Matt & Kate
Pacific Coast
Monterey to San Luis Obispo South of Monterey I had the pleasure of riding past one of the finest golf courses in the world, Pebble Beach. For now, cyclists still get a free pass to ride 17-mile drive but it seems like you need a fresh leg shave and pleated chamois to fit in. Needless to say I pedaled through scruff and all, and experienced one of the better days on the coast. Sparkly water, white sands, low wind, perfecting golfing conditions, I couldn't have asked for a better day. I turned back on to Highway 1 bearing south for Big Sur.

If grand expanse, rocky coast, small libraries, giant kelp forests, and beach waterfalls are your thing...this section of riding the coast will tickle you like kid in a health food store. Everything will be strange, interesting looking, and expensive.

Big Sur stretches for about 75 miles of this 130 mile section, but when you look back all you can really think about is the stupendous riding and experience of the Big Sur coast. In so many ways Big Sur offers any touring cyclists an opportunity to test your meddle. With my legs under me and 1400 miles behind me, I surged into Big Sur--the undulating landscape felt like a roller coaster...for the first time California Adventure resonated with me. Kate and I decided to try the famous Nepenthe Ambrosia burgers and basket of fries, where we concluded the food wasn't anything to write home about but the view you get with your $16 burger makes it worth while. The short answer is, if you're ever thinking about riding the California coast then Big Sur is a must. The plentiful hills and steep cliffs are worth the pay off.

Admittedly, you feel pretty rugged when you finish riding through Big Sur and the rolling hills of San Luis Obispo County greet you will little rise, strong tailwinds, and zebras grazing alongside. This section flew by, with forgiving smooth terrain and strong northerlies you blaze past Morro rock, the men’s colony, and land in the second happiest place on earth-- San Luis Obispo.   


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Matt & Kate

Gear List

- My Blackburn Gear -

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Matt & Kate
  • Genesis Moment and Inspiration for your Trip? We have biked the entire Pacific Coast already, and it may seem odd that we are doing it again. Along the last journey we met a screen printer and fellow bike tourist named Justin who had ridden the Pacific Coast route over five times. When we first heard this we thought he was crazy – there is so much out there to explore! But he went on to explain, and ultimately convince us – that not only is the ride experience different every time due to weather, new companions, older selves, etc; but traveling known roads you can come back to the places that really impacted you, and try the alternate routes you had to pass over last time. The ride just gets better and better because your relationship to the trail is what frees you to explore more deeply. When you know that there is a taqueria and clean water only ten miles away you are more likely to actually stop and jump in the roadside lake that otherwise remains unexplored….
  • Have you Traveled by bike in the past? Matt and I live in a Tiny Home deep in the mountains above the town where we work and our daily commute requires a year round touring set up. At every moment we have to have everything we need for the day – heavy bags full of produce, a down jacket, bike shoes and sandals, water for the day and a lunch, the list goes on. We have a daily relationship with loaded bike travel!
    Matt has been bike touring since he was 17, and set off on a very aggressive pedal across the country on ACA’s Sierra Cascade Route and Northern Tier Route attempting 5,000 miles in two months. After making it all the way to the ACA headquarters in Missoula, Montana and earning his ice cream he was hit by an SUV just east of Missoula and heli-evacuated to the nearest hospital. That accident, which snapped his leg in half and exploded his bicycle is what “saved his life,” as he says. Through the long recovery process he learned to slow down and his relationship to bicycle touring, which had formerly been focused on mileage and destination, is now more focused on the slow and simple pleasures of the road.
    Kate has been biking to different ice cream parlors all over California her whole life but didn’t start her first multi-day bike travel until she met Matt. They have been on two bike tours together, one big, one small. On the first one, she had a small heart failure in the mountains of Big Sur and had to bike eight miles of steep uphill to get to cell service. She learned that she has a mild heart condition, and biking is good for it. That “adventure” has been a similar inspiration in her relationship to biking and using her body as a means of excursion – a long journey in patience and thankfulness for the incredible feats that a body can perform!
  • What is your goal for the route? Sunshine, lakes, ice cream, back country, rain forest, hot springs, tacos, aged cheeses, and so much laughter.
  • What do you hope to get out of this journey? A more intimate understanding of and connection to the Pacific Coast. An opportunity to reconnect to the folks we have met along the way – a real rarity of this type of travel! A relationship to the brands that we use and care about – knowing the people who are making what we are using. We want to live each day 100% fully.
  • What’s in my bag? List four things that you could not live without (take a photo of each on a neutral background) Little journals Kate made, Book of poems by Mary Oliver,Our friend’s homemade Organic sunscreen, Rechargeable boom box for pumping James Brown on the climbs


- Pacific Coast Milestones -