By Danny Ritz

There is never a shortage of things to do and areas to explore in Southern Orange County, especially during the summer time. This week, we are highlighting a free outdoor offering by the San Clemente Renegades cycling club. 

What: San Clemente Renegades Open Ride

When: Every Sunday, 8:45 a.m.

Where: San Clemente Cyclery, 2801 S. El Camino Real

Degree of Difficulty: Intermediate

Length of Ride: 50 miles (2 1/2-3 hours)

Every Sunday, the San Clemente Renegades cycling club gather at San Clemente Cyclery to set off on an open out-and-back ride to Oceanside through Camp Pendleton, which is open to all interested riders. Riders do not have to be Renegade members to join in on the fun.

Departing San Clemente Cyclery at approximately 8:45 a.m., the ride starts off with a few warm-up miles through Trestles and the San Onofre Bluffs. The group then enters Pendleton via Trail 6, and continues the journey at a moderate pace.

Longtime Renegade rider Michael Sherritt said the ride is perfect for people who have never ridden in a group before. Riders will learn practical fundamentals such as drafting and rotation. Questions from newcomers are encouraged.

“It’s not uncommon at all for one of the senior riders to stick near the back and sort of mentor new riders,” Sherritt said.

During an out-and-back ride, there is always the option of turning around for those short on time or energy.

Gary Nicotra is one of the founders of the Renegades, and emphasized the camaraderie found in the weekly ride.

“It’s really all about socializing and having fun. This is a recreational ride and we are open to anyone who wants to join us,” Nicotra said.

San Clemente Cyclery, the Renegades’ base of operations for the ride, has been in business since 1974 and was founded by Susan Cuchessi and her husband, John. Andrew Cuchessi, Susan and John’s son, now operates the business alongside Susan.

“This is probably one the best areas in California to ride. Past State Park there are probably only two hills, a nice bike lane and even a large shoulder beyond that,” Andrew Cuchessi said.

After returning to San Clemente Cyclery, the out-and-back riders will usually hang at the shop for a bit and debrief before heading home or heading to Big Helyn’s Saloon for a drink.

For more information about the San Clemente Renegades, visit www.sccyclery.com.

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