ROUTE: We will begin our tour at the Carpinteria Amtrak Station. The train (the 799) departs the station at 10:06 A.M. It is a good idea to get to the train station one half hour early to purchase tickets etc. You can park at the train station or in a nearby residential neighborhood. We take the train to Lompoc “Surf” station where we will begin our approximately 45 mile ride south through scenic Santa Ynez Valley along either route 246 or Santa Rosa Road then south along 101 (with its constant ocean views) until we arrive at or first night's destination, Refugio State Beach where we will camp for the night. On Sunday we will ride approximately 38 mile back to Carpinteria.
CAMPGROUND: The hiker-biker camp fees are $10.00 per night. Refugio campground has flush toilets and hot showers right next to the beach-side Hiker-Biker campsite. In Refugio, we can purchase fire wood and beer from the campground store. Food for our barbeque, however, can be purchased in Lompoc. The campground is flat with plenty of room for tents.
DIFFICULTY: I rate this trip as intermediate due to distance and a few hills best done with a low gear. If you consider yourself a beginner who is up for a challenge and in good shape you are welcome to come. You should know that I use the word beginner with qualifications. I do not mean a beginning bicycle rider, I mean a beginning long distance loaded bicycle tourist: i.e., you can already ride 30+ miles at 10-12 mph on a bike loaded down with 30-40 lbs of clothes, food, and camping gear. You also know how to fix a flat.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING? You will need to pack as you would for a backpacking trip (but no backpack) and a multi-gear bike in good repair with very low gears. If your bike has a triple crank set, a compact crank set, or very large cogs, it probably has very low gears. If you have a mountain bike with knobby off-road tires. I suggest you install narrow road tires -- you will find your ride much less difficult. If you have a bike purchased in a department store (rather than a bike shop) you may have a very heavy bike, with poor bearings and unreliable hardware. If this is the case, I advise against using that bike. If all you have is a department store bike, but you are nevertheless a strong rider and still want to go, I can probably loan you an appropriate bicycle. You should also have spare tube, etc., You will need panniers or a trailer to carry your stuff. If you need help with equipment or you would like to borrow a set of panniers, a trailer, or even a bicycle set up for touring, you can email me or call me at 310-266-8592.
I ask that you wear a helmet. On one ride we would have most likely lost someone forever had he not been wearing a helmet.
WHY: The ride, the camping, the shared beverages, and the jokes. And I hope to introduce more people to the joys of bicycle touring and camping.