We rolled up to the Patagonia Cardiff patio at 8:54 AM on Sunday. It felt early. The sky was grey with mist and fog, and a chill in the air. The gate was locked and only one lonely bike was inside. I wondered if we missed the weekly group bike ride & coffee or if it had been canceled. For the past several months, Patagonian , Troy has been hosting Sunday Morning rides. For the past several weeks (from what we gather) there have been donuts. I’m guessing the donuts stay.

donuts with sprinklesPromptly at nine other riders started rolling up, then Troy arrived with a brown box with VG donuts in it. Introductions were made. We were the only new riders to the group of about a half-dozen. Rides range from about 6 to up to 20 so far. We shook some hands, a few already flaked with donut glaze, and rolled out onto the street about 9:15 AM. My wife on a road bike, and me on a cross bike with hybrid wheels (commuter conversion) for the first half of a leisurely, meandering uphill to our coffee break.

We rolled up the streets and turned onto dirt & gravel paths that weaved North-Easterly from the store. The homes getting progressively bigger and nicer until they were mostly just gates and fences with rooftops as we passed. The first half of the trail was about 60/40 road/off-road. It was beginner to intermediate level, but wasn’t as road bike friendly making my wife’s trek a little more difficult. Some of the off-road trails were sandy causing some slip sliding. We’d definitely recommend, at least a hybrid-width tire since I had not problems navigating a few roots and sandy gulches in the path. Outside of that, the only obstacle were some short, minor but a little steep hills and the occasional labrador on the path.

group bike ride from Patagonia Cardiff on the Pacific Coast Highway

We pulled up for a stop at a seating area with a view of in-land Encinitas in the foreground, and Black Mountain and it’s neighbors in the distance. The view was beautiful, and the sun had peaked out causing a late sweat. We were ready for a coffee and a donut.

patagonia-weekly-ride-2The coffee was being prepared by Elliot who also roasted the beans at his local roastery Boogie Beans Coffee. It was strong, black and went great with the chocolate & coffee tasting frosted incredibleness over a chocolate donut. We relaxed and sipped our coffees for the better part of a half hour.

The best part of any group ride is meeting new people & learning their stories. On the ride up I had a chance to chat with Troy about Patagonia Cardiff’s bike event initiatives. At our stop I learned more about Elliot and his soon to be open cafe in Carlsbad, local politics from Lori, and my wife had a nice chat with someone about career paths. As a group we talked about local bicycling. The list goes on. We had started the ride as strangers to this group, but by the time we remounted our bicycles for the trip back to the shop we had made new friends. And the donuts were almost gone.

Bike overlooking Encinitas, California and mountain range

The second half of the group ride was predominantly a joyous downhill cruise. Our pack stretched out on long downhills, and bunched together again at intersections. There was one twisting, dirt downhill that my wife and I decided to walk considering our bike tire choices for the day. At the bottom another rider was waiting to point the way at an intersection. No riders left behind. It’s a good policy, and not a bad motto for life. No Rider Left Behind.

Patagonia Weekly Sea RambleWe turned left on the Pacific Coast Highway for the last of our Sunday morning jaunt. It was nearing 11:00 AM, and the crowds had begun filling the sidewalks to the beach, and the morning check out at San Elijo State Beach Campground was already underway. We rolled as a group in the bike lane or taking the right lane until the last left onto Chesterfield, and back into the patio at Patagonia Cardiff. We dismounted, smiling, and sat for a moment with new friends before the goodbyes began and only two lonely looking donuts remained.

Patagonia Cardiff is hosting weekly rides every Sunday Morning at 9:00 AM. They are roughly 10 leisurely miles long, but with some uphill, some downhill & some dirt just so you’re prepared. We will see you there again soon. No Rider is left behind.

Follow the Patagonia Cardiff Instagram for future rides & event info.┬áThat’s how we found out about the weekly rides.