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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Final Preparations for My Pacific Coast Bike Journey | 1,700 Miles from Vancouver to Tijuana

By Megan Maxwell
In one short month I will be departing for a 1,700 mile (or 1,800, see, I’m not even sure) bike ride down the Pacific Coast from Vancouver to Tijuana. I’ve been budgeting accordingly and choosing the appropriate gear for a while now. I’m an experienced long-distance hiker, so I’m overly prepared for the camping aspect of the trip. And I’ve worked hard to minimize my gear to keep my bike load as light as possible. I even went to the local bike depot to learn how to fix minor issues with my bike.


One thing I forgot to do, however, was train. 

I mean, I have gone for a few bike rides around my neighborhood to get used to adjusting my gears and to troubleshoot any potential problems I might have with my second-hand bike. But I just can’t help leaving my bike on its bike rack when I really just have the urge to go hiking in the foothills.

During those short rides, however, I’ve noticed that going uphill on the bike makes my leg muscles extremely sore. I’ve also noticed that stopping for a break during an uphill climb almost assures that I won’t be able to start again. At least when I’m hiking, I can stop as much as I want while I go uphill. Although, going downhill is easy on a bike, so there’s that. 

The area that I will be biking in isn’t particularly mountainous, but it does have its fair share of hills. I figure that if I can hike from Georgia to Maine, I can probably go on a six week bike trip with only minor issues.


The other thing is that I have a second-hand bike I bought off of Craigslist for $150 (costs $500 new). The front gears have a little bit of trouble shifting, which I’m working on fixing. Other than that, it’s in pretty good shape. My mother/ biking partner, on the other hand, bought a $1,500 bike for the trip, which I’m sure will be in tip-top shape and capable of going much faster than mine. She isn’t really even sure what brand it is though, which makes me feel a little better about the situation...

Regardless, I have already purchased my plane ticket, and I will shortly be departing on my bike ride from Vancouver to Tijuana. While the odds might be against me and my used bike, together we just might have the will power to complete our perilous journey. If not, you can catch me and my mom somewhere on a California beach drinking fruity drinks and soaking up the sun!