Category Archives: California
Sea Otter, ORNOT – Nich Barresi
Sea Otter, ORNOT

Sea Otter, ORNOT
Words and photos by Nich Barresi

Sea Otter is great. There’s lots of new bike stuff, racing, camping, beer, and friends, but we had a hankering to get out on some dirt roads after hanging out with Ritchey on Friday. We had heard of an abandoned dirt road down in Los Padres National Forest and we felt this was the perfect opportunity to check it out (and maybe test out a few new products). Indians Road can be accessed by Arroyo Seco Campground and leads south into the wilderness. Our plan was to camp near the trail, ride it in the morning, and then get back to Sea Otter in the afternoon.

We spent the evening in the woods and woke up to birds chirping and warm morning light kissing nearby hilltops. Try waking up like that at Laguna Seca campground… After a bit of camp coffee and ride preparation, we were on our bikes and headed up the hill.
The pavement ended first, and then our ride, temporarily.

Matt managed to slash a nice hole in his brand new tires’ sidewall 10 minutes into the ride. We booted with a greenback, threw a tube inside, and were on our way. Enter ‘day long anxiety about being stuck in the middle of nowhere with a blown out tire’. We knew we were on borrowed time with a boot, but we weren’t about to give up so soon.

Indians Road is a pretty special place. The road was shut down in ’94 after winter storms caused two landslides along the road, and it remained closed due to pricey and non-ecological repair estimates. The military finalized the closure after 9/11 when the stated the road, which is right next to Fort Hunter-Liggett, would ‘require an increased law enforcement and USFS patrol’. The double track road is now overgrown and full of fallen rocks and sand. There is some dodging of said rocks, and of course a climb over the landslide, but it is certainly rideable on skinny(ish) tires. All together, it is an extremely enjoyable ride very similar to what you might find in Marin, but with a more Southern Californian look.

While you’re only 20 miles from Arroyo Seco campground, the remoteness of the ride and the great expanses you see along the way make it feel like you’re really “out there”. Be sure to pick an instagramable lunch stop…don’t worry, there are plenty.

Little did we know, Murphy Mack (Super Pro Racing) went and planned a route straight through Indians Road for his Spring Classic this weekend. Their ride starts down south and heads up through this same portion of Indians Road, and then into the valley via Arroyo Seco, and up to Gilroy. Should be an epic day for those who go. We never did make it back to Sea Otter, but it was a fair trade by every measure. After sampling a bit of the Indians Road goodness, it’s safe to say that we’ll be planning another longer trip. Hopefully not in the middle of the summer when this place must get HOT, Ornot.

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Follow ORNOT on Instagram and Nich on Instagram.

Apr 29, 2016 8 comments
Salton Sea Bikepacking – Spencer Harding
Salton Sea Bikepacking

Salton Sea Bikepacking
Photos and words by Spencer Harding

I had ridden around the Salton Sea many times for work and visited the Slabs many times in the past few years, but when Brad posed the idea to traverse the east side of the sea on dirt it got me stoked. The plan was to ride along the edge of the sea south toward Slab City, camp out for the night, and then return on the road paralleling the aqueduct. We drove out late Friday night and camped up in painted canyon. We had a gang divided between two 80s stunt jumpers and two fatbikes. The route south was pretty much unplanned and we crossed all manner of path; dry drainage ditches, beaches of dead fish bones, borderline impassable swamps, and even just riding straight across the desert in places. We got turned around a few times and had to succumb to the road for part of the day.

After sunset we arrived at Slab City, “The last free place in America”, a desert oasis of squatters living on the remains on an abandoned military base. After a quick dip in the hot spring we headed to The Range, the local venue that hosts an open mic every Saturday. We chilled out on one the many rows of dusty blown out couches and enjoyed the tunes. We made camp for the night in an installation of burnout cars and bikes some friends of ours have been working on for a few years now. As we faded out from the long day someone in the Slabs lit off a massive firework and a beautiful little desert fox quietly ran into our camp and peed on Alex’s sleeping bag.

Sunday we cruised out of the Slabs, stocked up on plenty of water in town, and made for the aqueduct. This concrete river flows gently down from the California/Arizona border bringing water to Southern California. When a levy broke in 1905 it spilled the entire flow of the Colorado River for a year into the Salton Sink creating the Salton Sea. We were stoked for the icy waters as the temperatures reach the high 90s. Sorry not sorry for swimming in your drinking water LA.

