Chas Eberle
Pacific Coast
Swimming Upstream At this point in the trip, I was beginning to realize that I had lost track of whatever original goals I had. Going into it, I had laid out a general plan of meeting some interesting people and exploring some new places. In retrospect I realize that both of those things happen organically, and are pretty guaranteed on a trip like this. What it would take was more patience and truly losing oneself in the journey instead of viewing it through some lens or trying to make it conform to a plan of having certain types of experiences. I guess you could say I finally let go. It helped knowing that I could put in the miles when I wanted to, which made each stop more meaningful considering I did not have to worry about making it to any place on time.

So I left Lompoc at a pretty casual morning hour and drifted down the final stretch of the 1 for a while before joining back with the 101 for what was basically riding on the side of a two-lane freeway. Blech...hot, boring, and loud.

When I finally detached from 3 hours of morning highway delirium, I suddenly found myself in a mythical bicycle land called UC Santa Barbara. I'm not sure if the route was supposed to take me through the campus, but I trusted that any sign with a bicycle on it would lead me somewhere better than the road. I hopped on to a bike path and immediately found myself battling a midday commuting rush of hundreds of cyclists rallying around the campus. At one point, I thought I had found the epicenter and took a photo of their main bike racks just to prove to myself later that I hadn't dreamed the experience, because it was over in a flash and I was back on the route through Santa Barbara on down to Carpinteria where I would camp for the night. This entire stretch had some really cool bike paths and paralleled the freeway all the way into this beachside state park that pretty much had a burger stand connected to it. DONE. An awesome way to end a long day in the sun, eating a burg on the beach and watching the sun set
over the hills.

This area was so nice, that I took another short day and spent the next night in Ventura before making the final push to LA. Unfortunately, the state park was closed for camping due to a flood that occurred (who knows how long ago), so I looked for connections on warmshowers.org and discovered that the very coffee shop where I was sitting (Sandbox Coffee) offered to let touring cyclists camp on their deck. I met the owner and took him up on the offer. I spent the rest of the afternoon putzing around on a surfboard and returned to the coffee shop for open mic night, where I may had accidentally fallen asleep on one of their comfortable couches until they closed.

-----Side note, at this point in the trip, I had noticed that there were certain luxuries that I had previously taken for granted. Having a comfortable place to SIT was one of them! After spending days in state parks sitting on picnic tables or leaned up against a tree, a place like a couch just seemed like heaven. Other realized luxuries to-come included using a real towel, and PANTS-----

Anyway, after all of this, the next day I would finally make it to the edge L.A.. The ride itself went from an enjoyable separated bike lane, to the toils of Malibu. What kept repeating itself in my mind was the sheriff from the Big Lebowski screaming, "Stay outta Malibu, Lebowski! Stay outta Malibu, deadbeat!" This quote may have tainted my view ahead of time, but without a shoulder to ride on, leading to the closest-call of the trip, I definitely did not feel welcome there. Luckily, I had friends in Santa Monica, and I got to spend an entire day riding a famous tandem bike around Venice Beach with a buddy I hadn't seen since high school. All better.


- 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 -