We all met up to create our costumes at about 11:30pm at a friend’s apartment in San Francisco. We were assembling our superhero costumes for the weekend’s bike trip from San Francisco to Santa Cruz: 4 women, 4 superhero costumes, and about 80 miles on Highway 1 in Northern California. After constructing our capes and coordinating our intricate leotards (and eating half our weight in candy), we headed off to bed too late for our own good. We didn’t get out until about 11am, but off we went, looking for the connecting road. We got off to a strong start: after about a half a mile, the road ended in a gravel parking lot and we realized we had gone the wrong way. After pouring over our maps, we found the right road: a windy little number that went straight up a mountain, complete with blind turns, speedy cars and minimal shoulders. Finally, we saw our turn-off into a park with miles of car-free, paved trails along the beach. After a meandering pit stop, more snacks, lots of photo-ops, and watching the same families we saw at the entrance of the park pass us multiple times as we dallied along, we were finally ready to get some miles behind us. Low and behold, as we started our downhill, Laurie got her first of many flat tires. It was about 2pm, and we had hardly gone 15 miles. Needless to say, Laurie’s superpower was destined to be changing tires. Upon recalling a post she had seen on Pinterest, Laurie fashioned a patch out of a used power bar.
Finally, after getting back on the road, we established a solid groove as we pedaled many beautiful miles along the California coast on Highway 1 – all to the sound of cheers and honks from passing cars. As we are winding around the coast, a hatchback station wagon pulls up next to us with an older man with reflective blue eyes and a bubbly golden retriever. He knows our names and says he is part of “warm showers”. Warm Showers is a place where hosts open their homes (or in this case a yurt) to cyclists so they can camp in their backyard (or even sleep in an extra bed if it’s available!) and have a warm shower. Since it was already an hour past 5pm he had come looking for us. He gave us verbal directions to his yurt, as it could be hard to find: “Go straight down the road until you reach the 3rd bend in the road, and look for the second marker. Go through the hedges there and up the dirt path to the top of the hill. The yurt will be right there.” Finally, just before sunset, we arrived at our destination. They treated us to dinner, wine, and a hearty breakfast the following day. In exchange, we treated them to an amateur acrobatics show!
The second day was a beautiful one. Highway 1 was quieter, with enough of a shoulder to make us feel comfortable. The highlight of our second day was finding a roadside pie stand that gave us discounts on their pies because we were cyclists. While we were there, we met an extremely tall Scandinavian man who was riding his bike from Seattle to San Diego. He was enamored with our costumes and asked if he could be in a picture with us.
Around 4pm, we found ourselves on a scenic bike path that paralleled Highway 1, and some kindly oncoming cyclists (who presumably identified us by our capes), passed us shouting “he’s at the cross street of Beach St. and the path!” It turned out that the friend who was picking us up in Santa Cruz was sending messages with the cyclists heading our way letting us know his phone had died, and the cross streets where he was waiting. We found him quickly and easily, and we piled our sweaty, sun-burned superhero selves into the car, and headed back to San Francisco.
If you bicycle – or drive – down Highway 1 to Pescadero, California, the pie stand Brianna references is called Pie Ranch. You might also want to stop at Harley Farms Goat Dairy for a look at the cutest goats and some of the best goat cheese around. For additional insider tips follow Luxury Travel Writer Nancy D. Brown on Twitter @nancydbrown and follow @warmshowers for your next cycling stop.
This is a guest post written by Superhero Brianna Munson and her merry band of superhero cyclists.