Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Eroica CA DVD Extras!

On Monday I shared my Eroica California story for Outside magazine, which is already being hailed as the greatest story about the 2019 Eroica California for Outside magazine that I've ever written:

Nevertheless, as comprehensive as that story is, it doesn't tell the whole story.  Specifically, it omits many of my crappy photos, as well as the sorts of tedious details nobody really needs or wants to know.  Therefore, I am going to provide you with an abundance of both herewith.

For example, you know I ordered a Brand-X Road Bike from Chain Reaction Cycles for the Nova Eroica and had it shipped to my hotel.  But do you know how it looked when I took it out of the box?  Well, now you do:

You also know that I purchased a Univega Viva Sport for $125 on Craigslist.  Well, here's the actual ad:

Here's the bike mere moments after it had become mine:

And here it is in my sweet-ass rental minivan:

Oh yeah, here's my sweet-ass rental minivan:

As for the Brand X, even though I now ride titanium, the ne plus ultra of frame materials ("ne plus ultra" is how the sorts of assholes who ride titanium say "bestest"), I do have a soft spot for aluminum bikes as well as for inexpensive bikes of all materials.  So I was just as excited to try it out as I would be if it were a $10,000 Fred Sled:

The matte finish and minimal branding also worked for me:

As did the accidental nod to the Bronx, the New York City borough which I call home:

For the data nerds, the shifters were Shimano Tourney, which I believe are probably the last ones to include the little Campy-esque nubbin on the inside of the lever for the upshifts.  Unlike Campy, you can't really access the nubbins from the drops, but outside of a race situation that's not really something you miss too much.  Also, as I mentioned in the Outside story, the bike comes with a seven-speed freewheel, and I do mean freewheel--it's not a cassette hub.  However, that too worked perfectly well, and it also seemed like a fitting nod to Eroica.

Anyway, as I said, I was excited to try my new cheap bike, though to be honest the setting may have informed my excitement somewhat.  It's still pretty cold and crappy in New York City in April, and so watching people heading out for a quick surf before work on a sunny Friday morning seemed impossibly exotic:

And yes, before you tell me about your friend who surfs out in Rockaway before work, I know it's something people do everywhere, but let's not pretend that the pre-work routine for 90% of New Yorkers isn't getting a buttered roll and a coffee at the deli on a dark and rainy morning before throwing elbows on the subway for an hour.

Dialing in the bike was easy, and as I mentioned in the article I didn't even bother to adjust the tire pressure, which was fine out of the box.  After that I picked up some nutrition and various sundries at a local bike shop and headed up the coast in my minivan.  Then, the next morning, I lined up at the start of the Nova Eroica:

If you squint the Brand-X looks like any other gravel bike, but it's oh so much less:

As was the case last year, the ride itself was stunning, and while it featured some long, difficult climbs, there was plenty of time for recovery in between:

Plus, the view at from the tops of the climbs was well worth the effort:

One thing I didn't mention in the article though was that, owing to what was apparently an organizational hiccup or whatever the technical term for fuck-up is, many of the rest stops were insufficiently socked, which is another way of saying they didn't have enough food.  This wasn't really a problem for me, as I had stuffed my pockets with so much food that morning that my jersey was distended and about to burst, and I never got close to bonking.  (The girth of my midriff wasn't helping.)  However, a lot of riders were understandably quite frustrated, since a major part of the Eroica experience is eating fancy quasi-Italian foodstuffs, and whether it's Tuscany or the Central Coast you should be plied with wine and olive oil at every turn. 

Still, there was a stop at a brewery:

And I felt really bad for all the normals who had to endure the constant stream of Freds clomping in for their free sample:

But yeah, that aside, the ride was sublime, and here are the wheels I followed for a good portion of the ride:

"Who's the doofus with the pie plate and 500 packets of energy gels in his jersey?," they're all wondering.

With Nova Eroica down I had only the Classic Eroica to go, and when I spotted this vintage Mario Bros. game in a local restaurant I wondered if there was an Eroica for gamers:

Then I realized I don't really care.

Until now I had barely touched the Univega, so the morning of the Classic Eroica I finally turned my attention to it.  Here's the house we were staying in, so I enjoyed the novelty of working on a bike in a garage as opposed to the basement of an apartment building which is where I usually do it:

The view wasn't too bad, either:

My usual view is of the laundry room.

Here's the Univega exactly as I received it:

It was, by all appearances, a pretty nice frame:

Though the cockpit looked like the "It's" man from Monty Python:

According to this seat tube sticker, it had begun life at Bike Tech in Orange County:

So presumably it hadn't traveled far in the past few decades.

The Craigslist ad had said 1985, but I think maybe the SunTour components are newer than that:

I'm sure someone out there can date all this stuff exactly, though as Classic Cycles points out on their website in the description of my Litespeed, when it comes to bikes it's sort of pointless to get hung up on exact dates.

