Saddle Drive Is Still the Best!
Words by John Watson, photos by John Watson and Jarrod Bunk
Saddle Drive! It’s part party, part bike demo and part tradeshow, in that order. Or at least that’s how we’ve covered it in years past. This year, however, QBP did things a bit different, opting to put many, if not most of the bicycles and products they “launched” under strict embargo. The bad news is, you won’t see any bike portraits in this gallery, but the good news is, you’ll see my two favorite bikes in the future, once the embargo is lifted.
Caveats aside, let’s get started… Jimmy and I left Golden Saddle on Monday morning, at the crack of dawn for Lake Tahoe along the 395 corridor. Jimmy had never been to the Eastern Sierra before, so we took some time along the way, stopping in Lone Pine, Bishop and Mono Lake along the way for sightseeing and snacks.
Upon arriving at Northstar, a snow and bike resort above Tahoe, we were greeted by a plethora of friends, both old and new, tons of new bikes to ride and some of the best trail conditions to grace Northstar in recent years. As the days crept along, so did the skies, bringing thunderstorms along with them.
Torrential downpours in the evenings meant the dirt was ripping each morning and to get in some extra exercise, many of us opted to pedal to the top of the mountain, rather than take the gondola each ride.
Three days passed, bringing a few rowdy nights and groggy mornings. Saddle Drive came as quickly as it went, and as the last day rolled around, it was time for Kyle and I to roll to Downieville for part two of our trip!
More on that later…