2010 is Dancing on the Pedals from the Starting Line

In the fall of 2009 my road led back to the Central Coast of California and the little town of Atascadero.

I was met by it’s wonderful inhabitants and some of the best cycling terrain I’ve ever had the pleasure to explore.

With breathtaking scenery on all sides that often had me whispering to myself “I’m soooo lucky!” I set about to regain some of the fitness I’d lost between Interbike and Thanksgiving.

I asked the locals where the main bike shop was and they pointed me in the direction of Kman Cycle and Run. My aging “Fiery Steed” was already having saddle slipping issues. Also, Kman’s sister website Team Kman (@teamkman) provided me with a comprehensive list of trail maps incuding mileages that I went to right away to plan my training routes. It was a great way to get acquainted with the area.

My friend Martha VanInwegen (@marthvan) lives in Atascadero and, knowing me, also mentioned that Kman’s had a BIG BLANK WALL that might be hungry for a Bike Scribble! Hmmm, do tell!

(photo courtesy of Todd Ventura (@tventura)

Well, I’m a muralist at rock bottom so while I may love to paint on canvas and draw on paper, I pretty much want to put everything I do on a big wall in the open air. Ever since I painted the first Bike Scribble on canvas I wanted to see it on a bike shop wall.

To my surprise, when I met with the owner Keith “KMan” Schmidt and his wife Robyn, they were smitten with the concept straight away. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a project come together more quickly.

Keith “Kman” Schmidt

I chose my colors from the landscape of vineyards, olive orchards, lakes and lavender sunsets.



We met the first week in December and by January 8th the Scribbles were spinning vibrantly on the two story wall and visible from Highway 101. While I wasn’t sure why I chose Atascadero for the next chapter when I arrived, now the purpose is absolutely clear.

While there were some grumblings from the city about needing sign permits and such, nothing in that regard has materialized. The City of Atascadero doesn’t really have a public art policy or process and we’re hoping, now that some redevelopment in the historic downtown area is planned, that public art will be a larger part of those plans.

With any luck this mural is the first of many. The plan is to have a whole peloton’s worth of Bike Scribbles on as many LBSs (Local Bike Shop) as will have them, promoting the joy of cycling through public art. I’ve been talking to bike shop owners in several cities across the country and there is a great deal of enthusiasm for the energetic designs.

In between the brush strokes I’ve put in some delightful miles over the rolling hills from Atascadero north through Templeton to Paso Robles and west to Morro Bay. There are wineries and wildlife in every direction. The cycling community here is serious, dedicated, warm, wonderful and completely wacko in love with their region. I don’t blame them. It’s gorgeous here and I’ve made some great friends.

The Central Coast is Cycling Heaven.
On to the next Bike Scribble!

“@bikechik Thanks for sharing your great passion, inspired by riding through vineyards, indeed, almost a surfeit.” -@RandallGrahm President, Bonny Doon Vineyard

Officially OFF THE GRID!

The Pelican has landed. Yup, it’s true, I have found a new home, and my address is:
UN-GOOGLE-ABLE!

I can’t tell you how much chuckling pleasure this little fact gives me. You can enter the address all you want and Google remains mute. The satellite map shows the area but not the road! Tee hee hee hee… I didn’t think it was possible. It’s high in the hills above Santa Barbara not someplace like… the Appalachians for heaven’s sake! But I am reveling in the anonymity. It reminds me of the movie where Dudley Moore tells a friend: “I’m incommunicado.” and the woman on the phone asks: “Where is that?” Dudley says: “Next to Cognito”.

If you look closely you will see the road on the top of the ridge that is now my home training ground.

“Cognito” is at the top of a well worn epic hill climb. Santa Barbara cycling pals will easily guess where it is (expect summit brunch party soon). The house itself is rather cabin-like but contains all the modern conveniences. There is a pot bellied stove and fireplace to lessen dependence on the electric heaters for warmth. However, no cable, so satellite is necessary for TV, and radio reception depends on tricky antenna placement. God bless Blue Tooth!

One thing there is plenty of here: QUIET and lots of stars. We also have something called “sundowners”, high gusting winds that come up as the sun sets. They routinely blow the plastic deck chairs over the railing where they fall to the ground two stories below. There are lots of welcome animal sounds day and night, nice neighbors with beautiful gardens, a babbling creek and swimming holes. Yeah, I said swimming holes! I’ll be starting my own veggie garden too.

Once again, in more pictures than words:

The view from the top

Alarm clock

Pest control

If the phone cuts out I’m blaming this guy

In the gardens

Poppies at the roadside

On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams…

Maybe this is the Appalachians!
(actually a former director of the Botanical Gardens lives here, go figure.)

Top of the creek bed

Creek

“I have made fire! I… have made fire!
(Tom Hanks ain’t got nothin’ on me)

Those close to me know that this relocation (after 12 years in Del Mar) has been a long journey indeed. As a special bonus that is evidence that the Great Spirit is watching over me after all my new house mate is a partner in a local winery: “Help yourself to all the wine you can drink. Plenty of wine!”

It’s going to be a cozy year.