So, after the mostly failed attempt on Saturday to take a long bike ride, I tried again yesterday – with much more success. First, I ate something before leaving the house – not a lot, just enough to keep me from passing out after an hour of riding. I started out at 7:15 in the morning, leaving Mr. Man snoozing and the kitties exploring the yard. I’d figured out a few crucial things the night before:
- Wearing a light jacket is good, especially one with the thumb holes in the sleeve – it goes up over my gloves for better warmth.
- Wearing my camera on the neck strap adjusted so it hangs just below my chest and under the jacket works well. I can quickly unzip, snap a photo, and continue without much delay.
As I pedaled out of our neighborhood and headed westward, I snapped this photo of the farms that surround our little area.
I saw a coyote on the hill below. I think he/she was about to set up yipping until it saw me pedaling by and it decided to stay quiet instead. I passed the golf course and turned into the eucalyptus forest (perhaps it’s a grove instead?) that leads to the mesa over the ocean.
I pedaled up the hill and over the mesa to see the ocean.
It was still pretty early for a Sunday and yet there were people and dogs out walking – quite a few on the beach.
The trail is well packed and hard. It’s not dusty in the morning due to the mist of the marine layer, but it can be dusty in the afternoons.
If I ride along the coast, and navigate my way around a big water tower, I pop out onto a paved trail that leads toward the university.
Once I get onto university grounds, the trail is the Coast Trail and it runs right through the university. I’ll often see teams of very fast, very lean bikers riding this trail.
This stretch of trail was empty, but in other parts of the university I saw students walking, some holding hands and looking smudged from what may have been an evening date before. Some where jogging or hauling sports equipment to the many playing fields. It was sweet. It’s early in the year but it seems that the students are settling into their semester. There are fewer parents around hauling empty boxes and laundry baskets back to their cars than there have been in prior weeks.
While pedaling through the university, I took a different path and ended up along the coast again by the dorms. Must be idyllic to be in a dorm and hear the ocean – don’t you think? I could smell bacon and Lemon Pledge as I pedaled through this portion so someone or many someones were being rather industrious this weekend. The bacon smell definitely woke my stomach up a bit, but I slugged down some water to make it quiet.
Since I took the wrong turn, I had to work my way back around onto the Coast Trail, which took a bit of navigating and guessing. Once I popped out on the trail I recognized and left the University grounds I could see Goleta Beach.
This is my favorite beach because there’s always plenty of free parking, plenty of space, and it’s nice and clean. One of our favorite restaurants is down further on this beach too and it’s fun to walk along the pier and see what people are fishing out of the ocean.
You can see the marine layer effects with all the misty-cloudy stuff.
After I pedal past the beach, I turn to continue on the Coast Trail past the lagoon with all kinds of water birds in it.
Now, I don’t want you to think it’s all idyllic and country-side riding. There is a lot of road riding during these longer rides too:
There is even a bunch of this to look at while I’m riding … I try to avoid this 🙂
I got home a little after 9:30 a.m.
We decided it’s time for me to get a new bike – something lighter and newer than my old combination Schwinn which is definitely more designed for trails than street riding. We found some Specialized bikes and put a half payment to hold mine while they make Mr. Man’s in his size. Either way, I’ll have a new bike soon and I can continue these rides once a week or so. Next time, I’m going farther on the Coast Trail because it apparently goes through some ranches and other unpopulated areas that look like they would be wonderful photo opportunities and downright enjoyable.