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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We might’ve found the bikepacking light we’ve been looking for.
The Lezyne Super Drive.
Some things I really liked right away with this light were the mounting location, which is slightly forward and above the handlebar bags, zero interference. But what makes it really cool? The USB rechargeable battery that is also removable. Yep, simply unscrew the battery out of the back and pop in a spare, which can be had for about 20 bucks. When you have the available juice, recharge the whole shebang with any USB cord.
This unique Fargo build is for Dan, who will be going LONG with his new ride.
Dirt road riding and bikepacking is our forte, we helped Dan put some thought into his custom build kit. First off, the Salsa Fargo frame is a proven chassis for this application, carrying its weight long and low, with plenty of provisions for frame bags, racks, and water bottle mounts to keep weight off the back.
From the start, Dan wanted his bike to be based on a flat bar riding position. We settled on the versatile Jones Loop bar, which offers several hand positions for anything from off road use to pavement cruising. The drivetrain is mostly Shimano XT, pared with a set of Paul’s Thumbies shifters, which work great on these bars. They also have the added benefit of a “friction” mode, so the shifters will keep working even if the derailleur is damaged and won’t index.
Stopping duties went to a set of Avid BB7 mechanicals for ease of maintenance, boosted with Odyssey linear cable housing for extra power and modulation.
The wheelset is especially nice. We built it up with Shimano XT hubs and NoTubes Flow rims, 36 spokes laced up with DT Competition spokes for durability and stiffness even when loaded heavy. He’s running a set of WTB Nano Raptor tires, known for low rolling resistance and durability.
We finished the build off with a set of bags from Revelate Designs and a frame pack he already had. Regarding Dan’s first ride on it, he said:
“Yesterday was her maiden voyage. I rode mostly dirt and paved roads throughout the national park. 20 miles or so and it was heaven. So smooth and easy to ride. Better than I imagined. One friend offered to buy her on the spot after taking his turn. She really is amazing and THANK YOU.”
We left the Friday punch clock and literally rode off into the sunset.
Carter, Dave, Joshua, and I left The Hub around 5pm Friday, just as the evening alpenglow was starting to wash over the mountain. We were “out there” in no time.
The evening’s destination was Bailey’s Cabin, a rock house built some 70 years go by cattlemen. It’s in Coyote Canyon, part of the Anza Borrego Desert State Park. The prospect of a roof over our heads was especially alluring on a cold night.
To get there, we charted a route using a minimal amount of asphalt. We climbed a portion of Thomas Mountain and descended into Anza valley. We passed a property we’ve come to refer to as “the chainsaw house.”
Just before we entered the canyon, a friendly motorcyclist rode up alongside us… chatty, he told us about his own mountain bike adventures. He explained to us where he lives, and offered us water and assistance anytime we should want it in the future. (all this while shouting over the sound of his engine, in the dark, riding alongside us)
We dropped into the canyon, lights on, with a sliver of the moon above. Glancing over the edge, all we could see was darkness. A lot of it. We pedaled on down canyon at a good pace, dodging the occasional mouse.
When we arrived at the cabin we got settled, foraged some wood, and enjoyed a small fire. (aka “Caveman TV”) The stars above put on quite a show.
We’d packed food with us from Idyllwild. For future reference, the Grill & Chill sandwiches pack well, as do burritos. 😉
Three of us decided to sleep outside, but Carter opted to keep the resident cabin rat company. Sleep came quickly, and deep.
We woke up with the sun around 6am, enjoyed a light breakfast and lamented the fact we had no coffee.
We bid our cabin farewell and started our day of riding. The midsection of the canyon is explicitly closed to motorized traffic, so the riding became more technical in sandy wash and rock gardens. The Middle Willows are a bit of an unexpected paradise in this slice of desert; spring fed year round, and canopied in green.
We emerged back on to roads south of the Middle Willows in Jeep territory. The lower section of the canyon wasn’t too sandy, we made great time.
Coming into Borrego Springs, Joshua’s bike suffered a mishap that would keep him one place for quite some time. (broken frame! true story) Thankfully, he had plans for a pick up to catch a flight that evening anyhow. 😉
We feasted on Mexican food and stocked up on high calorie offerings from the store before hitting pavement up Montezuma’s Grade. Not familiar with this climb? It’s as grand and imposing as the name would imply.
