Category Archives: road bike
Early spring is an ideal time to ride bikes in the Eastern Sierra corridor and Death Valley. The daytime temperatures aren’t scorching hot and even in the exposed, dry heat, there are nice cool breezes blowing off the surrounding mountains. Needless to say, in the spring, I like to leave the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles for some desert solitude. Now, “solitude” isn’t something easy to find in Death Valley, on a weekend, in one of the peak tourist times, but it’s remarkable how the park crowds thin out once you’re away from the stores and outposts sprinkled along highway 190.
Cari helped me on a photoshoot in the Eastern Sierra mountains on Saturday, so on Sunday we decided to drive over the Panamint Range in the Inyo National Forest and into Death Valley National Park to ride an easy, but breathtaking loop called Artist Drive. If you spent time in museums growing up as a kid, perhaps you remember “Astronaut Icecream?” Well, Artist Drive takes you through chunks of that stuff, only at the scale of mountains. The colors are other-worldly and since the road is freshly paved, it makes you feel as if you’re riding in a video game.
We parked on the side of the highway, put up window shades and began the morale-breaking 1000′ climb up to the first saddle. From there, it’s a rainbow rollercoaster through geologic formations and colors akin to broken easter eggs, with the occasional motorist driving past, looking at you with such disbelief that you can’t help but laugh.
Once you complete Artist Drive, it’s a 3.5 mile ride back uphill on the park road to your car and for Cari and I, a 3 hour drive back to our house in Independence, California. If you time it right, Mother Nature will put on a different display of colors… If you’re in Death Valley with a bike, I highly suggest this short, but scenic ride.
… I’m off to the desert to chase Team Dream around on a photoshoot.
For their newest collection, PedalEd worked with JLT Condor in Mallorca.
After the dust from the explosion of hydraulic disc brakes, electronic and wireless shifting settled over the bike industry and ultimately, NAHBS, I found myself tuned into the classic road bike offerings. There’s a misconception that steel is heavy, and perhaps many of the readers of this website aren’t privy to that, but plenty of conversations with cyclists prove this negative connotation exists.
This year at NAHBS, Carl Strong of Strong Frames looked to break that stigma, with a classic road bike, built with Dura Ace that weighed in at 16lbs. Carl described this bike as a throwback to the 7402-era race bikes. He even used Dura Ace hubs on the wheel build. It’s easy to get caught up in technology at NAHBS, but bikes like this just make me swoon.
Each year, Argonaut brings some very classy bikes to NAHBS and even though I loved the matte black and Olive Drab with King 40th build he brought, I couldn’t help myself and had to shoot this white beaut with SRAM Red eTap. Being a tall guy myself, I love seeing bigger bikes that still nail the proportions and aesthetics.
The best thing about Argonauts is they ride just as well as they look.
NAHBS isn’t just about $10k road bikes with wireless shifting and every year, there are still a good number of classic, rim-brake road bikes lining the convention center halls. This year, Mike DeSalvo brought one of my personal favorites. A Builder’s Special in gold and turquoise, built with Shimano Ultegra. These completes go for $4,300 as pictured, or $3,650 sans Chris King components.
It’s hard to beat that pricing, especially from a guy like Mike, who knows how to lay down some beautiful weld beads. If you’d like a Builder’s Special, holler at DeSalvo!
McGovern Cycles makes carbon bikes by hand in Nevada County, California. I don’t know why, but I can’t help think that a tequila sunrise was the inspiration for this John Slawta-painted McGovern Cycles road bike. That or a desert sunset.
Either way, this red, white and orange bike just popped out during NAHBS and I couldn’t wait to photograph it against the blacked-out background.
Oh, you like donuts? Do you like donuts a lot? Perhaps you have a stem cap or a bottle with a donut on it. In this world, there are people who are willing to commit to a donut on a t-shirt, and there are people who are so committed to donuts that they make their carbon fiber road bike one giant donut. This year at NAHBS, Appleman did just that.
How’s that for donut dedication?
And it’s brining all the pink!
I recently got Cari an All-City Mr. Pink. She really loves her Elephant Bikes NFE but wanted something zippier to ride around town and go on longer rides with not only me but her girlfriends who often organize ladies-only road rides. I knew if I left it to her to buy a new bike, she’d never do it, as someone who prefers to be frugal and spend her money on experiences, rather than possessions. Even though I see bicycles as vessels for said experiences.
Anyway, her Mr. Pink showed up to Golden Saddle, it got built up, I swapped out her saddle and gave her some special edition Yanco bags I had made from the California Sage pattern. We spun around town a few times before ramping up to a big, tough ride.
Yesterday we rode through the Hollywood Hills, up to Mulholland Drive and across the Santa Monica Mountains to Topanga, before dropping down to the coast for some food. After meeting a friend for lunch, we pedaled down to Santa Monica and took the Expo subway line back to Silver Lake. Our ride came in at 40 miles and 4,000′. It was the longest ride Cari’s ever been on, and surely offered some challenges for someone who’s used to riding a 27.5″ x 2.0″ tire on rocky dirt roads.
Now her biggest challenge is finding clothing that isn’t “overtly bike geeky.” One step at a time…