Coker Mini-Tour

We had a blast last weekend doing a new (for us) type of unicycle event: a 2-day supported Coker tour. Originally, Scot Cooper and his girlfriend Desiree planned a 2-day unsupported ride from their house near Santa Cruz, Calif to Monterey and back. She would bike and he would ride his touring unicycle called the UniBago. In the end, it was 6 of us, with a car for support.

Saturday morning, we met at their house: Bronson Silva with his Creative Gecko Super Coker, my son Beau on his Coker Deluxe, my wife Megumi on her standard Coker, myself on a Hunter36 plus Scot and Desiree. Megumi wanted to try and ride the whole day Saturday, even though the distance was triple her longest previous ride. Desiree happily drove the car with the promise that she could ride the whole day Sunday. Beau had never ridden over 18 miles on a Coker before but didn’t seem too worried.

By 10:30, we were off, heading for Monterey. The first 5 miles was getting out of the built up area south of Santa Cruz, then we headed past beaches, along strawberry and artichoke fields and finally, after 20 miles, had to ride Route 1, in quite heavy traffic, for a couple of miles. We chose to ride a parallel dirt farm road for a while - a great advantage of Cokers is their ability to cruise easily on dirt roads.

Lunch was just past halfway, at Moss Landing. If you ever go there and want a great meal, go to Phil’s Fish Market and Eatery - it was great. After lunch, we had few hills, some headwinds, views of LOTS of artichokes, and finally hit the bike path to Monterey. This lasted about 11 miles, some of it along gorgeous shoreline.

We stayed in what passes for a cheap motel in Monterey, the Rodehouse Inn (note no URL as it is not highly recommended). It was Sea Otter weekend, so prices were high and rooms hard to come by. Cars with bike racks everywhere. Still it wasn’t that bad, showers were had, and we headed off for dinner in the tourist mecca of Cannery Row. I think you can’t really go wrong there picking a restaurant, and we didn’t. Great food, great company, great view of the Bay.

Sunday morning after breakfast, we packed up and started the ride home a little after 10am. We retraced our steps and having no questions on navigation was nice. We had lunch at Phil’s Snack Shack in Moss Landing - a very comfortable, inexpensive and convenient place. We had the whole backyard to ourselves and had a relaxing time, preparing for the second half of the ride. Maybe the most difficult thing of the weekend was the fact that we had to cross Route 1 traffic four times on Sunday (vs not at all on Saturday). Leaving lunch, we made it back across and started up to our final turnoff, but after about one mile, Beau and I both heard a loud hiss that was a piece of glass embedded in my Coker tire. In 4-5000 miles of Cokering, it was my first flat! But it’s no problem on a supported tour. Megumi answered the phone on the first ring, came back and I swapped Cokers with her (had to change the seat around, but it was simple). So I was back in business quickly. We continued on, and it started to sprinkle a little toward the end. Beau kept my spirits up by telling jokes (it helps to have seen most all the movies he has), singing and inventing extra curb riding and drop-off challenges.

What a great time! We ended the day at Bruce Bundy’s house - he was supposed to come with us but couldn’t at the last minute due to work. His hot-tub has rarely felt better! It was fantastic to see how well Megumi and Beau both did. To see a 12 year old easily cruise 85 miles without complaint or soreness or problem was wonderful.

This type of tour can be done pretty easily and cheaply by a small group of cycling friends. Having a vehicle when you arrive at your destination is great, and it was really nice to have someone to call for a spare Coker when I had a breakdown. With a little bit of planning (and good drivers like Desiree and Megumi), you can actually carry almost nothing while riding. Clothes, food, water, tools etc - all can just ride in the car leaving the riders free to just ride and enjoy.

The ride was 42.7 miles/69km each way, with 1774’/540m of climbing. This seemed like a perfect distance and challenge for our group. I remember from Norway that this distance was a good “not too long, not too short” type of day. We had a little rain, a little headwind, a little heavy traffic, but a LOT of fun with a great group. We’re doing this again for sure. One piece of advice: plan your route carefully as we did. Scot had printed out for each rider detailed map pages and a list of every turn with mileages etc. Very useful!