The climb really took its toll, we wrapped up our day at the top of the climb in Ranchita and called Mary for a pick up. Though we’d originally planned to ride all the way back to Idyllwild, we were all happy to shoot the breeze with Ranchita locals and explore their community park before getting picked up. We lounged in the grass and even got some new route beta from a local retired firefighter. The next trip won’t be too far off, I’m sure.
By the end of our adventure, we were only gone from home about 24 hours. But it was so good it felt like many more.
There aren’t many female bike mechanics in the industry and I can relate to Katlyn Hershman who owns a shop in NY. “Guys automatically ask for the mechanic.”
Last weekend we had another ladies only get together at The Hub. But, instead of our monthly movie night, we decided to start the year off with a Women’s Bike Maintenance 101. We had almost 30 women (and Zander) and the night was a success for us all, on different levels. We got Café Aroma’s breakfast pizza and made a little party of it. I had a couple of women from out-of-town, but the rest were all locals! Yeah, Idyllwild is blowing up with women on bikes and I’m very happy to be in the middle of it.
Since I had such a big response to the clinic, I decided to make it “lecture” style and forgo the hands-on part. It was a little bit of a sacrifice, but it helped us to all fit in the shop. We went over fixing a flat, fixing a broken chain, and what and how to clean and lube on your bike. We had a great Q&A session in the end and everyone pitched in.
For those of you that missed it, stay tuned for more clinics this spring. I also found this organization that was put together by a couple of women in Madison, WI whose mission is “To provide a supportive environment for women to overcome the barriers that keep them from learning how to maintain their bicycles.” They offer a series of women’s only clinics and have a great logo (above.) The also have some great maintenance resources on their site.
Thanks to all the women who came out and made the Wrench and Bitch a success. See you next month for movie night, again!
We got out yesterday for a most unexpectedly fun ride.
A fluke snowstorm last week has kept us off the trails a while. So, when yesterday’s shop ride (every Saturday at 8am) got rained out, cabin fever really started to set in. We saw a break in the weather and decided to GO FOR IT. We packed up some rain gear and figured the ride would be a “character builder.”
Dawne took out her new Siren John Henry for a break-in ride
We had some snow left from last week’s storm, mostly in north-facing areas that hadn’t melted yet. The traction was great. The temperature was perfect for climbing.
We passed by an overlook with a view below to town. The sky cleared up nicely as we climbed.
On top, we visited the Stone Temple. We were really fortunate to be there during a short window of clear sky, with clouds moving dramatically below.
We enjoyed a snack, took in the view (and a little bourbon) up top just before the fog rolled in. Warmed up, we pointed the bikes down hill and had a blast.
Marlin descends from the Stone Temple as fog rolls in.
We hit some snow patches and slip-slided our way down. It was like being a kid again. Back in town, we rode some little-used back ways, crossed the creek and cruised through town. We were greeted back at the shop with a hot fire. Great Saturday!
We’ve become an authorized dealer for Marin Bikes. We’re stoked!
Marin bikes was founded here in California in the shadow of Mt Tamalpais, where the company is still based today. We’re proud to carry a brand that also flies the California Republic flag. We’re filling out our entry level mountain bike needs with Marin, stocking bikes that can get you rolling on trail without breaking the bank, as well as kids bikes, fitness bikes, and urban use bikes. They offer something for everyone, and a lot of value.
We got set up to work with Marin shortly after this year’s Interbike trade show. Once we’d placed our opening order we made some room in the shop for the new bikes (“nesting” for baby bikes) and eagerly awaited their arrival.
Nick, Mary (plus Zander) and I spent a long evening assembling most of the bikes that first night. We ordered in some pizza and shared a growler from the Kern River Brewing Company (thanks Craig!) I was impressed with how nicely they went together, and some of the smart component selections on the various models. More on that later.
We are well stocked to outfit a beginning mountain biker with the Pioneer Trail Disc and Wildcat Women’s Fit, both lightweight, durable bike- trail ready. For the trail enthusiast we’re offering the Palisades Trail 29, with larger 29″ wheels, a 3×10 drivetrain, and hydraulic disc brakes. Also, we have some fantastic offerings for the urban rider, with the Hamilton 29er 2-Speed and the Inverness fixie. Bikes start in the $500 range.
Stop by The Hub Cyclery for a test ride and we’ll help you find the right bike to suit your needs.