Guide to an Epic Electric Bike Ride Across Ojai

Heading down the road from Meditation Mount in Ojai

Plan for the Day: Epic electric bike ride from the MOB Shop in downtown Ojai to Meditation Mount to Meiners Oaks and back, plus an abandoned plan for a dinner picnic and music at Topa Mountain Winery

For this epic day, my sister-in-law/photographer and I rented electric bikes from the MOB Shop, which offers bike sales, rentals and tours, and journeyed to the farthest ends of the valley, 7 crazy miles. Even a novice bike rider can make this ride on a non-electric bike, but what’s epic about that? Nothing.

I had just returned from a 5 day visit with my family in the Chicago suburbs with its lush green sea of lawns and was so looking forward to a full day of dry heat and fun at home. Sadly, this adventure ended rather abruptly and a little bloody, and if I’m honest, it was kind of an epic fail, epically speaking. I hope you’ll read on anyways.

The MOB Shop in Ojai has many great cycling offerings including electric bike rentals.

Renting electric bikes from the MOB Shop was quick and easy, but a little pricey compared to renting a car, $70 for 24 hours. The bikes were slick and equipped with detachable totes and locks.

From there, we hopped over to the fabulous Sunday morning Ojai Farmers’ Market for some healthy picnic supplies to eat at Meditation Mount. In addition to many organic fruit and veggie offerings, the Ojai Farmers’ Market offers baked goods, bread, juice, gluten free goodies, meat, flowers, popsicles, hummus, tamales and free hugs from Al, of course.

Certified hugs from Al at the Ojai Certified Farmers’ Market
Lunch from the Ojai Farmers’ Market including Vegan Mario’s gluten-free cinnamon rolls and Crazy Cashew Cream Cheeze

We packed our totes with gluten-free cinnamon rolls and “Crazy Cashew Cream Cheeze” from Vegan Mario’s, lettuce, avocados and drinks from Rainbow Bridge and took Grand Avenue to Ojai’s sprawling, orchard filled East End. Once we passed Gridley Road, the traffic died down to an occasional car, and we had free reign of the road. With the electric assist, the ride felt effortless and free. I had great anticipation for flying through “The Dip,” but it was definitely way more epic in the 80s from the backseat of the family sedan packed with cousins on our way to the Thatcher School pool.

Trying to get some speed through “The Dip.” Did this used to be steeper?
Weeee.

The steep road up to Meditation Mount was a piece of cake even in the 95 degree heat with the electric assist.  We ate our lunch on the Mount’s patio, which has arguably one of the best views of the valley floor. Food from the Farmers’ Market was delicious. Epic Ojai tip: Don’t put Vegan Mario’s Crazy Cashew Cream Cheeze on their cinnamon rolls unless you’re into garlic, gluten-free cinnamon rolls.

Entry to the garden path at Meditation Mount. Complimentary paper parasols available in the office corridor, along with the donation box, suggested $10 donation per visitor.
A scrub jay, the seagull of the valley, on Meditation Mount’s patio
View from Meditation Mount’s patio terrace
One of several steep twists on the road to and from Meditation Mount

After lunch, we set out for Meiners Oaks on the opposite end of the valley.  The ride to Meiners Oaks via the Arbolada seemed no more difficult than driving by car. We stopped by Greater Goods for a community craft day. Greater Goods is Meiners Oaks’ newest cozy community hub offering music and films every weekend and craft days, speakers, workshops and art classes throughout the week. Their evening music venues are really special- check them out! For a modest donation, we were provided with materials and instructions on how to weave a God’s eye.

Me weaving a real shoddy God’s eye at Greater Goods in Meiners Oaks

After crafting, we took our bikes through the Meadows Preserve loop adjacent to Nordhoff High School. The Ojai Meadows Preserve (managed by the Ojai Land Conservancy) has flat, wide trails that any road bike can handle- even strollers are very manageable here. This is a great place to take children of all ages to run wild and climb fallen eucalyptus trees. You’ll see many water fowl on the pond and wild flowers in the spring.

Riding on the Ojai Meadows Preserve loop

En route to the Ojai bike trail to return downtown, I received my second phone call from grandma(s) and my crying daughter who was not fully recovered from our epic cross country flight the day before. Unfortunately, we had to cut our day short and abandon the evening plans to bring a dinner picnic to Topa Mountain Winery for music. In our rush to return our bikes and get home, my sister-in-law/photographer, lost track of my path and made a hasty decision to jump a high curb and bush that I had in fact walked my bike through. She kind of made it over the curb, but things got messy in the bush. There was blood. And swelling. Ehh-pick.

In summary, I highly recommend renting electric bikes from the MOB Shop. Now I want my own! But if you haven’t ridden a bike in about 2 years, don’t expect to be able to walk later that night if you ride up to Mediation Mount. Despite the electric assist, and feeling so easy peasy in the moment, it was a lot of peddling that added up; I could barely walk by bedtime! I’d skip getting pinned under a bike and stuck in a shrub and screaming toddlers but do enjoy an evening out. If you’re not in the mood for wine tasting, may I suggest dinner at Papa Lennon’s or Farmer and the Cook in Meiners Oaks followed by a short stroll over to Greater Goods for music or a film- all venues offer beer and wine if you’re so inclined. Or just keep on riding, because you have 24 hours to return the electric bikes. Happy riding!

Electric bikes from the MOB Shop parked in downtown Ojai. Always lock your bike!

More Research

Ojai MOB Shop

Ojai Certified Farmers’ Market

Vegan Mario’s Gluten Free Shop

Meditation Mount

Greater Goods

Ojai Land Conservancy Meadows Preserve

Topa Mountain Winery

Farmer and the Cook

Papa Lennon’s

In case you need coffee while in  Meiners Oaks, Coffee Connection

 

Photo credit: Amy Joy Bakken

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