After a lovely relaxing time with Jess’s family in Santa Barbara, we jumped back on the bikes and pedalled south towards Los Angeles. It was great cycling with good bike paths, few hills and sweeping views out over the pacific. One morning Nick even woke to find a tiny seal loping around our beach campsite – magic. Our luck held out a little further on too. A mudslide meant the road was officially closed but the guy at the barrier took pity on us (the alternative route is full of hills) and let us sneak though.
Left: Santa Barbara Bike Coalition which does up old bikes and recycles them
Right: Jess’s aunt and uncle in Santa Barbara
Left: Campsite seal
Right: Road closed (but not to cyclists)
Upon reaching LA we stopped off at Venice Beach to watch the skateboarders do some tricks. Then we headed to the very smart UCLA campus to meet some friends, Sarah and George. We spent the next few days with them and a lot of fun, hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains, visiting the Getty and making frequent visits to Trader Joe’s (Jess’s favourite supermarket).
Left: Skaters at Venice Beach
Right: Sarah and George
Then it was time for the arrival of another team member.
Not many people are aware that the Duracell Bunny actually exists in real life. But she really does and she came to cycle with us from LA to San Diego.
Our friend Emma has more energy than is really fair for one person. By day she works as a high flying lawyer whilst in her ‘spare’ time she is a film maker, writer, sci-fi enthusiast, accomplished flautist and viola player, paraglider, kite-surfer and general fitness fanatic. She is basically the kind of person that makes you want to vomit a little bit. Especially when you are trying to keep up with her on the hills. Luckily her enthusiasm and all round loveliness mean you can just about forgive her all of the above.
Emma flew out to LA, rented a bike, packed her panniers with the essentials (such as eyeshadow) and set about conquering the American roads. She became our secret weapon – encouraging us all the way and filming all the while. We spent 3 awesome days cycling down the coast, camping on beaches, watching surfers and enjoying a lot of delicious burgers and milkshakes along the way.
We have been blown away by how friendly everyone is in the US. Everyday we were stopped by smiling strangers who wanted to know about the trip or tell us about their cycling adventures. We were given lots of help, free drinks and even gave a free bungee cord when one guy saw us struggling to attach firewood to the bike. Thanks a lot guys. We had a great time.
Now we are over the border and heading down the Baja in Mexico. Time to dust off the Spanish.
This one´s for you Geoff. A picture is worth a thousand words right…? 😉