Thursday, March 13, 2008

Rough Riding on Mt. Diablo with a Cycling Sage: Grant Petersen

Yours truly, Chris Kostman (left), with Grant Petersen

When I lived in Berkeley and Oakland for about ten years in the 80s and 90s, one of our favorite long rides was to cruise out to Mt. Diablo and then climb high above Walnut Creek on that fabled mountain. It's a spectacular state park with epic 360 degree views, all right next door to metropolis. In 1992 though 1994 I was sponsored by Bridgestone Cycles USA, where I got to know Grant Petersen. He designed and spec'd all the bikes, edited the catalogue (a real keeper), and handled the marketing, advertisements, and sponsorships. I was lucky and honored to be one of just a handful of cyclists who was sponsored by Bridgestone.

When B'stone shut down in 1994 due to a variety of issues in the cycling industry and the world economy (strong Yen vs. weak Dollar, among other things), Grant opened his own small bicycle company, Rivendell Bicycle Works, based literally at the foot of Mt. Diablo in Walnut Creek, his home town. I was pleased and thrilled to have been sponsored by Grant at B'stone, where, among other things, he was able to pay for my trip to France for the Triple Ironman and to West Virginia to compete in the 24 Hours of Canaan mountain bike race. So I immediately plunked down a deposit to be one of Rivendell's first customers. As such, I became the proud owner of the first "All-Rounder" model that Rivendell built and sold. The bike even has "CKAR01" - as in Chris Kostman's All-Rounder #1 - stamped on the bottom bracket shell next to the serial number! (Click here to see a full slideshow of my All-Rounder.)

Anyway, more on all of the above later, but for now I wanted to share some photos from a nice Rough Riders excursion up Mt. Diablo with Grant and some of his friends in May of 2005. It was my second ride ever on 650B wheels. We rode up the mountain on the paved road, then back down on a nice fire road with multiple creek crossings. I rode "Grant style" with sandal shoes and nothing attaching my feet to the pedals, plus a button shirt. I did insist on being the only rider who wore padded lycra shorts, though. It was a beautiful day with great company, wonderful bikes (I rode Grant's personal Saluki model), and perfect Rough Riding on a variety of terrain. Thank you, Grant, and thank you, Mother Nature, for a splendid outing!

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