Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ridiculously GOOD LOOKING

I'm not really sure how we got here, or why we're so really really ridiculously good looking, but we're biking 107 miles to San Diego tomorrow with mustaches, tattoos, gold spankies and some bumble bee wings and you can't stop us cuz' this is crazy, and here's my number, so call me maybe, 8675309.....

Our date with Sven, the Canadian/Italian

Our paths first crossed at a campsite in Lucia, CA. We weren't prepared to pay the $15 to pitch our tent, so I approached him in search of change for a $20. Our interaction was brief, but there was a connection that can only be felt between fellow spandex clad adventurers.

We all went to bed that night thinking nothing of the chance meeting.

The next morning we appeared to be vibrating at the same frequency, making our breakfasts 25 feet apart, packing up camp, and heading off into the fog filled coastal roads. He said he was headed to the unfortunate town of Fresno later in the day and I encouraged him to put a more positive spin on his journey by changing that "no" to a "yes."

We parted ways and rode off into the abyss.

Fifteen miles later, after a grueling climb up to the sleepy town of Gorda, we found ourselves in the Whale Watcher's Cafe when who other than our friendly neighbor should stroll in. Before we knew it, he and Thomas were conversing in Mandarin over orange slices and nutella as we sipped our overpriced coffees. We posed for this self-timed photo before hitting the road, fully intending to part ways yet again.

lunch break/music break

However, we ended up hitting the road together, and found ourselves moving at the same pace
along the winding roads. Another thirty miles passed and we were going steady.

After four hours together, it felt like time to take it to the next level, you know? Test out the waters and see if this could really go somewhere. So I broke the melting ice by saying, "let's exchange names..." Team bike SLAVE proudly introduced their silly selves and when we got back around to our new friend he said curtly, "I don't have a name."
At first we were happy to call him "no-name" but the allure of his mysterious namelessness wore off at lunchtime. He told us that he was Canadian, but his family lived in Italy and based on his exotic background we decided to name him "Sven." He took to his new name in a matter of minutes (which consisted of us repeatedly calling "Sven" until he would respond).

sea elephant imitation
Together we shared in the thrill of the final descent of the jagged cliffs. And then Sylvie took off her pants.

While biking.

If she were to win a gold medal in something obscure it would be bike stripping.

The hours flew by all too fast. Not too long after admiring Elephant Seals basking in the sun we had arrived at our destination, San Simeon. Sven had many more miles ahead of him, so we said our final goodbyes and watched him pedal off.

As the three of us reminisced about our short-lived romanced with Sven, we pondered his origins, speculating that he must be the son of the Italian mafia,  incognito and on the run. Why else would he not tell us his name? As we joked about awkward goodbyes that come back to haunt, Thomas pulled out his Iphone and gave us his signature "Oh god. Uh oh. Ohhhh No. Oh wait it's okay. Oh no." Signaling that we'd taken a wrong turn, our destination was still three miles down the road.

We slowly made our way back to highway in order to avoid any awkward interactions with Sven. We wouldn't want him to think we were stalking him. So we're biking, biking, and biking and reach the hotel at last, park our bikes outside, walk through the doors. And who do we sitting inside the hotel lobby? No, it's not Oprah, or Vincent. It's Sven. Awkwardddd..... What are the chances?

Until we meet again!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Flat County

Our new member just took Flat City to the next level. Between Saint Helena and Daly City (SF) Lydia got 7 flats. 
You might be thinking, "girl just doesn't know how to change a flat..." but that's mean and this is serious, plus, even if she doesn't know how to change a flat, T-dawg, Vince and Sylvie do.

S(l)o here they are, in order of appearance:
1- The Saint Helena puncture
2- The Napa Valley pinch flat
3- The Vallejo spoke puncture
4- The Vallejo pinch flat due to riding on an under-inflated tube and then filling it at a gas station
5-The SF spontaneous valve leak take 1
6- The Excelsior spontaneous puncture
7- The Daly City spontaneous valve leak take 2

Unfortunately for everyone, Lydia is not of age, so instead of 7 horrible mixed drinks, she got 7 horrible salt water taffies, each one had picked by a sassy taffy sales girl in Monterey.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Its about the people.

In our quest to pick a mission for our movie we have discovered that this trip is not just about biking...its about everything else that happens in a day, the smells and sounds and lunch spots and headwinds and most of all, the people that we meet.

We are no longer making a movie about riding bikes, we're telling a story of the amazing kindness that people show to absolute strangers solely because they have admiration for what they do.

Yesterday in Monterey we were riding towards the boardwalk and possibly on the wrong bike path all together when we were hailed by a family in search of a bike pump for their 5 year old's brand new bike. After pumping up his tires and outfitting his new whip with a Keen bell they asked us where we were staying for the night. When we told them that we were still waiting on friends to call us back, they graciously offered us a bed in their home. We took their number and then went for a walk down the boardwalk, sampling every type of clam chowder in the 300 foot stretch of pier.
After dinner we had still not recieved replies from our so called "friends" in Monterey, so we called up the family that we had met earlier.

They immediately gave us directions and as we tried to thank them for their kindness they brushed it off saying "its an adventure for us! We're so excited to have you!" So we rode through 17 mile drive in the fog and rain, finally stopping at an overpass where our lovely host met us, put our bags in her car and then shuttled them up to her house while we braved the poison oak laden hillside with our significantly lighter bikes, arriving at their doorstep damp, tired and appreciative.

