SAN DIEGO — A glorious day of bicycling in a glorious city by a bay.
I and several of my new best buds — fellow riders on a transcontinental bicycle journey beginning Sunday — tested our legs and our bikes by riding 42.5 miles in San Diego on Friday.
Before that, we took a ferry to Coronado Island and rode down the Silver Strand, a spit of land with Coronado Bay to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west.
The bike and the rider seemed to perform OK. But a better test will come on Saturday when we do a “shakedown ride” around San Diego with all the gear — tent, sleeping bag, clothing, tools, cooking gear — that we will haul across the United States to Florida when we set out from San Diego on Sunday morning. Part of that shakedown ride will include the climb to the Cabrillo National Monument.
On Saturday, we also plan to do the ritual baptism of our rear wheels in the Pacific Ocean.
A tradition among transcontinental cyclists is to dip the bike’s rear wheel into the Ocean at the start of the journey and the front wheel into the other ocean at journey’s end.
On Friday evening, all 15 of us who are participating in this trek gathered together for the first time for a meet-and-greet and a briefing by our ride leader. We also divided up the collective cooking gear that we’ll take on the trip. I ended up with a couple of small aluminum bottles to carry fuel for the three camp stoves.