So, you might have noticed this already but our server accidentally deleted our 2015 image bucket, including many of my favorite Ride Reportage entries. When possible, I’ll be re-upping these stories and linking it here to the Radar to encourage everyone to revisit the entry. We’ve got a lot of incredible rides back-logged here on the Radavist, so expect some prime throwback entries being brought back to life. Got one you’d like to request? Drop it in the comments.
This week’s entry is Death in the Valley, by team AWOL. I wonder how much these guys have learned since their last attempt?
Over the past week, nature flipped a switch. Suddenly, like migrating birds, the 100º weather had flown to the southern hemisphere, leaving behind clouds, cooler temperatures and even traces of precipitation. Basically, the perfect ingredients for successful dirt bike rides. All summer, I’d stuck to shorter, partially shaded rides, or banked on getting in my mileage before the heat of the day and now I felt comfortable taking off up my favorite dirt climbs. (more…)
Down the Ladder into Hell
Words and 35mm film photos by Stan Engelbrecht
I don’t remember when I first heard of ‘Die Hel’ (The Hell). It’s the kind of thing that comes to you like a mysterious rural legend – a rumour of a tiny community of farmers living for decades in complete isolation in an impenetrable valley paradise. More than anything, I wanted to go to ‘Die Hel’. Places and people like this have always fascinated me. South Africa has for many, many years had a complex social and political landscape, and I always like to imagine that these individualist pioneers left whatever country they came from to escape some kind of governmental or religious ideology, and when faced with the same developing in their newfound home, they were driven further into the natural world. To live simply, in peace, with nature as their surround. (more…)
Southern California has been an October oven, with temperatures hanging out in the 90’s and 100’s for months now. Last week, we had enough and organized a group shred sess on Mount Piños, our favorite, yet not so frequented trail network about an hour and some change from Golden Saddle Cyclery. The drive isn’t bad either when you factor in the fact that everyone is going the opposite direction on Interstate 5. We sent out a text thread and gauged interest. Cache, one of the shop mechanics at GSC wanted in, as did Kyle, Serena, Colin, Matt from Mount Wilson Bicycling Association, and myself.
Truthfully I was a little worried about this ride. You climb about 3,000′ in 10 miles and it’s straight up with no change in grade. I hadn’t ridden since South Africa, save for a few grocery store runs, on a lower saddle, across flat terrain. While I was concerned, I’m not one to sit around and wait for the recommended four weeks of recovery, especially since I hadn’t felt pain in over a week. The human body is strange like that. It’s like a tea kettle, only whistling when it’s hot. I had been going hard leading up to South Africa, a bit of “training” if you will, which consisted of mostly doing bigger riders on dirt and here in LA, that means lots of steep grades. After South Africa, it was so hot out that I couldn’t ride even if my body was in working order. There’s nothing more miserable for me, not being able to exercise at all, yet I found motivation in the distraction-free life of being forced to sit at the computer every waking moment. Regardless, it had been what felt like an eternity… Was I finally rested up? (more…)
Boiz in Knitters: Get Weird. Ride Bikes. Care Less.
Photos and words by Locke Hassett
April in Arizona. Colors are erupting from every tree, water is still vaguely flowing in some of the washes, the nights are still cool and the days warm enough to wear short shorts. Students itch to finish the semester. Love is in the air, or maybe it’s just pollen.
When Andrew first mentioned to me that he and Wilson were planning a bike tour for the last weekend before finals, I was hesitant. But then four seconds passed and I remembered what truly matters in this life: using the bicycle as a means to avoid adulthood. (more…)
The Road to L’Eroica: An Italian Honeymoon
Words and photos by Ultra Romance
We had been running from winter… riding from winter… actually hike-a-biking away from winter in the Swiss Alps for nearly 2 weeks now. Snow, wind, rain, and low UV indexes had driven us out of the most verdant and bucolic panoramas I’ve ever eyeballed. Away from the abrupt mountaintops that rise from the undulating valleys like the jagged teeth of a gnashing puma eagle. My hair was damp and lifeless, and our bodies were craving the sunlight and ACTUAL early September weather (fair and pleasant for those of you who live in the Swiss tundra). In a split second decision, while climbing out of a cold and empty valley after hiking down a roots rock reggae slip n’ slide, we hopped a train south to Europe’s fashion capital, Milano. It just felt natural.
Ciao Italy! (more…)
The Endless Fiesta in Bolivia’s Kimsa Cruz
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson
The best part about riding in the Andes of Perú and Bolivia is that finding a great route is about as simple as pointing to a couple of interesting looking spots on the map and connecting the dots. Chances are good that you’ll end up on a rollercoaster of dirt roads through quiet valleys and over dramatic mountain passes.
While it’s fun to follow the tracks of fellow cyclists that have sought out these remote roads and trails previously, if I see a chance to head through an area with little to no info readily available, there’s definitely an extra element of intrigue. Is there water? Anywhere to find food along the way? Is there actually a bridge over that giant river? After all, the mystery of what lies around the next bend or over the next pass is what keeps me wanting to turn those pedals. (more…)
Silver Siouxon: Fall Bikepacking in Portland’s Shoulder Season
Photos and words by Gabe Tiller
One of the most frequent questions I hear is: “What can I bikepack on a long weekend that’s close to town?” The Silver Siouxon route is the answer to that question. You get incredible backcountry singletrack and a remoteness that seems much, much farther than an hour’s drive from Portland.
We rode it in October with vibrant fall colors, but late spring and early summer sport an equally beautiful wildflower bloom. The variety of terrain you pass through is unique. Countless waterfalls, working timber forests, the faux-alpine terrain of Silver Star (a byproduct of the Yacolt Burn), the giant scree fields of Bluff Mountain, the imposing Cougar Rock, and the verdant green tunnel of Siouxon Creek’s old growth forest make this a route that’s challenging physically and technically, but inspiring and soul regenerative at the same time. (more…)
Metro Bike Mountains of Madness
Words by Carter Chappell
If you have been to LA recently maybe you have noticed the new Metro Bikes that launched last late year. They are essentially three-speed commuters by Trek that are built around a bombproof steel frame and held together by an army of tamper-proof bits. You cannot in any way take the tires off if you get a flat or do much outside of raising and lowering the seat to change the bikes fit in any way. It’s pretty much that last thing you would want to do any sort of long or hilly ride on. (more…)
The Cannell Trail… Don’t Call it a Shuttle Run!
Words and photos by Kyle Kelley
Years ago Ryan Wilson told me of this mythical mountain bike ride in the Sequoia National Forest that dropped from the sky to the desert floor. He said it was thirty-something miles long and had around 8,000 feet of ripping descent. To be honest, I didn’t really believe him, so I retained little to no information that night.
Fast forward a few years, Mike Kalenda had just come onboard at Golden Saddle Cyclery, and one morning he was telling me about this crazy ride out of Kernville where you get shuttled up to 9,200 feet and you spend all day riding your bike down the mountain to a brewery! It all sounded familiar, but nothing was sticking, and then I heard about a Plunge and that got me thinking. Hell…I’m not even sure if Ryan even said the word plunge that night, long ago, but something about that word reminded me. I immediately started researching all I could on the internet about this trail, and came to the conclusion that this must’ve been what Ryan was talking about! Maybe the word plunge just sounded cool and I gravitated towards it, but either way, the word plunge got me there and after riding the last part of this trail called “The Plunge”, I’ll definitely be going back. (more…)