We finished off our fortuitious day by giving the family a private performance....Lydia's ukulele finally came in handy. The 5 year old, Leo, climbed up onto her lap as she played him lullabies.

We slept clean and sound and departing the next morning to enjoy 6 of the 17 miles of coastal drive.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Crank my Chain- interview

We were invited to do a live interview on Crank My Chain! Cycle TV's live show called "Bike Check" with Dan Kaufman.
We caught his show in Portland and hopped online during the last half hour to chat about our bike tour.
There was a slight "problem" and as a result there is no video of us to go with the audio track. 
Although I have my doubts about this whole "problem" given that we've been told that we look like pretentious dinguses in our biking gear. Maybe this whole "problem" was just a way to not scare people away from the show. Or maybe we are all too attractive to be on a live web show.....
If you haven't been scared away yet, check out the last half hour and you should catch us acting like fools.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Young Froncek takes the baton.

Lydia, Thomas, Vince and Sylvie at the Turley Winery/Homestead
We are entering a new era of our journey. After a rest day in Napa the crew and Lydia, our newest member, rode 40 miles to Vallejo (from Saint Helena) and then hopped on a ferry to shave off a few miles before arriving in San Francisco.
Here we are two days later, preparing to take off for Santa Cruz. The bay area has been good to all of us...
Vincent went to a Giants game and sat in Virgin box seats.
Sylvie reunited with college housemates and she and Lydia spent the better part of a day sitting in Dolores Park people watching.
Thomas got to know Oakland.

Moving right along...we are leaving the Bay area at 8am and riding down to Santa Cruz where we are going to leave Vince behind so that he can begin his next adventure (kid got a Fulbright to Nepal!) and he's being replaced by Lydia.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pants Removal

We've been thinking about how to shape our film and one idea was to uses the theme of "the real touring cyclist" or as I likes to call it, "next level bike touring." In this preview you can see my most recent accomplishment, captured with an iphone. Yep, I take off my pants, while riding. 
Skilled? yep!
Useful? definitely.

Goodbye new friend!

We have learned a few very important things on this trip. No, this isn't about sunglasses, wine tasting or bike riding, although learnings in those areas have occurred...this is about our mental states and how simple things like needing to pee and being hungry make us CRaZy.

After a great night of fresh sea food and beers with Kayle in Florence, OR we woke up with the intention of getting breakfast in town. Turns out there is no town in Dune City, only places to rent sand boards and ATVs.  So instead of eating we tuned up Vince's bike and played at the sand dunes for about 2 hours. Despite the awesome photo, we were all salty Sams from not biking or brunching.

After this detour we biked 20 miles in jeans and sandy socks. 

Here's where it gets better: While we were spinning our legs, trying to get to breakfast and force out the bad attitudes we ran into the first touring cyclists that we'd encounter all trip. Vince spotted them first and said "let's overtake them!" and then proceeded to spend the next 6 miles biking 2 abreast, chatting with them. They were a retired couple doing a west coast tour, just like us. Ahead of them was a girl on a solo bike tour who had happened to run into the couple as well. We ended up riding with her for a while and then stopping in a town to get coffee and food and I guess it would be appropriate to say, "the rest is history" because we went on to spend about 8 more days riding, camping, eating, laughing, and being down right hooligans with her.
There are many more stories about us and Jaiye, that's her name, and those will come soon. This is just in introduction and conclusion.

Eight days after meeting Jaiye, and 4 days after discussing our inevitable parting of ways we finally arrived at the junction of the highway 1 and the 128. Jaiye left us for the curvaceous coast and we turned east towards wine country.
Parting ways with Jaiye at the junction

Thursday, June 7, 2012

sun glasses

And now for an important message on sun glasses from your friends, the Bike SLAVES.

First, you gotta bike tour with big sunglasses and here are the reasons:

Flat City

We made a deal the first day... if you get a flat, you get a bad drink.

Vince and Thomas thoroughly enjoyed their buttery/bloody nipples and electric melon marguerita respectively.

Bike Touring since the 1970s

A theme of our trip has been the stark changes in bike touring since the 70s. We've met a slew of seasoned cyclists who began touring in the 70s before they even knew what they were doing. There was no warmshowers.org, there weren't bike lanes, there weren't touring specific bikes. Gosh. It was a crazy world.

The savage and uncharted bike touring of yore is to today's bike touring scene what ice hockey is to  underwater hockey.

The sports have evolved a lot since the 1970s.

Why do we know about underwater hockey? 
Because our host in Newport, OR plays it. Great!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The other Trinidad, not the sex change capital of Colorado

Coffeebreak! We pulled off the road in Trinidad, Ca to get caffeinated. The last few days have been amazing.

 Highlights: -being the first guests at anew biker/boarder hostel called the Farwest hostel in Port Orford, OR
One of Brian's inventions, a towable basket ball hoop with a grill attached an a skateboard with a tow line on the back side. Its called the "Shoot Out" and he brings it to the beach.
-Sylvie received new nicknames from Brian, the hostel founder, including "toolbox" "tool shed" and "encyclopedia brown"
 -we made a new friend who decided we were just sane enough to stick with for a few miles which have now turned into days.
10 miles before the border of OR/CA, gotta kill that Tapatio.
 -crossing the border into Ca and finishing our first 10oz bottle of Tapatio. 
-a 10 mile descent thru the Redwood Forest.
-the southern Oregon coastline.

 Low points: -we'll get back to those after we've gotten coffee refills