These days, Stinners are everywhere, even all over the pages of this website and while it might feel like some kind of marketing conspiracy, with loads of money exchanged and bathtubs filled with gold coins, I can assure you it’s not. Since I moved to Los Angeles, I see more Stinners on the road and in the trails. Rightfully so, seeing as how their shop is located in Santa Barbara, just 90 miles north of LA and yeah, they make some pretty stellar bikes. (more…)
Editor’s intro: I met these two randomly a few weeks ago. They stopped into Golden Saddle while they were in Los Angeles and I took them up into the Verdugo Mountains at sunset one evening. They had been on the road for a week or so, soaking in California’s mountains and bikepacking around various trail networks. For me, seeing photos and reading, albeit brief, words from visitors to this great state is always entertaining. So, without further adieu…
Up, up and up. The gravel road leading us from South Lake Tahoe towards Star Lake is ridiculously steep. And straight. Defeat is inevitable. With loaded bikes we have to resort to pushing. We’ve flown into Oakland from Oslo, thrown the bikes in a rental and headed for the mountains. We’re not on a bikepacking mission from A to B, but instead using bikepacking as a trick to get the most out of our 14 days in California. (more…)
Farewell For Now, California
Photos and words by Ryan Wilson
A little over a month ago I left my job of ten years and was in the final stages of moving out of my Los Angeles apartment. I was putting together the final pieces of the puzzle that would eventually result in me riding through South America for 10 months or so (more on that soon).
As luck would have it, a tiny hitch in my setup resulted in me having about 9 days without a job or home in California. So, I did the first thing that came to mind (the thing that typically comes to mind)… Road trip. (more…)
Only a Few Months Left for Bike + Book + Hatchet
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley
A couple years ago my girlfriend Liz and I were driving back to Los Angeles from Mt. Shasta and we stopped in Walnut Creek to visit Rivendell. Funny thing is, we never made it to Rivendell because we stumbled upon Bike + Book + Hatchet first. We were so completely immersed in the store, which is dedicated to the Rivendell ideology, that we forgot the original reason for our stop. I knew I wanted to shoot some images and share the story of this place, but I didn’t have a digital camera or any spare film with me at the time. It took two years, but Liz and I finally found ourselves traveling north for a wedding and made the detour to Walnut Creek again. (more…)
… we began ours a little early!
Yesterday before our group ride to watch the Amgen Tour of California, Frankie Andreu rolled through the Cub House to talk to Sean of Team Dream / Ringtail / The Cub House about riding in the Los Angeles area.
There’s an old saying: “wherever your relationship is going, it’ll get there faster on a _____ ride.” Whether it’s a bicycle tour, mountain bike, group, or tandem ride, new relationships often encounter stress that can either solidify or deteriorate your bond. Acknowledging this, I planned out Cari’s first bikepacking, or rather bicycle camping trip together with a certain degree of trepidation. Knowing Cari’s background of extensive backpacking, I planned out a quick, but somewhat difficult ride for us to undertake in the Sequoia National Forest.
Let me backpedal a bit here and give you a brief synopsis of Cari’s background. In her 20 years of backpacking, she’s undertaken a series of difficult multi-day trips throughout the Western United States. She’s hiked Whitney, Half Dome, Rae Lakes, Lost Coast and various other undertakings that are far from beginner. When she and I first started dating, she had a commuter bike but other than riding around Los Angeles, she had very little experience, especially on dirt. I explained the premise behind bicycle camping, touring and bikepacking, with the differences in each outlined. “You basically carry everything you need on your bike, rather than your back, and you can cover more ground on various terrain…” She seemed to gravitate towards bikepacking since the idea of dealing with cars isn’t all that appealing to a backcountry explorer. I agreed and began planning.
Initially, I had one ride planned in the Eastern Sierras but this time of year meant it could still be snowing at 10,000′, so I began looking a little further south before landing in the Sequoias – one of my favorite parts of California. (more…)
There’s never a perfect time to escape. Chores, obligations, monetary deficits, or priorities—it seems the doldrums of the day to day too often take hold with gripping force. We can’t always hop on plane to the backcountry of the Chilcotins or ride ribbons of trails through the Alps; sometimes planning a trip can seem more complicated than landing a rover on Mars.
And in some instances even more so.
But on the rare occasion a trip can manifest itself without a formalized plan or strategy. The right players show up with the right gear and seem to have a rare abundance of time to spare. It’s like watching ripples forming from the wind blasting a sand dune. From a seemingly chaotic environment comes a perfectly organized pattern: from entropy emerges order. We’re not going to pretend to understand it, but that is what happened with this trip. A few emails were sent to a handful of folks and almost magically we were standing speechless in awe of Northern California coastal viewshed. No itinerary, no schedule, no obligations, and no reception. (more…)
The famed Compton lowrider has its roots way further south…
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.