s expansive suburbs, passing through relatively low-traffic areas, but also leveraging the expansive bike trail system in the city. The most notable bike path was a 2.5 mile stretch which passed through the spectacular Mission Gorge. This bi-directional, dedicated bikeway was incredible, navigating us through an amazing canyon with breathtaking views around every turn.
Something that struck Jim and I today were the number of cyclists in the city. From the beginning of the ride, literally until we stopped, there was a constant stream of cyclists. The vast majority of them acknowledged us as we slogged by them with our gear, our sunburns, and our resolve, most of them wise to the fact that we had come a long way to enjoy this moment.
The road angels of the day will be awarded to yours truly and Jim. We approached a young man jogging with his bicycle, obviously due to a flat tire, with a panicked look on his face. Upon asking him what ailed him, the guy told us he was two days away from his destination with no equipment to fix his flat. We postponed our ultimate goal to assist this person, made easy by the fact that we both carry enough tools and equipment to open a bicycle repair shop. Even though it cost us valuable time, we felt obliged to assist another cyclist in need.
As we got closer to the final goal, Ocean Beach, we were caught up in the simplicity of the final moments. Jim and I were both uncharacteristically reserved, with only thoughts of rotating our cranks, one at a time, until we could crank no further. The only levity on the final few miles was when a young man on a bike whizzed past us in the opposite direction, hands dangling by his sides, balancing his bike with no hands. Jim immediately grumbled “show-off” under his voice, at which point I released my handlebars the same way, balancing myself, Surly Pearl, and 50 lbs of gear with no hands to call the “young gun’s” hand and raise him a little in the process. Punk.
We arrived at our final destination, Ocean Beach, and with nowhere else to pedal, we unloaded our panniers, carried our bikes to the water’s edge for the wheel-dipping ceremony, and celebrated with little fanfare. We each reflected for a moment, enjoying the seabreeze and taking mental snapshots that will assuredly last a lifetime. Then, it was time to execute the logistics for our return trip to Austin.
It’s All Good.
Photo of the Day: A (temporary) end to the Journey. Brian and Jim, friends with a common thread.
Click Here to read my daily tour journal entry on crazyguyonabike.com