Cyclist Kate Crinion's tour of the world adventure brought her to Laguna Beach last week, where she stopped for a few days before heading down to San Diego.
"I read a book about a retired school teacher, who was 58 years old, had never ridden a bike, was overweight ... and I thought, 'if she can do it, I can do it,'" Crinion said by phone Monday.
The book, "A Bike Ride: 12,000 Miles Around the World" by Ann Mustoe, inspired Crinion so much that for 10 years she saved her money so she could cycle around the world.
She blogs about her travels along the way at cyclingcuriosity.blogspot.com, which will soon have highlights from her visit in Laguna with pictures and a blog post.
She also is doing it for charity, to support Mucopolysaccharide (MPS) Ireland, a group dedicated to the rare metabolic diseases such as Hurler, Scheie, Hunter, Sanfilippo and Morquio, and something a dear cousin of hers was diagnosed with, according to her blog.
When she's done with her trip, she'll sit down and write a book and donate proceeds from it to help the nonprofit.
She started in 2010 and has visited various countries including Indonesia, Malaysia, China (she started in Tibet), New Zealand and Australia, to name a few. After San Diego, Crinion planned on heading to Texas, and then Mexico and down to Central America, South America. Afterward she'll take a boat to Africa, cycle through there and the Middle East, then Europe and return home just "in time for a cup of tea" in her native Ireland.
Everything she needs, about 130 pounds worth — stove, food, tent, sleeping bag, wardrobe, water and other necessities — is with her, just like a backpacker.
During her time in Laguna, she stayed with Lagunan Paul Smith, a '97 graduate of Laguna Beach High School. He took her around, showing her the beaches, the Montage and other sights.
"The scenery in New Zealand and the Pacific Coast were really special," said Crinion, who rode down from San Francisco.
The toughest part of the journey so far?
"I supposed being bitten by a dog with rabies in Indonesia," she coughed up when asked. Crinion missed her flight to Australia, had to take six weeks to recover and had to communicate to the government there about what had happened because her visa was expired. "It was hard."
One thing that hasn't changed? Her bike, which is the same one since 2010, but has seen several replaced tires, brakes and spokes.
"I didn't know what to expect from it," she said about her world cycling journey. "Just the fact that you can do something like this — I wasn't convinced at first.
"The people you meet and their friendly hospitality; it's a very positive journey in that respect because it shows that the world is not such a scary place."