Meet Homer

I definitely observe what bikes cyclists are riding. And wearing. But when it comes to bikes, I’m always on the lookout for a ride like mine, made of quality, durable steel. There are bike manufacturers that build exclusively in steel, companies like Surly, the brand I ride. Another steel frame brand is Rivendell Bicycle Works in Walnut Creek, CA, founded by Grant Peterson (more about him later).

So, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw a Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen bike at a rest stop during the Lighthouse Century a few weeks ago. Rivendell bikes are known for their beautifully lugged steel frames. Take a look:

Rivendell A. Homer Hilsen
Example of the art that goes into a Rivendell nameplate

As I’m admiring the A. Homer Hilsen the owner comes and takes it out of the bike rack, so I immediately struck up a conversation with him and learned we had something in common: the love of a high-quality, durable and inexpensive (comparatively) but beautifully crafted steel bike that’s meant to last a lifetime.

I first learned of Rivendell bikes during an Adventure Cycling Tour in Death Valley, earlier this year. Of the dozen or so riders, three of us were riding Surly’s, with one Rivendell. Not long after that I watched Russ Roca of Path Less Pedaled interview Grant Peterson, Rivendell’s founder. The title of the YouTube video is “The Future of Rivendell Bikes?” Notice the question mark. You can view it here.

In the interview, Grant Peterson comes across as a guy who cares about his product and the people he employs. A small niche bike manufacturer, Rivendell doesn’t make a lot of money, so its future is dependent upon a steady but growing customer base. For more insight, read the history of Rivendell here. Just the mere fact that Rivendell named one of its bikes A. Homer Hilsen tells you a lot about the company and the people.

Grant Peterson is also the author of “Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding a Bike”. I downloaded the Kindle version, read it and it has become one of the most influential books in my library. Just Ride is a love letter to the joy of riding a bike, before cyclists became obsessed with racing, weight, speed, distance and spandex outfits.

Lighthouse Century 2022

The Lighthouse Century is a one-day bike ride organized by the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club. I participated this year and completed the 65-mile “metric” century on September 24, 2022. Here are my takes:

While I prefer bike touring, I do these weekend rides because I’m still working fulltime. This limits my ability to take off a week or two for long-distance cycling.

I chose to participate in this ride because I hadn’t ridden that far north on Coast Highway 1. California’s rugged coastline from Cambria to San Simeon and beyond can be breathtaking. Unfortunately, the day was foggy, a little wet and cool, reducing the scenery effect.

Lighthouse Century 65-mile route (Ride With GPS)

The route began on Saturday morning in Morro Bay at the Morro Bay High School. I drove up from LA on Friday and camped at the Morro Dunes RV Park. After checking in at the high school, I grabbed a burger at the Wee Shack in Morro Bay, less than a mile from my campsite. I recommend Wee Shack enthusiastically.

The all-volunteer organizers did a fantastic job supporting the riders. There was traffic control in several spots along Highway 1, which was important because this road carries a lot of traffic on a Saturday.

Along with the lack of sunshine, my ride was also affected negatively by the heavy traffic on Highway 1 in both directions. The noise from passing cars and trucks alone provided a huge distraction from really enjoying the ride.

The route was fairly flat with only a few ups-and-downs, so despite the fact I generally manage about 10 miles per hour, I felt comfortable on the ride.

The organizers provided welcome rest stops along the 65-mile route, first at Shamel Park and then at Cypress Tree – the turnaround point. The rest stops offered plenty of snack choices; fruit, sandwiches, and blessedly – coffee! I refilled my main water bottle at each stop and never needed my backup for the duration of the ride – it was that cool.

Heading south from Cypress Tree the route left Highway 1 and eased right onto Moonstone Beach Drive. This was a pleasant departure from the busy coast highway. Moonstone Beach Drive featured lots of quaint B&B’s, restaurants and hotels, as well as a wooden plank walking path along the sand. Moonstone Beach Drive to riders back to Shamel Park for the final rest stop on the 65-mile route.

The sun decided to come out at Cambria and stayed out all the way to Cayucos, where I stopped a picked up a six-pack of Brown Butter original cookies. Cayucos is only a few miles from Morro Bay where I finished the ride back at Morro Bay High School.

Would I do this ride again? Probably not. Nothing wrong with the route but the heavy traffic annoyed me, and the weather wasn’t great. SLOBC and its volunteers did an outstanding job. The difference between a ride like this and bike touring is the relationships you build with other riders during the overnights. As long as I’m working fulltime, I’ll continue to search out weekend rides. Up next: the Bike MS: Bay to Bay ride October 15-16. This is a fundraiser to help find a cure for Multiple Sclerosis.

I used my new GoPro Hero 11 Black during the Lighthouse Century. You can watch my video here: In the meantime, keep pedaling!

Cypress Tree turnaround point – smile dude!