You can never go home again.

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Travel No Comments

Home [hohm]
noun
1. a house, apartment, or other shelter that is the usual residence of a person, family, or household.
2. the place in which one’s domestic affections are centered.
3. an institution for the homeless, sick, etc.: a nursing home.
4. the dwelling place or retreat of an animal.
5. the place or region where something is native or most common.
6. any place of residence or refuge: a heavenly home.
7. a person’s native place or own country.
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I spent my adolescence and some of my teenage years in the “San Francisco Bay Area.” That’s what you tell people that aren’t familiar with The Bay. When you live in the East Bay, which I did- people still want it narrowed down. Living in Oakland and Berkeley is where the cool kids were. Where do you NOT want to live in the 90′s? Concord. That’s where.
I graduated from high school (barely) and promptly got the fuck out of town, hitchhiking at 17 years old to any point East. After 4 years on the road by thumb, bus, bicycle and freight train I found myself in Alaska which is where I am today (having done a couple year stint in Seattle in order to convince my [now] bride-to-be to move even farther north.) Nope, I don’t have much use for California. Too much humanity.
The Bay Area never felt like “home” to me. I was born in Oregon if you ask. I’m not really “from there” either I guess, I don’t have as many memories of it as I do of California- but I always felt out of place in that Golden State of earthquakes and hustlers. It’s a place that doesn’t fit as “home” to me- as dictionary.com defines it and my heart sure isn’t there.  Don’t get me wrong- there are a bunch of few people that I do care very much about in California. It’s everybody else that make me lose faith in the human race. I left in 1995 and every time I return it I have less patience for it.
All that, but California does have one thing on it that can’t ever move out of state. A thing that I will forever be thankful for, which helped shape me into who I am today. California is where I learned to ride a bike.
I remember:
  • Riding my bmx in the drainage ditches of Pittsburg, (before my first foray into wrenching left the thing in a hundred little pieces that my step-dad had no idea how to put back together.)
  • Riding my Fila hybrid (if it was sold today it would be called a “gravel grinder”) in the hills off the Contra Costa Canal trail and to school before it was stolen.
  • I purchased my first “real” Mountain bike in California, a GT Timberline. The one with the blue splatter paint and a rigid fork. It had sealed bearings and rapid fire shifters!  A bike I brought to Cordova in the late nineties and still see riding around.

I have riding memories in Oregon as well, but no where near as many as exploring the East Bay, Marin County and San Francisco on two wheels. Some of my best rides have been in California and I thought of these as I flew down to the bay last week, as a surprise to my good friend for his wedding (second time’s a charm!) I knew in the cargo hold of that 737 was my bike and I knew I was headed down to 80 degree weather on trip that would kill three birds with one stone. Not only would I threaten to spend as much time in the saddle as I did on a barstool, I would see my good friend and my favorite family members.

I wasn’t surprised that the weather was hot and dusty. California is in a drought. I asked some kid at the park how long they’ve been in a drought.

“How should I know? I’m only 12!”

My family unit now resides in Crockett. A town built by C&H sugar and is now sustained by various oil refineries. It’s an odd town, with a couple bars, no grocery store and an $80,000 median income. It’s closest BART station (an extremely useful tool in getting around in the Bay without a car) is in Richmond- 15+ miles away through a handful of towns and a fair amount of climbing. All in all I rode about 200 miles that week in the sun. I got to explore the dirt trails connecting Crockett and Port Costa, another odd little delta front town with a bar worth visiting.

In my week in the Bay Area I got to share some good beers and good times with some of the most important people in my life and ride bikes in places that I haven’t in many years, as well as some places that I’ve never ridden before. San Francisco and the East Bay is really stepping it up when it comes to beer selection and I had a lot of fun rolling around looking for a place to wet my whistle with a fine draft beer.

In all of that I came to realize that “home” means different things to different people. To some it’s where they first saw the light of day. To others, it’s where they had their first kiss, or where they went to high school. Maybe it’s where their family lives, or at least their favorite family. Can you ever go home again? I’m not really sure. I still don’t miss California. Alaska is where I live now, but I’ve lived quite a few places. I’ve come to be the person I am from my experiences down life’s trail- and to me, I guess, home is where I ride my bike.

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Limited Affinity Endo Track Kit

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Bicycle Racing, Clothing, Gear, Track No Comments

Looking for a clean looking kit from one of our favorite NY track teams?  Affinity teamed up with Endo to bring you this beauty. The kits are 100% handmade in Endo’s small workshop in Downtown LA, where they handle all the printing, cutting and sewing in-house. The kit is available as both a long and short sleeve jersey and our team bib short. 

This kit had been reserved exclusively to their World Championship winning track team and has never been available for public sale. They’re running a two-week pre order and capping it off at the first 50.  So get in now, or forever hold your peace.

Pre-order HERE 

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Blackburn Tech Mag

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Gear No Comments

Much of the US is still basking in the sunshine of summer and enjoying the cooler evenings that the beginning of fall brings. In Cordova we’ve had a bunch of rainfall that will continue until it turns to snow. CX season is around the corner and sometimes it’s hard for me to get motivated enough to hop on the bike and go for a spin in a monsoon. This little guy is one option for those that want to get some spinning in, but can’t pull themselves away from Orange is the New Black. I haven’t used a trainer before, but kinda want to give it a go.
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TECH MAG 1 TRAINER

• No assembly required
• Single optimized resistance setting for no-fuss operation
• Compact, lightweight and foldable design
• Rubber feet micro adjust for extra stability
• Bike installation is simple and works with wheel sizes between 26”x 1” and 29”x2.3”
• Tapered cones fit most dropouts
• Steel quick release skewer included

$119.99

Check it out HERE

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Internet 1, Bike Thief 0.

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Portland, Seattle, Stolen, Washington No Comments

This is from a couple years ago, but it still makes me happy.  Being reunited with a bike after it was stolen is such a good feeling.  The thief getting pinched is just icing on the cake.  The bike owner showed a lot of restraint by not kicking the shit out of the dude, strengthening his case all around.  Anybody know what happened next?

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Bear curious? Cycling in bear country.

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Alaska, Bicycle, Washington 1 Comment

There’s been a lot lately about people heading off into the woods, seeking adventures and Instagram opportunities in the great outdoors. In those hordes, there are a lot of folks that probably shouldn’t head to the grocery store without a chaperone- but now they want to get an “adventure bike”, put on their adventure hat and have a goddamn adventure.  Who am I to say that the guy riding their bike with their helmet on backwards shouldn’t ride the Great Divide Trail?  It’s a free country, dammit. 

 

South Central Alaska is the awe-inspiring place that I call home. It’s also bear country, and bears are seen on my trips to the woods (hopefully at a distance) more than human trail users. When viewed from a safe place they can be very entertaining to watch- cute, even. Traveling through their backyard on the other hand can be unnerving, even risky.  Bears can be unpredictable and dangerous.  A predator that can attack when it feels that it or its cubs are threatened, if it’s starving or if it doesn’t like your stupid Primal tattoo print arm warmers. So I give you two options:

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Modify Watches

Written by Ryan on . Posted in Bicycle, Gear No Comments

Founded in 2010, Modify Industries Inc. has recently entered the cycling market, bringing a bit of color to your wrist as well as increasing the chance that you won’t miss happy hour.

They’ve been working with various sports teams since their beginning, and following their successful Kickstarter campaign, they can print-on-demand fully customized watches.  They are printed and assembled in San Francisco, and we have one for Hodala, the cyclocross team I race for.

photoIf you’ve got a team, a bike shop, a brand or any other reason to have a made to order watch.  Check out Modify at their website.

You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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