The dog days of summer have landed in Los Angeles. After a completely amazing time in SF, I hopped on a plane and found myself in LA with an agenda unlike anything before: find a place to live and hopefully, an office to work out of. The stars aligned and my dirt sacrifices to the Necronomicog paid off. For the most part anyway. A new home base, somewhere to explore roads and uncover new experiences, or just spend time on the roads and trails with friends, old and new.
Los Angeles will be my new home town and this past trip was stunning on many levels. While this is by no means a story, it is a paraphrased visual showcase to just some of the rides we went on, many of which I’ll expand upon relocation to the west coast.
Coincidentally, because I can’t ever seem to leave for a ride without a camera, I managed to pull together some random photos, which make for a perfect distraction on a Friday afternoon.
I was long overdue for a work-related trip…
After packing my bags and my bike into a box, I boarded a plane for one of my favorite cycling destination cities in the US: San Francisco. Let’s backtrack a bit first though. In SF, it’s essential to stay with friends, if you have any that live there. Luckily, I have a few and one couple has been my go-to host home in recent trips: Erik and Sofia from the Great Escape.
When I asked Erik if I could crash with him while I was in town, he obliged and then invited me on a impromptu camping trip the Saturday I arrived into town. My flight got in late, so as I was packing my bike, I loaded my Porcelain Rocket bags with the gear I’d need for a sub-24 hour jaunt into some Marin hills.
The Rapha Prestige Midwest: Humidity Reigns
Words and photos by Kevin Scott Batchelor
The last time I got the call to cover a Rapha Prestige event, I found myself wondering how any of the teams were going to handle the brutal course that had awaited them. More than 130 miles with 14,000 feet of climbing, on mixed terrain, with dizzying temperatures, sounded much more like a stage in the Vuelta than something my friends might ride. LA was a monster, complete with jagged teeth and scorching breath. With only a fraction of the teams finishing what was surely the hardest ride of their riding lives, this would be the last of the pro tour level parcours, right? (more…)
The Official Get Sick Day Worldwide Recap
Photos from a whole lotta folks and words by Sean Talkington
Think about what we use our personal or sick days for? Dumb stuff. Staying home sick (or if you have kids you stay home when they get sick), going to the doctor, going to the DMV, jury duty, visiting in-laws, funerals, etc. Question: What do all of these things have in common? The Answer: None of them are fun. Sure, you can schedule your vacation time around whatever events you want but what if you really just want or need a single day to get your head right? Can you just tell your boss “I think I am going to skip tomorrow and ride my bike locally all day with some buddies. Might do a little swimming too. Fuck it. Maybe even grab tacos after and watch the sunset.” Some of you have awesome bosses but the majority of us are afraid to take a day off for ourselves… (more…)
The Desert Ramble
Photos and words by Erik Mathy
It all started some months back when Jason, aka Gnat, set off a discussion amongst a small group of us. The topic? A fatbike only bike-packing trip along the Kokopelli Trail to celebrate his birthday with Glenn, Eric, Lelan, Jim, Bobby, Brady, Cass, Tim and myself. The Kokopelli is a gorgeous, 142-mile, multi-use trail connecting two of the great meccas of mountain biking in the United States: Fruita, CO and Moab, UT. It features a ton of technical single track, rocks, places where we’d carry our bikes up embankments, and long stretches of desert. Once we got to Moab, we’d spend a day riding the Porcupine Rim Trail before doing one last incredible overnight camp on Kane Creek Road.
Summer Solstice on the Swift Campout with Beat the Clock in Austin
Words by Gideon Tsang, photos by Gideon Tsang and Spencer Brown
On the morning of the Summer Solstice, Beat the Clock hosted a Swift Campout in honor of the longest day of the year. We awoke to the familiar cloud cover that has come with Texas’ rainiest year on record. Swampy barely beats the scorching summer sun but beggars can’t be choosers, eh?
13 of us rolled out from Sa-Ten Coffee and Eats onto the desolate roads of central Texas towards Bastrop State Park. The protagonist of the route is Old Sayers, a 10 mile gravel road filled with rolling hills and handsome oak trees. It always feels like we’re riding into a Terrence Malick film. If the storybook setting weren’t enough, we pulled over for a nature break at a tree swing. We swung with giggles and ‘Grams.
