Fire is nature’s way of redesigning. A way to rewrite the present landscape and while the process is painful, oftentimes, the landscape is rejuvenated. Coastal California is tricky though due to its chapparal ground cover along the mountainsides. You see, chapparal – a coastal low-lying shrub – is old growth and when it’s burnt, the soil loses its stability, causing horrific mudslides. Once the chapparal is gone, there’s nothing else to hold all that dirt together. There aren’t really trees or forests like in other parts of the country along these hills and mountainsides, rather the trees find refuge in the canyons, where they can be more protected, although, with the past few years in California, there seems to be no refuge from fires.
Like many of the local riding areas in Santa Barbara, Refugio burnt a few years ago in the Serpa Fire, engulfing the fire road and hillsides, charring it to the ground. As with most fires, mudslides followed, wiping out El Capitan Ranch in the process. Local efforts have brought the area back, making this epic dirt climb ridable again. Many people say it’s better than ever. Perhaps it was the rebirth of Santa Barbara’s trails and roads that prompted Stinner Frameworks to update their Refugio all road model. Or maybe that’s just a correlation I came up with, either way, a redesign, and improvement is always good when it comes to a bicycle frame, especially one that stays close to its roots, post-burn.