Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Semi-Epic Planned for Sunday, June 14: Mt. Palomar Via Nate Harrison Grade: YOU Are Invited!

Hello fellow Rough Riders!

You're invited to a no-host, self-sufficient ride up northern San Diego's awesome Mt. Palomar via Nate Harrison Grade, a dirt road which is a lovely alternate to the overly popular paved roads. (We will return downhilll via the pavement, however.) Extraordinary views are to be had along the way, and especially from the tippy-top at the Boucher Fire Lookout. Thereafter we'll also enjoy a stop at Mother's Cafe, near the summit.

Here's a ride report and video slideshow from when we did this ride last December (be sure to give it a few minutes to load the video and turn up your speakers as there is a music soundtrack):

On Sunday, June 14, we will roll out at 8am from Casino Pauma which is amazingly hard to find. It's at 777 Pauma Reservation Rd, Pauma Valley, CA 92061. Three bottles and/or camelbak recommended.

Note: This ride is unhosted, unsupported, and everyone who shows up is on their own. Neither we, nor anybody else, is responsible for anyone who rides. If you ride, YOU are responsible for YOU and YOUR bike. This is not an "event" - it is just a ride on dirt and paved roads for like-minded people.

Weather: Got this helpful note from Rough Rider Blad Zlotnick since it appears that fears of of a hot were unfounded and the reverse is more likely:

I use this weather site because you can click on exact site you want forecast (zoom in and try it) and I have found it to be the most accurate thing around (eg, even timing of clearing fog). Might be a helpful link for your site, also. Best of all, our taxpayer dollars at work.

In any case, this is similar to the forecast of drizzle and heavy fog we had for last Wednesday out there, when ground/car/we were wet at Valley Center Road Junction/Jilberto's 2, with no visibility up the mountain. The associated hazardous weather alert refers to 1/4 mile visibility possible on the mountain from fog.

Weather PS: We were up on Palomar on Saturday (the day before this semi-epic) for the Palomar Challenge and it was foggy and socked in on the upper half of the mountain! We will have lights and rain jackets on Sunday! Click here for pix!

We hope to see you there! This is a FANTASTIC ride and you do not want to miss it!

- Chris Kostman and Elizabeth Jefferson

Monday, May 18, 2009

Rough Riding the Santa Monica Mountains, May 17, 2009

Above (L-R): Ken, Gary, Matt, Chris, Jennifer

Five illustrious Rough Riders turned out for a 40-mile excursion in the Santa Monica Mountains on May 17, 2009, including Matt "Desert Locust" Ruscigno on a Bianchi 'cross bike, Ken Kistinger on a suspension-less Cannondale Killer V, Gary on a Bianchi single-speed 'cross bike, Chris Kostman on a 1984 Holdsworth road bike with 32mm 'cross tyres, and Jennifer Klausner on a suspended mountain bike. Jenn is the head of the LA County Bicycle Coalition, an organization primarily associated with promoting cycling on streets for commuting and such. But as a Santa Monica native and local resident who has been cycling in all manner of styles for many, many years, she impressed all of us with her knowledge of names and geography of the trails.

The route was 40 miles with 4850' of elevation gain, though 4500' of the elevation gain was in the first 25 miles. Here are the essentials of the route for those who are curious:

• Start: 26th and San Vicente, 90049
• Take streets - Mandeville Canyon, Chalon, etc - to enter the bottom of Sullivan Canyon
• Ascend Sullivan Canyon (AKA Farmers Fire Road on maps) to Sullivan Ridge
• Ascend Sullivan Ridge to Dirt Mulholland (AKA Mulholland Drive on maps)
• West on Dirt Mulholland
• Temescal Fire Road south to "The Hub"
• Topanga Fire Road to Trippett Ranch (state park parking lot area) - water stop
• Streets down to Topanga Canyon Blvd, then south briefly on Topanga Canyon Blvd
• Right on Topanga School Rd to end and through the cul-de-sac / front of the school.
• Enter the south end of Henry Ridge Motorway (dirt road, gravel road, paved road)
• Left / West on Summit to Summit Motorway
• Cross the summit of Old Topanga Road (go up drive and follow "Trail" signs)
• Continue south on Calabasas Peak Motorway (a dirt road)
Option 1: Continue straight / right and drop onto Stunt Road, then take Stunt to Saddle Peak and beyond.
Option 2 (What we did because it was nearly 100 degrees out and we were almost out of water): Go left at the fork onto Red Rock Road
• Turn right on Old Topanga Canyon Road
• Turn Right on Topanga Canyon Blvd
• Turn left on PCH back to Brentwood

All of these trails and roads can be found in the Thomas Bros. Guide for Los Angeles on pages 591, 590, and 589 (in that order).
Above: Jennifer at "The Hub"Above: Matt (L) and Chris on Calabasas Peak Mtwy
with Stunt Road and Saddle Peak in the background.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Rough Riders in the LA Times Today, May 11, 2009

Check out this excerpt from the Los Angeles Times, May 11, 2009:

All-in-one bikes

A multi-functional steel touring bike with changeable handlebars from old-school builder Bruce Gordon.
Reviewed: Bruce Gordon Rock N' Road Tour, Specialized Tricross Comp, Diamondback Overdrive 29er, Rawland Sogn
By Roy M. Wallack, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
May 11, 2009
The Rock N' Road Tour was ahead of its time. Sixteen years ago, I rode this strange, do-it-all bike with road bike wheels, knobby off-road tires and a touring rack from the Redondo Beach bike path up 2,000 feet of dirt trails to the Mulholland fire road. I tore past mountain bikers. It was exhilarating to overlook the San Fernando Valley and think, "I did this all on one bike!" Of course, with no suspension and fairly narrow tires, a bike like this was a little dicey on technical descents. But for 99% of riding, this is the bike people ought to have. It tours, road-rides and mountain bikes without taking up all the garage space. Today the Rock N' Road is improved -- and not alone. Do-it-all bikes are gaining in popularity as practical times beckon and acceptance of unorthodox size frames and wheels grows. There's even a website devoted to all-in-one bike adventure called Rough Riders. Here are four bikes that try to do it all.

