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Mechanized Meanderings: Bicycling

How had our bikes stood up to the hammering they had received day after day over that grueling 3,000 miles? ‘Hammering’ is no exaggeration,
for there had been in that stretch no more than 400 miles of pavement. For the rest we were traversing roads often not much more than tracks,
with grass growing in the middle. Our three-speed gears seemed to provide disappointingly little aid on the many really grueling climbs we
encountered. Then there was no alternative but to dismount and walk, so we wore out a great deal more shoe leather than we budgeted for.

Eric Attwell (The Road to London)

Bicycles have improved enormously since Attwell and his brother cycled the length of Africa from South Africa to England in 1936. If they could do it on gravel tracks, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting to Refugio or Carpinteria on your 27-speed machine. The average child will only need about three gears to do it comfortably.

For many, the ultimate sense of independence and freedom is experienced on a bike. It can be used on pavement or off-road, and with fairly heavy loads, which allows the use of a range of accommodation from camping to hotels. Whereas ten miles of hiking can make for a weary day, the same distance can be covered on a bike in an hour or two. Add to this the joy of tinkering with something mechanical, and many hours of enjoyment are to be had.


The essential gear needed for most of the trails in this guide would be a bike, helmet, basic repair/puncture kit, water bottle and daypack with snacks. For some of the longer routes and overnight trips you would want to purchase a small carrier and a couple of panniers for the bike, or you could use a small bike trailer to pack camping gear in. Two panniers at the rear will handle your food and clothes, with a tent and sleeping bag on top. Kids could put their sleeping bags on a carrier and carry
a light daypack for clothes, or you could pack it all
in a small bike trailer.

Please be sure to print out the full guide from
the link at the top of this page.




It is important to set your bike-fit up correctly. Comfort on a bike is most dependent on the contact points between your anatomy and the bike – the saddle, handlebars and pedals. Frame size is the start – a general indicator is that you should be able to stand over the bike and have about one to two inches of space between the crossbar and the top
of your inseam. Bike stores can do a professional job of fitting a bike for you.

In the City

Traffic cycling requires you to be alert, confident
and assertive within the law. Most accidents involving cyclists occur due to visibility issues.




Wear bright clothing and ride in a way that makes
it clear you are there. Use reflectors and lights.

Look ahead, beyond where you are riding, watch what is happening and anticipate what traffic will
do wherever possible. Wear a helmet.

Summarized Results of Cycle Safety Surveys:

1. Most accidents don’t involve cars and are
not reported.
2. About 70 percent of car-cycle accidents involve children between the ages of seven and 17.
3. Roughly three percent of riding is done after dark, but 50 to 60 percent of accidents occur then.
4.Eighty percent of injuries are head wounds.