Category Archives: dirt
Ain’t No Misty Mountain Hop with the Cub House and OrNot
More rasta mountains

There doesn’t have to be a fire to have our mountains scorched all summer here in Los Angeles. “June Gloom” didn’t come this year, not in June, nor in July and come August, the overbearing warmth cast from afar by our sun has certainly required our vegetation to abstain from hydrating.

It is however the desert. We’re just lucky enough to have the ocean to cool everything down each night. Yet, the lush green mountain tops we had all winter have certainly changed their hue. Yellow flowers made way to yellow plants and those intense purples and greens we had shifted to red, leaving our tracks and trails lined with red, yellow and green. Now if you look out across the landscape, it looks like everything has been anodized Rasta like some MTB skewers from the 90’s. (more…)

Aug 14, 2016 9 comments
Karerfornia – Thomas Larsen Røed and Hans Petter Hval
Foggy Big Sur.

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…

Karerfornia
Words by Thomas Larsen Røed, photos by Hans Petter Hval and Thomas Larsen Røed

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…)

Jul 28, 2016 10 comments
What a Weekend!
Full moon ride!

Weekends this time of year require special planning. As the temperatures rise, the National and local parks will be littered with people, making escapism difficult and privacy impossible. Luckily for us in Southern California, there are enough spots within a couple hours, both by bike and by car, where you can partake in a little R&R, without being overly crowded. (more…)

May 23, 2016 15 comments
Riding With Ringtail and Stinner Frameworks on Mt. Lukens – Kyle Kelley
The whole gang!

Riding With Ringtail and Stinner Frameworks on Mt. Lukens
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley

A while back the boys at Stinner asked Sean from Team Dream / Ringtail if he’d host a ride beginning at Los Angeles’ hub for the discerning cyclist, The Cub House. For those of you who don’t know, The Cub House is the Team Dream Team and Ringtail headquarters. It is located just below Mt. Lukens, the highest point in the city of Los Angeles. With an elevation of 5,075 feet it makes Los Angeles the largest city with the highest and lowest elevations in North America. So, why not take everyone up there? Well… maybe because it has a steep, rocky and rutted 7 mile fire road climb with a 4.5 mile single track descent back down to Highway 2. And this was supposed to be a road ride after all. No matter, good sense shouldn’t get in the way of a good time.

We gathered at The Cub House at 8:30am and filled up on Nitro Cold Brew. Everyone was there, from racers to randos. Tires ranged from 25c to 40c. Some people bought vests and jackets because it looked cold up in the mountains, but I just stole a patch for a photo at the top! (more…)

May 4, 2016 4 comments
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
Birthday Bash Up To Josephine Peak
See Downtown LA in the distance on the left?

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…)

Apr 24, 2016 16 comments
Soaking in the South with Maxxis Tires in Northern Georgia at their Appalachian Summit
Kyle hitting the stream.

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…)

Apr 5, 2016 25 comments