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Sounding Off: Biking 1,500 miles along the coast

August 03, 2010|By Hendrik Broekelschen

In 37 days, traveling roughly 1,500 miles, I bicycled solo from Portland, Ore., to my home town of Corona del Mar.

The idea of bicycle touring — traveling long distances via bicycle for recreational enjoyment — has pedaled around the back of my mind over the last two years as a distant goal. This past May I joined the ranks of the unemployed and found myself in a unique situation. With summer around the corner and an open schedule I realized that although a door had been closed, a window was now open for me to accomplish a personal goal — to set out on a bike tour along the Pacific Coast.

There are many positive elements to bike touring that attracted me to the idea of biking down the West Coast. In an eco-conscious world, biking has become a logical alternative to fuel powered transportation. It is in this way that a traveler not only becomes self-dependent but also minimizes any negative impact on the surrounding environment.

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Another appealing element was the health benefit that comes with a daily workout routine. The last ingredient that inspired me to turn this adventure into a reality was the excitement of traveling on my own, not knowing what was to come, and without a set schedule or definite timeline to follow. With these ideas in mind I put the wheels in motion to hit the road and begin my travels down the coast.

In preparing for my trip I found that we live in a time and place that nurtures experience-oriented travelers more than ever before. With Internet-based, hospitality-sharing communities, like couchsurfing.org, individuals can share their homes or request lodging from others at no cost while promoting travel. Throughout my trip I was able to stay with 10 different hosts whom I had never met before other than through the aforementioned website.

The kind people who took me into their homes ranged from adult individuals to families, were of all age groups, and shared the curious and open nature that is found in the hearts of all travelers. It was these people, along with fellow explorers I met at campsites or enthusiastic strangers I encountered along the coastline, who made my trip better than I could have ever imagined.

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