Manufacturing company features Santa Barbara in ‘Great Rides’ series
The United States faced a shortage of bicycles when COVID hit, but that proved to be a good thing for stores and manufacturers.
Demand quickly grew.
The shutdown orders have ushered many Californians to step outside and blow the dust off bicycles that haven’t been used in a while, since cycling is one way to enjoy the outdoors and breathe fresh air while adhering to COVID-19 restrictions.
In March, nationwide sales of bicycles nearly doubled from the previous year, with fitness and commuter bikes increasing by 66%, leisure bikes by 121% and electric bikes by 85%, according to The New York Times.
Hyland’s, a manufacturer of over-the-counter homeopathic medicines for natural pain relief, saw the rise of cycling’s popularity and decided to connect cyclists with the best trails in the U.S., both for beginners and experts.
Hyland’s released a new video series called “Great Rides,” featuring avid cyclists on the must-do rides in their own communities. You can find it on the Los Angeles company’s Health YouTube channel.
Recently, Hyland’s released “Great Rides Santa Barbara,” which took viewers on a bike ride up and down the Gibraltar-Painted Cave Loop. The 40-mile ride goes from sea level to an altitude of nearly 4,000 feet, with a max grade of 12% and elevation change of 2,700 feet. It boasts both mountain and Pacific Ocean views.
Masters Cyclist Paul Thomas took the journey in the video, starting at Handlebar Coffee Roasters on 128 E. Canon Perdido St., riding east down Cabrillo Boulevard and taking a left on Olive Mill Road. He then took another left on East Mountain Drive, a right on Gibraltar Road, a left on Painted Cave Road and coasted back downtown on Cathedral Oaks Road.
The route challenges cyclists to a seven-mile climb up Gibraltar Road and rewards them with 13 miles of downhill cycling on Painted Cave Road.
Rob Klingensmith is the president of a San Diego-based business called Lens Agency, where he helps brands connect with athletes. He went on the Santa Barbara ride himself.
“We feel that if a cyclist in Santa Barbara had an out-of-town visitor who’s an accomplished or serious cyclist, Gibraltar Road is the obvious choice,” he told the News-Press. “It’s widely recognized as one of the most challenging and classic climbs in North America. You certainly can’t beat the beauty of it — on the one hand, you’re looking at the mountains, and on the other hand, the ocean shines below you as if you’re in an airplane.”
Mr. Klingensmith said the ride along Cabrillo Boulevard is a good way for the cyclists to warm up their legs and prepare for the climb ahead. Once they get to the very, very top, he said, “You certainly know you’ve accomplished something when you get there.”
“Coming down Painted Cave is very technical in the sense that the road’s very beautiful, but narrow … You have to be cautious,” he said. “But it’s aesthetically one of the most beautiful rides I’ve ever been on in a country.”
The cyclist referred to the “Great Rides” series as “a love letter to the sport,” and a reminder to cycling enthusiasts that there’s “so much to explore locally.”
Personally, Mr. Klingensmith said he has noticed more cyclists taking to trails since the pandemic began, but more solo riders and very small groups as opposed to big clubs.
“I’ve noticed that there are a lot of bikes on the road that clearly haven’t seen the light of day for a few years, older models, if you will,” he said. “People may be blowing the dust off the frames and pumping up their tires.”
This, he said, is a positive thing for the community as people navigate the continuous shutdown orders and isolation.
“A bike is such a great way to see the area. It certainly extends your range further than simply running,” Mr. Klingensmith said. “There’s just something really special about a bike in the sense that you can really cover a lot of ground, and you can do it safely.
“It’s a combination of fitness, speed, exhilaration, fresh air and sunshine that makes biking more popular these days.”
While the Gibraltar climb may be arduous for first-time cyclists or those who haven’t cycled in a while, Mr. Klingensmith said it’s good to just get out and try these days.
“I would equate it to skiing — you don’t start skiing and go down the black diamond first. I would say the Gibraltar climb could be analogous to a black diamond,” he said. “Maybe on your first few attempts, you just get up to the base on Gibraltar. You can always turn around and coast downhill if you have to.
“You don’t have to be a serious cyclist with multi-thousand dollar bicycles and fancy gear to really enjoy the sport,” he said. “I think it’s really good to get more people out there on bikes.”
Hyland’s has shot six of its planned eight episodes for the first season of “Great Rides.” The company has filmed rides from California to Texas to North Carolina to Utah, and plans to film two more in Austin, Texas, and outside of Las Vegas.
He said due to the series’ popularity, Hyland’s will continue filming “Great Rides,” taking nominations and suggestions from cyclists all around the country. Mr. Klingensmith said the company hopes to deliver geographic and topographic variety through the rides, incorporating trips in gravel or through the desert.
“We’re definitely looking for that regional, signature ride that a local would be proud to show their out-of-town friends,” he said.