My favorite way to avoid the summer heat here in LA is to ride with the setting sun. A fortunate by-product is the resulting views! Last night I took two Norwegian tourists, Hans Petter and Thomas, out for a dirt ride in the Verdugo mountains. It did not disappoint on all accounts!
For the past 25 some-odd years, the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association has claimed Henninger Flats as the official, yet unofficial campground for cycling enthusiasts in Los Angeles. In that time, various events have brought men and women to its cliff’s edge overlook of the city to share stories and bond. The great outdoors are like that.
So when Swift Industries announced the Swift Summer Solstice Campout again this year, Golden Saddle Cyclery, along with Ray and some MWBA OGs proposed Henninger be the destination. It’d be a perfect way to introduce bicycle campers, bicycle tourers and bike packers to this age-old tradition. Think about it this way: for as long as mountain biking has been a thing, people have been bicycle camping up here! (more…)
… thanks to everyone that came out! Expect a full write-up tomorrow. Now enjoy the rest of your weekend.
Jay Barre’s Bike-In Birthday Bash!
Photos and words by Kyle Kelley
A couple weeks ago I heard that the boys from Topanga Creek Bicycle were heading to Mt. Lowe Trail Camp for their Unpredict Your Wednesday event. In case you aren’t familiar with the event – TCB goes camping every Tuesday night and then does some kind of epic ride wherever they might be on Wednesday. It is basically one of the coolest things that any bike shop has ever done. I am not able to make it to these events very often because of my work schedule and/or the location mixed with my lack of car. So when I found out about the proximity of this particular Unpredict Your Wednesday, along with the fact that my buddy Jay Barre from TCB celebrated his birthday a few days before, I knew I had to be there.
Topanga Creek is open on Tuesday so it made the most sense to meet above Mt. Lowe Trail Camp, off Mt. Wilson Road, and drop down into camp rather than riding from the city. After setting up camp I asked if anyone wanted to head up to Inspiration Point with me and was surprised that so many of the people with us had never been. We took a quick moonlit ride up there before returning to camp to kick back, have a few beers and tell stories until we couldn’t hold our eyes open anymore. (more…)
If you’re planning on attending the Roll With It premiere in Los Angeles this Friday, swing through Golden Saddle Cyclery first at 6pm for happy hour before leaving on a group ride to the screening at 7pm. If you haven’t purchased tickets yet, do so at Eventbrite.
More about Roll With It:
“Going on an overnight camping trip with just what you can carry on a bike seems scary to most people. This quirky, yet artful film debunks those fears, by pulling together strangers with different backgrounds to show how truly joyful and enriching travel by bike can be.
The film will be accompanied by a book that explains, in more granular detail, how anyone can use their bike as a portal to a world of adventure. Look for both the book and the film this June at theaters, bike shops and other venues worldwide.”
If you’re ever in the mood to throw a movie premiere, here are a few tips…
You might recognize this one… When Nils got hit by a car, totaling his Chumba, he had to convert his Cycle Fab Surly LHT Cargo machine back to a 700c touring bike for every day rides. Now, it’s his ride for Aids Life Cycle.
Before heading out of town, he swung by to say hello and pick up some last minute provisions. I took his bike out for two photos (you’ll have to excuse the printer, it happened to be on the sidewalk and worked as a perfect prop for this fully-loaded bike.) My two favorite details are Nils’ self-made frame bag and how he mounted the Porcelain Rocket Mr. Fusion directly to his rack mounts, rather than the seatpost. Nicely done!
Follow Nils on his trip at @FrankWithoutBeans!
You’d be surprised how big of a tire you can squeeze into some of the older road bikes. My Merckx fits a plumb 28mm tire with ease and those Campagnolo NR mid-reach brakes can wrap their arms around, reaching the braking surface. Now what happened between the 1980’s and modern bike design is up to anyone to debate. Clearances got tighter, more aero, stiffer and a mentality that a smaller tire is faster took over the pro peloton. Like it always has, the trickle down effect hit store shelves and consumers did what they do best: consume. I know this is a bleak picture of tire clearance on road bikes, but it’s mostly unexaggerated. Mostly…
It seems that now with the whole “adventure / gravel grind / blah blah” trend, companies are designing bikes that fit big tires with the aid of disc brakes. Now we’ve got “all road, road plus” and various other terms to describe these machines, designed for riding off-road.
But what about the classic steel race bikes from back “in the day?”
Enter the All-City Mr. Pink. We’ve reviewed one before here on the site and while I stuck with a moderate 28mm tire, I could clearly see this bike was made for more rubber. With a caveat though. Putting bigger tires on the Mr. Pink means you’ve gotta go for a mid-reach brake, like the Paul Racer, or in this case, the Velo Orange Grand Cru long reach brakes. With those, you can fit a 30mm tire, with ease, making this one capable chubby road bike. (more…)
This morning we set off to shoot Kyle’s Mr. Pink and ended up doing some of my favorite miles in Los Angeles. More on this tomorrow!
Big tires, disc brakes and thru-axles. Those parts of the equation are pretty standard issue these days when it comes to production bikes. Yet when you want something different. Something special and something with, I dunno, steez, sometimes you just gotta go custom. In the world of ‘cross and off-road bikes, there are many options out there, especially in California yet Nathan contacted Paul Sadoff of Rock Lobster to build him his new bike.
Why? Well, Rock Lobsters have a certain appeal, or legacy if you will and having feasted his eyes for years upon Paul’s handywork, when he finally had enough money for a deposit, Nathan could only think of one man for the job…
Granted he didn’t request a standard issue racing machine. He wanted something a little more unique. Again, steez. Fluro yellow, magenta and big. This bike pops after the sun goes down and screams down dirt roads with ease but style isn’t everything. Paul had to design a rigid steel fork with disc mounts and a thru-axle, something he doesn’t do a whole lot of.
Great custom bikes fit not only the rider themself, but their personality and riding style. When you meet Nathan, there’s no doubt that this bike is in fact a chip off the old block.