This past weekend Golden Saddle Cyclery hosted one of the #swiftcampout rides. I was lucky enough to be involved in it in a small part. We met at the shop and then made our way up to Mt. Lowe Trail Camp, about 5,000 feet above Los Angeles. We had two route options, one more dirt and one less dirt, and Kyle led one and I led the other. My route was up the Angeles Crest and it was long and hard. Yeah, I just said that. Long. And. Hard.
I guess I didn’t get to taking pictures until our group split up. An oversight on my part. So here are mostly pictures of our climb up the Angeles Crest.
It took longer to climb Angeles Crest than I expected due to the heat and the loaded bikes. This added up to the final paved climb and the dirt descent in the dark. We finally made it to camp at around 10:30pm and were able to join the group that had been there for 4 hours or so. It didn’t go quite as planned but it was a great day to be on the bike.
Huge thanks to Kyle, David, Ray and everyone else that helped to get supplies to camp. Also to Martina and Swift Industries for creating such an event. We had a great time and I don’t know that it would’ve happened without their motivation.
As many of you know, bikepacking is quickly becoming the cool new thing. Now all the kids are doing it and riding mixed-terrain with your sleeping bag is cool. Well, as the two readers of this blog know, it’s not new. We here at Frontage Roads HQ have been enjoyin’ a nice sleep in the dirt preceded by a long pedal sesh for quite some time now. However, even we aren’t the old timers. In the grand scheme of things we are all the new kids and this current wave of fresh stoke is pretty cool. Yesterday I kept seein’ this article all over the facebook about a 3,000km bike tour across Australia 100 years ago.
Now, it could just be a series of modern pictures with a crazy Instagram filter, but it looks legit to me. We’ll see. To quote Mike Watt, who was paraphrasing Harry Truman, “the only thing new is you, findin’ out about it”. I think Ryko would look at all of us current fans of the bikepackery and say “it’s over!”.
I can’t say enough good things about my Swift Industries Ozette Rando bag. Wow, that was a lot of words. Any ways, they are rad, they do rad things and they make rad things. If’n you don’t know about them now you do. This post of theirs about starting your own “Get Lost Adventure Club” makes me think of what Mike Watt says at the end of his shows. “Start your own band! Paint your own Pictures! Write your own book!”
In a couple days I will be leaving to Alaska for an amazing trip of biking, camping and friends. It seems like it’s taken forever for it to get here, but now it’s barrelin’ right at me! I wanted to take some time and say THANK YOU to everyone that helped make this happen. There is no way that I’d be going on this trip if it wasn’t for your support. Putting up with my annoying weekly emails and buggin’ you with daily facebook/twitter posts. I apologize for cloggin’ up your feeds with that stuff. I really didn’t like doing it, but I’m glad that it all paid. I couldn’t have done this alone, this was all #bikela. Even people that I’ve never met. I can’t thank everyone enough.
In the spirit of yesterday’s post here are some pics of the Mukluk Framebag being assembled. This isn’t a tutorial by any means, but you can get a sense of how it’s done. Got any questions? I’ll do my best to answer them?
Saturday we set out on an S24O that was years in the making. Bruce and I had planned to try doing this 2009, right when the Station Fire claimed a huge section of the Angeles Nation Forest. Closing down huge portions of it for years. In fact, parts of the forest are still closed to the public for rehab. Rob set up this trip, so for the most part we were just following along. You wouldn’t know it from the pics, but there were 6 of us. However, there was only one Mukluk Ti so it was my main subject. Sorry, I hope you like looking at fatbikes. Click the pics to open the Lightbox.
This trip was my first solid ride on the Mukluk Ti. I was using some new bags and trying out a new tire. The bike handled everything I threw at it. I will say though that riding it loaded up the steep Cheney Trail Drive was harder than I expected. I was having a really tough time and had to stop more than I care to admit. I even laid down on the road at one point!
Once in the dirt the bike felt amazing. Rolling over everything. I could still feel the weight, but dirt is just so much more fun. Rob and I flew down the paved Mt. Wilson Road and the guys were surprised at how fast I could descend with the Mukluk Ti. A couple corners were a little sketchy since I was only running about 12psi. It’s kinda weird when the bike feels like it’s in a different spot than the contact patch of the tires. That made me check my speed a couple times. Back on dirt we rode the fireroad down into camp as the sun was setting and I didn’t have a proper light. The huge tires were very forgiving as I felt it rolling over obstacles that I couldn’t see. One log almost took me out, but we quickly made it to camp.
This trip took me to parts of the ANF that I’d never been to before. Places that I’d seen on the map, but didn’t realize how close they were. You really feel like you’re far away from home though. It’s a pretty magical place back there. One I’m looking forward to getting back to.
For the locals out there, we rode from Alhambra to Altadena. Then up Cheney Trail Drive and Mt. Lowe Fire Road all the way to Mt. Wilson Road. From there we descended to Red Box for water. Then took the Red Box-Rincon road to West Fork Campground. In the morning we continued on Red Box-Rincon road to Newcomb Pass. Then singletrack took us all the way down to Chantry Flats and the final annoying climb of the day. Pretty fun loop, although more challenging than I was expecting. It did give me plenty of practice though, and I’m stoked to say that I cleaned some of the tight switchbacks. I guess I’m getting a little bit better.
Enough of the chimpin’, get to the pics!
If you like what you’re readin’ here, please consider donating to my MS ride. I’m riding for my mom, and for my friend Aaron. I’d appreciate any donations and please help me spread the word. Thanks!