It was the last day of biking… finally. “Tomorrow, our buttholes can finally recover,” we thought. “We can finally stop eating grilled tubes of meat-slime for dinner. Today should just roll by, and it will be quick since we are excited to get to San Francisco.” Of course, we hadn’t had a nightmarish day for quite some time, so we should’ve bought a new fan to account for the shit that was about to hit the old one.
Let’s start from the top everyone! We left our campsite entering onto Highway 1. For about 45 minutes we biked on the most crooked portion of the highway yet, through wind and drizzle, constantly along 600 foot (give or take a Luke or two) bluffs. It was honestly scary for the drivers to even drive on, let alone biking.
Luis and David drove to Jenner, CA where they stopped for coffee, clam chowder, and a quick chess game. They asked the barista of Cafe Aquatica for the best route to highway 101 (which we would later come to find out, had turned into an eight-lane freeway that was illegal to bike on). “Take Highway 116,” she said. Eventually, while Luis was gracefully having his own ass handed to him on the brink of checkmate, the biker boys rolled into town. They caught the news of Highway 116 and drifted on.
Luis and David drove to to a town called Forestville down the 116 and waited at a coffee shop. They organized their thoughts and caught up on blog posts and soccer game highlights. About an hour later the biker boys showed up, having had a flat tire on the way. The tube replacement went unusual - in the sense that it proceeded without problems. When Cesar, Luke, Milan and Gabe showed up, they sucked down a considerable amount of Coffee to warm up. It was already almost 10:00 AM and the team realized they had only gone about 28 miles on the 100 mile day - quite far behind the usual schedule. We were kept on our toes by a homeless man circling our picnic table while we ate sandwiches. There was disagreement on which route was the best to take in order to make it to 101, and Luis and David never really heard which one they decided to take. Yeah, just in the middle of a forest with no phone service and we don’t tell each other which direction we will be traveling. Yeah, we go to UW. As a result, neither group had any idea where the other was when Cesar got another flat tire about 20 minutes later. IMAGINE THAT.
At this point, the boys suspected there might be something wrong with Cesar’s wheel or tire. Or those 500-horsepower legs were just too much for that bike. Luis and David found a nearby bike shop, and Cesar powered through to meet up with them while the other three carried on. At a bike shop called Revel Cycles, we told the owner our problem and had him make small adjustments to Cesar’s bike while also checking the tire and rim for sharp objects. After admiring the immaculate shop and chatting with the owner, Cesar’s bike was ready to go with a quick removal of a piece of glass and a tube replacement. The owner didn’t charge us a dime, saying “it was his donation to the cause.” We couldn’t believe the generosity, and promptly gave him a deserved 5-star Yelp rating.
We shoved everything/one into Rex and got on the road to meet up with Milly, Gibby and Bulging Tire Boksem. Five minutes into the drive, we got a call from Milan about 15 miles away: “Hey, we’re a f$*king mess out here.” So we got their location and drove to what seemed like the most bass ackwards bike route to San Fransisco conceivable. We rolled up thick with a squeaky clean Cesar for the road, and listened to the situation at hand. To make a long story short, the three boys that went on had decided to disobey the Google Maps bike route (always a great idea) and get onto Highway 101.. which was now a fully blown eight-lane freeway. While riding on the freeway shoulder
(THEE FREEWAY SHOOOOULLLLLDERRRR. Tha. Freeway. Shoulder. As in, they consciously and willingly decided to ride a bicycle on a god damn freeway), they received a warm welcome from commuters abroad. Eventually they got the idea that they probably shouldn’t have been riding on…. tha freeway… Luckily Milan got a flat tire when they were four miles from any off ramps. So, they decided to hop the guard rail into a farm field. This ended up explaining the ridiculous route David, Luis and Cesar had thought they’d taken. Finally reuniting, a team effort for the tire changed.
At this point we were about 60 miles from San Francisco, and it was 1:00. Naturally, everyone thought it was a good idea to try and get diarrhea at McDonald's for the second half of the ride. So while the bikers made their way, Luis and David went and picked up 20 burgers and 30 chicken nuggets from McSquirts that everyone could have for lunch. This next 30 mile leg was the only uninterrupted/chill riding for the day.
When Luis and David arrived with three bags of glory, they found a Waining Gibbous criss cross applesauce in the grass trying to replace his tube he’d popped while riding around the park lawn. That marked tube number four on the day, and after that tube the entire squad only had one spare left. Everyone felt pretty disgusting after the meal, and got some pretty good meat sweats going too. About 20 minutes later, we had a black ops mission to infiltrate and destroy a Safeway bathroom.
With less than 30 miles of road left to cover, we continued to get thrown curve balls. The route leading to the Golden Gate was obscure and non-intuitive since it consists completely of back roads and short bike trails. We all had less than 10 percent battery life on our phones, this adventure became even more difficult. To make matters worse, Cesar forgot he was riding a road bike as he jumped a sidewalk curb and popped his third tube of the day. At this point, we were all drained and anxious to reach our final destination that stood on the other side of the hill. With no time to waste, the final spare was thrown on. Back on the road, we asked a dozen riders for directions for every mile we traveled. Our questions were concise and quick asking, “GOLDEN GATE?” with a desperate and confused expression on our faces.
Meanwhile, David and Luis were frantically reorganizing Rex and putting the bike rack on so that they could rescue a group of lost bikers who were way behind schedule. They began circling the Golden Gate State Park on the off chance the boys had arrived and just hadn’t bothered to call. On the fourth attempt to call Cesar, he finally picked up. Luis and David let out a sigh of relief and asked for the biker boys’ location. Cesar responded, “Meet is on the other side of the bridge, we are going across.”
In a magical moment, we biked across the Golden Gate Bridge during a beautiful San Francisco sunset. The view was breathtaking, and emotions ran high. Luis and David drove 10 mph under the speed limit to savor the moment. Eventually, when everyone made it across we rounded up the troop and took some pictures. Sadly, it took us so long that the sun had basically set by that time.
After pictures, we bolted 60 miles north east to Milan’s Aunt & Uncles house, blasting every song we knew had ‘California’ in its title. Steve and Helen offered to let us shower, sleep in beds, use their pool, and feed us an incredible barbecued chicken dinner with corn. The warm welcome was so, SO needed and gave us the celebration we’d longed for. Helen and Steve, you guys are freakin awesome. We all appreciate your hospitality and generosity so much.
As the night grew old, we went to bed only to ride at 3:45 AM to start the next day’s car ride. Everyone hopped in the car, and everyone except David and Cesar (first two drivers) conked right back out. It was only a matter of time before Cesar blurted: “So, where’s the next trip?” 15 hours later we were toasting to those who will be helped by the $10,500 we raised this summer.
The Cycle for Charvat has raised just under $50,000 in three years for the Kyle Charvat Foundation. That’s $50,000 that families affected by cancer won’t have to worry about. That’s a remarkable achievement for some college kids who just want to get on their bikes and do the right thing. With utmost sincerity, we’d like to thank those of you who donated, or read the blog, or spread the word about Cycle for Charvat. It was our pleasure to ride for this cause, and we hope you enjoyed it along with us.
Until next year:
The Biker Boys of Theta Chi