A Day of City Cycling

Trip Start Sep 05, 2010
Trip End Aug 21, 2011

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Where I stayed
Pomona KOA Campground

Flag of United States  , California
Saturday, June 18, 2011

Once again, it was very difficult dragging ourselves out of bed due to jet lag. Only 3 alarms going off repeatedly forced us up at 8.30. We executed packing control (again) and, once we were satisfied everything was in its correct pannier, checked out. Already, dealing with the bikes in America is very different to New Zealand, in that we can't leave them unguarded for a second – especially in Venice Beach. This meant me standing guard whilst Ironman ran up and down two flights of stairs with all of the gear. Camping should be much less hassle.

Our first task of the day was to find breakfast and free wifi so that we could plan our way out of the urban jungle that is LA. Venice Beach was lovely on a Saturday morning, lots of people out and about on bikes, heading to the beach with surfboards or just strolling around enjoying the sunshine. The place we found for breakfast was exactly as I imagined an American café to be. Full to the brim of people drinking half-fat-non-whip-double-soy-caramel-decaf mochachinos and eating mountains of French toast with maple syrup and enormous omelettes. We tried to be healthy and ordered granola which was a mistake as it was yet again an obscene portion, loaded with sugar which made us feel thoroughly sick. Never mind, it would be good fuel for the day ahead, and the wifi enabled us to plan our route and find a campsite to head for.

We were finally ready to leave at 11, at which point we noticed it had got pretty hot during breakfast, much more like the LA we were expecting. Anyway, the day’s ride turned out to be great. The roads were wide and actually the traffic was quite light. Stopping every 5 minutes for traffic lights meant we made slow progress, but we were only aiming to escape safely, so that didn’t matter. We were pretty excited and managed to keep going, for 25 miles on the power-granola before stopping for lunch. Microwaved burritos from the 7-Eleven were extremely cheap and easy and we wolfed them down in the shade of a bus stop. (by this point it was extremely hot, and we’d had to slather ourselves in suncream).

Later into the trip we stopped once more, this time for the new Maccy-D’s special, frozen strawberry lemonade (delicious). The golden M is definitely going to be extremely useful on this trip as not only can we use the 'restrooms’ and free wifi (to check the route) but they fill up our water bottles for free – excellent.

It was a long day as traffic lights, and later big hills slowed us down so we didn’t make it to Pomona until 6pm. When we eventually found the campsite and saw that it looked great, we were very relieved to nab the very last tent site. We’re travelling in peak season here and will have to plan/book ahead unlike NZ where we had all of the facilities to ourselves. It was amazing to put the tent up when it was still so warm and sunny and not worry about trying to find the least soggy spot. We didn’t even unpack the sleeping bags!

After showers, we were looking forward to relaxing and cooking by the tent, but unfortunately no fuel in the shop meant the only option for sustenance was the Sports Bar and Grill over the road. It was a nuts place and an excellent insight into a part of American life. There was an enormous betting shop place with men glued to TV’s displaying various races. The bar was also full of TV’s but here you could get burgers and beer. Mikey got ID’d (he now supposedly looks under 21) and had to go and get his passport which didn’t go down well, but burgers cheered us up and we staggered back to bed later very pleased with the day’s efforts and glad we’d got through the first day’s cycling without any major problems. We’d been worried that we’d accidently cycle out through the wrong part of town, or worse end up staying there, but this place it very relaxed with lots of friendly people cooking up steaks outside their truly enormous RVs.

Miles Cycled:  54 and we are out of LA (somehow)
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