Category Archives: Recent Roll
Locals Only Ride in Los Angeles
Two different kinds of "morning commutes". I love this shot.

Locals Only isn’t about exclusivity when used in this context, because truth be told, each time I’ve been on this ride, there are usually more out of towners than locals. It’s more of a way that Kyle and Ty like to throw visitors into the proverbial fire. The first time I did this ride, it was at night, in the rain, during goat head season and with no lights. It sucked. This time, it was rad. I won’t post the route (locals only, breh), but we did about 25 miles and 3,000′.

Check out more in the Gallery!

Oct 4, 2013 7 comments
Darkness Upon Mt. Low
Sun obscured by Aussie, on point.

“Los Angeles sucks for cycling”. You’ve heard it, hell, I’ve said it before. Before I had the right guides, to do the right rides, at the right time. See, LA is a special city. Take it at face value and you’ll succumb to ritz and the glamour, while overlooking the many mountain ranges in Los Angeles County.

While the road is one path traveled, the dirt is set aside for a different breed. I’m not talking about finely crushed gravel, this dirt is unforgiving, unpredictable and probably a lot better suited for larger tires.

Grades crush your legs, rocks, your tubes but if you can manage to pull it together mentally, especially when it’s the right time of day, you’ll soon forget about all that (and even the rapidly dropping temperature).

Kyle and Sean had the brilliant idea (really) to do dirt Mt. Lowe up to Mt. Wilson one night. A frontage road climb isn’t easy, even with cross gearing, but all the pain paid off as we snaked our way around the Mountains of Madness…

By the time we hit the 9 miles marker, we had climbed over 4,000′, setting the total for the day at 20 miles and 4,500′. It was a MTB ride on cross bikes. My only regret for the day was not having color film loaded in my T4. I saw a mountain lion, we got a few flats on the descent and I haven’t been that cold coming down from Wilson since forever!

See more in the gallery!

Tools of the trade:
Yashica T4
Neopan 400

Oct 2, 2013 3 comments
Mt Gleason is Tough!
The scorched land

Like many cyclists who have spent time in the Angeles Forest, I know that the roads and ranges can be very unforgiving, especially during the hottest time of the year. Over the years, I’ve been up a number of the area’s HC climbs and every time, I’m reminded of the massive undertaking a 100 mile ride is in these parts.

Mt. Gleason is no exception. In fact, I’d argue it’s harder than Cloud Burst and Baldy. The difficulty lies in the shear steepness of the climbs and the full exposure from the sun. If you’re going to go, go early! Had it not been for the two fire stations and the spigots, we all would have cracked…

Our ride began heading out with the sunrise, en route to Big T. From there, we spiked off up this little prick of a peak known as Mt. Gleason. Come mile 50, we’d already hit over 8,000′ in elevation. We climbed for 30 miles straight, got to the top and then had to climb out of Clear Creek. If you’re familiar with that area, you know what kind of an undertaking that is.

Totals for the day were 100 miles and 10,000′. Nice and even. If you feel so inclined, here’s our route.

One of the main reasons for taking on this ride is the exceptional views over the fire-torn mountain tops. It’s truly breathtaking. See more in the Gallery!

Tools of the trade:
Yashica T4
Fuji Pro400H

Oct 1, 2013 14 comments
Seth and His Rosko 650B MTB
Recent Roll: Seth and His Rosko 650B MTB

Now, I won’t say the following tidbit of information was all that surprising to me. I’m not really a numbers person when it comes to running the site, but I do like to pay attention to what you, the readers, respond to. Not necessarily traffic, per say, or comments, or trackbacks, or whatever but when a bike gets as much love as Seth’s 650B MTB did, I take notice and as I said, I wasn’t surprised. This thing has pizzaz in a world of mediocrity.

While the serenity of a solo bike photo shoot is nice, sometimes I like to get the builder to hold their work of art and pose for a few photos. Case in point: Seth and his Rosko 650B MTB! Check out more in the Gallery!

Tools of the trade:
Mamiya 7ii / 80mm / expired Kodak Portra 400

Aug 21, 2013 9 comments
Brooklyn’s Rosko Cycles

A visit to New York wouldn’t be complete without me bugging Seth Rosko for at least an afternoon. In the past, I’ve tried to document his workspace but have never been 100% satisfied with the outcome, until this visit. The thing about Seth’s workshop is that it’s most likely smaller than your bedroom…

His shop measures roughly a four meter cube, barely big enough for two grown men to move about, much less a Bridgeport, jigs, tubes, component boxes and bikes. Every time I come back to see Seth, the shop is more dialed in and this time, I am confident with the documentation.