Either way, while the chain was rusty, the chainrings were quite clean, leading me to believe this bicycle had not been ridden much relative to its age:

I wasn't about to bother re-taping the bars or anything like that, but I did add some toe clips (I brought those home with me for another project), and I also threw on a Brooks Cambium I had brought with me for insurance:

In all, I easily had the mustiest bike there, but I was there, and that's all that mattered:

Recovery rides don't get much better than leisurely spins along the Pacific:

Here's the view from the turnaround point:

And here's what happened to my decaying brake hood when I briefly lay the bike down on the ground:

I guess it must be gravel-specific.

On the way back I stopped to commune with the seals:

After two days spent riding around with packs of people in cycling clothes, it's hard to to draw comparisons:

And finally it was back to Cambria, where somebody apparently misunderstood what the whole Eroica thing was about:

Of course, what you really want to know is this:

Who called dibs on the bikes?!?

Well, I had one dibs-caller on the Brand-X.  He was down from Berkeley for the ride, and if he happens to be reading perhaps he'll hop into the comments and let us know how it's going.  Perhaps he'll also share how (or even if) he managed to get both his own bike and the Brand-X (not to mention all his camping equipment) back in a Miata.  It really is a solid bike, and it seems particularly well-suited to long-haul commuting.  Throw some fenders and a rack on there and you'd be all set.

As for the Univega, incredibly nobody called dibs on it.  Can you believe it?  If it had fit me better I might have even considered keeping it.  However, instead I decided to donate it.  Since I would be flying out of Los Angeles somebody recommended giving it to the Bicycle Kitchen, but then it turned out there was also a Bicycle Kitchen right there in Cambria, so in the end it all worked out.

 After Eroica, I drove down to Los Angeles and spent the night there before flying home on Monday.  Here was the reading material in my trendy boutique hotel room:

Clearly there was no escaping the Eroica theme.


Simon said...


Anonymous said...

podiating yo.

Anonymous said...

I think I saw that vintage porn on the side of the road during a ride a few years back; way to recycle!

N/A said...

The univega was cool. I'd like to find one like it in my size. Looks like a beautiful ride was curated.

Sometimes old skin mags are nice to peruse, in order to reminisce about the days of lush bushes.

Grump said...

Back in the day, I'd always use a 13-21 7 speed freewheel for everything. I even had a 12-18 Sachs, that I would occasionally use for those "special" flat races.That Cyclone rear derailleur must be from the very late 80's or early 90's. In 1985 or 86 I had a Cyclone that was all silver and didn't say 7000. The one you had might have been even for an indexed system.

Dirk Montero said...

I can confirm that the Brand X that you kindly passed on to me is in my guest room in Berkeley, CA, awaiting donation to a local bike kitchen once I ride it enough to remind me why I've given up on skinny tires, brifters, and brake hoods below seat level! I managed to get all four bike wheels inside the cab of the Miata and strap both frames to the bike rack on the trunk, zoom up Highway 1 at sociopathic velocities (at least in the curves - 116hp doesn't make for much in the way of acceleration or top speed), and back to Monterey by 10pm, returning the car to my dad unscathed. The next morning I piled my wife, dad, and aunt and uncle from Denmark into a rented minivan (fuck it, I'm renting a Hyundai!) and drove the family south and east for a week-long tour of the Mojave and Death Valley, thus missing the proper vintage-y Eroica on Sunday.

As always, I questioned why I spent money to ride a loop I could do by myself any time (especially considering the food offerings were all but nonexistent along the way), but the route was REALLY well-chosen, and along the way I managed to meet you, Benedict/Ultraromance, Matt from Crust Bikes, and John Watson of Radavist, all for the first time. John coined me Death Valley Dan due to our shared obsession with the desert and my absurd riding getup. (I hate sunscreen so I dress like a gardener/beekeper/Bedouin when I'm outside all day.) Seeing my photo on his site when I got home was a bit surreal. I lost any chance of finishing with the cool kids when I decided to get a brisket sandwich from the BBQ food truck at the brewery, and ended up waiting forever for it to come out and subsequently enjoying it with a half-pint of hyperlocal artisan boutique craft beer at the brewery, but it was so worth it.

Finally: many thanks for the ride back to the campground with both bikes in your rented minivan! I was ready to ride back on my own, but much appreciated the conversation and good company instead.


Anonymous said...

Metric podium

P. Bateman said...

who loves black and is read all over?

know why your univega performed so well Snob? 'Cause it at least partly RED.

black is the slowest color and also doesn't make you look skinnier.

more RED please.

also, whats the difference between a seal and a sea lion?

you don't need a mechanic after you blow a sea lion

Anonymous said...

Another Good One Snob!


Anonymous said...

the first and second generation SunTour Cyclone rear derailleurs are some of the best I've ever ridden, particularly the long cage GT models.

