JPL and Beyond

I’ve been lookin’ at this route on paper for a while and it was time to pedal it. To figure out just how bad, or not, it was. How much walkin’. How much pushin’. I emailed the usual suspects and only Bruce was able to join me. The rest of the gang said they had “shit to do”. I think I should ask people to join me first and then describe the ride. Maybe that’s my flaw.


We both rode our Fargos which were going to be perfect for a ride like this. Lots of fireroad, some single track and a good portion of pavement to get there and back. We actually both agreed that our older Fargo builds with a triple really shines on this bike. It’s so good to shift into the big ring and chase down roadies after using the little ring in the morning climbing dirt roads.


I don’t like to carry a backpack, but I opted for the good camera today. In fact I had three of them, counting my phone, which made Bruce laugh. Good for him though, since he had his own photographer all day. I used my Topo Designs Trip Pack to carry my camera, some snacks and my map and compass. It is the perfect size for that stuff. (If’n you’re interested in their bags let me know. I have a discount code!)



We started the dirt at JPL which was smooth for a while and then we hit the washed out section. We pushed for about 20 yards and then were able to ride again. A large group of Boy Scouts stood to the side of the trail and allowed us to pedal past. I thanked them all as we rode by. We should’ve yielded to them so it was very kind of them to wave us past. We started climbing out of the canyon and taking advantage of the incline I practiced my non-existent wheelie skills. The second one I held for a solid 1.5 seconds and when the front touched down I heard a hiss from the rear. Was that a snake? Some bugs in the brush? Please? Nope you idiot! Horsin’ around I cut the sidewall on the rear. My tubeless tire didn’t have enough jizz (that’s what I call it) to seal it up anymore. I tried adding air and the cut grew with the pressure. Oh well, that’s why you carry tubes right? I handed Bruce the camera to document the process.




Rolling again it was up and up and up. We could see the Angeles Crest way above us and, at the time, I didn’t think we would climb that high. I was wrong. We finally popped out at the Crest and decided to pedal up some more to another fire road. One that neither of us had been on, but had passed probably hundred’s of times. Mt. Lukens fire road.




We were running out of time so I suggested we climb to a point where it looked like we could see the front of the range. We had been climbing up through the smaller canyons and I was hoping for a view.




So we pushed on and rewarded with not only a view, but a bench to sit at. Sitting there we could see most of our route up the canyon and the many “steps” we took to get up there. It was the perfect place to wrap up our day.


The payoff for all this climbing of course was a fun downhill. I guess that’s part of why we do what we do. Pedal up to shred down. That’s what we did, and it was good.



  • GeezerGuyinNH

    This may have been covered earlier, but what drive train (crank and front derailleur) and shifters are you running on the Fargo’s?

    • Area45

      Thanks for readin’!

      I’m still using the drivetrain from my old 2010 Fargo complete. New chain and rear cassette of course, but the gearing remains the same. It’s mountain touring triple 48-36-26 with a 11-34 rear. I switched out the bar ends for the Retroshift levers. Took a little bit to get used to them, but I really like them now. I love that I don’t have to move my hands to shift any more. Also, they help to make the Woodchippers slightly more slender. Hope that helps!

  • hans

    lukens is one of my favorite rides. we should do it sometime dude. you went up the way i do, through the arroyo. that’s the best way. once you summit lukens then descending the backside into Haynes Canyon is rad!