Three flats, and it’s raining in Summerland

Day 7: Santa Barbara to Carpinteria, 21 miles

I wake in the bunk bed of the AirBnb. Slightly disorienting. I get my bags together and walk the bike out. As I start to load it, I notice the rear tire is flat! I pull it off, try to find the cause of the leak, and opt to put on a new tube. I ride off towards downtown Santa Barbara. It’s warm, the sun peaking through the clouds. Temperatures in the 60s, downright balmy by Oregon standards. Ah, Southern California!

I’m always delighted to see flowers down here on my fall trips, and now in January just as happy. I ride into downtown, stop at Crush Cakes for some coffee and breakfast. Ready to ride to the beach, but no, another flat? I pull off the tire, find a leak near the valve stem. Faulty tube? I replace it and pump it back up. Certainly that will solve the problem.

To the beach! I don my suit, lay out on a towel. Feels good to be here, in the winter, though the clouds are moving over the sun, and the breeze is cool. Of course this feels nicer than a typical summer day on the Oregon coast, so I’m pretty happy. And I haven’t felt good wearing that Speedo for a long time. Getting my body back to where I want it to be. I will credit my recent bicycle tour and my new relationship for the focus, to become more healthy, to take care of my body, and take care of my heart as well. I’m learning so much about my inner process, and how to live consciously in my relationship, and in the world.

Clouds begin to open, rain! Back to town, looking for that great taqueria Jennifer and I visited our last day on tour. No, closed on Tuesdays? Guess it’s time to ride on to Carpinteria. I’m pedaling along the bikeways, protected bike path along the busy 101 freeway. I turn into the town of Summerland and there notice the third flat. That’s enough already. Patch kit now, since I have no more tubes. I find a cut in the tire as well, and use the trick of putting a folded $5 bill over it. Got to remember to take that bill out next time I change the tire.

A couple more miles, into Carpinteria. I stop at Rincon Cyclery for another Schwalbe Marathon Plus. The old tire is sadly lacking tread, several thousand miles, overloaded touring. I show the proprietor the huge rock, recalling the crazy ride out of Big Sur. Sure got a story to tell about that. I roll into the campground, register at the hiker biker site. I’m fondly remembering the last day of my tour with Jennifer, laying on the beach, watching the sunset. So warm together, peaceful, pensive about our return north.

No sunset tonight, rain instead. But it’s laundry day, and I get a nice fish taco dinner across the street. I’m in the tent early, anticipating a long ride tomorrow, all the way into Los Angeles. Probably wet at the beginning, but should clear up as the day goes on. I’m ready to put on some real miles.

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