Category Archives: Golden Saddle Cyclery
I’d like to think the kind of riding my friends and I enjoy would be considered “dumb”. From the freestyle on track bikes, all the way to the trail riding on cross bikes (even road bikes), sometimes, it’s just more fun to use the lesser-capable tool for the job. When Sean from Team Dream asked if Ty, Eric, Kyle and I wanted to ride Backbone trail during my last trip in LA, I said hell yes. Then I asked “which bike should I bring to LA?” The answer was what I had hoped for: cyclocross.
My bike has been through the ringer and it’s still one of my favorites to ride. Climbing some serious mountains, both on sealed and gravel, blasting trails in Texas, Vermont, California, Australia, Minnesota or where ever my travels take me. It’s been the most diverse beast in my stable. This ride however, this ride outdid just about everything else.
The day would be big. 60 miles and 7,500′ of climbing. 85% on dirt. Most of it on legitimate / illegitimate singletrack. There were very few chill spots. This was a MTB ride on 33c tires and drop bars. Even as part of our group passed a guy on a full sus MTB riding a downhill section, the dude had the audacity to label our cross bikes as “cheater bikes”. Ok Mr. fullface helmet and pads.
For as many fire road climbs, there were 1-track descents. Nothing was too technical or difficult to ride down, but some parts were too steep to climb with a 34/28. To top it off, I broke my fucking pedal in half at mile 20, Eric was just getting over a serious injury from a car hitting him and we were grossly unprepared for the lack of water.
High points: finding water that had been stashed in the bushes for months (the labels were bleached out, condensation formed at the top – i.e. it had been forgotten), the damn Coke machine at the Malibu Creek State Park (make sure you have plenty of $1 bills – I had 10), the subsequent swimming hole and wearing a hip bag, stuffed with a mushy breakfast burrito from Pedalers Fork.
THE HERO OF THE DAY WAS CARLA, SEAN’S GIRLFRIEND FOR DROPPING US OFF AND PICKING US UP!
We started at the Yerba Lot trailhead (one, 10 mile section is closed to bikes, so we had to re-route around that) and ended at the Santa Monica pier inside the photo booth.
I know I post a lot of ride photosets, but this one is not one to be missed! Check out some narrated photos in the Gallery!
Tools of the trade:
Yashica T4 / Kodak Portra 400
Talk to anyone familiar with the trails in this area and they’ll tell you that we went up to Inspiration Point the wrong way. Truth is, however, we’ve been going up the right way too often (on cross bikes) and wanted to try something new. Riding, or in this case, hiking up a downhill line ain’t fun. Especially on a long travel bike.
Kyle from GSC, Sean from Team Dream and myself had a lotta fun on the mountain that day. I was riding the Foes F275, we did a quick review, stopped a lot for photos and blasted down one of my new favorite trails.
Our route for the day: lower Merrill to upper Merrill, to Inspiration Point, back down upper Merrill, down a trail called Monkey Face, to Sunset, Brown and El Prieto. It was a short day on paper, but a big ride on the legs. Any MTB riding in Los Angeles is tough on the legs…
If you’re from the area, you know how fun that is. If you’re not, well… check at the photos in the Gallery!
From snowy Minneapolis to sunny SoCal…
What better place to shoot this bike in Los Angeles than a spot that Kyle calls “Little Big Sur”. In actuality, it’s near the top of Griffith Park, just 30 minutes and 1,000′ in elevation gain from Golden Saddle Cyclery. This is the shop’s official sunset beer spot.
Just about every time we ride up, Kyle’s been on his All-City Space Horse. We’ll poach the horse trails as the sun is setting, rather than take the road and climb in half the time (they’re freaking steep). Usually, I’m huffing, out of the saddle on a cross bike, but Kyle kicks it into his triple and spins on up.
