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.