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Inside / Out at Retrotec Cycles in Napa, California

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Inside / Out at Retrotec Cycles in Napa, California

I’ve never owned a bike that receives as much attention from non-cyclists as a Retrotec. With comments ranging from “can I fit big tires like that on my cruiser?” to “how’d you put disc brakes on that cruiser?” Once I follow up with an explanation, they quickly lose interest, yet are still entranced with the bike itself. That connection is not too far from the reality of the Retrotec brand, however. Back in 1992, a builder named Bob Seals wanted to race his old cantilever cruiser frame. This frame, the Retrotec number one, still hangs in Curtis’ shop to this day.

Bob’s intent was to make modern-day cruisers, designed to be ridden and raced. The look of Bob’s builds really resonated with Curtis and in 1993, he moved to Chico, CA to work for Retrotec. In 1995, Bob had exhausted his framebuilding efforts, prompting Curtis to take over, relocating the business to San Francisco. This presented a problem for Curtis, who quickly realized that cruiser bikes weren’t really a thing – yet – and work was slow. Curtis chugged along in San Francisco, building frames part-time and experimenting with new Retrotec designs, while sharing a shop with the Sycip brothers.

In 1998 Retrotec moved to Napa, California and everything changed.

Eroica Nova California

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Eroica Nova California

Eroica California‘s course is one of the most beautiful I’ve ridden and now you can experience the winding dirt roads on a modern bike, in a competitive yet fun event dubbed Eroica Nova. This race begins separately from the Eroica ride and is limited to 200 starting places. Head to Eroica Nova to register now.

Don’t miss this exclusive chance: NOVA Eroica is limited to 200 start place. Register now

The Radavist 2018 Calendar: March

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The Radavist 2018 Calendar: March

This is the third layout of the Radavist 2018 Calendar, entitled “Pinnacles” shot with a Canon 1dx and a 100-400mm lens in Searles Valley, California.

“Formed during three separate ice ages, these tufa spires are all that remains from an ancient lake bed. The Trona Pinnacles are one of the most peculiar attractions in San Bernadino County, California and offer a plethora of dirt roads to ride, as well as hiking trails, allowing the visitor to spend hours upon hours exploring this unique and majestic location.”

For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2018 Calendar – March. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)

The mobile background this month is from Searles Valley. Click here to download March’s Mobile Wallpaper.

1000 Mile Tarmac Ride

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1000 Mile Tarmac Ride

1000 Mile Tarmac Ride
Words by Lael Wilcox, photos by Rugile Kaladyte and Trevor Raab.

Laboring up Mount Lemmon this winter with roadies on light bikes with rim brakes, I started thinking, I want a road bike! It rarely rains in Tucson, almost never in the winter. In the sunshine, rim brakes on carbon rims work fine. But what really is the difference? I was riding around on a Specialized Diverge, a performance carbon gravel bike with disc brakes and 38mm tires. I love the Diverge. It rides great. But I still had questions. What would a true road bike feel like? How would it feel after 100 miles or 200 miles or 1,000 miles?

Mojave Mobbin’ on the Palm Canyon Epic Trail

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Mojave Mobbin’ on the Palm Canyon Epic Trail

The Mojave. Mountain bikes. There are actually very few places where the two overlap both at any official or extensive capacity. Which is strange, seeing as how the sheer scale of the Mojave Desert in California can be lost while looking at a map. There has to be a trail network worth riding in there somewhere! It takes up so much of Southern California! In my experience, this scale is only decipherable after attempts to explore, document and traverse. Otherwise, you’re just looking at expansive land, with a few mountains scattered throughout.

There’s a lot that Southern California got wrong, but setting aside expanses of unadulterated high Mojave Desert is one thing it got right. Riding bikes through said landscape, only to culminate in a city filled with big box architecture, sports cars and golf courses supplies the much-needed reflection to further appreciate these experiences.

That’s the Palm Canyon Epic; one big juxtaposition, or macro juxtaposition if you will. From Piñon, Juniper, Chaparral, and Sagebrush to Cholla, Agave, Barrel, and Beavertail, the flora and fauna you experience on this ride is unlike anything I’ve ridden before. I’m always on the lookout for desert experiences on the bicycle and let me tell you, the feeling you get while looking for a place, or a route to ride, is equivocal to the vastness experienced while actually there, pleasantly pedaling. Or hell, even pedaling in pain can be fun too. This route has it all.

Luckily, on this ride, there were eleven of us, making for a truly unique excursion into the wide openness that is the southernmost tip of the Mojave Desert.

A Turkey Day Escape at the Oak Flat Fire Lookout in the Sequoias

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A Turkey Day Escape at the Oak Flat Fire Lookout in the Sequoias

In Los Angeles, millions of people vacate the city in a yearly migration, creating compelling imagery, representing the trouble with car culture. While we prefer to move about the city by bicycle, we too can’t help but flee its confines by automobile. Yet, in doing so, our attempts are always to get as far away from modern civilization as possible, or at least that’s what I tell myself everytime we load the Land Cruiser up and head out of town.

