May 7 2013 05:17 PM

San Diego couple creates a North County inn for cyclists

Rich Walsh enjoys Bonsall’s open roads and wants to share them.
Photo by Pink Shorts Photography

When Vicki and Rich Walsh lived in Pacific Beach, they'd be awakened in the middle of the night by drunken idiots. These days, its coyotes they hear when the moon is high. The couple recently gave up their beach house and moved to Bonsall in North County, where they opened their new home as Roadies Hideaway, a bed and breakfast geared toward cyclists who dream of long stretches of asphalt instead of waves crashing against the sand.

"It's really beautiful up here," says Rich, a hardcore cyclist himself who shrugs off his 20-mile bike commute to work in Carlsbad. "They call it a town, but there isn't really a town here. It's very rural."

Vicki was reluctant to move at first. She's a painter who's shown her work at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the Oceanside Museum of Art, among other venues, and her art features magnified, hyper-realistic portraiture that boldly shows off human imperfections, not depictions of beautiful rolling hills or empty landscapes. But she went along with it, and now she says she's found the quiet joy of the countryside.

Rich couldn't wait to get closer to the long rides he loves so much. The couple always had dreams of opening a bed and breakfast, but it wasn't until Rich was training to ride in Race Across Americaóthe grueling race that kicks off in Oceanside and takes riders across the United States, ending in Annapolis, Md.—that he had an epiphany and decided their B&B should be bicycle-themed.

"That's when I realized we had such great cycling out here and such great weather," he says. "I just thought, People across the United States should come here and ride, and I wanted to help them do that."

There are just two rooms available at Roadies Hideaway, but plenty of rides wait right outside the door. Nearby treks include the beautiful 62-mile De Luz Canyon, a hilly ride that boasts a 6,400-foot climb; Palomar Mountain, 92 miles of grueling climbing; and Coast South, a ride that takes cyclists along a stretch of the San Luis Rey Bike Trail, down Highway 101 South and through coastal communities like Oceanside, Leucadia and La Jolla.

Guests can bring their bikes or break them down and ship them (Rich says he'll have them assembled by the time guests arrive). Renting bikes is also possible. Those who book two nights get one complimentary guided ride ($25 per rider for each additional ride if there's two or more of you and $50 if you're riding solo). 

Vicki and Rich both do the gardening, growing the fruit and veggies that end up in guests' breakfasts, and Rich does most of the cooking. He says he'll tailor both the breakfast and the rides to guests' needs. For the more strenuous rides, he recommends keeping it simple and healthy—a fruit smoothie with added protein powder and coconut milk—but he says he'll make pancakes and bacon if that's what gets people ready to ride.

Cycling is Rich's passion, and as the experiment of opening a bed and breakfast for bicyclists continues, he says, no matter what, you can find him out riding the quiet Bonsall roads.

"I like the fact that cycling is completely engaging," he says. "If I'm out on a long ride, at some point, I'm not thinking about anything other than riding. There are very few things that completely engage me that way. Work, troubles—none of that gets in my way when I'm out there."

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