Saturday, August 27, 2016

Road Runner Bags at Sunset Cycles

In today's commercial environment it can be tough for a small, specialty company to make a go of things for very long. Bigger players can make things cheaply overseas, often by machine, with lower standards, ship them back here to the States and sell at a lower price. At the same time the disconnect between means of production and the end product purchased by a consumer has never been greater. So when one of those small, specialty companies makes it to the five year mark it is a valid reason to celebrate.

That is exactly what happened today when Road Runner Bags brought their sewing machines out to Claremont for a little fifth year anniversary party hosted by the guys of Sunset Cycles. Though Road Runner employs a staff of seven to get their products made and out the door, owner Brad, and Ester where the faces of the company during the shindig and were kept busy answering questions, as well as putting together custom bags on the spot. Road Runner bags are sold through select stores across the country and can, of course, be purchased on line as well.

So, why should you buy from Road Runner? First, you are supporting a local (Los Angeles), hand-made in the USA business. Second, their guarantees are good - and far better than what you would get for some similar mass-produced item. Third, you don't have to settle for black fabric, they have a wide range of colors and patterns. Fourth, they make a wide range of bags for various needs - saddle and frame bags, at least two sizes of waterproof backpacks, a small camera bag, and even a camera strap. These are all cycling-specific, but are adaptable to uses outside the activity.

You know some people came from great distances for this party, I think the most dedicated had to be the 70+ year old gentleman who rode his mountain bike - his mountain bike! - from Silverlake. He took the train back - understandable, if you ask me. I don't know if he ended up purchasing a bag, but he did appreciate those tacos and beer.


what are some of the characteristics of the perfect job? Would it involve doing something you really like? Would it involve riding your bike? Would it involve being able to product test what was produced by your own hands? Both Brad and Ester listed these; the pride and satisfaction that they get from doing a good job shows in both the process and the end product. If you need a new bag to carry your gear, or know someone who does, check out Road Runner Bags on the web, and like them on Facebook.





custom sewing

checking the fit of a camera bag



material selections


Fairdale and Rocky Mountain

Fausto Coppi

Pandora's box

Hey, that's Mr. Charlie Kelly's book, Fat Tire Flyer, by that Tecate can - the best mountain biking book there is.

Thanks go out to David and Sean - they had coconut macaroons, they had cookies, tacos, beverages, there was good conversation, music, familiar and new faces, cool bikes to look at and, of course, bags to buy.

the mrs. bought a burrito handlebar bag, coordinated to match her bike

while I opted for a tool roll saddle bag, in orange, specifically for the Ibis

Friday, August 26, 2016

Do You Hoodoo?

That large, spread-out encampment of hoodoo's at Bonelli Park has long since been demolished by the hands, and/or feet of some unknown fiend, and so I was pleasantly surprised to spot a new little grouping on this mornings ride. These are professional-quality stackings of stones, not the more common haphazard placings selected from whatever materials are closest to hand, although there is no dearth of options here. Props to you if you know where this is, but for now I'll be keeping mum. Search out those interesting things this weekend, they are all around.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

