Category Archives: California
Vacation. Holiday. 3-day weekends. From Memorial Day until Labor Day, the road is wide open and the sun is putting in overtime. Taking advantage of those days is key to sucking the last drop from life and its possibilities.
Last summer, I bought a 4 banger Tacoma pickup in Portland and it kickstarted a whole series of road trips. Most of which centered around cycling-related themes or events but it was the interstitial spaces and moments that I remember vividly. Sunsets, sunrises, rain, fog, wind. All of these had a specific scent and sensation. Most of which were captured visually throughout those long summer months.
I carried my Mamiya 7ii with me on every trip, loaded with Portra 400 220 film. It wasn’t until recently that I finally sat and dug through it all, compiling a Gallery of these moments and vignettes. They’re mostly in the correct order, beginning in Portland and traveling down south.
A lot of these spots are well-known, others not so much but they all serve one purpose: to inspire you to travel to the West Coast and see what you’re missing. Pardon the succinct nature of this intro, but there’s not much to say. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
The most essential component in a custom bicycle is the fit. It’s difficult to have an in-person fit experience these days with customers ordering from across the country or around the globe. Because of this, builders will chose to rely on either previous bicycle’s geometries or body charts. While it is possible to hit the nail on the head with these metrics, having the proper fit can be difficult without letting a builder witness how your body relates to the bicycle and vice versa. Hence the Speedvagen Fit Tour. Bringing the builder to the customer.
For Speedvagen and Sacha White, the owner of the Vanilla Workshop, fit is paramount for frame design and execution. In short: a bicycle should fit like a tailored suit. Every millimeter counts. Sacha’s fit philosophy is obsessive, thorough and merits a total fit experience. One that coincidentally, has been mobile for the past few weeks as it took to the road in California.
For over 25 years Chico, California has been the home base for Paul Component Engineering. During the Speedvagen Fit Tour we swung by to check in on their operations and to get a sense of what the team, the city of Chico and Paul Price himself are all about…
When you’re on the road, you get brief vignettes into people’s or company’s day to day routine, without fully immersing yourself in their operations. Or at least that’s usually the case. Yesterday, however, my preconceptions were shifted and I came to the realization that you can indeed, peer into a company’s soul in the right environment.
What Paul Component is doing in Chico, California is rad. Hands down. We all knew that but yesterday, I got to hang around their shop for an afternoon, not minutes and then, here’s the best part: I got to ride bikes with a few of their teammates, including Paul Price, the owner.
There’s a story to come, but I just wanted to thank the team at Paul Comp for opening their shop doors to us.
These days, I’m spending a lot of time riding and lugging around my DSLR. While I’d much rather do a ride with close friends and leave the camera at home, I couldn’t pass up yet another year of the Blackburn Ranger Camp. Last year’s ride / popsicle hammock experience was too good, so when Robin from Blackburn invited me along for a second time, I accepted the invitation without hesitation, only picking up on keywords: “camping, Big Basin, Redwoods, bourbon, BB guns, beach, Sea Otter, Niner bikes.”
The logistics of my past few weeks went something like this: Giro Grinduro shoot in Sierra Nevada, home for two days, back to Cali for Eroica, ride 130 miles on a 1982 7-speed crit bike, drive immediately to San Jose, arrive at airport hotel at 1am, work for 3 hours, sleep for 3 hours, cab it to the San Jose Airport, pack up my Niner RLT9 Steel cross bike with three day’s supplies, clear CF cards, and commence the herding of cats…
WARNING! This is going to make you HATE that today is Monday. 100 images await you…
After another early morning flight and a three hour drive, I’ve arrived in Paso Robles for the Eroica California. The stories have only just begun, so stay tuned throughout the weekend for updates on Instagram…
Also, shouts to American Cyclery for the Nuovo Record levers and Campy straps. Wait til you see the rest of the photos from that shop!
… I’m ready to be heading home. Pardon the silence this weekend and as always, there’s more to come…
Going Just Because: Three Months of the Sierra Nevada
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson
Every year fall rolls around and the itch hits me. I know the days of many of the high mountain passes throughout California’s Sierra Nevada mountains are numbered. If we’re lucky they’d be buried in feet of snow for almost half of the year. It turned out this year was yet another unlucky one, but still I feel that push to go and explore the roads in my favorite mountain range while I know I can…
Down and Dirty in Santa Cruz
Photos by Ryan Wilson and Sean Talkington. Words by Sean Talkington
Ty, Ryan, Jackie and myself were recently invited up to Santa Cruz to meet with some of our fellow Instagram bike brethren (aka nerds). We were brought up to test out the new Roubaix Di2 disk outerspace/starwars bikes by Specialized. I was getting over a cold so Ty and I decided to carpool up a day later. We showed up a little late but arrived just in time to partake in what we hoped to be four straight days of great riding with or without torrential rainfall. Regardless of the forecast, we were optimistic. Each day was scheduled to be wetter than the previous, but the terrain was going to be so good that the weather wouldn’t be a factor.
Everything was pretty awesome. Things couldn’t be better! That is, until the start of day 3. That’s when it happened. When I got the feeling in my stomach. You know the feeling?! The feeling when your stomach drops, like REALLY “droooooooops” (30 minutes into the ride) and you start sweating profusely (even though its 51 degrees outside). Then you realize you’ve caught the stomach bug that has been going around the house (Rudy from The 5th Floor had it the day before and a European journalist before him).
I would now like for you to put yourself in my shoes for a minute (or better yet my bibs). You are now officially going to turn your insides out. The probability of you holding it in for more than a single minute is extremely low and while the rest of the group keeps on riding, you start to fall off the back. Then you realize you left your phone at the house because you didn’t want it to get wet. So you have absolutely no idea where you are or how to get back to the house and of course you don’t know the address/location where you are staying.
Eroica translates to the heroic in Italian and perhaps that was the intention when the Eroica California team designed the course for the forthcoming event in April. While the original event was born in the Italian countryside, on pristine strada bianche, the California event takes to the hills and mountains separating wine country from the beautiful coastline…