6 Hour Santa Barbara Backcountry Tandem Ride

For many years, since the beginning of mountain biking many people see me on my road bike and they are surprised that I go the same places that they do. Even more people are surprised when they see us on a road tandem going places like this and they don’t understand how we do it. But riding a bike is riding a bike in any kind of conditions and there is no reason why if you have the right equipment, if you have the skill that you can ride a bike just about anywhere.

Martha and I went down to Santa Barbara where we love to spend some winter time and rather than going on the west side of Camino Cielo we often go on the east side which is in between Big Pine Mountain and the Jameson Reservoir – a back country that condors fly and an amazingly rugged area between Santa Ynez area and Ojai to the south. It has a couple of reservoirs and dirt trails and dirt roads that you have to really be careful in order to not get flats, but the scenery and feeling of aloneness is really amazing.

A lot of vertical, the mountains down there are often covered in snow in the winter time. Big Pine Mountain is close to 7,000 feet off to the east, Camino Cielo pushes up to 4,500 feet right above Santa Barbara. You have to have a good sense of direction because there are a lot of forks in the trail, you’ve got to trust your gut! Cell phones don’t work out there either. But if have a good sense of geography and you get lucky (laughs) on some of the corners or intersections you can have an amazing ride….and that’s what this day was, it was about 6 hours of amazing riding.

A great place to have an adventure regardless of what kind of bike you’re riding.

Tom Ritchey 2/12/2012