… 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.
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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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)
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)
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…)