On November 1st, 2018 I rolled out to cover 1200 miles of the old Butterfield Overland Mail Route from San Francisco to Tucson, AZ. For almost a year prior the headlines had been dominated by news of things happening along America’s southern border. Child Separations. Immigration Caravans. National Guard deployments. On social media channels the rhetoric from all sides, which had already been getting increasingly strident, ramped up to a fever pitch. Normal conversations spiraled completely out of control. I found myself caught up in it all, furious at family members, friends, and strangers alike.
First things first, close your eyes and take 5 seconds to visualize what comes to mind when you think of Catalina Island… What do you see?
A group of familiar faces embarked on a 100-mile bikepacking trip up the Sonoma Coast in a collaboration between Monster Children and Giro.
The Golden State Skyline is a human-powered, self-supported linkup of all fifteen 14,000’ peaks in California, stretching from Mt. Shasta in the Cascades to Mt. Langley, the southern tip of the Sierra. Along with my friends Jonny Morsicato and Charlie Firer, followed by film crew Colin Rex and Nick Smillie, I set off to complete the Golden State Skyline on August 14. Our planned route covered 800 miles by bike, 100 miles on foot, and 100,000 feet of vertical gain, including technical difficulties up to 5.9. But life had other plans…
Reinventing the wheel is literally what the cycling industry is all about. Every year hundreds of companies take their shot; so it’s rare when one unique design stands out, especially when that product is competitively priced.
We have all been on rides that, at some point, require us to dig deep. But we still find a way to get that last bit of energy out of our bodies. We fight, we endure. And on the other side of these rides, we emerge stronger. We need to make the same commitment to anti-racism that we do to become stronger on the bike.
While I can’t recall when the seed of this idea was planted, by early spring our plan to escape the reality of 2020 by riding from San Francisco to San Diego was beginning to take root. The year had started upbeat as I’m sure is the case for most people at the beginning of most years, but before long it took a hard turn in the other direction. Starting with a whiplash-inducing breakup that led to moving back to my parents’ house outside of Denver; those events seem small now in the context of everything that followed. As Covid 19 swept the planet and most of humanity began to shelter in place, our collective grief and anxiety began to feel like the status quo. As the days passed at a glacial pace (that was somehow simultaneously lightning fast), the snow in Colorado melted and this idea began to sprout as the earth began to thaw. At the same time, my best friend was dealing with his own lockdown situation down in Baja. Lorenzo had moved down to Ensenada late in 2019 to open a Gelato place (appropriately named “El Gelato”) and was absolutely killing it in the gelato game, helped in no small part to being probably the only gelateria in all of Baja. But when Covid hit, it hit hard and the dusty little town he was calling home completely shut down. With nowhere to go and nothing to do, I started receiving regular text messages from him about riding away from all this bullshit.
Just before Covid hit the US and races were canceled indefinitely, I had a conversation on a ride with good friend Brendan Lehman (who is sometimes, more often than not, known as the official unofficial mis-manager of the Rock Lobster race team) about joining the risk of Lobsters and racing on a custom frame built by Paul Sadoff himself. I’d been riding with the Rock Lobster crew here in Santa Cruz for several years and we all seemed to share a common bond in doing remarkably stupid endurance rides, putting mental and physical limits to the test for fun and adventure. Since I first laid eyes on one, there has always been something alluring to me about a classic, team issue, seafoam green Rock Lobster. Not only will I get to ride and race on this custom bike built for my body dimensions, but I also get the pleasure to ride it with the builder himself. As a photographer, I figured it would be great to capture the build of my custom frame from start to finish and get to know Paul a little better in the process.
Fires aren’t going anywhere in California. Soil Searching founder, Fanie Kok, shares this intimate profile of Dillon Osleger, a man building a conservation movement that has us all thinking about how to protect what we have now instead of rebuilding once it’s already gone.
