Brompton over Big Sur

The Pedalshift Project 048: A Brompton California Bike Tour

Back from my Brompton California bike tour, I share my thoughts on the adventure!

The Pedalshift Project 048: A Brompton California Bike TourThe Pedalshift Project 048: A Brompton California Bike Tour (mp3)

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The Journal

A Brompton California bike tour…

The Ride

  • MJ is a great riding companion
  • Pearl rode like a champ although it took a couple of days to get the hang of touring on it.
  • Weather was largely outstanding with one exception
  • If you like coastline, do yourself a giant favor and ride this section (and add on the section from Leggett Hill south to SF too while you’re at it)
  • If you don’t like minimal shoulders and proximity to cars, skip this one.


  • Succeeding on a tour with a Brompton – I’m far from ththe first, but I realized I picked a challenging ride for a first one!
  • Hanging with MJ again
  • Meeting Tim of north 2 north
  • Plaskett Creek to Morro Bay — best day of riding ever? Plus TAILWINDS!
  • Zero mile day in Big Sur
  • The views


  • Losing a day of riding due to rain (but also a highlight)
  • The Bonk
  • Breaking in the Brooks on a tour
  • Blowing a gig of data on GoT ep 1. C’mon! 😉
  • Having to gatecheck Pearl on the return flight


  • Glad I brought the minimal stove… Will always bring something for coffee because I like having the option every morning.
  • Rain gear… Forget forecasts beyond a few days as they’re for entertainment purposes only. Be prepared – we had light wiNdbreakers only and were fortunate not to have been caught in the heavy cold rain like others were. Bring it every time there’s a chance for rain on your tour, and that’s most of the time for most tours!
  • Offline maps – particularly like MapOut on iOS – added in the route and had the sliver of maps in my phone for those sections I had no signal. Worked great.


Big Sur by Brompton
Selfie over Big Sur
Brompton at LAX
Pearl resting in the lights of LAX
Brompton over Big Sur
The Pacific blue
Brompton in SLO
Brompton in SLO
Brompton on Highway 1
Turning back onto Hwy 1
Brompton in eucalyptus grove
Eucalyptus grove
Pearl at Mile 44
Mile 44 because #sportsball

Next tour

Doing the far end of the C&O next weekend… No Tour Journals for this one since it’s on the shorter side but I’ll be taking pics and working on some cool upcoming things for Pedalshift Plus. Speaking of…

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Brompton California Bike Tour

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The Pedalshift Project theme is America courtesy of Jason Kent off his self-titled solo album. Check out his band Sunfields‘ album, Habitat, wherever cool music resides.  I heard Jason’s new album in January and it is AWESOME. More info when that drops this spring!

Featured image: Bixby Bridge (cc) via Flickr.


  1. mim says:

    hi tim
    i just recently returned from touring central america with my black pearl (black brompton) for 2-1/2 months….
    i didnt camp—i hosteled—so i had the t bag clipped to the front and a small daypack on the back rack….
    i rode and bussed from cancun down to panama…it was challenging and interesting and sometimes dangerous and i loved it…
    i had a soft cordura bag with handles and used it to put my bike and helmet in on buses when i didnt want it to be obvious that i had a bike with me….it fit in the overhead rack on the chicken buses–schoolbuses painted in colorful designs used as public transportation….or in the cargo hold of the bigger buses…..
    on my flight to cancun i gate checked it without the bag with jet blue….on the way back they wouldnt let me gate check it so i had the bike in the bag shrink wrapped and checked it in….it made it back beautifully….miraculously i did not even get one flat the entire time thank god since i have never changed a tube on this bike yet….i just watched a you tube how to do it…..lucky me….
    i like your mirror on your bike….i have the same handlebars and grip…..what kind of
    mirror is it and how does it attach to the handlebar….,i too bought my bike from todd at clever cycles and had it shipped to ny…..
    i really enjoyed your podcast and would love to do the california coast on black pearl…..
    i am glad to see others tour on the bromptons….its very possible with the -12% gearing…

    • Tim Mooney says:

      Sounds like a great trip! By choosing a non-camping situation you can definitely lighten your load and make for easier touring.

      re: your airline experience… I’m continually frustrated with the lack of consistency for things like Bromptons. In Italy I had a brief moment when security almost didn’t let me through with the bike, only to make a phone call and waive me through. I’ve gate checked once and felt ok with it, but I wouldn’t feel half as comfortable with it checked as normal baggage, especially if the same airline let me take it as a carry-on on the inbound flight! 😉

      The mirror is a Zefal Dooback left-mounted mirror. It works very well and if tucked away properly doesn’t impact the fold. The downside is it interferes with full use of the left grips. It was fine but you do make a trade to have the mirror.

      I totally agree… the Brompton is a great bike to tour on. I like the -12% gearing with the additional Speed Drive gears, but you don’t need the latter to make it happen!

  2. johnnyk says:

    I loved the pics that you posted and was really enjoying them on the twitter thing. Very much wishing I was right there with you. Your brompton is a stroller I mean after all you do stroll along when you ride it right. Actually I wish they would make one of those where it would fold into a stroller mode so you could use the wheels to haul your bags when you have to walk. Anyway just a thought. Here is Florida it gets so hot here that you can’t really wear rain gear. Where you talking about GPX and KML waypoint files or were you actually talking about the map files? Yeah I agree an offline map either digital or physical is always a good thing to have. Also good compass you can use your phone or an actual physical compass. I took a course last year at REI on navigation using maps and compasses. I would suggest anyone that is planing long distance hiking or biking trips especially in wilderness should take a class like that. It could save your life if not your life it could save you time. I remember learning to use compasses and maps when I was young on our week to 2 week long trail rides where the whole family went horse back riding in the mountains and various nation forests however it was nice to take a refresher course and I picked up a few tips and tricks that I didn’t know. Sorry not a plug for REI but they do have some really neat classes if your the out of doors type. The issue I have had with running these offline GPS apps is they suck up the battery. Just like those bike apps that make your phone into a bike computer. I guess it’s just the nature of them because they are trying to give you real-time information. But yeah I agree a good GPS for bikes would be needed for long distance riding. I think it’s needed more so actually. Anyway I know it’s been a while since I posted something but I am still listening to your shows Tim and I am loving it.

    • Tim Mooney says:

      No worries Johnny K! Even national treasures get some time off from comment sections 😉

      REI is a great resource for classes… I’ve taken a few bike maintenance classes there and they’re top notch. Plug away!

      Totally agree on compass skills for offroad or wilderness riding. I haven’t really needed anything like that on any tour I’ve been on but I would consider it for sure. And a compass with no map? Rather useless as you surely know!

      I’m a fan of offline apps on electronic gear, but you have to plan for your electrons. On my C&O trip this past weekend I had one battery as my sink and it worked just fine. That was a high battery drain weekend, but I knew I had 150% of what I would ever need, which is probably a good rule for high use tech riding. I carry more batteries for longer trips and of course have a dynohub when I need it.

      Thanks for checking in!

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