Cycles * Camping * Cooking * Creeks * Cosmos * Community

8th Annual Tour De Tent

As I started writing this post and began gathering our stories of the Tour de Tent experience, the idea of Six Word Memoirs came to mind...

Tour de Tent 2017: Cycles*Camping*Cooking*Creeks*Cosmos*Community.


May 31, 2017

On Memorial Day weekend, a group of 26 SBBIKE members took off on the 8th Annual Tour de Tent. It is one of the most exciting events on the CycleMAYnia calendar, being a social-paced, no-drop bicycle tour that includes a camp-out in a beautiful Santa Barbara County location. The ride was created as a celebration of the outdoors, sustainable bicycle transportation, and the cycling community. Riders carry their own gear, but function as a team. They look out for each other on the road, lend a hand with flat-fixes, provide encouragement and cheers, and prepare meals together. This year’s route was a two-day, 62 mile round-trip ride from downtown Santa Barbara to the pristine Arroyo Hondo Preserve just south of Gaviota.


Our trip north began at 10:45 a.m. on Saturday from Bici Centro. New SBBIKE member and Tour de Tent rider Brett Carpenter said he was a little nervous and kind of scared, thinking “everybody knows what they’re doing.” In fact, half of the group was new to bike touring, but everyone was there to work as a team. For Brett the best part was getting a little help from everyone, especially when he showed up in the morning with a flat tire. Along the ride we took 10-mile rest stops at Coal Oil Point for lunch and homemade lemonade and El Capitan Canyon Market for ice cream and water refills. Some of the riders began the trip skeptical of their abilities and 31-miles later arrived at camp with a sense of relief and happiness, and that feeling of growth that widens the imagination and thirst for adventure.

By 4:00 p.m. we were at the Preserve and setting up camp in the meadow surrounded by oak, bay and sycamore trees with a flowing creek and primitive camp kitchen. Before getting to work on dinner, campers were able to explore the trails, cross chilly creek pools, and hike up to a vista point for a sunset view. Another first time participant George Schreiber said his favorite moment was looking at the stars and planets through the telescope--seeing jupiter and its four moons! Astronomy guide Javier Rivera from the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History brought his telescope for night-sky viewing and set it up in the meadow. Before the crescent moon set, we all got to see it up close with all its craters and dimples.

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The camp meals were planned ahead of time and the ingredients and cookware arrived by sag wagon. Together the campers cooked up the food, led by our dedicated event organizer and “chef” Matthew Hendren. On the menu was a fresh vegetable ragu and sausages with all the fixings, even sauerkraut! “People kept coming up to me and asking to be put to work,” said Matt, who had fun providing all the kitchen materials to eager helpers. Everyone lent a hand with preparation or clean-up in our temporary, collaborative community. After dinner, Cynthia Stahl brought out surprise s’more ingredients and people scavenged for the best sticks to roast the vegan mallows. In her “six” word memoir of the event, Cynthia describes Tour de Tent as, “hiking, ice-cream, stick-dancing, Jupiter, s’mores, ocean-views.” Post s’mores activities included some impromptu fireside entertainment, bike storytelling, and more marveling at the cosmos.

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In the morning, Matt had coffee brewed and water heated for tea. The breakfast menu featured burritos with scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, grilled rajas with corn, soyrizo, cilantro, green onion, queso fresco, crema, and spicy salsas. Matt Dobberteen expressed much gratitude for the “gourmet healthy food.” Again everyone pitched in with food prep, cleaning, and packing and we were ready for the ride back to Santa Barbara by 11:00 a.m. El Capitan State Beach was a brief stop and then people split ways at the Hollister Ave. exit (where Bicycles Must Exit) with the last 15 riders meeting at M.Special for food, beer and laughs -- with enthusiastic ideas for next year’s Tour de Tent!

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3 riders got flats -- and were helped by other riders.
11 new or renewed SBBIKE members resulted from the event.
26 people from different walks of life, who usually wouldn’t spend time together, communed for two days.


So much thanks to Matthew Hendren who coordinated Tour de Tent 2017 as a volunteer, Lori La Riva and the support of Traffic Solutions, including a CycleMAYnia grant, and SBBIKE for providing a League Cycling Instructor for safety talks and encouragement.


Final Thought
Resident Director of Sedgwick Preserve, Kate McCurdy and her nephew Drew, were two of the riders on the tour. When they got back home, Drew’s mom said, “In two words or less describe your outing.” He responded, “New hobby.”


kate_drew.jpegIf you are interested in more bike touring opportunities before the 9th Annual Tour de Tent in 2018, check out the links below:

Cycle Cal Coast for other rides and adventures
CA State Parks--Hike and Bike Camping
Bike and train adventures on the Pacific Surfliner (San Diego to San Luis Obispo corridor) and Amtrak Coast Starlight (Los Angeles to Seattle corridor)


Bicycle Friendly Business

Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition
P.O. Box 92047
Santa Barbara CA 93190
(805) 845-8955
Tax ID: 77-0395986

Bici Centro Locations
Santa Barbara: 434 Olive St (805) 617-3255
Santa Maria: 310 Oak St (805) 623-5763
Santa Barbara City College: 721 Cliff Dr (east end of the bridge over Loma Alta Dr)