Category Archives: California
A Santa Rosa Frame Building Flashback: 1990’s Rigid Kostrikin SSMTB

Santa Rosa – and all of NorCal for that matter – has a rich history with frame builders. From Eisentraut to Salsa, Sycip, and Retrotec, the names and faces of this little realm within the cycling industry have such great stories to tell. While I’m working on a few more posts from my recent trip to Santa Rosa, I thought I’d share this unique build with you.

High in the rafters at Trail House hangs this 1990’s Kostrikin rigid single speed mountain bike. These days, bikes like this are still rolling around, converted with “limp dick” stems, baskets and flat pedals, these once race-ready bikes have found a life living as commuters, bar bikes, tourers, and grocery getters. There was a time, however, when these were the pinnacle of racing technology. Although the single speed market was and seemingly still remains a small percentage of this population. (more…)

Apr 29, 2018 25 comments
Inside / Out at Retrotec Cycles in Napa, California

I’ve never owned a bike that receives as much attention from non-cyclists as a Retrotec. With comments ranging from “can I fit big tires like that on my cruiser?” to “how’d you put disc brakes on that cruiser?” Once I follow up with an explanation, they quickly lose interest, yet are still entranced with the bike itself. That connection is not too far from the reality of the Retrotec brand, however. Back in 1992, a builder named Bob Seals wanted to race his old cantilever cruiser frame. This frame, the Retrotec number one, still hangs in Curtis’ shop to this day.

Bob’s intent was to make modern-day cruisers, designed to be ridden and raced. The look of Bob’s builds really resonated with Curtis and in 1993, he moved to Chico, CA to work for Retrotec. In 1995, Bob had exhausted his framebuilding efforts, prompting Curtis to take over, relocating the business to San Francisco. This presented a problem for Curtis, who quickly realized that cruiser bikes weren’t really a thing – yet – and work was slow. Curtis chugged along in San Francisco, building frames part-time and experimenting with new Retrotec designs, while sharing a shop with the Sycip brothers.

In 1998 Retrotec moved to Napa, California and everything changed. (more…)

Apr 25, 2018 25 comments
Eroica Nova California

Eroica California‘s course is one of the most beautiful I’ve ridden and now you can experience the winding dirt roads on a modern bike, in a competitive yet fun event dubbed Eroica Nova. This race begins separately from the Eroica ride and is limited to 200 starting places. Head to Eroica Nova to register now.

Don’t miss this exclusive chance: NOVA Eroica is limited to 200 start place. Register now

Mar 2, 2018 Comments are OFF
The Radavist 2018 Calendar: March

This is the third layout of the Radavist 2018 Calendar, entitled “Pinnacles” shot with a Canon 1dx and a 100-400mm lens in Searles Valley, California.

“Formed during three separate ice ages, these tufa spires are all that remains from an ancient lake bed. The Trona Pinnacles are one of the most peculiar attractions in San Bernadino County, California and offer a plethora of dirt roads to ride, as well as hiking trails, allowing the visitor to spend hours upon hours exploring this unique and majestic location.”

For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2018 Calendar – March. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)

The mobile background this month is from Searles Valley. Click here to download March’s Mobile Wallpaper.

Mar 1, 2018 1 comment
1000 Mile Tarmac Ride – Lael Wilcox

1000 Mile Tarmac Ride
Words by Lael Wilcox, photos by Rugile Kaladyte and Trevor Raab.

Laboring up Mount Lemmon this winter with roadies on light bikes with rim brakes, I started thinking, I want a road bike! It rarely rains in Tucson, almost never in the winter. In the sunshine, rim brakes on carbon rims work fine. But what really is the difference? I was riding around on a Specialized Diverge, a performance carbon gravel bike with disc brakes and 38mm tires. I love the Diverge. It rides great. But I still had questions. What would a true road bike feel like? How would it feel after 100 miles or 200 miles or 1,000 miles? (more…)

Feb 14, 2018 33 comments
Mojave Mobbin’ on the Palm Canyon Epic Trail

The Mojave. Mountain bikes. There are actually very few places where the two overlap both at any official or extensive capacity. Which is strange, seeing as how the sheer scale of the Mojave Desert in California can be lost while looking at a map. There has to be a trail network worth riding in there somewhere! It takes up so much of Southern California! In my experience, this scale is only decipherable after attempts to explore, document and traverse. Otherwise, you’re just looking at expansive land, with a few mountains scattered throughout.

There’s a lot that Southern California got wrong, but setting aside expanses of unadulterated high Mojave Desert is one thing it got right. Riding bikes through said landscape, only to culminate in a city filled with big box architecture, sports cars and golf courses supplies the much-needed reflection to further appreciate these experiences.

That’s the Palm Canyon Epic; one big juxtaposition, or macro juxtaposition if you will. From Piñon, Juniper, Chaparral, and Sagebrush to Cholla, Agave, Barrel, and Beavertail, the flora and fauna you experience on this ride is unlike anything I’ve ridden before. I’m always on the lookout for desert experiences on the bicycle and let me tell you, the feeling you get while looking for a place, or a route to ride, is equivocal to the vastness experienced while actually there, pleasantly pedaling. Or hell, even pedaling in pain can be fun too. This route has it all.

Luckily, on this ride, there were eleven of us, making for a truly unique excursion into the wide openness that is the southernmost tip of the Mojave Desert. (more…)

Jan 22, 2018 20 comments
A Turkey Day Escape at the Oak Flat Fire Lookout in the Sequoias

In Los Angeles, millions of people vacate the city in a yearly migration, creating compelling imagery, representing the trouble with car culture. While we prefer to move about the city by bicycle, we too can’t help but flee its confines by automobile. Yet, in doing so, our attempts are always to get as far away from modern civilization as possible, or at least that’s what I tell myself everytime we load the Land Cruiser up and head out of town.

Sure, I’d rather embark on a bicycle tour during a holiday but when our friend Aimee invited us to the Oak Flat Fire Lookout in the Sequoia National Forest for a Turkey Day celebratory dinner, we couldn’t resist. So, there we were the day before Thanksgiving, escaping LA for the solitude found in its neighboring National Parks and National Forests. Luckily, we were long gone by the time the freeways turned into light shows… (more…)

Nov 29, 2017 13 comments
The Cannell Trail… Don’t Call it a Shuttle Run! – Kyle Kelley

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…)

Oct 9, 2017 19 comments
The Radavist 2017 Calendar: October

This is the tenth layout of the Radavist 2017 Calendar, entitled “Autumn Contrast” Shot with a Leica M10 and a 50mm f1.4 lens in Lone Pine, California.

“If contrasting hues and tones is what you’re looking for on your road rides, Owens Valley is where to go, particularly the surrounding mountain roads in Lone Pine.”

For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2017 Calendar – October. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)

The mobile background this month is from Lone Pine as well Click here to download October’s Mobile Wallpaper.

Oct 5, 2017 Comments are OFF