Here are 35 photos.


Thanks for the description, Nathan! I really enjoyed the pictures, especially the riding ones which showed each person’s different use of the different cycle configurations. Mmmmm artichokes are delicious.

Nathan, that ride sounds great! Is the Central Texas Barbeque still open for business in Castroville? Try it if you never have and you’re a carnivore.

I would love to fly in and do that ride with all of you. I lived a year in Monterey while attending the Defense Language Institute. I love it there.


With a little creativity it seems reasonable to extend this approach to much longer rides. Say you have 4 riders of driving age. You could do 80 mile days with each rider riding 60 miles and driving 20. The only disadvantage would be that no rider actually rides every inch of the way.

Another way to do this is to have 4 riders with 3 unis and 1 bike-with-trailer. The bicyclist is the support rider; switch off as above. This way every rider rides every inch; just not every inch on a uni.

Thanks for the great writeup and local ride area idea. Maybe our burgeoning group can be inspired to stray out beyond the Iron Horse Trail that we have ferried so many times.

But I’m still ticked about you beating me on my own Coker in the 2002 10k. It did, after all, have yellow pedals on it. Too much of your mojo for me to overcome, I suppose.

Harper, dude, get over the that race 2 years ago. If we can secure Cokers in Japan, let’s duel again there. Bring the yellow pedals and you can use them!


PS I’m WAY faster now!

Wow sounds like alot of fun.


They tried to talk me into training at the Defense Language Institute. I guess I’ll never know whether it was a good move to turn them down. The extra bonuses were very enticing.

Even though I missed out on a year in Monterey, I still received a huge benefit by agreeing to take the aptitude test - during basic training - on the same day that everyone else enjoyed a trip to the gas chamber. It was supposedly only tear gas that everyone inhaled as they were forced to remove their masks, but I owe the lack of that memory to the DLI.

Nathan, great write up and great photos. I’ve been thinking a lot about this kind of mini-tour up in the islands or WA wine country (yeah, I know it’s not CA wine country, but we get lots of extra rain to make up for that). Hopefully before we get too deep into summer, Harper and I will be able to cajole our local group to try something similar.

Thanks for the inspiration.

Ferry? There’s no ferry up there. The ferries are in the Puget Sound.

I’m thinking of doing the Iron Horse ride from North Bend up to the tunnel and then back to North Bend. If I leave from North Bend it would be about a 60 mile ride. If I leave from Rattlesnake Lake it would be about a 44 mile ride. I’ll have to wait for the snow to melt and the tunnel to open. I could even extend it to 62 miles to make it a metric century.

A ride around Lake Washington is another possibility if I don’t do the big Iron Horse ride. I like the idea of riding off-road and away from traffic better than riding along the busy roads around Lake Washington so the Iron Horse ride is more appealing to me. A metric century on a dirt trail is also quite appealing.

If we wanted to make it a two day tour we could start in Carnation and take the Snoqualmie Valley Trail to North Bend and Rattlesnake Lake and then take the Iron Horse Trail up to Snoqualmie Pass. Stay overnight at the pass and then turn around and ride back. I think that ride would be about 45 miles each day, all on dirt and all on old railroad grades.

Great write up and nice pics thanks Nathan! I’m sure you’ll be a total Uni-machine by the time you arrive in NZ for the 24hr solo Moonride :sunglasses:

Look forward to meeting you soon.



I sought out some therapy last night and now I’m over it. Thanks for the tip. That was a tough two years for me.

Faster you may be, but I will always be older, weaker, and more forgetful, regardless of how fast you ride to keep up with me.

I wanna go on a coker tour!!! That sounds like so much fun.

I will ride that with you A) if you can stand having me along, and B) if my new 36 arrives before summer.

I also want to do the full Iron Horse, which would be multi-day. Might be boring on the other side of the mountains…needs some research.