Paul Component Engineering has a lifelong legacy of making parts you can rely on, for just about any bike. This legacy is only possible due to the fact that the team at Paul live, eat, dream, drink, sleep, and travel for all things bike! Part of their tradeshow and bike race fleet is this Sprinter van, which recently got a facelift thanks to Chris McNally. Let’s take a look at this van’s new vinyl wrap in detail below.
Most of you know I’m attracted to weirdos and eccentric people, so of course I love stopping by the BTCHN Bikes shop here in Chico to see what Tyler is welding on. He’s spent most of his life racing all types of motorcycles at insane speeds, and has been adapting the hyper-analytical engineering he’s learned in the motorized world into pedal-powered machines he pushes to equally scary speeds. He’s also one of the most enthusiastic people I’ve ever met, so imagine that he’s yelling and gesturing wildly with his hands as you read this interview about his latest prototype.
Chuck Teixeira’s lifelong passion for riding is equaled only by what he has done to advance the sport. He embodies the ingenuity, craftsmanship, and dedication that we strive to achieve, and he has been instrumental in making cycling better for all of us.
And now Chuck needs our help; his home is gone. The CZU August Lightning Complex fire has ripped through the Santa Cruz mountains, destroying dozens of buildings, incinerating tens of thousands of acres and displacing tens of thousands of people. Chuck’s home was one of those that burned to the ground, only ashes remain. The sweat and blood he poured into building his mountain refuge is gone – reduced to smoke and embers. His scores of rare and vintage bicycles – a rolling museum of cycling’s evolution and a living archive of his inventions and innovations – reduced to melted metal and plastic. His hand-build hotrods – each representing thousands of hours of meditative hard work – charred beyond recognition. Beyond the tangible, and all the more devastating, Chuck and his wife Debbie lost the dream of spending the rest of their lives together in the sanctuary they built.
Grinduro just announced the “Great Grinduro Giveaway” campaign supporting the Siskiyou Outdoor Recreation Alliance. All you’ve got to do is donate $5 to SORA’s Siskiyou Stewardship Fund to be entered to win a gravel or MTB package from EVIL Bikes plus other goodies from the Grinduro partners. Read on more below…
I know everyone has fundraiser fatigue these days but give this one a watch and if you feel moved enough to donate, then you can do so at Cycles of Change:
“Cycles of Change’s in-person programs, the bulk of which take place in Alameda County public schools, are deeply impacted by COVID-19. Activities we do now, support our essential organizational work for the remainder of the year. Like other small grassroots organizations, the cancellation of our programs has had a massive impact on our fiscal stability. However, we are committed to our mission of supporting community access to bikes. We believe that access to just mobility and transportation is an essential human right.
Our mission and work support the directive of the Alameda County Public Health Department that trips should be reduced to only essentials and the need for fresh air and exercise. Bicycles are a key resource for this situation since they are low-cost and low-risk for transmission of COVID-19. Through these challenging times, we continue to provide bicycle education and access to low-cost and free bikes in our community.”
One of the best gravel rides in SoCal gets some light shed on it in this video from Gravel Bike California. Mount Lowe used to be a railway, bringing visitors up to the top of the mountain. The remnants of this railway are still evident today…
I think we can all say that we might as well cancel all bike racing in 2020. People need to STAY HOME, wear masks when they leave their house, and ride in small groups until this pandemic subsides. Remember, bike racing during a pandemic is not socially conscious. Check out the press-release on why Grinduro California is postponed until September 18, 2021. Bike racing can wait…
May 9, 2020:
“Also, if you’re interested, riding from Mammoth to Tahoe and back in June…”
This non sequitur caught me off guard. It was also exactly what I’ve wanted to hear for a while. I have long admired the big days my buddy Connor puts in the mountains. Slipped in the middle of casual conversation (mostly about bikes) between two friends, was the invitation to join in on one of his epic adventures. An invitation to partake in the fun, madness, joy, suffering, and glory.