Chas Eberle
Pacific Coast
Team Blackburn If Santa Cruz weren't already full of things to do, it is also home to the Blackburn Design headquarters. After spending the morning by the water, I had the chance to head to the office for a visit, deliver some product feedback, and see some of the sweet gear that's coming out next year. In addition, I was offered a taste of the bike-industry lifestyle by getting invited to ride some dirt trails on their way home from the office. It was an exciting experience on slicks tires, and a welcomed break from all the road riding. The trails went from loose sand, to rooty technical sections, and finished with some packed, flowey speed corners. They felt much different than the familiar North West dirt riding I've gotten used to over the years and it was cool to see such a big network of trails tucked away in those hills.

After the fun couple days in town, this might have been another tough place to get going again had it not been for the prospect of visiting Big Sur in the next few days, so I was excited to get going again. Starting in Monterey, I was joined by Mark from Blackburn, as well as Nadia and Dom from Encompass Films as we rode this beautiful stretch of road, all the way down to Plaskett Creek. Of course, riding this whole section on a paved road would have made this 60 mile stretch too easy, so I tucked away my reservations and said "hell yes, let’s take a detour!" About 10 miles south of Carmel, there was a turnoff for the Old Coast Road right before the famous Bixby Bridge. This dirt road started immediately with a steep, short climb, and then dropped about 1000 feet down into a valley, inland from the coast. The gravel was steep and loose, and I was thankful to be on the bike I brought for this very purpose. The temperature changed once we reached the bottom, and suddenly we were surrounded by the magic of the r
edwoods once again.

The redwoods! I had almost forgotten, as I hadn't seen them like this since the Avenue of the Giants. Like each Redwood section, this particular one was different from the rest in that it was dryer, and definitely the most isolated. These trees were surreal, and so was the climb out of there; very steep up and one more glorious but loose downhill. Feeling absolutely spent after those 10 miles, it was definitely time for lunch before tackling the remaining 30 miles through the hills of Big Sur.

It was definitely the most physically demanding day of the trip, but not the most exhausting by any means. The beautiful scenery and diversity of riding made for a great day overall, and regenerated the stoke.

At this point I realized that there is a big difference between the mental and physical difficulties of bike touring. Most mentally exhausting days had to do with environmental factors such as heat, rain, wind, and TRAFFIC. The mentally exhausting ones were beginning to take more of a toll than the physically challenging ones, which was gratifying because it meant that after the couple recovery days in Santa Cruz, I was finally feeling in shape! My legs were recovering on the daily, but the desire to continue riding after 5 weeks was going to take some extra internal motivation. After the Big Sur day, I would be riding solo for the first time on the trip, and it was time to reconnect with that motivation and remember that the goal of the trip wasn't just to finish, but to be open to new experiences and make those pit stops that make the adventure worthwhile. So I got up the next morning, said goodbye to all of the great people I met at camp that night, and pedaled on to San Simeon.

- IMAGES OF THE ROAD -

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Chas Eberle

Gear List

- My Blackburn Gear -

- MY TRUSTY STEED -

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Chas Eberle
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? This trip has been a long time coming. Back in 2008 I began spending a lot of time at my local community bike shop in Bellingham (the Hub). I was beginning to learn a bit about bicycle repair, and did the typical college kid thing and built up a fixie. Eventually, I found a bike in a ditch and it was my goal to rebuild it from used parts and ride it to Portland. My buddy and I chose to ride the Washington Peninsula because we had never seen it, and thought it might make a good story. (It also had an easy bus system if anything catastrophic happened to my makeshift bicycle and trailer). We made our way to Portland over 10 days, and by day 3 I decided that I wanted to do the entire coast. Unfortunately, our short timeframe prevented that from happening. The trip to Portland went flawlessly, and I rode the train back to Bellingham hoping to complete the journey some day.
  • Have you traveled by bike in the past? I have done multiple other 2-3 day trips since the Portland trip, but nothing as substantial. Around town I commute to school/work every day, mountain bike 2-3 days per week, and have the weekly town/interurban rides with the gang (The Wetboyz).
  • What is your goal for the route? I have never seen to Northern California! I want to ride my bike through a tree, do some beach touring, find more small community bike shops, and do some surfing. It is also my goal to find some dirt connectors instead of just doing road the entire time. I want to have a loose plan, but let the trip adapt and change as the journey goes on. I want to share stories with people on the road, and travel to places recommended to me by other people, instead of relying solely on the guidebook.
  • What do you hope to get out of this journey? I hope to see some new places, make some new friends, and connect with myself in ways unknown at this point. I hope I can inspire people with this journey, and show them that it doesn’t take years of planning and thousands of dollars to see some of these beautiful places that are right in our back yard. I believe the biggest barrier for most people is simply getting out there, and I really believe in Blackburn’s mission statement. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao-Tsu Yes, it’s cheesy but that quote has inspired me in many ways. It encourages me to be open-minded and go bold-headed into projects instead of holding back and being overly particular.
  • “What’s in my bag?” 1.) Pink/silver Kershaw Leek knives. I lost and recently refound the pink one for a year, and the silver one was a birthday gift from my girlfriend to replace the pink one.
    2.) Fujifilm Instax 210 Camera + photo of my girlfriend and I from the Portage Glacier (Whittier, AK)
    3.) Lucky Bike Shorts – Had ‘em since high school.
    4.) Ratball. (a drinking game for the rats, developed by the Wetboyz) For making friends on the road.

- Pacific Coast Milestones -