Seth’s been working a lot of keeping up with his grassroots racing support. A lot of up and coming racers in NYC are riding his steel bikes and that’s something he’s very passionate about. Cross, MTB, road, it doesn’t matter. If you pedal it fast in circles, he can build it.

Check out a few photos from my Shop Visit to Rosko Cycles in the Gallery!

Aug 13, 2013 10 comments
Cycles d’Autremont

“Locals only” is a term made popular by surfers during the 60’s that still resonates today with some. When I was visiting Cycles d’Autremont in Burlington, Vermont, the phrase took on a different meaning. Modern day framebuilders suffer from the effects of the internet age. It’s easy to click “contact”, write a note to a builder, kick the proverbial tires, make silly requests and inevitably, waste everyone’s time.

Or perhaps the client does put down a deposit. Depending on the person, the next few months could go one of a few ways. Hopefully, everyone leaves happy and life goes on. Most builders rarely build for locals. Some send out fit documentation so the client can record his or her body measurements, or they get sent to a shop to record the data. For whatever the reason, your “local” builder might not be building all too many local frames.

That’s something Hubert d’Autremont dwells on frequently. It’s not easy finding the balance between steadily-building and incredibly-busy but one of the ways Hubert’s ensured a healthy and controlled queue is by only building locally. His clients have all been from Vermont and he’s met every one of them. In a way, his “locals only” mentality has kept his business in a controlled state of production. He’s happy, his clients are happy and best of all, he can still sneak in a ride.

My time at Cycles d’Autremont was limited, due to family obligations, but in the hour or so of chatting with Hubert, I really appreciated his approach to bicycle design and fabrication. He’s worked with some of the best builders on the east coast and is a favorite amongst many in the community. We already took a look at his own porteur, so now let’s take a in-depth look to his studio… Check out some narrated photos in the Gallery!

Aug 13, 2013 4 comments
There’s a New Bike Park to Ride in Brooklyn
... already locals are finding lines in the park, making for some killer photos.

While local developer group, Two Trees Management begins to plan construction on the lot across from the now defunct Domino Sugar factory on Kent avenue in Williamsburg, Ride Brooklyn snatched it up for a year-long lease. After working on the site for weeks, the Ride Brooklyn staff, along with volunteers have finally opened the gates to the first ever Brooklyn Bike Park.

This football field sized pump track offers various lines to rip on, depending on the rider’s skill level. When I was in New York a few weeks back, I stopped by to check it out and shoot some photos of this dirt oasis.

Check out more narrated photos in the Gallery!

Aug 12, 2013 12 comments
Cali is Not California™ – ATOC Cruz to San Jose

Ever have one of those rides where a crazed redneck kicks you off “his mountain” and you end up somewhat lost, having to re-route yourself? Yeah. This was one of those rides. Not that I’m complaining. If Santa Cruz is dirt heaven, then surely the roads are worth a mention.

During the ATOC this year, a few of us got together and rode from Santa Cruz to San Jose. Leading the way was Garrett Chow on his FEA Venge. He promised a big climb, some poaching, a little dirt and heat, heat, heat. All of which were delivered. Then our route was truncated short by the above-mentioned, real king of the mountain…

60 miles and 4,000′ later and we were in San Jose, just in time to watch the last TT and drink a few beers. It’s a bummer we missed the stage, but so it goes. Check out some narrated photos in the Gallery!

Tools of the trade:
Yashica T4
Fuji Pro400H

Aug 8, 2013 4 comments
Cali is Not California™ – I Offer Thee Upon Gibralter
Recent Roll: I Offer Thee Upon Gibralter

If #NatureIsMetal, then Gibralter is a barrage of blast beats. This iconic climb is located in Santa Barbara, California. Just the word, Gibralter, carries a certain mystique. As a cyclist, there are a few climbs that carry connotations of pain. For me, I think of Diablo, Cloud Burst and Gibralter.

Depending on how you start, you can climb from sea level to 3,600′ in just 12 miles. The road itself, up to the summit is about 7 miles. What makes Gibralter so magnificent though is the weather. One minute, you’re riding in the scorching morning sun and the next, a weather system will move over the crest and down the roads, creating an eerie and really fuckin’ metal vignette.

A group of us during the ATOC got in a quick ride before rushing to the start at Santa Barbara’s stage. We climbed fast and because of the ominous fog, took the descent slow. The whole time I was descending, I felt like I was entering some lost world… It was brutally epic! See for yourself in the Gallery!

Tools of the trade:
Yashica T4 / Pro 400H

Jul 25, 2013 10 comments