Pacific Coast Bike Tour — Day 5 — Avila Beach to Lompoc, California

Avila Beach to Lompoc, CA
September 12, 2018
Distance:  44 miles
Elevation: 2,219 feet
Moving Time:  4 hours 7 minutes
Conditions:  Start — Foggy, 61 degrees F.  End — Sunny and a cool 71 degrees
Today’s Takeaway: There are those who have wealth and those who work hard to feed those with wealth.

Maybe it was the gloom of the heavy morning fog. Perhaps it was the fact that I was up late last night writing a blog entry. Or, could be it was because I’ve biked a couple hundred miles since I arrived in California last Friday. Whatever the cause, I was out of sync this morning and didn’t get on the road until noon. That’s a problem when you’re touring on a road you’ve never seen and going to a place you’ve never been.

But the sun came out, my energy level recovered and I got in rhythm about three miles into today’s 44-mile ride.

Right away I knew it was going to be a different kind of ride. The ocean, which has been my constant traveling companion since I began heading down the coast Saturday, disappeared when I followed the prescribed route inland. And the natural beauty of the Big Sur region finally, and completely, gave way to miles of agricultural land. Hour after boring hour, fields of lettuce, cabbage, beans and strawberries dominated the horizon.


Crops as far as the eye could see.

The obvious wealth of my departure point, coastal Pismo Beach, was reduced to the ramshackle housing of migrant farmers and their families. It was very sad to see their poor living conditions and how those who put food on our tables live. Today I biked through a region that the California Department of Travel and Tourism doesn’t show on its website.


The wealth on display in Pismo Beach.

Still, I loved the ride. I enjoyed the sunny, cool temps and the gusty winds pushing me forward toward my goal. And I finally felt as if I found my legs. I’m no longer struggling with getting in a riding rhythm.

As for the route, it was mostly two lanes of rolling hills with wide shoulders. No problems, at least until I got to the 36-mile mark and began climbing a winding seven percent grade for almost three miles. Seems the folks who designed this hilly highway decades ago and their business partner, Mother Nature, wanted to prove who’s boss. And it isn’t me.


Easy riding conditions, until a long hill called my bluff.

Tomorrow, my final day biking the coast, will be special because Diane will be riding with me in the beautiful Solvang and Santa Barbara region.


The things you see when you’re on a bike tour in America.


One thought on “Pacific Coast Bike Tour — Day 5 — Avila Beach to Lompoc, California

  1. inmylazyboy says:

    What of the things I learned during Ragbrai was that each day’s ride was its own conditioning workout. As the week progressed, I got stronger. Reads as if that may be happening to you. A three-mile hill: that’s a gut buster.

    FYI: The only sunshine I’ve seen in MD for the past week has been from your photos! California has wonderful weather, but your’s has been especially fantastic, it appears.


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