By Elena Sonnino 

The rattling sound was not coming from the Back Bay waters of Newport Beach, California. The metal on metal reaction that interfered with the natural silence that surrounded us was a consequence of "cross chaining," which according to Dan from Trail's End Cycling Center occurs when you use improper gears on a bike.

Our road style tires slow as we approach a lookout point on the Mountain to Sea trail, one of the many paths that criss cross through the 50,000 acres of open space preserved on The Irvine Ranch in Orange County, California. With my bike gears finally under control and silent, we heed the sign that reads "Birds Only Past This Point."

The vast terrain of Orange County creates the perfect ecosystem for birds. Perfect for the pelicans that fly over the ocean waters as whales migrate along the coast. Perfect for the 200 species of birds that make their homes in the marshes of the San Joaquin Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary. Perfect for the feathered creatures whose view would spill untold stories of commuters on their bikes from one town to another, or the people whose luggage rumbles through hotel corridors or the foodies who drop crumbs along the outdoor eateries...