About an Hour

Turning right onto Bonita brought three riders into view, when I caught up to them just before Casa Colina, they turned out to be a trio of young women with one beach cruiser and two more substantial roadie bikes between them. Outside the Old Stump, Mike's Wednesday Pedal Power group was waiting to get things going. I cooled my heels while a freight train rumbled past on the first train crossing at Fairplex and Arrow, and then made one of those big exasperated exhalations at the second crossing, where a Metrolink train carrying folks home from downtown LA sped past. A few wayward riders cast adrift from the Bud's Ride cruised along Puddingstone before I turned off onto the little parallel dirt trail which I was expecting to be the highlight of the evening ride. Longer shadows at the end of August. A couple of couples slowly rode through the park while discussing what to do next. One roadie began packing up his bike on Wright while, a little further on, another sat on the curb working on the cleat of his left shoe. Back at Fairplex and Arrow I caught up to Jenna and Jeff, stopped at the light and said hello until our light turned green; they continued on up to Sal's to meet Richard and the rest of the Loopy bunch for pizza. A couple blocks later I slowed to let a wee lass riding her trike in fancy party dress and pretty pink helmet cross the street, dad walking behind. As she got to the top of the corner accessible ramp she exclaimed, while sounding amazingly like Boo of Monster's Inc, "I did it!" She did, and made it look easy - a future climber. That's the highlight. Back in Claremont, a driver, already halfway through the crosswalk, grudgingly gave way to a young boy walking his mountain bike across the street, a look of frustration at having to wait clearly etched on his face. Sigh. People walking through the Village, and cars parked, a lot of cars. A guy jogging with a cute little black and white dog, I don't know what kind. Some loud music and practice taking place on one of the roof-top athletic fields. A murderous gathering of crows, all for one little hawk perched on a soccer goal. Looking left I see a family approaching on their bikes; swing around and wait for the photo op, and am caught in the act, the photo turning out to be blurred anyway. And then the sun, almost slipped from the sky, a bloated orange/red fireball in rapid descent. Finally, two turns from home a boy walking with his dad, a big, enthusiastic wave impossible to not respond with a smile and wave of my own.

I haven't often made it out on Wednesday evenings this summer. I am glad I did tonight, there was a lot to see.

Cycling Claremont: Hennie Kuiper

I mean really, if you are going around naming chickens how could you not distinguish one of them with the name Hennie Kuiper? This Hennie is a bit stand-offish, not a trait (I believe) the other Hennie was known to exhibit. While the other chickens ran over to see what I had brought for them (nothing), Hennie here ran away, and probably would have gone all the way up the plank and hidden in his house if I had made the slightest of movement more. The Hennie shown above, was pretty big, and would probably have beaten its poultry mates in a lapped race around the pen.

The real Hennie Kuiper, as a racer, was an accomplished cyclist, winning Gold in the 1972 Olympic Road Race, multiple stages in the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, World Championship, Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Flanders, Giro di Lombardia, Milan-San Remo, the Milk Race, Grand Prix de Wallonie, etc...

Monday, August 22, 2016

Cupid, Death, and Beyond

How Cupid and Death teamed up in the first place, must be quite some story and, while I am not sure I would want to look back to see that tandem chasing, if they were up the road I might be driven to extra effort just to find out the reason for their ride together.

"Cupid, Death, and Beyond" (1881) by Max Klinger (Theo Stroefer, printer) from the exhibition, Guillermo del Torro, At Home with Monsters, showing now at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Sometimes you'll see it as splotches, rusty pockmarks staining the landscape, and other times as great waves rushing down a hillside, flowing over everything in its path. Buckwheat. It is difficult to miss this time of year, and even more difficult to ignore. In fact to do so probably requires conscious effort. But then why would you want to do that? I took a close look during rides this weekend, split between the SGRT and Bonelli Park and noticed a great range in growth pattern; those spread out along the San Gabriel River Trail seemed more crimson, a little more pliable, perhaps due to slightly cooler temperatures, slightly more morning moisture. The swaths at Bonelli contained drier patches, rust turning black with brittle stalks. Surprisingly, though, Bonelli also had plants still in bloom, small white flowers contrasting with puffs of rust. A lot to see when we ride - up close, and far away.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Cleaned Up

quiet along the shore of Puddingstone this evening

tall trees and long shadows

I did not discover that mythic Escher downhill - perpetual, not to mention never-ending. The local supplier failed me this month, so no extra energy was to be summoned from my legs. Wait, what? [throat clearing sound] Moving on; I just was not quite up to drafting that bus along Bonita. My wind-chapped face and red wind-blown eyes suggest that the wind was, most certainly, not at my back. Yet there it was - the little screen telling me I had picked up an extra two and a half miles per hour at the end of the evening ride. 

I may find my way back to racing, yet.

I shaved off my mustache. Yes, no longer mustachioed. 

Could it be, I wondered?

And so I conducted a highly scientific experiment, comparing stats from two comparatively similar rides, each ridden weeks apart, one with mustache, and one without. The stats don't lie; other things might, but not the stats. Two and half miles per hour.

someone left this nice directional arrow; it came in handy pointing to where the mustache was.


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