Ride Report: National Bike Travel Weekend 2016 1

StickerSalsa Vaya

When Adventure Cycling Association announced National Bike Travel Weekend in 2015, I immediately jumped on the opportunity to showcase my MeetUp group. I created an event 9 months down the line and started promoting it within my circle of friends. I was already doing what Adventure Cycling wanted others to do; go out on an adventure during the weekend of June 3rd to the 5th. By having dates, it made things easier for me to move forward and plan the MeetUp without polling everyone for dates.

When all was said and done we had 10 participants who was going to join our tour which started at Ventura, California and stay at Leo Carrillo State Park before we continued south back into Santa Monica to take the train back. If you have been following this blog, you’ll notice that I have already gone to Leo Carrillo before but that trip originated in Los Angeles and was a trip that was out and back. Instead, this trip was more of a one-way ordeal. The first day we traveled from Ventura to Leo Carrillo State Beach.

Carpinteria Again

Carpinteria CamgroundsCamping

Once again, a few of us had started the trip earlier on Friday, June 3rd at Carpinteria. We took this opportunity to ride from Carpinteria using the new Ralph Fertig bike path into Ventura. I remembered riding this section of Highway 101 a few years back and was always a harrowing ordeal. This time around, it was very pleasant. No more worrying about cars flying by 80 mph and crossing into your lane. The noise may still be there but having a dedicated path with a barricade certainly helps with the ride along the highway.

We made it to the Ventura Amtrak station before 11 but a few of our participants was already there getting their bikes and camping gear together. Once everyone arrived, we took a quick stroll to the boardwalk and had our photos taken. Unfortunately, the stranger who took our photos did a terrible job in framing the shot and the lighting was completely off but if you must see the photo, here it is.

Into Ventura

Riding to VenturaRiding to Ventura

The rest of the day was our group following the Pacific Coast trail through Ventura, Oxnard and eventually down the Pacific Coast Highway. Even though I’ve been through these areas several time before, it was good to see others enjoy the sights and attractions like the jet planes and missiles.

Almost There

Group shot

Photo by Alexander Hull-Richter

All was smooth with one minor hiccup. When we reached the entrance to Leo Carrillo, the ranger who checked us in told us that we couldn’t stay there. We protested and told her that leaving was out of the question. What seemed like an eternity, we held our grounds and did not budge until she called her superiors. She finally told us that she had one site left for us to use. We finally rolled through the packed campgrounds to find our site located in one of the most undesirable camp site. The ground was slanted and rocky. We were in the crossroads of 2 walking paths and across from one of the business camp bathrooms. We all shrugged it off and set camp for the night.

Group riding through Oxnard

Point Mugu Naval Base

Point Mugu Naval Base. Photo by Maria Vangilder


Ruby by Alexander Hull-Richter

Our group enjoyed some great conversations, took showers, and prepared for dinner. We even had firewood that one of our participants bought for us to enjoy. After all that was burned, we all headed into bed. The site actually turned out to be a lot more quiet than I expected. We all woke up around 6 and got our breakfast prepared. Half of our group headed back north to Ventura while the remaining half, including myself, continued south to Santa Monica.

Dinner prep

Dinner preparation. Photo by Maria Vangilder


Photo by Sang Hyun de Krieger

Leo Carrillo Campgrounds

When we got to Santa Monica, we found ourselves in an open street event that day. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to enjoy it as we all agreed to go for lunch before departing for home. We ate at Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery where another one of the participants treated everyone to lunch. With our bellies full and our legs tired, we all went our separate ways. Some got a ride home, others rode the open streets, while myself and 3 others decided to hop on the new Expo Line back to Downtown LA’s Union Station.

Final Thoughts

Campfire group shot

LA Group

Photo by Maria Vangilder

Even though the route seems to be similar on this bike tour, it never gets tiring as no trips are ever the same. I’m glad I had the opportunity to show both new and returning riders a great bike touring experience. Besides the minor issue with Leo Carrillo, everything else went according to plan and everybody had another bike tour experience under their built. Check out the video we shot of the trip below and join us for the next bike tour!

The Video


About Johnny Lam

Johnny is an avid cyclist who enjoys bicycle touring as well as anything bicycle related. Johnny has traveled the entire Pacific Coast by bike from Vancouver to the border of California and Mexico. He’s also toured through-out locations in Southern California. Johnny is also a League of American Bicyclists League Certified Instructor (LCI) and also completed the Adventure Cycling Association’s Leadership Training Course (LTC). He is an active member in Los Angeles bicycling community being involved in organizations like the Los Angeles County Bicycling Coalition (LACBC), C.I.C.L.E. (Cyclists Inciting Change through Live Exchange), and Bike San Gabriel Valley (Bike SGV) by taking part in ride marshaling, pedestrian & bike counts, and other volunteering opportunities.

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