Vacation. Holiday. 3-day weekends. From Memorial Day until Labor Day, the road is wide open and the sun is putting in overtime. Taking advantage of those days is key to sucking the last drop from life and its possibilities.
Last summer, I bought a 4 banger Tacoma pickup in Portland and it kickstarted a whole series of road trips. Most of which centered around cycling-related themes or events but it was the interstitial spaces and moments that I remember vividly. Sunsets, sunrises, rain, fog, wind. All of these had a specific scent and sensation. Most of which were captured visually throughout those long summer months.
I carried my Mamiya 7ii with me on every trip, loaded with Portra 400 220 film. It wasn’t until recently that I finally sat and dug through it all, compiling a Gallery of these moments and vignettes. They’re mostly in the correct order, beginning in Portland and traveling down south.
A lot of these spots are well-known, others not so much but they all serve one purpose: to inspire you to travel to the West Coast and see what you’re missing. Pardon the succinct nature of this intro, but there’s not much to say. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.
While the first day of the Sunchuli Pass’ coverage focuses mostly on gear and bikepacking check lists, there are a lot of excellent passages like the following:
“We went to Bolivia because of the mines.
Everywhere else in the world roads go where roads go and trails go where trails go. There is very little confusion about which is which, and it’s clear where one ends and the other begins. Roads are wide, paved or graded, and maintained to some degree. Trails get rad. In Bolivia, because of the mines, the situation is more fluid.
If gold was discovered on the top of Mt Whitney, and California didn’t give a fuck about large scale mining and environmental stewardship because it was the poorest country in South America, somebody with three snow shovels lashed to the front of a minivan would figure out how to build a road to the top. Now imagine thousands of Whitneys, only 40% taller, steeper and more rugged. That’s the Cordillera Apolobamba.
That’s why we went to Bolivia. To ride a network of the world’s most ambitious, ludicrous roads. Roads that defy physics. Roads that weave throughout an ancient and venerable Alpine Wonderland that is currently transitioning into to Tolkien’s Mordor.”
Like this? I do. If you do, you can continue reading more from Yonder Journal’s recent excursion to Bolivia. There’s also a great list of what kind of gear to carry and how in this post. I can’t wait to find out if they finished the damn ride this time. Also, how fuckin’ metal is that poster?!
Kitsbow shows you can shred in just a t-shirt. Or a Ride Tee Tritone…
Portland Design Works recognizes niches within niche markets. Like for example, a portable fatbike pump. High volume tires are a pain in the ass to inflate on a trail and The Fat Stevens™ is capable of tackling even the most rotund tires… Check out more at the Portland Design Works Kickstarter, which includes a special edition carrying case by Blaqpaks and see some photos below.
Slack and low, with bigger tire clearances this time. That’s the main difference between this bike and its predecessor. As noted in the previous bike’s gallery, the first version of this bike wasn’t what I wanted. Luckily, Seth Rosko is a good friend of mine and a very capable frame builder. He’s also human and humans make mistakes. What makes a human a great human and a great framebuilder is their ability to rectify those mistakes.
We had a miscommunication, and there was a fabrication error that resulted in a frame with clearance for 2.0 29’r tire in the rear. It’s something that happens from time to time. Framebuilders make mistakes. Chainring clearances, missing or incorrect cable stops, off-square rear triangles. You’re getting a functional piece of art and art has character. Right? Maybe not so much. It needs to function, above all.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move onto what I’m calling my “Agave Slapper” hardtail. This version clears a 2.4 Ardent on the rear, has a 69º head tube angle, a mid-range BB drop and an option for a 2x or 3x front ring. It’s easy to get it low through corners and in Texas, that means the occasional run in with the blue agave plant, where its color was inspired.
All-City’s Junk Yard Dog, or JYD for short, is a do-all, hobo trail cuttin’, curb jibbin, bar or delivery bike, built with burliness in mind. I’ve seen various permutations of this bike floating around in my travels. Some people build it up as a delivery bike with a porteur rack, others a drop-bar monster cross like in Kyle’s case.
Kyle‘s had this frameset for a while now and the potential build always centered around the Salsa Woodchipper 2 bar. Those bars, paired with White Industries, Paul Mini Motos and Bruce Gordon Rock n Road tires results in one mean, yet fun around town bike.
On my last day in Los Angeles, I went on a ride with Kyle (who modeled the new All-City Big Gulp Kit) as we left from our favorite pre-ride spot, Intelli Coffee on Sunset and made our way through bum trails and city overlooks.
Check out photos of the quick jaunt as well as the JYD bike-check in the Gallery!
Not that you didn’t notice or anything. Enjoy your weekend!
Fluoro and functionality. That’s what caught my eye when I first saw Justin‘s Serotta T Max mountain bike. That and the big ol’ Columbus Max OR sticker (I have a crush on that tubeset). Justin took what many would consider an obsolete 26″ frame, added mustache bars to it, a rack with a Wald basket and flat pedals, resuscitating it back to daily use. Of course it still shreds dirt, but it also shreds to and from work. Now we gotta find you a front derailleur dude.
Bum tracks, fire roads, singletrack beware, this Serotta T Max is looking for lunch!
Photos by Morgan Meredith
New bike day is the best. It’s a special occasion that sometimes merits special attire. Like a suit… Wait, what? Morgan and Brian went up into the San Gabriel mountains to shoot some photos of Brian’s new Rocky Mountain Thunderbolt. Loving the #RubberSideUp photo! Check out the rest, including a short video at Vernor Film.
The idea of a shuttle run is something very foreign to me. You gotta earn that descent! Still, a few friends here in Los Angeles have been trying to get me to wake up at 5am to hit the Mt Wilson shuttle with them and this morning, I finally gave in.