Carmel riding

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the Carmel area since my step-mom passed away a few weeks ago due to breast cancer.  My dad is crushed, they had been together over 30 years. Framebuilding is not my full time job so that is why I’m mostly absent from that part of my world right now. I hope to be back soon.

I live 4-5 hours north of Carmel (depends on traffic) so I stay over for days at a time. I brought my cross bike to get out on a few rides early and late in the day. There are some nice roads around but I haven’t found much dirt yet.  Fort Ord and Laguna Seca are relatively close so I’ll be heading there with the 29plus sometime.  I now only have “fat” bikes in my MTB arsenal – two fatbikes and one 29+.  I like riding the 29plus on dirt better than a fatbike. My lightest mountain bike is 30lbs and i love it. But the cross bike with the Clement 40s has been my go-to bike this spring.  Beyond just trying to ramp up miles for my injured knee slowly, you can cover a lot more ground faster and hit anything from trail to road on a cross bike.  Pretty soon all cross bikes out there will fit 40’s if they don’t already because of the Gravel bike trend.

Carmel’s history is filled with artists, writers, actors, and a bohemian way of life in general.  It’s changed a bit over time…let’s just say it’s *less* than Bohemian these days. There appears to be a higher density of Mercedes, BMW’s, Porsche’s in this little area than any place I’ve seen (and i’m from Marin).  There are also more Prius’ and Tesla’s and other electric cars than I’ve seen too (even Boulder).  In with that, there seems to be a strong cycling culture in the area with lots of bike lanes and aware drivers passing with lots of room.  The Sea Otter Classic has been at the nearby Laguna Seca Raceway for over 20 years I think? I have never been oddly, but I wish I went this year as there were a ton of fat-tired products released.

Seems like most people ride road bikes south on Highway 1 to Big Sur and beyond for the amazing views, up Carmel Valley Road for the lesser used side roads and longer windy paved loops, and along 17 mile Drive for views of the ocean and a mix of big bike lanes and dedicated bike paths up around the Monterrey Peninsula.  Just by chance I found a few dirt stretches of urban trail to mix it up.  I have to say, finding an isolated stretch of single- or even doubletrack in a populated area is one of my favorite things.  To me it’s the true cross *ride* (as opposed to the main discipline’s race) where there’s paved road, dirt road, and in between you link up bike paths and trail as much as you can to make a smorgasbord of cycling.  It reminds me of the fall “training’ rides we did in Boulder before cyclocross racing season years ago. Where after the mountain bike race season we’d meet early at East-side Vic’s Coffee, caffeinate, and spend a few hours linking the dirt roads and bike paths that encircle Boulder.  Good times.

Not urban in any sense, I’m looking forward to riding 100 miles of dirt at the Lost and Found bike ride on May 31st around Lake Davis north of Portola, CA. The course was designed by Chris McGovern of Real Wheels Bicycle Studio in Nevada City, and is being put on by the group that does the Downieville Classic Mountain bike event…it’ll be a fun time with themed aid stations – DJ’s, margaritas and more. Check it out!

Now for a few crappy iPhone pics of riding around the Carmel area:

3 Responses

  1. Hey man, just wanted to say I really appreciate your blog and just spent the last few months reading through all the posts (particularly the frame building posts), as I am currently working on starting the learning process to build frames myself – got most of the tools, torch, etc, and plan on getting the first one going in the next month or two. Yours has been very informative and a great addition to the scattered resources out there to learn this skill. I also dig the direction you are going with your bikes and am looking forward to getting on a 29+ bike soon – hopefully one I design and build for myself.

    I just wanted to say that and to also agree with you on the cross-bike going 40’s/all-around bike trend that is currently developing. I think the 650b crowd has been dabbling in this for awhile converting the old 80’s trek mountain bikes into something like this. I recently had a cross check modified by a frame builder to work with 650b wheels for my GF, and the smaller wheels have allowed us to fit some 48’s on it and she takes it out on the trails in S. Boulder, Marshall Mesa, etc, and loves it for that kind of riding along with general around town and gravel road stuff too. It makes for a pretty good all-around setup being road worthy and light trail worthy as well. Keep up the awesome blog and look forward to seeing some of your frames out there someday soon.

    -Jon

    • Thanks Jon! Happy to hear someone finds my rants useful 🙂
      I’ll try to keep up the framebuilding posts, hopefully won’t repeat myself. I find myself searching my own blog for how I did things that I’ve since forgot. Kinda was my idea when starting this blog of my ‘journey’ into framebuilding (hate that term but if the shoe fits..).
      Good luck with your first build and have fun!

  2. thanks for the report from Carmel. So glad to be getting in the queue can’t wait!

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