The Angry Singlespeeder: 560 miles to Sea Otter the Hard Way

Opinion Travel

State Street in Santa Barbara.

They missed out on the gigantic 747s departing LAX, full thrust only 200 feet above the beach bike path, heading off over the Pacific to only God knows where. They missed out on riding up and down State Street in Santa Barbara on a Friday night, where people gather to watch drumming street performers.

Rogue hammock camping on Redwood Creek in Big Sur.

They missed out on sleeping in a hammock close enough to the beach that the crashing waves lull you to sleep. They missed out on the reward of a Tri-Tip sandwich at Cold Springs Tavern after conquering San Marcos Pass. They missed out on riding past all the beautiful wineries on Foxen Canyon Road, and sampling fresh strawberries from the dozens of local fruit stands along the way. They missed out on the brutal 20+ mph headwinds that made the reward of beers and food at the end of the ride so much more meaningful.

Looking north on Highway 1.

They missed out on the awe striking and exhausting 50-mile stretch of Highway 1 between Ragged Point and Big Sur, a road that must be experienced by every cyclist at least once in their lives. They missed out on the soothing sounds of Redwood Creek in Big Sur putting you to sleep like a baby being sung a lullaby.

But perhaps the biggest thing people in cars missed out on is the incredible feeling of accomplishment from such a journey, and all the well wishes of friends and family along the way. Even non-cyclists appreciate and respect a journey by bike, and they welcome you with open arms and wonder wherever you go.

17 Mile Drive in Monterey.

I’ve been here in the Monterey Bay now for three days, and I look at my Bianchi wishing I was still on that trip. As tired as my legs felt, especially after the final 90-mile day highlighted by ludicrous 40 mph headwinds, I didn’t want to stop riding.

After nearly 45 hours in the saddle over five days, the greatest realization on this trip to Sea Otter is simply a reconfirmation of what I already know: I absolutely love riding my bike.

Read The Angry Singlespeeder: Go Adventure.

Photo Thumbnails (click to enlarge)
About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.


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  • Larry Hanson says:

    Amen brother! I don’t want to make it sound like I’m a religious zealot, but there is something almost transcendent about being on the bike for long periods. For me, it was always the little things: the rush from a bus passing to close for comfort, being transported back to when I was a kid playing in the rain because I chose to ride in a downpour, the reflection of distant city lights dancing through my spokes as I ride down a dark deserted road. It was my reflection in the windows of a store or the shadow of me and my bike on the road; at the end of my journey, it never fails, I would stare at my old friend that carried me here, admiring its simple lines and marveling at its beauty. Transcendent, indeed…

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