About Brendan

Lego stepper, bike guy, stuff maker

Desert Riding Season- a Flyby

I fell in love with riding the Anza Borrego Desert last year. 
Yesterday, I had an opportunity to gain some new perspective on it from the air.

 

Dave extended an opportunity to me to help scrub his dirty bird and take her up for at least a run around the pattern. We loaded up the car with soap, buckets, rags, and all the other accouterments required for the job. Some time later (she was a dirty bird indeed) we found ourselves looking for cooler climes in the sky above. We’d talked about the dirt airstrip at Octotillo Wells… and I told Dave it had been on my Bucket List for about a year, ever since I saw it while scouting the Stagecoach 400 route.

We departed to the south and headed out over Anza Valley. I’d never been over this area before and found myself rubbernecking as fast as I cold absorb it. Flying over Coyote Canyon, I was able to identify familiar areas we’ve explored by bike, and had lights going off in my head.
There’s where that canyon goes!” and “NOW I understand why that trail doesn’t go any further!” came to mind. I also gained a renewed appreciation for the rapid change of climate we have here near Idyllwild, where we can ride from pines and cedars all the way down the sandy desert (some 7,000 ft below) in a matter of a half day.

We flew over Borrego Springs, a near-mandatory restocking point on the SC400 route, and headed out into the open desert. The dirt strip at Ocotillo Wells came into view. I was surprised to see it extended further than it’d appeared to be from the vantage point of a bike. We flew in close to make sure the area was clear of any errant ATVs or debris on the field. Dave commented it was in better shape than he’d ever seen.

We noted the Outside Air Temp and landed uneventfully. I noticed the Iron Door was just up the road… I came to love this place last year as a rider’s first (or last) chance for beer before (or after) riding the 30 miles of Fish Creek Wash.

We deplaned, crossed the street for what I figured would be the obligatory Coke at the store, but only found locked doors. Upon returning, we were visited by a large-and-in-charge RAF Merlin. They flew by closely, circled around behind a hill, and ultimately came back to land in the same field we were departing.

 

I thought that was a pretty cool and rare experience. 🙂

Heading home, I saw a wash that needs to be ridden, probably on a Fat Bike. What’s up there? A Palm Oasis, a promontory with a likely great view, and the promise of new discoveries just over the horizon. I think we’ve got a great Fall and Winter season ahead. We’ll just have to ride and find out.
Any takers?

 

 

 

 

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Darn Tough Socks- a Testimonial

We’ve recently picked up this line of (excellent) socks in the shop. But not before we them through the ringer.

Back in March, Bryan the sales rep stopped by the shop preaching about “these great socks” that he thought our customers would love. Yeah sure, I told him, I’m sure you’ve got some good socks but we’re already covered on that front with other brands.
He told me his socks were better than what we’d had, and he could guarantee it. Darn Tough socks are guaranteed… for life. 

He went on to tell me they’d guarantee the socks against blown out holes in the toes, or the heel for a lifetime. It piqued my interest for sure, and I took him up on an offer to try a sample pair.
Some time passed. A bunch of it. I liked the socks, so much so that I’d begun rotating them though my wash cycle as fast as possible, just so I’d be able to wear them again sooner. I saved them for the Saturday shop rides, and any other big rides I was going out on… scouting runs, bike pack trips, even a few days on the Stagecoach 400. They’d more than proven themselves in terms of comfort, moisture wicking, and durability.

So we decided to bring them in to the shop. For you, our beloved customers. They’re priced on par or maybe just a teeny bit more than the leading high end sock brands. If you’re like me, you may likely switch your entire wardrobe over to Darn Tough socks. Should the need arise, you can bring them here to the shop for warranty replacement. For socks! (I still can’t quite get my head around it)

Here’s to fall, and comfy feet. See you in the shop.

The Hub Welcomes Lynskey Titanium Bikes

We’ve partnered with Lynskey to bring you the finest titanium bikes around.
And we couldn’t be more excited!

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We’ve wanted a titanium offering at the shop to compliment other frame materials. Titanium frames have an enjoyable, lively & refined feel… combined with lighter weight and great durability. All good traits for anyone putting in big miles, be it on a bikepacking trip or a century ride.

Haven’t heard of Lynskey Performace? If you ride a bunch, I’d bet you’ve seen their bikes. They’ve been jigging & welding titanium bikes for a long time, going back to the heyday of Litespeed Bikes. They are real pioneers of titanium bicycle fabrication and have a fascinating history.

But heritage alone wasn’t the only reason we asked them to dance. With other fish in the sea, we were fortunate enough to be choosy. Firstly, we appreciate Lynskey’s investment in US production: they employ 50 people at their Chattanooga, TN facility! Moreover, we appreciate their innovative approach to bike fabrication, with tube shaping and high performance CNC machined parts.
The Lynskey mountain bike line is very well thought out, with production and custom models that can help our customers bring their riding to the next level.

