Cycling from Los Angeles to San Diego: Part 1

Los Angeles to San Diego. It’s one of those trips that border of the edge of reason. By car, it takes over two hours in those rare circumstances without traffic. On a bike? I don’t know. Never done it before.

Coming down for the Cal Bike Summit, if I ever had a reason to throw caution out the door then at least I’d save gas SDSidemoney.

Assuming I make it.

You can say it was an ill-conceived plan as was harboring a cold, but since I was the organizer, I was pot committed.

Part of the plan centered around my friend’s wife taking our luggage down for the trip, but when he informed me the day before that she had already been in San Diego for days, throwing our trip for a loop.

I scrambled to find someone to take our gear down, but we wouldn’t receive it until the next day, meaning we had to backpack a day’s worth of clothes and sundries to keep us from stewing in our own sweat. That’s ten pounds more of awesome.

So the roster whittled down to me, Brian, the 60 year old workhorse, Sasha, the streamlined long distance runner and Wayne “Ride Time” Howard, century rider extraordinaire.

Here’s a diary so you can get an idea of what it takes to cover the 133 miles from Union Staion to the Sante Fe Depot.


7:04am – When I took the train to Union Station, my friend Henry was getting on at this same ungodly hour. He was meeting up with the KoreLA group that happened to be heading down to Oceanside. More people to pull? Awesome sauce! By the way, official start time: 7:19am.


 7:53am – Making the connection to get onto the River Path is always awkward. We took a slightly different route, turning onto Soto from Olympic, which gets extra points going by LA’s best named restaurant, Mike’s Hockey Burger. Then we turned onto Washington. Although we had two lanes, the right hand one


 7:51am – Getting onto the River Path, you don’t want to be at the front to start. Why? Gnats! Unless you’re short on protein.


 8:26am – The LA River Path is seventeen uninterrupted miles of cycling straightness. It serves you to find a group and form a line to rotate through. My friend Brian didn’t quite get the memo as was taking massive pulls at the front, even though we still had another century worth of riding. I never said I had the smartest of friends.


8:39am –  The KoreLA group met up with their KoreOC counterparts and were kind to share water and bananas with us. Unfortunately, we had to split this group and get the move on since we were headed a longer distance and wanted to beat the sundown, but a cool group of guys.

As for Sasha, he was disappointed I interrupted him listening to Stryper. We gotta roll!


9:17am –  We had to make a quick stop in Long Beach to get Wayne a water bottle and before we knew it, we were already in the OC crossing into Seal Beach. Traffic was a little fast, but at least there was plenty of space to ourselves.


9:34am – Huntington Beach doesn’t have much in terms of bike lanes, but plenty of space to share a lane. Believe it or not, this is my first time seeing this area in the daylight. Much nicer with my ochre hued sunglasses.


9:54am –  We’re already onto Newport Beach. As you can see, we are taking the lane in this portion of the ride. Also of note, I never knew Wayne had a tongue until this photo!


 10:03am – We went off of PCH for about a two mile stretch through Newport Dunes/Corona del Mar on Bayside Dr. This calm and relaxing cut through constantly was interrupted by my “Saved by the Bell” jokes.


 10:16am – Right as you get back onto PCH, the next fifteen miles is a stretch of rollers with no climb more than 150 ft. At this point, you could really take in the ocean breeze. I performed an opera, free of charge.


 10:20am – As you roll through Emerald Bay, the bike lanes disappear, but the views don’t. And yes, you don’t look forward to that climb with cars zooming by you.


 10:29am – We made it to our first real food stop, the over priced gas station in the heart of Laguna Beach. Unexpected moment: The owner getting into a fist fight with a man in a wheelchair who decided it was more advantageous to stand up to exchange blows. So that happened.

*****   *****   *****   *****   *****

All in all, we covered 56.2 miles in a little over three hours. Not bad considering a couple of stops two. At this point, I’m on the edge of sickness, but as long as I don’t put it into the red too much, then I can make it out.

Later this week, I’ll add Part Two of this San Diego adventure. Many more photos and hilarities. I promise!