Solo Bike Camping: Part One

I am fallen in love — with my new bicycle. She is gorgeous and made of carbon with brushed aluminum lugs. Swift, but old school. I purchased her as a birthday present to myself, impulsively deciding that I needed a go-fast bike.

The Naming

We took a ride up Tunnel Road the morning after purchasing her off of Craigslist. Cresting Grizzly Peak, I was astounded by the unusually low-altitude blanket of fog covering the East Bay from the base of the hills and ceasing at the Oakland shoreline. There, at the Port of Oakland, were revealed three white cargo cranes, tottering above the fog. These same cranes inspired George Lucas’s Imperial AT-AT walkers. Yet, I am sure he never saw them walking on the snowy plains of Hoth as I saw them that morning from the East Bay Hills. From that observation point, I felt like the commander of the Imperial fleet — which is why I call my new red and black go-fast bike, Darth Vader.

Darth Vader approaching the Dunbarton Bridge

To my surprise, Darth Vader proved to be tougher than her spandex-warrior looks. She’s a tourer and world traveler too.

I took this picture of Darth Vader at the approach to the Dunbarton Bridge, on my way back from my first solo bike camping trip last weekend. All that I carried was a bivvy sack, sleeping bag in a compression sack and bedroll; my fanny pack feed bag hangs off the handlebars.

I camped in Butano State Park (~25 north of Santa Cruz, on Hwy 1), after a work-day, potluck and barn dance at Pie Ranch. The next morning, I was plied with a large oatmeal and trailmix breakfast from the campers I crashed with, whom I had found on the East Bay Bike Camping Facebook page. I then decided to ride Tunitas Creek Road to Woodside, and straight back to Oakland across the Dunbarton Bridge.

I averaged 15-17 mph with self-congratulatory amounts of elevation gain. It’s my first venture into ultra-light adventuring and the bike has got me hooked.

Day 1 Route:

Day 2 Route:

3 thoughts on “Solo Bike Camping: Part One

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