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Blog 164 Los Angeles to Banning (USA)

18th March

Finally the penultimate section of the journey from Los Angeles to New York. Depending on how south I ride so as to get the best end of winter weather, it's a journey of around 3000 miles. First stop, Yamaha USA in Cypress, a suburb of LA where I meet the e-bike team and chat to Drew Engelmann, Marketing Manager of Smart Powered Vehicles, which includes my Wabash gravel bike.

"So what does Drew think about e-bikes ..."

"What does he think about e-biking generally in the US?"

And finally, "how does he think people in the US will receive my journey?"

And so we start, me. Alone. It's a solo ride. Other than logistic backup from Yamaha around the world, and not a small exercise, but nothing realistically on the ground. No film crew. Yep, I film, I edit, I ride, I plan, I screw up and I make good again. It's been 7 long months since I left my wife in Wales.

My lovely wife Dr Caroline toasting her buns

by the oven. Does she remember her husband?

You don't want to meet the rest of the family. Tedious grown up sons and a lovely daughter ...

So, if you're new to my blog and you've forgotten already what I'm doing, have a look at Yamaha's catch up movie just out on social and YouTube today to bring you up to date ... sort of ...

Film No. 2 of 5 India, Nepal and South East Asia

Nail bars, tire stores, tattooists called El Diablo, Tacos food joints, Thai, beauty salons - you know it's the same the world over. Everyone is having their nails done. There's a register of stores that accumulate at junctions, traffic lights, wherever people stop and look, a place to park and they form that urgent need to satisfy community. On a ride when I shop, to get something to cook on my camp stove, the chances of my going in just for a loaf of bread or one solitary item and not coming out with more is 3 billion to one. It never happens. Something I don't want or need looks so good, I buy it then feel sick when I've eaten it. So I could cook in the bush I bought panniers and saddle bags in Perth Australia to handle my shopping needs. But now in America with everything on hand; motels, food stores, nail bars, well, everything I can get even if I don't want it, it's all there. Welcome to America, even if I'm only saying this to myself.

This chap isn't much good at shopping either, most of it's gone in the bin!

The great thing is, I'm on the road. What did beat author Kerouac say about “that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing?" You know that "too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” This is what this journey is about. Freedom

These are the guys that give us our freedom. They make the motorbikes sure enough but suddenly

we have e-bicycles and I'm riding one of them around the world.

The Yamaha e-bike team

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off, right? What is it to be free? I'm free but yet constrained by my commercial schedule to do this ride. I have to be in New York in 25 days, I have to be in Amsterdam 22nd April at 11am. I have to be home sometime. And I have a job to do.

"Is the Wabash the best gravel e-bike ever made?

I don't know yet but it might be the strongest and I'm proving it."

So I'm 20 miles out of LA and the bicycle icon on my google map app has found the Santa Ana River Trail. Wow! What a ride.

A Bit of Information

The Santa Ana River Trail is a colossus in the emerging greater Los Angeles–area trail network. The paved trail covers nearly 60 miles in two sections, including more than 20 miles through San Bernardino and Riverside Counties and another 30 miles running downstream from Corona all the way through Orange County to the Pacific Ocean. A 7-mile segment in the southern section has trails on both sides of the channel for easier access.

Checkout the route

This amazing cycle highway then parallels Highway 5 north and then further on Gypsum Canyon Road; historical activity is in the name. Thunder is bouncing around the mountains. Rain is falling heavily.

46 miles out and at Mescalita & Temascal it's very horsey. Every gate has a horses head statue, like from The Godfather and the cycle path is now a sandy horse path. There's even a horse hospital and still those thunder clouds but its dry. Single story houses, palm trees, a warm tail wind filtering through broad fronds pushing me along. Day 1 USA was turning into a good one.

Near Riverview Elementary I turned on Pedley & Eighth then back onto the Santa Ana River Trail where I'm suddenly distanced from people, from cars. No sound just rabbits running across my wheels, red squirrels, a stout, everything is faraway. And as I end the route and re-engage with traffic, sounds float back like when you descend in a plane your hearing goes - and slowly returns. It's a different pressure; a different reality.

Welcome to my world ...

62 miles there are trucks, containers, more roads, graffiti, burnt out cars and the clutter left by hobos under bridges and the sound of the train over those hills.

So there is so much more to a bicycle ride than a bicycle ride. But it's very late and I'm tired. I have to ride 209 kms tomorrow, that's 130 miles. I need a massage. I saw this in Banning as I rode into town in the dark. I phoned my wife and asked her if it was a good idea because she's a doctor and she said probably not because I might catch something. "What," I said, "a fish?"

Not So Sunny


Map of the Day

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Good to know you're safe and in good nick, Nick! If you weren't when you started this journey, you surely are going to be fit as the proverbial fiddle when you finish it!

Take care and enjoy the crazy US of A......🏍️💨....yeehaaaaaa


Mar 19

Hi Nick

Glad to finally see you again after these few days of silence...

Thank you for this magnificent summary of your trip through Asia: “Film No. 2 of 5 India, Nepal and South East Asia”

Have a good trip across the United States, home is approaching...

Jean Claude

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