We enjoyed a yummy breakfast on board the Queen Mary before assembling in the parking lot for pushoff while the morning was still young. (This year, our day starts with a special treat: Charlie Gandy (CalBike's Vice President) is giving us his own personalized tour of the protected bike lanes and other routes that have made Long Beach a leader among bicycle-friendly cities in California. Thanks to Frank Peters for this photo of Charlie giving another tour. Dude is famous!
I was familiar with Long Beach; we rode the beach bike path all the way to Belmont Shore then got on Highway One past Seal Beach southbound. I had some trepidation at this point because years ago I rode this stretch of highway in an ill-advised trip to a meeting at the headquarters of a Huntington Beach bike company. A driver "didn't see me" and pulled out right in front of me, narrowly avoiding a hard crash. What I didn't know is that there is a network of wonderful and pleasant parallel streets. How I wish I knew that then! How glad I was for Debbie's route-finding now! The ride was so serene I was inspired to ride this labyrinth in Newport Beach:
The penultimate day was mapped with the help of one of the riders: Frank Peters. We were in Frank's territory so he knew it would be cool to take us along the coast, past Huntington Beach into Newport Beach, then to Balboa Island on the ferry (!), before heading to Irvine via car-free bike paths. So many car-free paths in SoCal; who knew?!
We had lunch at the Pedego electric bicycle store in Irvine. Frank did the whole ride on an electric bicycle, by the way. He credits electric bikes with getting him back in shape, and this 265-mile ride surely helped that project! It was a real bike, no doubt. He got tired from riding, but he was able to adopt a very upright posture and casual style that made the ride look like a lot of fun.
Electric bicycles are going to change bicycling in the U.S. like nobody really appreciates right now. It makes bicycling accessible to so many more people. The Dream Ride is open to electric bicycles because it's open to riders of all abilities. If you want a challenge, you can pedal hard and find detours with more hills, but if you want to just cruise along, we'll have a fast pace group and a slow pace group to accommodate you. And if the chance to do the ride on an electric bicycle makes it possible for you, come along. You're welcome. Frank says he only ever used half his battery each day.
From Irvine we followed suburban bike lanes and bike paths back to the coast, where we pedaled to our destination in San Clemente.
Dinner in San Clemente was a fun affair at a Japanese steak house, although it was not so friendly to vegetarians so this year we're getting an awesome meal catered.