Day 54 Buttonwillow CA

The final week began yesterday! We are almost through the desert and to the coast. How glorious if will be to get to The Pacific Coast Highway. We started the day in Mojave, CA with the goal of getting to Bakersfield by 2 pm about 60 miles away and then deciding if we had enough left in the tank to push further towards San Louis Obispo.

The first 18 miles took us 2 hours which is not good for our usual pace but we did climbed about 2,000 feet and the winds were in the teens and in our faces. There was still plenty of beautiful scenery with the wind farms sitting on top of the mountains. I’ve never seen so many wind turbines! The ride from Mojave to Bakersfield through the mountainous desert on Hwy 58 was difficult but beautiful. I highly recommend it but be ready for some serious hill-bombing. I took it semi-easy down the hills because my back wheel was still messed up and my back break was not working but it was a major rush!

With each mountain pass we slipped through we were able to enjoy another 3-8 mile downhill stretch. I’m so upset that I am out of space on my SD memory card because this would have been some prime GoPro footage. I guess I can’t share everything that happens on this trip with the internets.

We did get to share our trip with two new riders today though! David’s friend Hagit met us at the Finish Line bike shop in Bakersfield around 2:30 pm. My man Gary at the Finish Line was able to true my wheel and fix both my brakes for the same price as the guy in Barstow who charged me to put a spoke in my bike the wrong way!

We met some more good people at the Finish Line. A man named Al was pumping up his tires outside as I was explaining to Hagit why I had a soccer ball on my front rack. I said Street Soccer USA and Al jumped in the conversation asking “hey are you the guys?” and we quickly went from Internet friends to real life friends.

He and his son use Instagram to promote a new cycling lifestyle aperal brand called La Bike. They started following Bike Cruisade months ago and we’ve actually commented on each other’s photos before. I never dreamed we would meet because I thought “la” stood for Los Angeles and we weren’t going to ride through LA. He lives in Bakersfield and the name actually comes from his grandmother calling “La Bicicleta” “La Bike” when he was growing up in a bi-lingual home. Super nice guy and he offered to buy us dinner at Chipotle. His wife and son, who is also a soccer player, joined us and we all had a great time together!

I think we all got along so well because of our passion for cycling and soccer and we both are combining the two. He rode with us for about 10 miles out of town and so did Hagit. We left Al but the four of us continued onward towards Buttonwillow for another 15 miles ending our day at 89 miles at an Econo Lodge. Now that we have four bikes in the room I had to get creative with the parking situation so I threw my bike on top of the TV stand.

It’s so nice to have Hagit join us and add some new flavor to the mix. In our final stretch we want to have the most fun and make the most of this trip as possible with as many people as we can. It’s been amazing so far so let’s finish strong! Help us continue to spread the word about our ride and Street Soccer USA and thank you all for coming along with us in this epic journey! Let us know if you know anyone around San Louis Obispo or Big Sur or any of those beautiful spots along the PCH!