Standard models: First, the high value & versatile Ridgeline 29, and all out performance with proprietary tube shaping, added stiffness, and great tire clearance from the Pro 29 series. Remarkably, either of these models can be had with various finishes as well as different dropout, head tube, and bottom bracket platforms.

Custom fit & geometry: Now this is really exciting. As of now, we can work with you to design a new titanium steed, factoring in your body dimensions, riding terrain, goals, and riding strengths. As you may already know, I (Brendan, aka Hubster in chief) have designed hundreds of one-off custom fit mountain bikes. I’ve become pretty comfortable with the design & fit process, and pretty good at it if I say so myself. 😉

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We’ve got a flashy Pro29 model to check out at The Hub, and more soon to come. This first one belongs to bikepacking expert, X chromosome Hubster, and Ride The Divide star Mary Collier. She digs it. Come in, drop us a line, or give us a call to talk about it. If a titanium bike is in your future, we’d like to help you find it.

-Brendan

Backcountry Family Experiment: Kokopelli’s Trail

We are heading out on an entirely new family adventure.

This afternoon, the Collier family will depart on Kokopelli’s Trail, a 140 mile trail linking mountain bike towns Fruita, CO to Moab, UT. What’s that you say? Crazy? It might be. But then again, maybe it’s not crazy. It might be a ton of fun.

The jist of it is this: Mary & I (Brendan) will be relaying the ride, taking turns riding and leapfrogging the other rider with our son. We will car camp along the route. We might even ride some of the trail with the kiddo in tow, where the terrain will allow it. We will do our best to keep a businesslike pace on the trail, but be sure to put that on balance with family time in camp.
It’s a grand experiment for us, integrating our family roles with the bike-based adventure lifestyle we’ve enjoyed for so long. We will be taking notes of what works and what doesn’t, and sharing them for other parents to consider.
We have set up a Spot Satellite Tracker Shared Page where you can follow along.

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We will update the blog as we are able to.
We’re leaving Moab now to the Loma start. See you on the other side of the rabbit hole.

-Brendan, Mary, and Alexander.

May ValleyCat was a hit!

The May ValleyCat fundraiser went off this past weekend, it was a huge success.

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Didn’t hear about it? We were raising funds for the newly reformed Idyllwild Cycling Club, which is taking on a new focus as an advocacy group under president Wayne Sleme and partnering with IMBA to assure access to local trails and get the May Valley Trail system formerly dedicated by the USFS.

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How’d we do it? Turns out it was pretty simple; we just asked people who’ve been enjoying the trails to get involved. We asked people to donate to the cause, and threw together a new ride idea, which loosely followed the urban alley cat ride concept. We called it the May ValleyCat. We were each issued a passport and a trail map marked with semi random checkpoints throughout the May Valley trail system. When we rode to those spots there was a stamp pad waiting for us. Voila! Credentials.

Our goals for the day were to raise funds for the new group and to actively engage trail users in advocacy efforts. And to have a good time doing it.
We managed to raise about $1100 from a single morning fundraiser. Not bad scratch to get the coffers filled and the process underway. (we prepared this maybe 3 weeks ago)
The ride, which followed no set route and saw us meandering all over the valley, was joined by more than 40 people. We broke into small groups and gave informal tours of the local goods.
After the ride, we met on the deck for food and good times. We celebrated as we more than doubled our fundraising goal, and laid the groundwork for an organized trail advocacy effort in Idyllwild.

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Fundraising for May Valley Trails project

The Idyllwild Cycling Club is aligning with IMBA and getting serious about ongoing advocacy efforts in the May Valley Trail system. And there’s a party to celebrate it.

Joining IMBA brings love to our trails; firstly in the form of regular visits from our IMBA rep, Patrick, who ain’t afraid to roll up his sleeves and dig into the bureaucratic slop. And it gives us access to other IMBA resources too, ranging from the technical to the political.

But the love ain’t free. The newly reformed Idyllwild Cycling Club needs cash, and your involvement. Idy Cycling is raising bucks both to join IMBA and also to fill the coffers for the greater May Valley trails project. This could go to the purchase of trail tools, assuming the day may come when us locals can put on trail days with the USFS blessing, or hiring personal escorts for USFS officials. (I’m kidding)

The May Valley trails belong to all of us, not just locals. We at The Hub know this as well as anyone; we greet you at the shop when you arrive from LA, OC, Hemet, Riverside, Murrietta, and San Diego… and beyond. I believe the time has come that we all take a little ownership in the project.

To get this started in a fun way, we’re helping to put on the May ValleyCat. The May ValleyCat is a fun ride coming July 28th, organized in the spirit of urban Alley Cat rides, but on singletrack. Riders will meander through the trail network we seek to preserve, stopping by predetermined locations of interest… in no particular order and with no particular route. Riders who know the trails (or riders who know those riders) will have an easier time. Riders who don’t know the trails so well will be rewarded with new discovery. Win-win, methinks.