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Apr 25, 2016 17 comments
the Radavist 2016 Calendar: April
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This is the fourth layout of the Radavist 2016 Calendar, entitled “Desert Layering.”

Saline Valley is a magical place, with long, swooping roads, washboarded corners and magical vistas around every corner. While the main attraction – a desert hotspring occupied by nudists in their mid to late 50’s and 60’s – might be a little weird for many desert weekend warriors, there are plenty of other au naturale sights on this road. Go there in the spring and early fall, for the summer months are a scorcher!

For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2016 Calendar – April. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)

Apr 4, 2016 4 comments
the Radavist 2016 Calendar: March
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This is the third layout of the Radavist 2016 Calendar, entitled “Super Bloom.”

This photo was shot in Death Valley during the recent wildflower bloom. Spring explosions like this happen once every 10 years in Death Valley and drastically alter the landscape, scattering blues, purples, whites and yellows across the valley’s often dry and arid basin.

For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2016 Calendar – March. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)

Mar 4, 2016 Comments are OFF
Riding in Guerneville California with Argonaut Cycles and Chris King
Riding in Guerneville California with Argonaut Cycles and Chris King

Look. I’m not a super über tech geek. I don’t really care about stiffness or compliance in terms of data or coefficients but I do like riding bikes and developing stories about them, in terms of my personal experiences. When Argonaut and Chris King asked if I wanted to come along for a very informal launch of a new bottom bracket standard, I had a few questions:
-Do we need another BB standard?
-Where is this launch?
-Will there be booze?

Two out of the three answers met my standards, so I agreed. (more…)

Nov 5, 2015 19 comments
A Weekend in the Sierra Mountains at Giro Cycling’s Grinduro!
NUKE!

When Joe Parkin approached Giro’s Dain Zaffke about a new race format a few years back, the initial reaction the two had was more than a chuckle, rather than any degree of seriousness but the seed had been planted…

Why not make a new race format? Part gravel grind and part enduro. Grinduro. You get the best of both worlds, competition and socializing on bicycles. A few segments would be timed: a fire road climb, a fire road descent, a road time trail and a singletrack descent. The event would prove to bring about a rather interesting dialog: what is the most diverse bicycle in your stable? (more…)

Oct 12, 2015 31 comments
I’m Heading West this Weekend
Diablo_01

… and it’s probably gonna look something like this. I’ll be in San Francisco for a week or so before popping down to Los Angeles for another week. Some of my favorite stories come from California and I can’t wait to make more.

Aug 7, 2015 4 comments
The Radavist 2015 Calendar: August
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This is the eighth layout of the Radavist 2015 Calendar, entitled “Los Padres”. The camera, film and location are noted on the bottom left of the document.

With the summer in Texas, comes unbearable heat and an instinctual behavior to retreat to the far western reaches of the United States for some Cali vibes. The Los Padres mountains are by no means “cool” this time of year, but I’ll take an extra 15º any day. With tonality like this and endless possibles for road and dirt excursions, maybe it’s time to relocate… permanently.

For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2015 Calendar – August. Please, this photo is for personal use only!

(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)

Aug 3, 2015 3 comments
Singlespeeds and Sunburn in the Lost and Found Race – Kyle Kelley
#Partybrand

Singlespeeds and Sunburn in the Lost and Found Race
Words and photos by Kyle Kelley

It’s not too often you get asked to hop in a car and drive 8 hours north, race (I didn’t do much racing though) a 100 mile “Gravel” Race with 7,000 feet of elevation on a Single Speed, then hop back in the car and drive another 8 hours home. So of course I said “Yes!”

While I said yes, I must admit I was kind of worried. I’d agreed to do something I really knew nothing about. I’m not in the best shape at the moment, definitely not in 100 mile Single Speed shape. This is kinda like hiking 16 miles round trip to Half Dome in brand new boots, which I’ve also done. I never said I made the best decisions, but luckily I’m still having fun and the 2015 Lost and Found Gravel Grinder was no exception!

(more…)

Jun 3, 2015 14 comments
Not So Recent Roll: Summer of Road Trippin’
Peace!

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.

May 22, 2015 15 comments