Category Archives: Los Angeles
On my last day in Los Angeles, Sean from Team Dream and I sat in his living room, listening to the rain dump outside. Normally, a little rain doesn’t bother me, but this was torrential. You’ve heard the expression “raining cats and dogs”, right? Well this was all cats. Their claws hitting the tin awning outside Sean’s guestroom as visibility dropped to inches and the trees swayed in the wind. Dogs wouldn’t cause this much damage. It fell and fell and fell.
Los Angeles needs it.
In the ground level of a beautiful home in Los Angeles, Javiar Yanco makes bags, caps and other accessories used by cyclists of every kind. From randonneurs, to bikepackers, road cyclists, MTB racers and cross bike explorers, Yanco’s bags have a cult-like following. One product in particular, the Ramblin Roll, sold by Tracko, literally launched him into full-time production recently.
But his work doesn’t stop there. From packraft bags, musettes, bar bags, bikepacking bags, caps and yes, still a few top tube pads, Yanco makes products that he’s inspired to make slightly different than the rest.
Through using bright colors, unique zippers and yes, camo, lots of camo, these bags will always fetch the comment on Instagram: “what kind of bag is that?…”
I caught up with Yanco last week in Los Angeles, as he was in the zone making Ramblin Rolls, and asked him a few questions for a Ride Along.
Check that out below!
Photos by Andy White
Looking through the latest gallery on FYXO has all kinds of nostalgic gears spinning in my head. It was one of my favorite trips to Los Angeles and easily one of the best road trips on the west coast.
Many months ago, Andy visited LA and documented the whole trip, extensively. Seriously, the mate always had his camera on him. Over a year later and he finally shared them all in one gigantic gallery.
Head over to FYXO to see more!
With the advent of the 1x drivetrain, be it SRAM (who arguably brought the technology to the cycling industry), Race Face, Wolf Tooth or the hundreds of other options, the ‘cross bike lost a bit of its versatility, when compared to having a 34t inner ring. For racing, a 40t front and 11-28t cassette may be fine, but add in a substantial amount of climbing, on dirt roads exceeding 12%, for miles, and you’ll find yourself a bit “knackered” as our British comrades say.
My decision to drop the front derailleur on the Geekhouse came after a few misguided chains that cost me precious placing in a race. Truth: I was already ready for a 1x setup. So I went with a CX1 rear mech and the CX1 11-32t cassette.
The rear range is crucial. Especially when compared to the standard 28t cassette. SRAM’s CX1 made it easy with its 32t cassette and in January, the 36t cassette will be available. Now let me preface this by saying, I’m well-aware that most of you find CX1 sacrilegious due to its pricepoint or whatever, but let’s not steer off path just yet.
My bike feels great with a 40t front and 32t rear in racing, but riding fire roads, not so much. The 40t front ring and 32t max cassette had my legs burning on the first pitch, especially with 40mm tires. Remember, the larger your wheel’s diameter, the longer your gear inches. I couldn’t imagine an 8+ hour ride with the current setup. Maybe a 38t front would help?
After a few jaunts on familiar ground in LA, Sean and Moi offered to take me up into the Verdugos. A mountain range that sits across from the Western ridges in Santa Monica, and only a quick jaunt from South Pasadena, where Sean lives. My decision to carry my camera was the right move, after we crossed the gate. It’s really strikingly beautiful up there.
The plan was to climb up the fire road and bomb the singletrack down, then ascend once again in the dark to take yet another bit of doubletrack down, at night.
Plans < Photos
We were fucking about for hours up there and before we knew it, it was pitch black, save for the glow of the city lights. We all brought lamps and layers, ideal for descending down one track and avoiding rocks on the climbs but that doesn't mean we weren't ready for dinner.
The whole time, I kept thinking I'd love to have a 38t on the front of my drivetrain, as I began tick-tacking up the dirt. 40t x 32t with 40mm tires is no joke on a 15% grade. Especially when you're lugging a DSLR on your back. What doesn't kill you...
Still, at the end of the day, we surpassed expectations of the versatility of these “race bikes”, bombed plenty of steep, rain-rutted tracks, saw a bobcat – Sean freaked out, ate pizza, drank beer and proceeded to be enamored with just how rad cyclocross bikes are.
