There are lots of wonderful bike charity rides throughout the USA, from coast to coast. Here’s a quick snapshot of one of the most scenic rides of them all—the 8-day, 525-mile California Coast Classic supporting the Arthritis Foundation.
Some 150 riders began their CCC tour in San Francisco, with an additional 150 cyclists joining them for the final 2-day stretch from Buellton to Los Angeles.
These last 2 sections were supported in part by a pair of REI’s certified bike technicians, Mitch Myers (shown below) of the REI Santa Barbara store and Shane Quentin of the REI Santa Monica store. The addition of Mitch and Shane was essential since the ride doubled in size for the final push.
Most of their time was dedicated to wrenching, since all those cyclists covering all those miles virtually guarantees that breakdowns will happen. But when the guys weren’t working, they found time to get to know some of the riders on the tour.
Who takes part in such a big ride? Here are a few examples:
Kathleen Sedino, a chemical engineer from San Diego:
Q: Why are you here?
A: I’m riding to help cure arthritis
Q: How was your ride this morning?
A: It was a little tough, there was a headwind. But there was a lot of support, lots of good people to support you. And I know I can do it.
Q: Is this your first long ride?
A: Yes, it’s been a little tough but there is so much support and all the people are really great. It’s really nice meeting new people and the support people are so awesome. REI bike doctors are the bomb. Thanks, REI!
Q: What’s been the most challenging part of working on the California Coast Classic?
A: Seven straight days are more than most bike components can handle. The bikes are worn down. We are limping some of them to the finish lines. It’s more than most bodies can handle, but we’ve got support for that, too.
Q: What kind of challenges are you encountering?
A: The bike’s cables and housings are shot by the end of the week. The tires are pretty cooked; we’ve replaced dozens already. Hundreds of flats, some bar tape, miscellaneous broken bits that people didn’t foresee like computers. Lot of computer mounts and GoPro mounts on the heads. And an occasional overhaul with a headlamp.
Above: Riders camped each night along the route.
Above: Fog is not uncommon along the Central California coast.
Above: Sharing a laugh along the rugged coast near Carmel.
REI bike techs helped to keep the riders rolling.