Ride Along: Hans and His Rock Lobster Cross

Hans lives in Los Angeles and last year his wife bought him a Rock Lobster cross bike with a few added braze-ons. Hans and I spoke a lot about brake and tire options and it seems like he’s finally got his setup dialed in. One morning, as we were finishing up a MTB ride on Brown in LA, Hans went rolling by on his bike. I yelled “HANSSSSSSSS!” and he came scooting by, so I shot some photos with my Mamiya 7ii and earlier this week, I finally got them developed, prompting me to interview him with a few simple questions. Check them out below!

Ride Along: Hans and His Rock Lobster

Ride Along with Hans and His Rock Lobster Cross
Words and Photos by John Watson

What is your family’s sigil?
Hans: Never been asked what my “sigil” was and I have a small brain so I had to look that term up. Little did I know that my sigil is tattooed on my left calf; it’s an exact copy of a demon that my son, Oliver drew when he was four or five. “Ha vienzip un decka ho didn nin” meant something to my dad long ago but that meaning was lost when he became a responsible adult.

Tell me about your bike…
Hans: My bike is my escape vehicle to a singletrack paradise. Two Christmases ago my wife surprised me with the simple drawing of a rock beside a lobster and I was too dumbfounded to realize what that drawing was until she handed me a check for a custom frame she’d been saving a year for. From the time I sent the deposit to Paul Sadoff until I spoke with him on the final details, I poured over every little nuance that the custom building process allows you to explore. My bike is purpose built for exactly what I do; ripping the fireroads and singletrack of the San Gabriels and racing during cross season, with a smattering of road riding here and there.

It’s essentially a big tire cross frame with full eyelets. Monstercross? Tubing is all true temper ox platinum with a Columbus seat tube. Paul made the fork and the matching steel stem too. It can handle a 29”x2” tire though most of the time I run bruce gordon’s or lately, continental speed ride folding 700×42. I got the eyelets to allow for some light touring down the road. I knew I wanted a bike to race cross on, and I did just that this year; 10 races, none of which I performed that well in but I did have a rad time and the beer tasted damn good after. the bike performed stellar too; never holding me back just as Paul designed. It’s enjoyable on long road rides to the trail and after letting some air outta the tires it downright shreds the gnar in the San Gabriels.

Where are you riding to?
Hans: When I saw you that day I was riding the brown loop which is my go-to ride when I can only get a two hour ride in: riding to the trail head and up to Brown, dropping down into Millard campground and then back up a bit of singletrack to Chaney trail then a quick ride home. This two hour ride is 50% dirt and 50% tarmac with everything you could want in between; three stream crossings, a couple tough punchy climbs, flowey singletrack… know what I mean!

Why steel?
Hans: I wanted steel because I knew this was going to be my forever bike and I wanted something easily repairable. Most know the ride quality steel can offer and this is only exacerbated by a tubeset that is not only custom made into a frame for a rider of a certain size but tuned to that riders’ weight as well. this thing snaps when I’m out of the saddle and is compliant when it needs to be. A high-quality steel bike is also a nod to tradition while embracing modern technology and I like that concept.

What’s your favorite mid-ride snack?
Hans: My favorite mid-ride snack is a Starbucks double shot, a mandarin orange with the peel taken off in one piece, half a PB & J made with good stuff wrapped in a note scrawled by my lady and a post-snack bowl.

#LASucksForCycling – your take?
Hans: Absolutely! there is no point reading blogs or magazines that promote cycling in LA. Do not believe the lies that people spread about good trails. The weather is never good here and there are definitely no good bike shops. Oh and the mountains are really small.