The Hub Cyclery is helping out too. We’re throwing a BBQ cookout for all the May ValleyCat riders that day. So get out, ride lots, and come back hungry. It’s the least we can do folks.

If you can join the ride, great, we can’t wait to see you.
If you can’t ride, but you’re feeling compelled to stand with Idyllwild Cycling & IMBA, please follow through to the Idyllwild Cycling Club’s fundraising PayPal link and drop some coin in the slot. You’ll get a big thank you from the folks at Idyllwild Cycling, hugs & high-fives from us at The Hub. Not to mention a more assured singletrack future in Idyllwild.

-Brendan

How Beth Got Her Mojo

Beth & her Mojo: long legged, confident, and attractive.
That’s what she was looking for in a new bike. Enter the Ibis Mojo.

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She was ready to step up from her 4″ travel bike to something that could simultaneously increase her comfort on the trail and boost her confidence in the steeps. She’s a designer by trade, so the aesthetics of the bike were also quite important. When she inquired about the Ibis Mojo SL we had to admit it would be a great match. At 120mm suspension travel with a carbon fiber frame & DW Link suspension, it fit the bill. We wanted a great offering like the Mojo, So we became a dealer.

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We bundled a custom build kit for her and made the magic happen. Starting with Ibis’s own Fox Talas 120/150mm fork, we added a dashing mix of Shimano XT and XTR components. Then we topped it off with a pair of hand built Chris King/ NoTubes Crest wheels, a Thomson cockpit, and Avid BB7 brakes for easy management.

Since we built it up, Beth has ridden all over Palm Desert, Idyllwild, and Tahoe. The word?
Sounds like we made a love connection.

-B

Juan Diego Flat / Cahuilla Mountain sub 24

Robin and I headed out on a quick overnighter last Friday.
The MO: punch out from work on Friday and roll from the trail at 5:30. I’d loaded my bike ahead of time and just needed to stop by the market for some grab & go items. Namely, a sandwich and a can of beer. We were rolling in no time.

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The destination was a place called Juan Diego Flat. Neither of us had been there before and I specifically wanted to “onsight” a camping spot. Between the topographic information and the word “flat” we figured it was promising. We wondered who Juan Diego could have been.
I hadn’t packed with Robin before, or seen his gear. Cool stuff with lots of waxed canvas & leather from Swift Industries, rando style.

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The riding up Thomas Mountain was cool and visually stunning. The descent down the backside was fast and thrilling.

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We arrived before dark, found a spot under some cottonwoods and proceeded to chow down, potluck style. Sleep came easily.

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The morning ride led us to a placard denoting Juan Diego’s death, and a ride high above camp with a view of hot air balloons launching from Temecula. We proceeded through the (wild) west of Anza to resupply. “Dusty” road was true to name.

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From Anza we found a trail I’m calling “Jim Junior” that led us to the familiar Jim Truck Trail, on up to a hike a bike on to Thomas Mountain. We parted ways coming in to Garner Valley. I visited some folks at Cow Pie Springs and made the way back to Idyllwild on trail. Back in town by 2 pm with plenty of weekend ahead. Bam! Sub 24.

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2012 Season Opener

We’re officially calling the start of the 2012 Idyllwild riding season.

As the snow melts off, the creeks have started flowing a little higher and flowers around town are budding. The trails are opening up and running great with sticky dirt. With the aroma of Pine, Ribbonwood, and Sage, it even smells like spring.

This last weekend, we got our first shop ride in with Chris from San Diego, a guy who we didn’t know before. Like so many in-season shop rides past, by the end it was all hugs & high-fives.

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Ralph’s Spearfish Build

This Spearfish goes to local renaissance man Ralph H. 

Ralph: Skilled woodworker, cyclist, and incessant entrepreneur. He has long ties to cycling in Idyllwild, and was responsible for bringing the original 24 Hour race to town… which in turn was at least partly responsible for bringing the Hubsters to town. We’re bringing that loop back together with a pair of big ol’ 29″ hoops. Image

The Salsa Spearfish frame has really caught my attention as our go-to 29″ FS bike. Some of the more thoughtful design details include the flattened Scandium seatstays which eliminate the need for a secondary suspension pivot (thereby reducing weight and the likelihood of creaking), curved seat tube for tight geometry, and smart cable routing along the down tube. The simple suspension design flat out pedals fast with a platform-damped shock. The design’s simplicity is its greatest asset.

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Ralph is coming off a carbon fiber FS 29er bike… his new Spearfish not only weighs less, but cost less and handles better. The build kit is a semicustom offering from The HUB, featuring a bang-for-the-buck 3×10 SRAM drivetrain, a Fox Float 29 FIT fork, NoTubes wheelset, Magura brakeset and a take-off Siren titanium handlebar.

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We gave Ralph a full fit akin to what we do with custom frame builds, and optimized the bike to best suit his needs & goals with the bike. Bottom line: this bike hauls the mail. 

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