Category Archives: Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz is a city that never disappoints. No matter what the occasion, I have a blast riding my bike. So when Giro invited me along to their Santa Cruz Effect media event, I gladly accepted.
Even though we were on a pretty tight schedule, we had two days of riding bikes in the woods and coastal roads of NorCal to look forward to. That meant we were to expect a lot of temperature fluctuations throughout the day, the perfect climate for merino wool.
The group included men and women, from all over the world, all of which were related to the cycling industry in some way. We had some locals with us, including Todd from Black Cat, Jeff Traugott, Jake from Steel Wül, along with a few Giro employees. Those dudes put on one hell of a ride, taking us through some great roads and down some incredibly fun (i.e. sketchy) descents.
Here’s our Strava from Day 1 and Day 2 for those interested in a route. I highly suggest doing this as a one-day loop. We were taking it chill…
Check out some narrated photos in the Gallery!
Tools of the trade:
Yashica T4 / Porta 160
Jeff Traugott is an artist and his palette is wood. He makes absolutely stunning handmade acoustic guitars in Santa Cruz. These pieces sell for tens of thousands of dollars and are a hot commodity.
It just so happens that Jeff’s shop is right next door to Rock Lobster. Both he and Paul are inspirational individuals who have made a living doing what they love. The word entrepreneur gets thrown around a lot these days, but these two are fuckin’ living the dream.
When Jeff isn’t building geetars, he’s out on one of three Rock Lobsters, this being one of them, an “all road” bike with long-reach calipers and Campy 11 speed. My favorite detail, aside from the frame, is the Calfee-wrapped carbon Easton stem to ENVE bar combo. Perfect solution for the inevitable slipped bars when blasting down rutted, gnarly descents.
I spent two days riding alongside this machine, which happens to be my size. After the first day’s ride from Santa Cruz out to the coast, I snatched up this bike and took it for a quick photo shoot as the marine layer rolled in over the redwoods… #NatureIsMetal
Steel Wül is a club in Santa Cruz, founded by Jake Hess, a local fire chief. He started the club to give people a super chill platform to explore the many roads in the area. I got to ride with Jake during the Giro #SantaCruzEffect event and his Caletti steel road bike looked so damn good the whole time.
Some of my favorite details are the custom-painted Ritchey stem, his family’s names on the stem cap, his battalion number on the NDS top tube, Steel Wül branding and the paint. When we rolled out of the Giro offices, the morning light made the frame just pop.
Granted, it looked even better after descending down that gnar gnar gravel on Gazos Creek…
I finally had the chance to actually ride bikes with Todd from Black Cat this week, rather than just talk about them at a trade show. There’s something to be said about a frame builder who makes time to ride his own bikes and Todd definitely does that.
Two of my favorite bikes that I’ve featured on the site came from Todd’s workshop at Black Cat Bicycles – and they just so happen to be owned by two great people. There’s something about Brian Vernor’s Hardtail MTB and Eric’s MAX disc road that just do it for me.
Watching a frame builder rip on his own bike is something else and midway through our ride yesterday, I had to take the time to shoot his bike.
Funny side story: Todd was inspired to build this bike by the titanium Campagnolo seat post he came across after seeing what they fetch on eBay… He couldn’t just sell it, he needed a new bike for it!
Photos by Brian Vernor
This morning, Brian Vernor left for a week long bike tour with these three companions. Where they are going, what they will be doing and why they’re doing this is still a mystery. A mystery that you can follow along with the Blackburn Designs Instagram.
That Santa Cruz is hot!!!! But not as hot as Brian’s Team Dream Hat!
Photos by Andy Waterman
Pinkbike has an exceptional story showcasing Lyle from Mission Workshop / Acre riding the English Lake District with photographer Andy Waterman. I’ve never had the chance to ride terrain like this and although it looks fun, there’s a price to pay for the beauty. Steep, slick, rocky climbs (hikes) and moody mother nature…
Head over to Pinkbike to check it out!
Today, in the wake of hundreds of elaborate April Fools jokes, Santa Cruz popped this bad boy up on their site. Introducing the new Nomad 27.5 shred sled. That turquoise and pink bike is so pissed off! See more specs, a killer video and photos below.
I shoot so many photos, cover so many events and rides that oftentimes, I lose track of my journeys. When Mission Workshop / Acre offered to take me to Eurobike and then a mountain bike expedition in the Alps, how could I say no? It was such an amazing time and personally, the photos I took on that trip are some of my favorite.
Acre’s in the process of telling stories on their new Journal. One of which being my trip to the Alps, entitled Decompression. Head over to the Acre Journal to read more and check out some nicely laid out images.
I have to admit, it was a little weird traveling with my Santa Cruz Tallboy LTC instead of a cross bike this last trip to Los Angeles. Riding mountain takes it out of you. There isn’t the same kind of physical recovery or relaxation that you get on a road bike. No zoning out. You’ve gotta be there 100% of the time, or there are consequences and I knew we’d be hitting it hard every day.
Apprehension aside, the first ride we took on was Upper Chilao in the Angeles Forest, off the 2. I’d been up in this neck of the woods before on my road and cross bikes, but never on a mountain bike. I knew what to expect for the most part: upper altitude desert / arid riding. There would be no mud, but rather rocks, sandy switchbacks and fast, technical descents.
On the ride was Brandon, Sean from Team Dream, Kyle, Ty from GSC and Lyle from Mission Workshop. That’s three cross country bikes, a fatbike and two Tallboy LTCs. We were prepared, already hitting the flask and ready to roll, but first, a small climb up to the Rosenita Saddle…
Check out more in the Gallery!
I’m back in Austin, before heading to NC to see my family next week for the Holidays and while I’m perfectly content being home, I miss these tracks and trails. This weekend, get out if you can. Although for most of the US, I doubt it’ll be this sunny!