This bike is setup for the kind of rides Kyle enjoys: fully-loaded dirt S24 camping trips in the Angeles National Forest. He’s taken it up Mt. Lowe in the middle of the night, down a dirt track off the backside of Gleason and all over the San Gabriel Mountains. The build specs tell the tale:
Surly’s do-all Rack up front holds his E3 lamp, powered by a SON hub. Sitting on top is the JANDD Briar beer cooler rack bag (in stock at GSC). His shifting relies on Retroshift and Shimano. PAUL Minimotos provide the stopping power. A well-used Selle Anatomica saddle has seen its share of spills and thrills and those Bruce Gordon Rock n Road tires keep his rear wheel roostin’ turns.
This is probably one of the nicest Space Horse builds I’ve seen! I love the brown Chris King NoThreadset too. See more in the Gallery and remember, if you’re in LA and want a similar build, the guys at Golden Saddle Cyclery can make it happen!
The Yeti. A mythical beast, said to inhabit the Himalayan mountains, sought by Westerners with cameras. Or in this case, an American MTB company that began by selling hand made frames in the USA. The first frames of this purebred brand were crafted by Frank the Welder (FTW). Yeti’s early bikes are very much sought after by Westerners, much like their namesake spirit animal. But unlike blurry photos shot in snow-capped mountains, I managed to document one sharply in sunny Los Angeles.
This bike in particular is part of an ongoing collection from a Los Angeleian who knows where to take his bikes. His collection spans a few Chris Chance MTBs, various Yetis and this yellow Yeti Ultimate. Spec’d with period correct parts, a FTW stem and yes, built with care by Golden Saddle Cyclery, this beaut stared me down all last week while I was in LA…
See more in the Gallery!
I’ve found, more often than not, that rides with Golden Saddle Cyclery in Los Angeles usually turn into hike a bike trails at some point. Even on “road rides”. The Locals Only ride is one of my favorites. It’s short, steep and sweet. Just long enough to get your heart rate going and early enough in the day that the light is usually nothing short of spectacular.
Last week’s Locals Only ride came right after some rain. The trails were sticky and the light was insane. A dense fog moved in from the sea and began to envelop the hills and mountains. I don’t think I’ve ever seen something like that in LA before. It was one of those mornings where you almost wreck because you’re staring off at the distance and not at the singletrack in front of you.
Like I said, we did some hiking, but the descents were nothing short of intense! See more in the Gallery!
The guys at Golden Saddle have just re-stocked their Righty-O! sweatshirts in heather grey and navy. Also back in stock are the Tracko Not So Winter caps!
No matter what, my friends are always goofing off. All I’m trying to do is compete with the bigger sites by offering video reviews of products!
… wait, no. I’m trying to goof off as well!
Don’t worry, a full review (in photos) is coming on the FOES f275!
Thanks to Ace Boogie of the Sleepers for the edit, Sean from Team Dream and Kyle from Golden Saddle!
Yeah yeah yeah, blah blah blah, caps. Pick one up at Golden Saddle Cyclery!
When it comes to Los Angeles mountain biking, Brown is one of the most common trails. On the weekend, it’ll be packed with people climbing up the fire road and then bombing down El Prieto, a technical trail, best described as having lots of consequences.
Drop-offs down ravines, sharp turns, protruding rocks, slippery descents. It’s a blast. One morning Moi, Sean, Kyle, Ty and I headed to do a quick 14 miles and 2,000′ before Golden Saddle Cyclery opened for the day.
Tools of the trade:
Yashica T4 / Fuji Neopan 400
One person that’s constantly inspiring me in life is Ty from Golden Saddle Cyclery. From crushing the Tour Divide, to riding his fatbike to the top of Baldy (10,000′) in the middle of winter and just general radness. Ty’s always got a camera on him when he seeks out one of his epic rides and I’ve rarely seen any of the photos.
Now he’s got a Tumblr called Tytanium Life. Head over, follow him and stay tuned. I’m sure you’ll see some familiar faces in the mix.