Ahh, San Luis Obispo. One of the best kept semi secrets in California.
I’ve been coming back here for years enjoying the amazing balance of a small town feeling with the big city luxuries of great restaurants and fine shops.
A little known fact: CiclaValley is technically an alumni of Cal Poly holding the fewest amount of units to qualify. I should say unit. Then divide that by two.
This was supposed to start off as a column how a family could do a trip all by bike, but we hit a few snags.
First, the only midday train up to SLO didn’t accommodate bikes and my car’s radiator was on the fritz, meaning we couldn’t fit the bike trailer.
We thought about buying a child’s seat at the last second, but we were doubly fortunate we didn’t as a couple pieces cracked on my bike rack on the trip leaving me with just one slot on the way home and my daughter took a reverse course in potty training this weekend.
I would have hated to have been the cyclist riding behind her.
Still, I had my roadbike with me without much of a specific plan. CV Jr. needed assistance at 4:30 am and after I obliged, I knew that sleep time was over for me.
Fortunately, I packed my lights at the last minute, but hadn’t studied where to ride. I was tempted to bike up the 101 to Atascadero, but something about going onto a highway pitch black didn’t appeal to my long term goal of staying married.
I decided to head south along a route I had traveled before, but with some hope of exploration as well.
Leaving at this early hour, I pretty much had the roads to myself meandering for a couple of miles on the way out of town to Orcutt Road.
Even at this hour, I could see the profile of the mountains to my left contrasting from the glare of the sky.
I could make out the undulating landscape with little yellowy accents along the breaks.
California may be known for our amazing coastline, gorgeous mountain ranges and emblematic deserts, but there’s just something calming about the golden, rolling hills along the central coast.
Factor in the quaint architecture of the occasional home or winery and you easily accept the atmosphere.
To me it is the true definition of rural to me. Not a lot of people to be seen, but just enough to remind you the planet is inhabitable.
As for riding Orcutt Road, it has the perfect profile to keep a quick, yet calm pace with short little climbs that require momentary efforts.
The occasional car passed me at this waking hour, but my biggest dilemma was hitting a random set of bots dots in the middle of the road.
I know remembered sneaking out of my room that I forgot to fully secure one of my water bottles into its holster and looking behind me, I could see it rolling along the road.
My twilight zone moment came looking for it. I went deep into the bushes finding a variety of formerly loved alcohol beverages, but no luck finding my bottle.
After about fifteen minutes of searching(I looked at the video), I finally gave up and continued on.
I reached the end of Orcutt Road where I planned on turning towards Lopez Lake and Hi Mountain Road, but the prospect of climbing with just one water bottle made me reconsider.
I accepted my decision to turnaround thinking, “Hey. This is a vacation. No need to feel dehydrated for the rest of the day.”
The return features a little more climbing, but nothing that would fall under a categorized climb.
My favorite part about coming back was not looking into the sun and seeing how light highlights the landscape.
That was until I found my water bottle on the way back. The most befuddling thing was that it had to have rolled at least fifty yards, meaning it went right by me.
I was reserved on heading back, but I decided to take a little detour exploring Righetti Road since I was playing with house money with water now.
It was only a two mile stretch and of course, there were lovely ranch homes that had more horses than cars. Things got all privatey as I got to the end, so I was fine turning around.
The last stretch of Orcutt Road had a couple of its longer climbs, but properly placed along some of the most beautiful views.
Although it turned out this way, there’s enough out there that Orcutt Road should be part, but not all your ride.
If I really wanted to stretch out this ride, I could have gone into Arroyo Grande and grabbed a second water bottle, but that was just my mind frame at the time.
There are definitely a lot more roads out there to explore, but do a little more planning than me next time.
The beauty of this ride was getting back to my room just as the CiclaValley family was waking. We now had a whole day in front of us to relax and wander around San Luis Obispo.
It feels great to get a ride in and not interrupt with the flow of the day. We were still able to get breakfast before the rush at Apple Farm and then make our way.
Did CiclaValley get in a second ride on this trip? I did say this is Part 1, right?