As we arrived in Bastrop early in the afternoon, the rain gods welcomed us by opening the heavens. The remainder of the evening was spent fashioning coyote scarves, camp coffee and of course, whiskey. If all days could be spent bike camping with friends, make them days longer!
Follow Gideon on Instagram and follow Spencer on Instagram.
I got food poisoning. My allergies are killing me. I have a fever. It must have been the shrimp I ate. Whatever the excuse was people all over the world got sick today, calling into their jobs and taking the morning off to ride bikes. The idea is genius and also a bit sketchy. You could get fired! Or you could just spend a day on your bike instead of in an office. That was the intention anyway.
When Sean from Team Dream Team first brought up the idea of #GetSickDay – which at the time was called “fuck work day” – I thought it was brilliant. After a bunch of emails behind the scenes, he organized a bunch of group rides in cities all over the world. Portland, SF, Los Angeles, NYC, London… the list goes on and on.
I happened to be home in Austin, so I led a mixed terrain ride and Andre led a road ride, both leaving from Mellow Johnny’s downtown this morning. We rode around 40 miles after determining the original route would take even longer. Rides like this take forever and that’s the intention.
Take your time, eat tacos, drink a beer and hit a few swimming holes!
Riding in the Tetons with Mavic
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson
A couple weeks ago Mavic invited a group of journalists, athletes, and myself to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to put a few pieces from their revamped Ksyrium lineup through their paces in and around Grand Teton National Park. This was my first time in Wyoming and really my first time riding in the Rockies at all, so it goes without saying I was excited to see what the riding was like.
Get pitted, so pitted on the White Rim!
Photos by Kyle Kelley and Liz Browne, words by Kyle Kelley
Before I begin to tell you about my trip along the White Rim Trail, I’d like talk about the rising popularity of bike packing and other two-wheeled exploration. With the current events surrounding “The Death of The Oregon Outback” I feel the responsibility to say a little something about wilderness etiquette. It might seem like common sense, but we have an ever-growing responsibility to this earth and the wild places we’d like to keep wild. Be it car camping, back packing, or bike packing – please always clean up after yourself and even the visitors who came before you. Do not leave campsites as you found them, leave them cleaner! I’d also suggest taking the same approach on rides as well. Take care of your own trash, but go a step farther and pick up everything you see. And always stay on designated roads and trails. Fragile ecosystems don’t need you making things any harder.
When Golden Saddle Cyclery first opened one of our customers told me about a 100 mile bike ride in the Island In The Sky portion of Canyonlands National Park. I had just been in the park a week before, but without a bike so I was especially interested in hearing about the ride. As a big fan of the area, and the desert in general, I returned for a handful of visits before finally bringing along a bike this past March. And let me tell you, it wasn’t until riding the White Rim Trail that I felt like I had really experienced this magnificent place.
Stories. We all have to have stories to coincide with photos right? Nowadays, someone has to get lost, or their life threatened, or lose a battle to nature’s mood swings. Catastrophe, calamity and someone’s a casualty of what everyone seems to be dubbing “adventure.”
Truth is, a bike ride is hardly ever an “adventure.” Much less a bike launch. I don’t like that word: “adventure.” It tends to envelop so much of our day-to-day lives, especially those of us who spend a great deal of time outdoors. Was it an adventure? No, it was a hike. Or we went swimming. Or we got lost for an hour. “Adventure.” It’s been watered down, branded, packaged and delivered to us in a freeze-dried, waterproof pouch. We share our curated lives exposed through meticulously VSCO’d / Photoshopped vignettes on Instagram.
While this may seem cynical, I can assure you it’s far from that. It’s more of an explanation, or a primer if you will and here comes to the top coat: while the word adventure’s definition is subjective, the spirit of conquest is the thing that ties all facets of that word together. For some people, conquest lies in what others might deem an obtainable task. For others, it’s something so far-fetched that it’s more of an impossibility than a probability… Whatever it is, “adventure” means different things to different people, but we should all be more creative in how we define it. According to my opinion anyway.