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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Back at NAHBS, my lady friend Cari bought an Elephant NFE for her around town and touring bike. While we’ve done plenty of local, in the neighborhood rides and even a few fireroad jaunts while camping, we’d never done an official ride – to a destination anyway. For a few reasons, the most pressing issue being her general fear of descending down rocky, rutted and steep fire roads. Which, as you’ve seen in the Reportage here on the site, is pretty much all we have in Los Angeles. (more…)
With a title like that, there isn’t much more to the story, yet there is so much more to the story.
Press camps are fun. Bike launches are fun, yet Maxxis wanted to try something a little different in their recent Appalachian Summit. With the popularity of their tires and only a few new models on the horizon, this “launch” was more of an immersion. Not so much into their product but into the dirt and riding that inspires all their tires, from gravel to downhill, the mountains of Northern Georgia are in Maxxis‘ back yard. PR&D for new tires begins and ends in these mountains. The team of designers conceive of a pattern that would excel in a certain condition, then the product designers work on the tread pattern, samples are made, athletes are seeded these samples, feedback comes in and before too long, a new tire emerges from the already plump lineup. This is all pretty standard for most component companies and honestly, is interesting but the purpose of this press camp was far deeper than that.
Look. The South doesn’t get a whole lotta love. Maybe it’s the wayward political system, or the fact that it’s perceived to be flat. The Appalachian mountains are some of the oldest in the USA, meaning after millions of years of erosion, aren’t as high as the Western US’s offerings but don’t be mistaken. There’s a lotta elevation change happening below the Mason Dixon line. (more…)
There’s no better way to shake jetlag than to take on a big ride. After riding in a relatively flat city for a few days, I was ready to head up into the Angeles National Forest, climb Mt Disappointment and Mt Wilson before taking off down Mt Lowe and back to town. It ended up being around 65 miles with over 8,000′ of elevation (not including the ride up Griffith asterwards) and my legs are feeling it today. As always, I try to take some photos while riding and while there isn’t necessarily enough for a gallery, I posted them up below.
After two weeks on the road, it feels great to be home in Los Angeles. This time of year, traveling really takes it out of me and having just moved into a new apartment, I haven’t even had the chance to settle in yet. It’s kind of an overwhelming sensation, coming back to unpacked boxes, bikes in pieces and enough email to keep anyone busy for days on end. Yet with all this anxiety, there’s nothing better than pedaling on familiar roads… Or even unfamiliar roads.
Also, as a side note, my thoughts are with anyone who was traveling to or out of Belgium today, along with anyone who has been affected by this morning’s events. Be safe and spread love. xoxo
Barcelona, at least as far as I’m concerned, is Los Angeles’ European sister city. Not so much in terms of its urbanism, or gracious public plazas, or the seemingly lack of vehicular congestion, but in terms of the riding. Mediterranean climates make for photogenic trails and even in the winter months, this city is a joy to ride in. When we arrived in Barcelona, I had no idea what to expect. Mattia from Legor Cicli and Ken from ENVE told us (meaning myself and photographer Jeff Curtis, who came along to document the trip for ENVE) we’d be riding dirt roads and trails all within the city limits. (more…)
My buddy Erik @hellhommus was in town this weekend for the Team Dream and Ringtail Cub House opening party. He’d been to Los Angeles before, but never rode in the Angeles National Forest, so while the group ride went up on road, we took a dirt detour. Dirtour?
It’s so dusty and dry here this fall, yet the wind has been remarkably still in the mountains. Still enough that Erik’s dusty trails just seemed to float there above the fireroad like some remnant of a smoke bomb.
I hope you guys got out and rode a lot this weekend, I know my legs are beat!
First Time’s a Charm at the Steamboat Ralleye
Photos by Ian Hylands and Kyle Kelley words by Kyle Kelley
A few months ago James Scriven from Niner Bikes reached out and asked me to go on a bike ride with him. I agreed as soon as he asked and only afterwards began to understand what I had signed up for. As the details trickled in I found out that I wouldn’t be riding my own bike, but instead would be on a Special Edition Niner RLT. The bike would be auctioned off after the ride to benefit the International Mountain Bike Association. I wouldn’t even be using my own gear. The bike would be equipped with Blackburn bags, Big Agnes was providing the camping gear and Kitsbow even made a special pair of custom jean shorts for me to wear. Side note: my signature model can be expected to appear sometime in the year 2020. (more…)
The title of this post comes from an email someone just sent over that ended with “Have a great weekend in your new LA backyard!” I felt it was a good segue into some photos I shot today with my buddy Hans up in the Verdugo mountains, just a 20 minute pedal from my front door.
Weekends are great like that. Hope you’re taking advantage of the short days.
Being able to get in a good ride before the work day begins is one of the many perks of living in a city that’s embraced by mountains. Simply look at a map and seek out squiggly lines. Pack up your bike, add snacks, water, a jacket and head out just before sunrise. These days, the day’s light is fleeting, so the earlier the better.
Last Friday a few of us wanted to ride Mt. Lukens, a 5,000ish foot tall dirt road climb. While it’s not as big as Disappointment or Wilson, its adjacency to the beginning of the Angeles National Forest along the 2 makes it for a perfect out and back ride. (more…)