Thursday, July 1, 2010

Framebuilder commute

I have showed a series of photos about the building process. Now I'd like you to check out my commute home from work , at least when I make the time to do it. The short way to work is only about ten blocks of suburban riding. Today I'll take the longer way, about 1 1/2 hours of dirt. Here's my bike. Only about five minutes of pedaling from my shop door is this, the enterance to Wilder Ranch state park.A number of years ago , lots of mountain bikers, hikers and horseback riders lobbied to get the state to buy this pristeen land and turn it into a park . Lots of hard working folks succeeded and for the last 12-odd years we have this great expanse of open land to explore right out our front door.

All of todays ride will be fire roads but it dosen't have to be. There's a pretty solid connection of singletrack for nearly all the route.

The first half of the ride is all uphill, almost a solid half hour of climbing, most of it like this through open meadows.

I had to shoot this tree-it was really striking this late in the day. There are lots of oaks at this altitude but higher up it is all redwoods and pine.

I guess we get the occasional lightning strike. Although it isn't really high up and the tree wasn't that tall, this is the only explanation I can think of for this incinerated pine.

Here's the final few hundered feet of uphill before crossing over into the university land.

This sign greets you as you cross into the university of California at Santa Cruz. There's a lot of forest land behind the college and it is where I first got the idea to build mountian bikes. In the late '70's my boss at the Bicycle center, Roger Sands took us riding here on road bikes . Roger had a bike that I had never seen until that time....a Bob Jackson cyclcross bike. We explored for a couple of hours until the landowner spotted us and escorted us out of the forest with a stern warning: "Don't come back or you'll be sitting in jail for tresspassing." -It was quite a different time back then. This spot is called 'twin gates' and it is a gathering spot for fans of PBR and mountian biking after work in the summer.

Now you really know you are in California....endangered species signs. I don't know about you, but if I saw one of these tiger beetles I think I would run away as fast as I could.

Ahh, finally-downhill , almost the whole way home. It's getting late so I'm staying on the fire road tonight.

This spot is named " The tanks"......I guess it's obvious why. Over the years this has been the meeting place for dirt cyclists both good and evil, sane and insane, sober and totally shitfaced.I have witnessed many things here, bicycle jousting-sort of....story telling , tall people falling over, a bike being put up impossibly high in a tree. -Hi, Eric !

There are many choices for the decent but I'll stick to this road, the main drag. It is not far from here on this road about three years ago where I did a drunken high-side on this very bike and wound up with a broken thumb and a lot of missed rides. I no longer stop for a toast with the crew up at twin gates .

It's starting to get dark but I wanted to get in a few more photos of landmarks of the west side dirt commute. This is the beginning of a trail that I named " the lock 'em up " back in 1982. I was on a ride with Mark Michel of the local shop, the Bicycle Trip. The trail had been cut earlier that week for a horse endurance event. We started down the trail and were amazed at the tight turns and steep dropoffs everywhere. There really wasn't anything like it that we had ridden to that point. Both of us though that nobody would ever be able to ride down it without a dab or a crash or two. In a few weeks we were all over that trail , learning all the body english needed to survive the plunge. It is this trail by far that shaped my earliest mountain bike geometry .

Now this is why I live here. Every day I come home to this, a little city on the north side of Monterey bay. I got all sentimental when I stopped for this photo. It's not that great of a shot but it is that great of a place to call home.

And now I am home, all 680 square feet of it. The tortillas are calling and it's 8:15 p.m. The cats need to be fed, theyr'e probably pissed that I'm home so late.

My shoes. I must say, these are the best shoes I have ever owned. I guess that's why the pros use them.

Yeah, I already saw this one. I tried to delete it but I'm computer challenged and I have been havine a Norton anti-virus meltdown for about two weeks. Is it just me or are the anti virus programs really the biggest pain in the neck ?


rabbit said...

looks like home to me ;), my ride is close to the same except for I keep it more singletrack .
Hi Paul

Ayreel said...

I had no idea you named lock-em-ups! Thats awesome! Justin and I started riding that probably around '89 or '90. We even rode up it a couple times (not quite as fun!) My original cross bike you made was put to the test down Lock-em-ups more than once.

rabbit said...

thats my ride in reverse and single track version. add u-conn for the climb up. Still it is home sweet home. Sucks to have this in our back yard. NOT!!

swiggco world said...

Yeah, I had a battle with Mark Michel over what the name of the trail should be. He called it "roto-till". A good name but I still call it "lock 'em up" because those lousy rollercam brakes were either locked or off....and you didn't want to go down that trail with them off !

GrumpyOne said...

Thanks for taking the time to post that. Seems like a great way to end the work day.

Fred said...

Oh man, I remember riding lock-em-up constantly in the early 80's, usually after class at UCSC. Still the sine qua non of technical single track for me.

I was working at Bicycle Center then too!