Reportage

Tandemonium on Lukens

Being able to get in a good ride before the work day begins is one of the many perks of living in a city that’s embraced by mountains. Simply look at a map and seek out squiggly lines. Pack up your bike, add snacks, water, a jacket and head out just before sunrise. These days, the day’s light is fleeting, so the earlier the better.

Last Friday a few of us wanted to ride Mt. Lukens, a 5,000ish foot tall dirt road climb. While it’s not as big as Disappointment or Wilson, its adjacency to the beginning of the Angeles National Forest along the 2 makes it for a perfect out and back ride.

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Kyle and Robert wanted to ride the Salsa Powderkeg tandem, I was on a mountain bike, Nick was on his Spacehorse and Sean, his cross bike. It was a good mix of all-terrain vehicles, with the vehicle of merit being the tandem.

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As with a lot of the dirt roads in Southern California, the extreme lack of rain, mixed with random torrential downpours results in washed out, dusty and sometimes completely eroded paths. I err’d on the MTB for this very reason. Especially with camera gear. I wanted to be able to spin up and pick lines easier than I would on a ‘cross or “all-road” bike.

All was going as planned until it wasn’t.

The climb took forever. I was shooting a good deal of photos and by the time we got to the top, it was 10am, a mere two hours before we all had to be back for our noon-start of the workday.

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So what did we do? Hauled ass down…

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That’s when this happened. Bummer.

Falling on a tandem isn’t fun. It’s also not fun to watch. Luckily no one was severely hurt. Kyle and Robert could both get back and ride without major issue. It was once we stopped moving that joints began to seize up and expectations for me to wrap up the photostory ended.

But hey, you take what you can and tell the story.

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Mt. Lukens is a popular ride, for good reason. There are 360º views of the Angeles National Forest, downtown LA and the surrounding neighborhoods. We saw various forms of fauna and smelled the cool morning air all day. It’s worth the trek up!