Have never come across the 7000 version like on your craigslist ride, but thee web sources


Disraeli Gears

...say they are to be avoided.

May now in NYC said...

Can't complain about your curated photos - mahvellous! Again, why do I love in the City (i.e. NYC)? Oh ,yeah, arts job and all that. Do the seals attract the sharks?

It is always fun to see a gathering of Freds enjoying the outdoors and roads they/we all pay for - yes, I'm one of them ( a Fred, not a road paid for).

And, hey, it's May here now, so perhaps there is hope here on the easterly side of the country just south of Canada.

Finally, glad that Dirk who called "dibs" sounds like a deserving and nice person.

huskerdont said...

Love seeing the post from Dirk Montero. That is all.

Schisthead said...

Huh. Sounds familiar.

I gave away a Univega MTB many years ago.

Seems strange how many people would prefer to pay out the nose to buy new crap than be given something old that could very well last longer/work better.

"Disraeli Gears" is a good album.
It kinda makes me wish strange brew had a different theme.
Still a good movie, of course. --insert synth melody here--

Anonymous said...

@ Dirk

Own two Miatas, can confirm the surprising versatility.

Anonymous said...

When I see hidden cable routing I think at least 1987, though some pro's may have tested them in 1986, which became a source of scolding for anyone still riding old school brake housing looping over the handlebars.

wle said...

gravel specific decaying brake hoods - been there!

comment 2: there is no comment 2
oh wait i know - is there any worse name for anything than "UNIVEGA"!?
say it 3 times in a non robot voice - you can't

("Please prove you're not a robot")


Jame said...

Oops, updated link for the Video Game Museum in Oakland.

Jame said...

Not quite Eroica for gamers, but if you are ever in Oakland, CA - check out the video game museum:

HDEB said...

What is the best way to carry vintage nudie mags by bicycle?

BamaPhred said...

One day I’m gonna see those seals....nah, never happen but one can hope. I always enjoy the little travelogues.

wishiwasmerckx said...

...and when you are in Vegas, be sure the visit the Pinball Hall of Fame.

Dirk Montero said...


I think a bare rack would be the most obvious answer.


Larry and Heather said...

I'd wondered about the kind of folks who show up on Saturday with modern plastic-fantastics for what is little more than a dirty gran fondo. I wonder no more, thanks!

bad boy of the south said...

Snobster,nice photo essay. Glad that you had a good time while there.
Dirk,enjoy the new ride for as long as you possess it.

bad boy of the south said...

Oh,yeah! That sure is a lot of seals of approval.

Anonymous said...

The Dodge/Chrysler minivan is the awesome-ist vehicle for those who ride, or recreate outdoors in general. The seats fold down in the sto-n-go in seconds and you can throw in several bikes without taking them apart. With the seats down two people sleep comfortably with just some blankets. with a tow hitch rack and the roof rack, you can easily haul four bikes and 4 paddleboards. and it gets just as good, and usually better, mileage then any SUV out there.
And no, you really don't need 4WD. And if you shop you can find one reasonably priced. And they are very reliable; everyone I know who has one takes it over 200K in miles and usually has no troubles.
A minivan is the ultimate sport utility vehicle for those who are secure enough in there masculinity/femininity (I add this because there are plenty of women who won't drive one because of the whole "soccer mom"), and know what you really need in a recreational sport vehicle- the ability to hold a lot of shit easily!

JLRB said...

now that I have finally come back for the reading I have to ask

JLRB said...

Why would someone named Dirk be nicknamed Dan?

JLRB said...

I wanted a sweet ass minivan but had to settle for a sweat ass minivan

على جمال said...

شركة تنظيف مكيفات بالرياض
تمتلك افضل الطرق والمعدات في تنظيف الواحدات الداخلية والخاريجة للمكيفات توفر تنظيف المكيفات الاسبلت الفريون الكاست شركة غسيل مكيفات توفر خدمة تعبئة الفريون بسعر مميز شركة نظافة مكيفات تساعد علي رفع كفاءة التشغيل مرة اخري
شركة تنظيف مكيفات اسبلت بالرياض
شركة تنظيف مكيفات

افضل شركة رش مبيدات بالرياض فنحن نقدم خدماتنا المتميزة في رش المبيدات الى المنازل والفلل والمحلات التجارية والفنادق المختلفه حيث تعتمد الشركة على مجموعه من المبيدات الآمنه والفعالة والموثوق فيها بإعتماد وزارة الصحة السعودية.

لذلك تحرص شركتنا ارخص شركة مكافحة حشرات بالرياض كأفضل الشركات الموجودة فى الرياض على التخلص من جميع الأفات الشرسه مثلا الفئران وغيرها من القوارض التى من الممكن ان تكون سبب فى تدمير اغراض اى منزل او قد تسبب بعض الامراض اونقلها.