Click here for the full story!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Rough Rider Semi-Epic Planned for Sunday, May 17: Join Us!

All are invited to this no-host semi-epic dirt/road ride starting at 26th and San Vicente (the border between Santa Monica and Brentwood. Zip Code 90049). Start time 9am, to allow time for cross-towners to ride to the start.

Route will head up Mandeville Canyon, Dirt Mulholland, The Hub, Trippet Ranch, Topanga Canyon, two unnamed, semi-secret fire roads, eventually cross the top of Old Topanga, drop onto Stunt Rd., ascend Stunt (the first paved road of the whole ride), down little known trails to the coast, then back on PCH to San Vicente for a pavement finish. Figure about 5 hours and 50 miles, but I can't say for sure. A few bail-out options exist for those in over their head. Pace will be medium-to-high, but stops will be made for scenic overlooks and photos.

Most Rough Riders would probably want to ride a "mountain bike" on this route, or at least tyres in the 40mm or wider range. (There's a decent amount or loose, rocky stuff.) Definitely bring three bottles, two tubes, patch kit, etc. There is essentially nowhere to buy anything along the route. Be prepared.

Check out "Forty Days and Forty Nights" on this blog for a few pix of the area and a sense for the type of adventure planned (not that we expect waist-deep water, but anything can happen).

Trust me, this is a fantastic route in a wondrous area. I LOVE riding these mountains!

Stay tuned for the final details on start time. Feel free to RSVP by posting a Comment below this page on the blog, but it's not necessary.

Note: This ride is unhosted, unsupported, and everyone who shows up is on their own. Neither we, nor anybody else, is responsible for anyone who rides. If you ride, YOU are responsible for YOU and YOUR bike. This is not an "event" - it is just a ride on dirt roads for like-minded people.

(Remember, we Rough Riders enjoy getting "out there" by riding roads, dirt roads, trails, and paths on whatever bike we happen to be on or have handy. Sometimes the pavement's long gone and we're still on our "road bikes" or some bike that would be commonly considered inadequate for the job - and that's just fine by us! Rough Riding is not defined by the type of bicycle or type of riding surface. Rough Riding is a state of mind, a riding style with limitless freedom and an all-pervasive sense of adventure.)

See you out there!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Seek and Ye Shall Find!

We enjoyed a nice 62-mile ride on our 1994 Ritchey Skyliner tandem today. It was a "road ride" but we also managed to have some good adventures, and explore two new (to us) trails along the way.

Seek and ye shall find! There's a little bit of dirt, sometimes more, near lots of roads. Why not steer that "road bike" off-road sometimes?

A short slideshow is
viewable at this link. A few photos are here on this page.

Click play on this little video for a nice, soothing soundtrack,
courtesy of the duck creek we found in Harmony Grove!

We also want to take this moment to wish George "Red-Eyed Vireo" Vargas, and all the other competitors, GOOD LUCK in the Trans-Iowa race this weekend! It's an epic, 320-mile dirt road race around the backcountry of Iowa. This event is right up our alley and we salute the organizers, too. Hopefully we'll be on the starting line in the future. George will be doing some neat webcasting via his "Epic Adventures" blog throughout the race and we encourage you to check him out and follow the race. Links:

Epic Adventures Blog:


We also want to tip our hat to blogger-cyclist - and soon-to-be Rough Rider - Mozam for his outstanding post about Rough Riding. Thanks for spreading The Word and we hope to hear more about your own Rough Riding adventures! Here's just a short excerpt from his post:

"The whole framework for the Rough Riders is centered around the slogan, "Any bike, anywhere" and falls directly in-line with Chris' philosophy of adventure, in any form. For some odd reason this just appealed to me. Not because I'm bored, but because I really have a sense of adventure, even though I'm a little cautious about how much adventure I really do take on these days. Sloggin' through mud at 3am in the rain is not my sense of adventure, but cruisin' the back woods on poorly maintained, or dirt roads sounds great! At least as long as there is a shower, warm bed and beer at the end!

Thanks for your support and enthusiasm, everyone! Be sure to tune into regularly. At the very least we are uploading Rough Riding photos from in the field almost daily. There are live links to them - updated automatically as we send in the photos - in the top left column of the webpage. Stay tuned!

Also, we hope to see you for the weekly Ramble on Wednesday afternoons in La Jolla! (Not local, but hosting a local Ramble somewhere? Send us the info and we'll feature it here!)

PS Just found this tandems-only shop online today while looking for a specific stoker bar for our Ritchey. They are in New Jersey, but sell online and also host tours. They called immediately when they got our email - they have what we need and are very friendly. If you ride a tandem, check them out.