Participation in our local recumbent group rides has really diminished over the last two years, probably primarily as an effect of the pandemic, but also because of changing interests and aging. Several folks have noted that almost all purchasers of new recreational cycles are opting for moderate volume production upright e-bikes, most with fat tires. Fortunately, we had a nice boost in rider turnout last weekend (12/11/2021) when a cycling celebrity visited Ventura County. I'm relatively certain that no one who's likely to be reading this will need any further introduction to Sylvia. She picked up Dawn on her way down from the Bay Area, and spent the weekend with Ann and Alan. Although our VCRR (Ventura County Recumbent Rider) Group Rides are usually planned for the first and third Saturdays each month, we – of course! – eagerly arranged a ride for this second Saturday.


We decided to ride up the coast between Ventura and Carpinteria. I updated our website and emailed ride notices with an RSVP. To accommodate the wide range of riding speeds and preferences in distance, we planned for different starting points and turnarounds. Kay and I opted to start near the center of the suggested routes.




Our friend Roberta has been recuperating from a foot injury and is still sorting out trike transport issues, so on Saturday morning, Kay and I picked her up. Since she was – unusually, maybe even astonishingly – on time, even early, we took advantage of the extra time to drive a few blocks to Ann's house and check on the motorized quartet as they were getting ready to ride. When I told Alan that we'd have about 20 people sharing our adventure that morning, he grinned and said, "It'll be like getting the band back together again." I cautioned him that this time around we really needed to cut way back on the 'Sex, Drugs and Rock-and-Roll'. That was apparently effective; the only drugs I heard about were prescriptions for cholesterol and hypertension, and I didn't notice anyone singing, dancing or... well, whatever.


Most non-locals probably don't realize that this section of the California coastline actually runs about as much east to west as south to north. I drove with my trio about seven miles to the southeastern end of the section of the Old Coast Highway that wasn't replaced during construction of the US-101 freeway. We met a few other Pokey Patrol people there as planned, but it was a bit of a surprise to discover that very soon all the other riders, arriving from both directions, also gathered there to meet and greet. Even though our coffee pot had inexplicably produced only a weak semblance of the real beverage that morning, some of the group took advantage of that, the chocolate muffins Kay brought along, and/or the nearby portapotty. Our group included eight tadpoles with electric assist, two velomobiles, a powered hand-trike delta and one Lightning P38 SWB; the rest of us rode normal tadpoles relying – as the good Lord intended – only on pure pedal power.




Saturday morning was one of those rare, slightly chilly days in SoCal with brilliant sunshine, topped by Garrison Keillor's famous clear, cloudless cerulean blue skies. The normally prevalent coastal mist was missing, which made our local Channel Islands, probably less well known than those in the English Channel, named for saints rather than cattle, clearly visible and looking like someone had moved them miles closer to shore overnight. The visual border between the gray brown rolling coastal hills on our right and that bright blue sky had a sharp contrast noticeably different from its usual fuzzy edges.


The group immediately began to string out as we all set off up the highway. There's a very wide bike lane on the coastal side of the highway, between the RVs filling most of the available spots on this outstanding late Autumn day and the automotive traffic lanes. The northwestbound bike lane is comparatively minimal, but adequate for trikes fitting into the steady flow of cyclists, most riding in small groups on classical road bikes this Saturday. We cruised past small crowds of surfers and other folks visiting the beach, densest near Faria Beach and the northwestern end of the old road at Hobson Beach Park.




Our group made our usual, in some cases almost essential, pit stop where the Seacliff Fire Station very graciously provides access to their properly plumbed potty. After spending some time in another chat session, we split into smaller subsets once again, with most of the group venturing on up the recently added, very nice (and no doubt very expensive) four-mile-long Class I bikepath sandwiched between the beach and the freeway, protected by decorative steel and concrete fencing. On its northwestern end, the bike path enters Rincon Beach Park, which is our most common turnaround.


At the Rincon, Sylvia's quartet and some others in our group (literally) rose to the challenge of climbing to the top of the hill. Although this grade is steep, the altitude demand is less than a hundred meters, and it provides a frisky trikey with the treat of a swooping, high speed descent down the curves of Rincon Hill Road. A few years ago I was shooting pix of passing riders at the bottom of that hill when one young woman taking her first ride on a recumbent trike shouted out with glee as she zoomed by: "OH YEAH! Let's do that again!"




We lost some of the group before most others got back to our parking spot on the beach. A few others decided to skip meeting for lunch as we had planned, opting out with a variety of issues like expiring batteries, concerns for diet, home maintenance or other annoying distractions. The survivors either rode or drove to meet for a late lunch on the covered parking lot at Main Street Restaurant. We were joined by our neighbors Pete and Linda, noting that everyone at the table was a veteran of at least a few TaterTOTs.


Sylvia will probably uplink a video of this outing once she's caught up with processing videos of her previous group ride(s) up north. There's also a free-running gallery of my pix of the day posted here:




Well... bottom line: this was a really nice day, spent doing what we really enjoy with a very nice bunch of our friends. If and when Sylvia decides to abandon her itinerary life style, one note she should expect to find in her suggestion box is to come live and trike with us here in Ventura County.