Today we went on an insanely fun ride from Giro’s HQ through Mount Charlie, Highway 236 and now, we’re in cabins on the coast where we’re staying the night… As always, there’s more to come but for now, here’s a banana slug that enjoys Black Cat fillet brazed stems.
Some of the best experiences I’ve had on “bike trips” haven’t been related to cycling at all. Case in point: in the early talks of the Frostbike agenda, Jeff from All-City recommended that we drive 4 hours north of Minneapolis to the southern shore of Lake Superior.
In this frozen land, there were caves, which during the summer months, held many great alcoves and vistas out over the lake, but in the winter, when it’s cold enough, they became in chrysalis. This isn’t an annual occurrence either. This year was the first year in a decade that the water has been cold enough to freeze.
Everything is frozen, even the water that typically seeps through the sandstone cliffs, causing cascades of icicles, many of which are big enough to deliver a fatal blow if they were to fall. Behind these curtains, lie numerous caves, most of which are covered in a solid 3″ of ice on all surfaces. It’s really something else.
Tuesday morning, Jeff, Kyle and I ventured out into the madness and at some point I expected to see 7′ tall albino penguins or at least a shoggoth. But alas, the Old Ones are long gone.
See more in the Gallery!
I had a blast at Frostbike, riding fatbikes, drinking, eating and hanging out with my dudes Jeff and Kyle! There’s much more on the way…
When Erik and I met at Eurobike last year, we talked about doing a ride to celebrate the Specialized AWOL release. Originally, we talked about Oregon, then LA, but after some research, we realized there were plenty of roads, tracks and trails literally in SF’s backyard.
With the help of Jared from Riv Bike, Erik began to think about a three day route from SF to the Diablo Range, Morgan Territory, Henry Coe and finally, into Morgan Hill where we’d share our story and watch the premier of the Transcontinental film. It seemed like an achievable goal. We’d pack for camping, which included cold nights and mornings and most importantly, we’d take our time.
Rather than actually planning our route, we decided to take trail maps and meander a bit off the beaten path. Digital maps don’t have all the trails marked and some of the current maps of the Diablo range revealed a path none of us had taken. We were set.
Unfortunately, as it tends to go, unexpected elements came into the equation and our plans changed. At first, I was pretty upset about it, seeing as how I was planning on pulling a few stories out of our ride, but after reviewing my photos, I decided it made for a good story…
Part of what the Specialized AWOL project represents is an escape, a desire to get out of your normal ride routine and try something new. Taking a chance if you will. While we didn’t complete our ride, we had fun and saw some incredible displays of color as Mother Nature impressed us all.
Seriously, the sunrise the second day rivals all in my past experiences…
Read on in the Gallery!
There’s more to come, including my review of the AWOL Transcontinental Limited Edition and a Beautiful Bicycle post on Erik’s own bike.
Nature is so metal…
While you’re reading this, I’m most likely sleeping, recovering from a long day trip down to the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia. Hey, driving all day really takes it out of ya. Apologies for the slow weekend, it’s my last few days in Melbourne and I’m trying to squeeze in some riding time. I’ll catch up on Monday with more Photosets…
For now, check out more photos at my Flickr and get out on your bike today!
Photos by Andy White
Look, I don’t deal well with foul weather. Not anymore, anyway. The years of living in NYC have dwindled away as far as my body is concerned. Now, I’ve adapted to desert life in Texas. So when spring rains come, the trees are blooming and it’s grey outside, I succumb to all kinds of allergies and moody blues.
Maybe that’s why when Andy from FYXO mentioned doing 160k today in the rainy, muddy hills of Kinglake, I opted out for a shorter, more manageable ride. Or maybe, as destiny would have it, I’d be content with 100k. For whatever reason, my “man cold” was a perfect excuse to opt out of one of Fyxo’s fabled tough rides.
We began heading out to the familiar hillside, before approaching what I’m calling “cuntbuster”, or in the native tongue “Pine Ridge Road”. The first hundred meters or so was totally rideable, but we scaled 300 meters in elevation in just under 3k (1,200′ in 1.2 miles). Basically, we hiked up the 30+ degree, rutted, nasty “road”.
At the top, we quickly descended into a glorious stretch of gravel aptly named Watson’s Rd, got lost and then saw a very rare site…
If you spend any amount of time outdoors, or in the ‘wood, then you know nature is pretty fuckin’ metal. When I began thinking of the next Necronomicog design, I mentioned an idea I had to artist Kyler Martz. We went back and forth a bit until his sent me this design.
Now, this is probably one of the best shirt designs I’ll ever sell. BUT I won’t be getting them printed until November. Until then, why don’t you tell me what you’d like? Pocket tee? Black? White? Sweatshirt? Front graphic?
My inclination is always pocket t, so let me know what you want to see and I’ll print them up in the next few weeks.
Thanks to Kyler for taking this design to the next level.
So there we were, planning our drive to Las Vegas for Interbike when Andy throws out the idea “mates, let’s go to the Grand Canyon”, like it’s on the way or something. Personally, I’d rather spend a day or two riding in LA than on the road, so I schemed with Kyle on how to convince the Aussie that there are perfectly fine parks not as far out of the way.
Solution: Zion National Park. We’d drive straight through Vegas and head two hours east. Get there in time to swim and then go on a hike before camping that night. Simple enough. So we drove and landed in Zion with two hours of sunlight remaining. Our agenda: Angel’s Landing.
I had one roll of film left.
See more in the Gallery!
Tools of the trade:
Leica M7 / Zeiss 28mm / Fuji Pro400H
Man. It feels great to be back in Melbourne. After a hellish flight out of China, I got picked up by Andy from FYXO. Less than an hour later, we were out on a ride up frontage roads less than 3 miles from his home. Talk about detox! Steep dirt climbs, fast gravel descents and even a dead snake.
Melb’in is heaven. See a few more random shots below and don’t worry there will tons of radness on the way.
Red and yellow, kill a fellow, red and black, venom lack. Growing up in Southeastern North Carolina (what snake hunters call the tin fields) and spending a lot of time collecting pet snakes, you quickly became familiarized with this saying. While the exact wording differs from place to place, the message is clear. If a snake has red bands, touching yellow bands, steer clear.
I didn’t have much of an option to “steer” anywhere last week on the Greenbelt. Instead, I hopped off my bike like my excited 15 year old self would have done and contemplated picking up this gorgeous Texas Coral snake. Instead, I pulled out my Yashica and took this photo. Handling venomous snakes isn’t anything new to me but disturbing the wildlife on a trail is something I try to avoid, even if it’s a beautiful creature like this.
The Texas Coral is closely related to the Eastern Coral, the snake that I grew up catching in NC and these rear-fanged snakes pack a powerful neurotoxin, akin to cobra venom. Corals are nocturnal hunters who usually feed on other snakes like earth or worm snakes (it’s very rare to see one during the day). They’ll also feed on lizards, frogs and even baby Coral Snakes. There hasn’t been a reported death from a Coral Snake bike in the US for over 100 years, but there are dozens of bites reported.
Unfortunately, the rest of my riding buddies weren’t as enthralled with “that fucking snake” as I was, so I let it be.