ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Three University of New Mexico students are embarking on this school year after an epic summer adventure. The students spent their summer biking 700 miles of the Pacific Coast in Oregon and California.
It’s a journey many have not done, and these friends say their trips throughout the Land of Enchantment helped prepare them. “We’ll ride up to Santa Fe, we’ll ride up the crest,” said Ben Lane. “Albuquerque is honestly a great place to ride your bike.”
When it came to planning their summer vacation from UNM, students Ben Lane, Caleb Brenden and Julia Andreas knew they wanted to ride. This time, they wanted to go beyond shorter, local trips.
“I’ve always wanted to do a long bike trip,” said Lane. “It’s been something I’ve been wanting to do for a while.”
Their adventure took them out west. Over the course of three weeks, they took on 700 miles of the coast.
“It was three weeks, like the whole timeline, and we went from Portland to San Francisco,” said Brenden. “Actual riding, it was 14 days on the bike.”
They originally planned a trip further down coastal California. However, riding 50-70 miles a day was no easy feat.
“We were originally planning on going all the way from Portland to Santa Barbara, but that wouldn’t have given us any rest days and it became apparent pretty quickly that we wanted some rest days,” said Lane.
The three did some training leading up to the big ride. Much of it, though, they figured out along the way.
“After a few days on the trip, we kind of got ourselves into shape, we got in the rhythm,” said Brenden. “We found that the mental energy is what counted than our physical well-being.”
“We were in perfect shape for it after the trip,” Lane replied.
These Lobos say the three-week trip is one to remember, but it’s also important to take in the surroundings along the way. While seeing Northern California for the first time was a big moment for Brenden, Andreas says even little times like finding roadside blackberries stand out as a favorite moment.
“There was also blackberries. I know people talk about them growing on the side of the road, but they literally grow on the side of the road. We would get hungry and pull over our bikes and just sit there and pick blackberries,” said Andreas, also touching on the importance of taking your time on trips like this one. “You can go at your own pace, so it really doesn’t matter your skill level.”
While planning helps on trips like this one, they stress the importance of going with the flow. They also encourage others to go on their own adventures.
“One thing we learned on this trip is you can’t plan everything. A lot of our plans changed,” said Brenden. “If you have any hint of desire to do something like this, just embark on that adventure, buy the plane ticket and start getting ready for it.”
The students say one of the biggest challenges they faced was sharing the road with drivers and encourage them to keep an eye out for cyclists. The three are tossing around the idea of biking around Iceland someday, but say they’ll plan a longer timeline next time.