Monday, 9 March 2015

Aloha Santa Cruz!

Location: Santa Cruz, CA, USA
It took us about 2 and a half hours to ride the 25 miles along the coast to Santa Cruz and it was a great ride.  Blazing sunshine, sparkling sea, nice wide shoulder to ride on, rolling hills that even I could cycle up!  There was another very lightweight touring cyclist who kept passing us.  The first time he stopped to talk was with Tom just outside Pigeon Point as I had ridden back to the hostel unladen as we’d forgotten our swimsuits which were hanging out to dry after the hot tub.  He was cycling from Seattle to Monterey and then back again.  We passed him while we was stopped for lunch and he came whizzing past me up a particularly tough hill shouting ‘YOU ARE SO TOUGH’ at me which was nice!  He cycled with Tom for a bit up ahead and gave us some hints about what to expect.  We passed a peloton going the other way who all whooped and cheered, waved and dinged their bells in greeting.

There was Another Bike Shop just as we entered into Santa Cruz and we stopped there to talk to them about the bike.  The nice guy on the counter said that he could see straight away that it looked like the steer tube was bent and that this wasn’t something they could fix, but pointed us to Rock Lobster just down the road where Paul has been building steel frame bikes for many years.  So we headed over there and 2 guys from the peloton that passed us were just there as we arrived.  One of which was Paul.  He agreed the steer tube was bent and said it would be a bad idea to beat it back into shape as it would leave it weakened and that you really didn’t want that bit weakened.  So we needed a new fork and since we thought that this would be covered by the Thorn warranty we needed to get hold of them and see what they could do.   Rick suggested a place we could get lunch and both Paul and Rick cycled with us to show us the way.  I asked Rick if he knew of anywhere we could get wifi in town and he suggested the library and then gave us a card with his number on saying that if we were stuck for wifi we could call him and go and use the wifi at his place.  We ordered lunch and as we wanted to get the ball rolling asap the next day and we had no idea where we would be I rang Andy my old manager to ask him to ring Thorn bikes for us in the morning.

After lunch we headed into Santa Cruz to find the library and were able to get signal whilst sat outside in a little benchy-garden area.  Tom emailed Thorn as well and I started to search for Warm Showers hosts in Santa Cruz to see if we could find somewhere to stay.  I was just composing an email to a host when a guy wandered over and asked where we were headed.  I replied ‘nowhere, Tom’s bike is bust’ and he said ‘so do you need a place to crash?’ ‘er well yeah actually’ we said.  So Wyatt gave us directions too his place and said we could pitch up in his backyard and that they were probably going away for a few days and we could house-sit.  We couldn’t believe our luck.  So we did a bit more with the wifi and headed to Wyatt’s to get pitched up.  We knocked on the door and said ‘hi, Wyatt sent us and said we could camp in the yard’ Mimi replied ‘totally’ and so that is what we did.  That was 4 days ago now and so far we’ve not slept in the tent, in fact we took it down yesterday as we’re sleeping in Wyatt’s campervan.  There are 3 houses in what is jokingly referred to as The Compound and I think we’ve met most the inhabitants who all seem very cool and friendly.  Wyatt has left us the key to his house so we can use the kitchen and bathroom and it’s all awesome.  We have wifi and so we were able to email and skype with Thorn and after a 4am skype call with Robin, the director, we have a new fork on the way, being sent to Paul at Rock Lobster.  We’ve paid the carriage and after a little discussion they have given us the fork for free.  It’s going to take 3-5 days to get here so at best we’re guessing Monday so we’re ‘stuck’ here until then.

Santa Cruz is a very chilled out, hippy, surfer, bike-friendly town.  We had a wander down the pier where massive sea lions warm themselves up on the joists of the pier.  We could see dolphins in the bay and pelicans flew overhead.  It’s where O’Neill was founded and though there wasn’t a lot of swell there were a few guys out surfing the point break and the break a bit further out.  We saw a guy cycle by with a surfboard strapped to a specially made rack on his bike – awesome.

On Wednesday afternoon we met up with Colton, another warm Showers host who we should have been staying with in Monterey on Thursday, though obviously our plans have changed.  He happened to be in Santa Cruz so we decided to hook up for a beer at Lupulo, a little craft beer place 5 minutes from Wyatt’s.  It was great to meet up with a host in advance and he assured us we were fine to stay whenever we turned up.

So we've just been cooling our heels in Santa Cruz for a week now.  We've been so lucky to have been able to stay with Wyatt and have met some really great people.  Its been nice scoping out a place and getting to know our way around a bit.  We've sorted out a US mobile and got some other bits figured out.  All in all its been a great week, even if there's been zero cycle touring!


  1. Brilliant! So many helpful friendly people :)

    1. Yeh the people are fantastic, if it wasn't for Wyatt and his awesome neighbours and friends this would have been a tricky situation

  2. Sounds like your adventure is going well in an unexpected way, meeting awesome friendly and helpful people and I could think of worse places to be stuck....the joys of travel. take care, big hug :-)

    1. Yeh, such awesome, lovely people. Cannot believe our luck