Posted by: cbink | May 31, 2009

South by bike with no car.

I’ve written before how great it is to get a boost on your way out of the City with your bike.  Last month we went on a great trip south with a group of friends.  They all started out right from the City on Friday and Saturday, but I had Sunday Streets to attend and attend to so we caught up with everyone in Capitola via Cal Train and the VTA # 17 bus.  Cal Train is super easy; ride to the station, lift your bike up 3 steps into the train and go.   No bumping problems on this weekend afternoon.

The connection to the VTA #17 (equipped with a front rack which holds 3 bikes) is right at the San Jose station and the ride over 17 is fast – just don’t watch your bikes bouncing along on the front rack.  Get comfortable with using the front of bus bike racks – they really extend your range for car lite vacations and getaways.  We’ve never had a problem with a bike coming loose or being stolen – although I hear that can happen in SF – and if it rains your bike gets a power wash.  Just remember to take off anything you don’t want wet or possibly lost over a bump.  I cover my saddle with a plastic bag, remove the water bottles and seat pack and, of course,  remove my panniers.

This trip was organized with a load of other wonderful people who have extensive bike camping experience.  All I can say is yay car lite trips and yay bike camping.  Short version of the itinerary: Capitola, Carmel Valley Campground (private), Arroyo Seco, King City, Pinnacles, and then Rich and I rode to Gilroy where we caught another VTA bus with a bike rack on front (I believe every VTA bus has a bike rack) and back to Cal Train at San Jose and then to SF.

It’s a treat for a city cyclist to get out to more rural roads.

Yes, that is a lightly loaded bike for camping.  The bulk of the gear was in the truck of a non-riding camper.

Riding roads less traveled mid week is blissful.  You hear the birds and the wind, any cars approaching you can hear from pretty far off, and the drivers on these roads were so nice.  People waited to pass until it was safe, even if there was a clump of 15 of us, they moved all the way into the other lane, and even the big huge agricultural trucks were super careful.

There is not a lot of “bike infrastructure” – but it does go to show that if people are respectful of other modes of transportation – it works.

Happy car lite campers.

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