Dec 01

Operation: WRONG WAY! Begins

After: The Bike Loaded

The aptly named OPERATION: WRONG WAY! is off to a tremendous start with many miles under the belt , gorgeous sunsets, mix-ups with the law, sleeping on the sly, a flat tire, and riding with a Spanish cyclist who is 21,000km into his 22,000km ride from Tierra del Fuego.  Venga Ruben! Venga!  The bike though, remains unnamed.
Primary Objective: Ride a bike from San Diego to San Francisco (1050km)Operation: WRONG WAY!

Secondary Objective:  Make it there sometime this year.

If you know how to drive a boat, you can borrow my bike.

My first day riding went swimmingly, and despite a late start, my bike and I cruised through   warm sunshine and 24C weather for 55km to arrive at South Carlsbad Campground in time to witness a spectacular sunset (see photo).  The ride was definitely a sharp learning curve.  Riding a bike that weighs-in at about 43kg is a little bit different than zipping along on your sub-10kg racer.  Inertia, momentum, and gravity are all redefined:

Inertia (n.) – A cruel joke played by people who install stop-lights at the start of a steep uphill stretch

Momentum (n.) – Something you have lots of before above-mentioned stop lights

Gravity (n.) – 1) extreme or alarming importance; seriousness. 2) seriousness or solemnity of manner. 3) A stubborn force of 1.24kN whose sole desire is to try and make Zack and his bike go backwards down a hill, if this is not possible, make him cry.

In short, riding a loaded touring bicycle is more akin to driving a boat than riding a bike.

America: the Land of the Free

Sunset in Carlsbad

Don’t let me fool you though, that first day was fun and that sunset waiting for me at South Carlsbad Beach Campground was unbelievable.  My new spanish friend Ruben and I were keen to take it all in, when the police rolled up…

Police man: “You guys can’t camp here tonight.”

Zack: “Why not?”

Police man: “Campground is closed”

Zack: “Oh, hmmm… Well its gonna be dark soon, is there any chance we can just pitch our tents of this piece of dirt over there?  We will be gone first thing and I promise we won’t break it.”

Police man: “Sir, You can’t camp here.

Zack: “Why not?”

Police man: “Campground’s closed.”

Ruben: “Ceeclean in dahk is danherous…”

Police man: “What did he say?”

Zack: “He said, cycling in the dark is dangerous, and he’s right.  Can’t we just stay here?”

Police man: “If I let you camp here, I’d have to let everyone camp here”

Zack: “OK, sounds good.”

Police man: “What?”

Zack: “Let everyone camp here, sound greats”

Police man: “SIR! The campground is closed”

Zack: “Why?”

Police man: “Budget cuts”

Zack: “Oh! Does that mean its going to closed all year? How long has it been closed?”

Police man: “Oh no, no, no, it’ll be open in time for Christmas, it closed earlier this week.”

Zack: “They closed it for a month to save money?!”

Police man: “Politics.  It’s politics.”

Zack: “Oh.”

Police man: “And they save money on the electricity.”

Zack: “Well, hey! we don’t need any electricity and we’ll pay $5 to stay here!  It’s win-win.”

Police man: “Sir.  You need to leave now. I’ll be coming back later tonight so don’t even think about trying to pitch your tent”

Zack: “Look, I know you are just doing your job, and rules are rules, but It just doesn’t make any sense.  Instead of letting us stay here, you are putting our lives at risk and making us cycle 7 miles back the way we came so that we can stay at a different campground run out of the same budget!

Police man: “I’m just doing my job sir, you have to leave”

Zack: “So all the homeless people can pitch their tents on the pavement in downtown San Diego, but I can’t pitch my tent at a campground?”

Police man: “It’s getting dark sir, you’d better get going.”

So my first night on the road, and Ruben’s first night camping in great ol’ US of A, we got kicked out of a campground and pitched our tents 1 km down the road  in a unused lot behind a Mexican take-away restaurant.  I’ll note here that the Mexicans were more than happy to invite us into the kitchen to fill up our water bottles from the tap.

Before setting out on the bike's inaugural ride (no test rides here!)


1 ping

  1. 10,000 KM PARTY!!! » Zack Skerritt

    [...] stage by stage, to appreciate the full extent of how far we have come.  I thought back to that first night on the road just north of San Diego, camping with Ruben in an empty field behind a Mexican restaurant because [...]

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