Sure, I’d rather embark on a bicycle tour during a holiday but when our friend Aimee invited us to the Oak Flat Fire Lookout in the Sequoia National Forest for a Turkey Day celebratory dinner, we couldn’t resist. So, there we were the day before Thanksgiving, escaping LA for the solitude found in its neighboring National Parks and National Forests. Luckily, we were long gone by the time the freeways turned into light shows…

The Cannell Trail… Don’t Call it a Shuttle Run! – Kyle Kelley

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The Cannell Trail… Don’t Call it a Shuttle Run! – Kyle Kelley

The Cannell Trail… Don’t Call it a Shuttle Run!
Words and photos by Kyle Kelley

Years ago Ryan Wilson told me of this mythical mountain bike ride in the Sequoia National Forest that dropped from the sky to the desert floor. He said it was thirty-something miles long and had around 8,000 feet of ripping descent. To be honest, I didn’t really believe him, so I retained little to no information that night.

Fast forward a few years, Mike Kalenda had just come onboard at Golden Saddle Cyclery, and one morning he was telling me about this crazy ride out of Kernville where you get shuttled up to 9,200 feet and you spend all day riding your bike down the mountain to a brewery! It all sounded familiar, but nothing was sticking, and then I heard about a Plunge and that got me thinking. Hell…I’m not even sure if Ryan even said the word plunge that night, long ago, but something about that word reminded me. I immediately started researching all I could on the internet about this trail, and came to the conclusion that this must’ve been what Ryan was talking about! Maybe the word plunge just sounded cool and I gravitated towards it, but either way, the word plunge got me there and after riding the last part of this trail called “The Plunge”, I’ll definitely be going back.

The Radavist 2017 Calendar: October

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The Radavist 2017 Calendar: October

This is the tenth layout of the Radavist 2017 Calendar, entitled “Autumn Contrast” Shot with a Leica M10 and a 50mm f1.4 lens in Lone Pine, California.

“If contrasting hues and tones is what you’re looking for on your road rides, Owens Valley is where to go, particularly the surrounding mountain roads in Lone Pine.”

For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2017 Calendar – October. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)

The mobile background this month is from Lone Pine as well Click here to download October’s Mobile Wallpaper.

Black Mountain Cycles Keeps Point Reyes Rollin’

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Black Mountain Cycles Keeps Point Reyes Rollin’

There are bike shops and there are bike show rooms, with the latter focusing on merchandising and the former on service. While there are permutations on the two, I really enjoy walking through the doors of a service shop. It’s something about the aromatic experience of chain lube and tires that makes me feel at ease, especially when it’s not my local shop. All it takes is a smiling face to make the environment welcoming. Luckily, at Black Mountain Cycles, that’s exactly what they’re selling: a welcoming and service-minded environment. In a place like Point Reyes, with a population of around 400, there are very few actual locals, so the owner of Black Mountain Cycles, Mike Varley prides himself in making everyone feel at home.

We’re Back!

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We’re Back!

… and there are a whole ton of photos to sort through and share this week, so stay tuned. I hope everyone (in the USA anyway) had a great Labor Day weekend! While we compile everything for a Gallery later today, check out our Instagram for some sneak peeks.

Enjoy the Weekend!

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Enjoy the Weekend!

We had a killer time in Owens Valley last weekend, but this weekend we’re laying low in Los Angeles. What are your plans? Who’s doing Dirty Kanza?

David’s Ritchey Logic with Ultegra

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David’s Ritchey Logic with Ultegra

The Ritchey Logic is one of the cleanest-looking steel road framesets on the market, ATMO. With classic lines, and standard tubing profiles, it has all the looks of a vintage road bike with the performance of modern steel, all with a carbon fork. I’ve seen many fine examples of these affordable frames built up over the years, but David‘s is one of my favorites. Built with Ultegra and Ritchey Super Logic Zeta wheels, David’s kept it lightweight and nimble, perfect for the crushing road climbs this cycling sadist enjoys on the regular.

“The top is just around this bend…”

I’ve heard it many times. David’s enthusiasm for road exploration brought all of us on the Clouds to Cactus ride last year and at the recent Team Dream shoot in the Eastern Sierra, his love for stupid hard routes had him already pining for more exploration. Without a doubt, this bike will bring David places and most importantly, back home in one piece.

The Radavist 2017 Calendar: April

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The Radavist 2017 Calendar: April

This is the fourth layout of the Radavist 2017 Calendar, entitled “Sun to Snow” Shot with a Canon 1DX and a 70-200mm in Owens Valley, CA

This time of year, the backdrops along many of California’s sunny roads tell a different tale.

For a high-res JPG, suitable for print and desktop wallpaper*, right click and save link as – The Radavist 2017 Calendar – April. Please, this photo is for personal use only!
(*set background to white and center for optimal coverage)

The mobile background this month the same road, from a different angle. Click here to download April’s Mobile Wallpaper.

Santa Cruz Views

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Santa Cruz Views

Northern California has some gems for sure, but without a doubt, Santa Cruz is my favorite place. With dirt for days and ocean views like this to end a ride, who can complain. It’s been a blast once again. We’ll see ya again soon. Thanks to everyone that made this weekend so memorable.

The Rock Lobster Cup Strikes Back

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The Rock Lobster Cup Strikes Back

Usually the sequel doesn’t stack up to the original, yet the consensus I gathered at the Rock Lobster Cup II was that this year’s event was way harder and way more fun. Or maybe just way harder. Having only raced the sequel, I can’t say for sure, but having not raced ‘cross for two years, It was all I could have asked for and more.