Category Archives: Los Angeles
Cari’s Elephant National Forest Explorer Touring Bike
Cari's Elephant National Forest Explorer Touring Bike

No bicycle is ever a completed work. At least in my opinion anyway, but sometimes a bike is at a place where you step back, look at it and smile. The other day I caught Cari doing just that. Smiling as she looked at her bike. She then said she’d like to photograph it in the forest. We were in Santa Cruz at the time and had just finished up a killer loop through the redwoods and down to the coast.

Let’s back track a bit. Around NAHBS last year, she mentioned that she’d like an upgrade from her current bike, an old Nishiki road bike that was a couple sizes too big for her. We looked at the market’s offerings and discussed what ideally she’d like in a bicycle.

Once she had a budget, it was easier to nail down exactly what her options were. I knew NAHBS was coming up, so I emailed a few builders, including Elephant to see if there would be any deals rolling around. Throughout this whole process, I couldn’t stop thinking about how the National Forest Explorer was a perfect “all-rounder” bike when I reviewed it. You could tour on it, ride trails and use it as a grocery getter. Since we have endless dirt, right from our front door, the idea of having a nice, plump tire for Cari was a plus. Anyway, John at Elephant told me he’d have a size small, complete, at NAHBS for sale after a customer backed out at the last minute.

NAHBS came and went, we picked up the bike and began riding all over Los Angeles. Fast forward a few months, a few part swaps and here it is. (more…)

Nov 10, 2016 52 comments
Group Hug
LeicaM-946

This isn’t meant to be taken super seriously, I just wanted to say riding bikes with friends and watching the sun set over the city is exactly what I needed. Hopefully you had a similar experience.

Nov 9, 2016 4 comments
I Got the Blues: a Bombus Bikes Blue Steel Tourer – Kyle Kelley
I Got the Blues: a Bombus Bikes Blue Steel Tourer - Kyle Kelley

I Got the Blues: a Bombus Bikes Blue Steel Tourer
Photos by Kyle Kelley words by John Watson

A simple search online for Bombus Bikes won’t turn up a whole lot of information. A video here, a random photo there, and a Yelp page with not a lot of information. Yet if you talk to people of Seattle, they know good and well about this small time framebuilding shop. Well, some of they do anyway. Throughout the year, we get lots of touring bikes coming through Los Angeles, specifically through the doors at GSC. Sometimes I’m around the document them and sometimes I’m not, leaving it up to Kyle to do so. (more…)

Nov 3, 2016 59 comments
The Radavist 2016 Calendar: November
RAD_NOV2016_1000PX

This is the eleventh layout of the Radavist 2016 Calendar, entitled “Tunnel Vision” Shot with a Leica M-P typ 240 and a Leica Macro-Elmar 90mm in the Angeles National Forest, California.

Escape from LA, via highway 2 and you’ll find yourself in another world. Just past Cloud Burst Summit, awaits one of the best sections of paved road in LA county. On our recent trip from Clouds to Cacti, there were many incredible photo spots, yet this one in particular really stuck with me over the days.

For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2016 Calendar – November. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)

NEW: There’s also a mobile image uploaded for anyone wanting a mobile phone background each month. November’s image is also from our recent ride, featuring a slice of road amidst the Mojave Desert. Click here to download November’s Mobile Wallpaper.

Nov 1, 2016 1 comment
From Clouds to Cacti: Three Southern California Ranges in Three Days
Jack Rabbit Trail

From Clouds to Cacti: Three Southern California Ranges in Three Days
Photos by John Watson, words by David Bangor with notes by John Watson

Intro: I’ll just jump into this before I let David do his thing. The idea of a multi-day road tour hasn’t popped into my head in years. These days, I want to be away from cars and people, on dirt roads, hauling my own shit. What was proposed to us with this ride was very different. We’d be taking on a lot of climbing and distance each day on road bikes but because we’d be in the mountains, we’d have to carry our food, clothing in case of inclement weather, and all necessities like tools or spare tubes. Our duffel bags, containing clothes, laptops and other on-the-road necessities would be shuttled from day’s end to day’s end. We’d stay at a hotel, a friend’s mountain top cabin, and ultimately in Palm Springs at our friend’s Air B&B listing for a few days of post-ride R and R. I have been riding road a lot lately, mostly because it’s easy to get out and get back in a few hours, but was I ready for this kind of ride? Much less, was I fit enough to document the whole damn thing with a camera and a few lenses? Check back in after David’s words and read on in the captions…

Ever since I moved back to Southern California, I have been scheming to take on a mini mountainous ride across all the Transverse Ranges of the glorious classical terrain encompassing the Los Angeles and Inland Empire basins. With all my maps and possible routes planned out, it was just a matter time until I found some like-minded people to take on such a journey. Finally, at the end of September I got a call from Sean Talkington from Team Dream, expressing a need for the exact route I had been planning out in my head for months. He put out the word and we soon had rough plan of three days in the saddle and a solid group of eight cyclists, all willing to take on a solid amount of elevation and miles. (more…)

Nov 1, 2016 45 comments
Party Time on Mount Pinos in the Los Padres National Forest
Duck!

I reiterate this a lot, so apologies if I’m sounding like a broken record here but we’re lucky here in LA. There are a lot of mountains within a quick drive. To put it in perspective, most of the out-of-town riding is in the opposite direction of traffic. So, if you leave in the morning, you’re on a freeway, in a carpool lane, with no traffic. Then, upon returning home in the afternoon, it’s the same. This leaves a lot of options for riding mountain bikes in the National Forests surrounding our very own Angeles National Forest.

The most diverse, ATMO, being Los Padres and one area in particular that has quickly become one of my favorites is Mt. Piños. Named after, you guessed it, the many pine trees that cover its faces, this day-trip jaunt from LA delivers riding that is uncharacteristic of our local trails. Namely shade, and ground substrate. When you’re used to riding on sand, covering decomposed granite, the idea of riding on actual ground covering, even if it’s just pine needles, gets a lot of us stoked.

Sean from Team Dream has spoken highly of this trail over the years and to be honest, I don’t know what took me so long to follow his advice to come ride it. At any rate, I rallied some troops and we planned on visiting Mt. Piños on a Tuesday morning. (more…)

Oct 27, 2016 12 comments
When Weather Hits Los Angeles
LeicaM-890

… and your friends hit the gas! We got rain in LA for the first time in weeks? months? Who knows how long. That meant the temperature dropped and it was finally bearable to ride in the middle of the day. We’ve had quite the spring, summer and fall, with temperatures hovering around 90º and very little opportunity for shaded rides. In our mountains, water spigots have run dry and fires have ravaged the forests. It’s been a rough year for our National Forest, so a little bit of precipitation made the vegetation sing.

Sing… just like my legs as I had to chase down this spry group of riders. While there isn’t really a story here per-se, I really love shooting when weather hits Los Angeles. See a few more below and if you’re interested in the route, here ya go! (more…)

Oct 17, 2016 7 comments