I found the San Luis Obispo Bicycle Club (SLOBC) in December 2009, during our annual West Coast visit to our daughter and son-in-law. Our landlady mentioned that she biked with two friendly and welcoming SLOBC groups — the SLOPokes and the Tortoises.
She said to call the Goldenbergs for more information. I have biked for years and my wife and I were searching (what should we do today, honey?) for things to do during our visit. So, I figured what the heck, I’d give it a try. Stu Goldenberg answered the phone and told me about the next day’s Tortoises ride.
Not knowing what to expect, the next day I biked into a sea of yellow at Sinsheimer Park. I hadn’t been there for more than a minute when one of the riders introduced himself and started a conversation. Then Stu showed up, described the route, and we all introduced ourselves. At coffee (nirvana! A coffee and snack stop) everyone was friendly and welcoming.
That was the beginning of my love affair with the SLOBC Flaming Tortoises, SLOPokes and Tortoises.
Unfortunately all good things come to an end, and after several more enjoyable rides, I returned to Massachusetts, work, fond memories and vowing to return to the SLOBC the next year.
The following year was one year closer to my retirement and our eventual move to the Central Coast. I kept in touch with several of the riders and let them know our ETA as we got closer to our December/ January visit.
The first 2010 ride was like old home week — hugs and “welcome backs.”
I rode with the Flaming Tortoises on Mondays, the SLOPokes on Wednesdays and the Tortoises on Fridays. On rainy days we walked, always with a coffee and snack stop. What a life! I felt like a surfer in an endless summer. At the end of January I returned to Boston and dreams of riding on the Central Coast with my SLOBC friends.
2011 was a turning point. Work was enjoyable but I was getting tired of the “same old, same old.”
I returned to San Luis Obispo for two months and my wife stayed for an additional month. We were in a quandary. We loved it here, but we also loved living in the Boston area. Should we spend six months in San Luis Obispo and six months in Massachusetts?
Part of the question was answered when my flight was canceled due to a monster East Coast storm — a two-day stay of execution that I used wisely (two more rides).
The other half of the question was answered rather abruptly when, while pulling out of my Boston driveway, an oncoming car missed me by inches, as I couldn’t see beyond the 8-foot-high ice and snow walls at the end of my driveway.
California, here I come! We put our house on the market and moved here in December 2011.
I took a 20-mile bike ride today with my Flaming Tortoise friends. As is our usual midride practice, we stopped for coffee and schmoozing, and lingered in the enveloping sunshine and warmth. San Luis Obispo: sunny and warm, and the same for the next few days. Boston: a high of 29 and a low of 13, with “sn” (3 to 5 inches of snow). It doesn’t get much better than this!
Robert Tuman is a semiretired construction and general industry safety consultant and trainer who happily moved to the Central Coast in December 2011.