Now, where is that 38t Wolf Tooth ring I bought at the beginning of the season?
The All-City Junkyard Dog, or JYD for short, was a limited edition release due to its relatively unique use. A singlespeed mountain bike frame with canti mounts may not be at the top of your list of bikes to own, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a blast to ride. These frames really are unique. They’ll take a 2.35 tire, feature a segmented fork and are non-suspension corrected. In fact, they remind me a lot of my Indy Fab 29’r.
A lot of bike messengers use old mountain bikes with porteur racks for deliveries. They’re a bit lower trail than a road or cross bike, so they’ll handle better when loaded and they fit a bigger tire to keep the ride smooth over the rough terrain you can experience in cities like Los Angeles.
Robert runs Chicken Hawk Courier in LA and he delivers a lot of food to the guys at Golden Saddle Cyclery, where he bought his JYD frameset, Nitto bars and PAUL Flatbed Rack. To make delivering food easier, Yanco made Robert a custom porteur roll-top bag.
The build is functional, yet stylish and as soon as Robert rolled it through the doors of GSC, I had to shoot photos of it…
Every Wednesday, a group of coffee enthusiasts wake up with the sun, pack their camping coffee setups on their bikes and meet in a small park on the LA river. There’s no requisite, just make coffee, chat and partake in the occasional donut.
Errin Vasquez organizes this gathering, which I first found out about on Instagram and this week, I got to hang out with this growing meeting at the Sunnynook River Park. Along with capturing the general vibes, I followed Jesse Carmody‘s brewing technique and shot photos of Errin’s Box Dog Bikes Pelican randonneur bike.
Los Angeles’ Golden Saddle Cyclery always kills it in the product department. They’ve just re-stocked some classics and brought in some new products. The Sean Talkington-designed DeFeet socks and Geoff McFetridge-designed shirt are my favorite and if you’re lacking on stem caps, they’ve got the full color spectrum to match your Paul or Chris King products.
Head over to Golden Saddle Cyclery to see what’s currently available.
Sunset Chasing Southern California’s Best
Photos by Ryan Wilson and Sean Talkington. Words by Sean Talkington.
Ryan and I recently planned a ride up Highway 39 to get some “work” done. We needed to shoot some of the Team Dream products in their natural habitat (shameless self promotion #1). We asked our friend Jackie to come along as a lady model. Jackie originally wanted 10K in cash (up front!) to model but settled for a turkey sandwich (also up front!) instead.
This ride is (in our opinion) the absolute hands down best climb in all of Southern California. The road used to be closed to cars a few years back and in those days you could do the bulk of the twisty climb without ever seeing another human. It was really post apocalyptic feeling back then. Now the 39 is open to motor vehicles until just after Crystal Lake, but even with the occasional “Fast And The Furious” car ripping by you every so often, this climb is still easily #1.
I’m literally leaving town as this shin dig is starting, so I won’t be there, but the guys at GSC will be holding it down. Nice flier, Sean!
Personally, romanticism of intense physical exertion hasn’t been my thing. Probably because as fitness found me like a dog finds the wheel of a moving car, the ability to document rides took precedent over turning myself inside out climbing.
In short, the main motivation for getting fit was being able to ride, shoot photos and not be dying the whole time.
Presenting cycling as something that is excruciating alienates a large potential of thrill seekers, at least according to my opinion – ATMO. Instead, going up that tough climb and stopping along the way to capture a switchback, or redirecting the group back to a technical section for a photo, always lends itself to a more engaging riding experience.
People often ask if it’s possible to get a real ride in while documenting the whole time. The answer is yes, your definition of ride just needs to change.
Introduction aside, there are a lot of people I know who, at least at some capacity, live by this loose mantra of riding. Most of them are really, really, really fucking good at bikes, but even better at fucking around. These dudes live, breathe and eat cycling. Cycling, and tacos.
Yesterday, Sean from Team Dream, Ty from Golden Saddle and myself headed up Brown to El Prieto for a quick and easy MTB ride. We’re all strong in our own ways. Sean can sprint up a fire road and look scared on descents like none other. Ty is a gravity bully on descents, but will always stop to hit a line that no one else sees.
Myself, I’m an ok climber, equally as ok descending and decent at shooting photos. My crowning achievement yesterday, however, was my #RubberSideUp. Party on dudes.