Courtney Lewis
Pacific Coast
Venice, CA to Mexico/US Border The final stretch of this tour was incredible. After a few days of overindulgence in Los Angeles I was excited to get back to work on the bike, taunted by Niner’s moto “Pedal Damn It,” staring up at me from my top-tube. My leg and knee have been feeling perfect while riding, since Big Sur, and a series of casual forty-mile rides was a fine fit (if not what the doctor ordered).

Northern California was filled with the kindness of strangers; the south has been the kindness of friends (and more strangers, of course!). In the past week I've reconnected with a series of folks that I haven't seen much or at all in the last ten years. I can't articulate how grateful I am for all of the support I received through this tour. The sponsors of this program and the folks that helped and hosted me along the way were a highlight above all the sights and excursions. Special shout out to Patagonia Cardiff for the shower and hospitality after a particularly muggy day.

I left Venice, LA late in the morning and rode the short forty miles to Irvine to stay with friends from college. The next evening I met up with two friends that I had made in Northern California, and we rode the last few days together. Ray started a six month tour in Montréal this year and joined us for the day out to the border park, though he’ll continue south. He rode 140 miles one day to catch us south of LA. Steven started in Vancouver on the same night as me, and we even camped on opposite ends of the same campground the first night out without meeting each other. The next day he met up with two women who toured a day behind us the entire way, starting a day after and finishing a day after. This route is so highly traveled; it's incredible how many cyclists are making their way along the coast but are just out of sight.

The ride through San Diego is alarmingly casual. Aside from one significant climb into La Jolla it's mild riding the whole way with plenty of bike path. Past the city is a stretch of ranches leading up to the enormous border fence where Tijuana homes rise on a hill overlooking the mini-countryside, and the last bit of trail ends in a Nature Reserve and a border park. We missed almost all of the rain coming south, but when we turned toward the last climb we found it. The trail had become a bright reflective pool, too murky to see the bottom, with the park just out of sight. I think if I had been alone rallying myself to ride through water would have been a trial. With two friends it was just another adventure, even when we found the sudden dips that tipped our bikes and splashed us into mud.

We finished in a heat wave: the kind where you jump in an icy shower and debate doing anything but laying on the ground. Like the-beach-sounds-nice-but-I-can't-move heat. We skipped grocery shopping to get to the campsite and shower off the mud that filled our shoes. I left my clothes on my tent to dry from sweat and laid out in the sun. Our first night back we stayed up until morning with intermittent naps, smores, and rallying around the campfire. The next day I met my parents in town to celebrate and send off my bike and Giselle before I fly to visit them later this month. I'm leaving San Diego as I write this, and I am feeling everything all over again: excited to be done, nervous for what's coming, sad to be going, and so ready for the next adventure.

- IMAGES OF THE ROAD -

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Courtney Lewis

Gear List

- My Ride -

- My Favorite Blackburn Gear -

- BLACKBURN GEAR -

- Camping Gear -

- Riding Gear and Equipment -

- Clothing-2 stuff sacks labeled “pretty clean” and “dirty” -

- Giselle (my dog's) Gear List -

- Backpacking -

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Courtney Lewis
  • What was the genesis moment or inspiration for your upcoming adventure? I’ve had the fortune of seeing a lot of the world, and it’s taken me time to recognize that there is so much amazing adventure within close reach here in the US. Travelling from one end of the country to the next will give me an incredible lens into the landscape of my home, and I am excited of the people and natural beauty that I will meet along the way. I’ve followed the Blackburn Ranger program for the last few years, and the variety of their backgrounds and approaches were immediate inspiration for me to tackle the same path in my own way.
  • Have you traveled by bike in the past? The last time I traveled by bike was a few years ago, but I can always be found around one of my bikes, commuting or exploring on day trips. When I travel, I make sure to rent a bike or bring one with me: there’s no better way to see a place than to get around by bicycle.
  • What is your goal for the route? I plan to camp along the entire route, and share all of the natural beauty and cultural quirks along the way. I also plan to hike a number of summits with my bike and friends, and find beautiful views that can only be found far away from cities.
  • What do you hope to get out of this journey? I'm excited to shake up my routine, and the routines of my friends (and friends-to-be!) along the way. I want to push my limits to get the most out of the time I have, and to learn more about myself.

- Pacific Coast Milestones -