Monday, July 28, 2014

S24O - Sanborn County Park - hidden gem in Santa Cruz Mountains

So here we are doing it again!! 

Gear loaded and ready to roll

Laurie and I finished our second S24O, this time we visited another beautiful County Park near our home. We enjoyed our visit to Sanborn County Park, but then what is there not to enjoy, Big Redwoods, shaded canyons, free hot showers, close proximity to our home, just the right distance to ride! This place has it all and to think of it, that it was always there and yet we "just" discovered it makes it that more exciting. In true tradition of S24O we departed from our home on Friday evening right after we got home from work.  Our camping gear was already packed up during previous days, so all we had to do is change our work clothes load up our panniers on to the bikes and ride. Half  way we stopped for dinner at a local restaurant, and afterwards we continued on our way up toward the Santa Cruz Mountains above a small but affluential town of Saratoga, CA. Decision to ride late in the evening was based on pure pragmatic fact that we were going through a Heat Wave, and temperature was still in the high 90's around 21:00 (09:00PM).  The ride it self was not to challenging until the last mile, Sanborn Road has a 9.5% incline, that required us to walk our bikes for that whole stretch up to the entrance of the Park. By the time we reached our designated campsite it was well after 22:30 (10:30PM) and the heat was still not releasing its grip on Silicone Valley. We quickly set up our camp and made some tea to refresh us, after which we went for a cooling shower. 

Preparing our tea using Trangia stove

We fell asleep quickly listening to a small brook babbling over the moss covered rocks in a steep canyon underneath our camp site, and a quiet whisper of ancient redwoods. The night was so hot that we ended up partially removing the rain fly to improve ventilation.

Despite severe drought in California this little brook was running

We woke up with the sunrise and were greeted with a first glance at our location, our camp was perched directly above a canyon that had a small creek running at the bottom. Despite severe drought in California there was plenty of water running over the rocks producing a wonderful ambiance.

Our Camp site was sandwiched between #17and #19 with a little room to spare

If you are looking for more of the privacy I would recommend site #19 which also provided a larger setup spot for a tent(s) and hammock, as well as it was further away from any other campers. Please keep in mind that our neighbors were extremely courteous and quiet so the close proximity was not a big deal at all.

First task of a day...Coffee making

We quickly set in to our morning routine, making fresh coffee & breakfast as well as taking a lot of photos and scouting the park for all of the hidden gems that we wanted to learn for our future visits

Laurie posing with our "kitchen" gear before her on the table

We often get asked what kind of gear do we take on our S24O trips, how much of it, how much food we take... so in this post we will elaborate about our "Kitchen" Kit. It is basically a slightly modified kit that we normally use for Backpacking or a longer hikes. We use a Titanium pot with Lid from Snow Peak in which we store our Swedish Trangia Mini Alcohol Stove that we removed from a kit that was purchased at REI. We seldomly find a use for pot and lid that was included in the original kit, however stove and a pot stand is a standard part of our kit. We also added a Alu-Foil Wind Screen to improve fuel consumption and speed up the boiling.

This is all kitchen gear we need for a great S24O
We also included Swedish Fire Steel from Light my Fire for the easiest fire starting, Pack' n Eat Mess Kit by Light  My Fire that we modified by using only the Lid = Plate, Bottom = Bowl, Cutting board. We didn't find much of use for small containers, Spoon/Fork combo or a Cup that come with original set due to simple preferences. We augmented this mess kit with Titanium Spork(s) by Snow Peak,  Folding Cups by Coghlan's, Opinel Carbon Steel folding knife and a Pop-Up Sponge by Trader Joe's that we cut in half since we don't generally need the whole thing and it stores smaller.
Also since we are just like any other cyclist, we value our coffee, so to make coffee preparation a breeze we use a 32 oz. Wide Mouth Water Bottle by Nalgene and a aftermarket French Press by Press-Bot that converts your 32 oz Nalgene in to a gourmet coffee French Press!! We are also using Insulated Bottle Cozy by Outdoor Research to keep your Java hot and prevent you from burning your hands while pouring your cup of coffee.
Among other things that we found to be useful are a Frisbee that we use as a serving plate, wash basin, a plate, etc. Small containers for sugar and coffee, a small lunch bag that we carry all of our Freeze Dry food, tea bags, fruits, Peanut Butter Pouches, Spices, Mini Moos Creamers, Clif Bars, Electrolytes, Raw Oats... Clean Kanteen 16oz. insulated bottles, Clean Kanteen 27 oz water bottles, GSI 32oz. Stainless Steel Wide Mouth Bottle, 16oz. bottle for Denatured Alcohol that we use as our fuel for Trangia Stove.

If camping in summer mosquito nets are must!
Time for second coffee & breakfast 
View from our tent
Breakfast of Bike Champions

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Spokesman - Short Bike Movie

The Spokesman from dean saffron on Vimeo.

Delivery - Short Bike Movie

Worthy of 10 minutes of your life...

Delivery from NO WEATHER on Vimeo.
We're thrilled to be featured on:
Dazed's Doc X strand (
Short of the Week (
The Atlantic (

Bill's fifty-two years old, has a mountain man beard, and delivers pizza on a fixie in Brooklyn. Over the course of several shifts, DELIVERY unveils an intriguing man rushing food to your door while it's still hot and fresh.

Keep up with our projects here:

Directed and Produced by
Michael Beach Nichols
Christopher K. Walker
Joshua Simpson

Concept by Joshua Simpson

Director of Photography:
Michael Beach Nichols

Edited by:
Christopher K. Walker
Chih Hsuan Liang

Additional Camera by:
Joe Duva
Luke Lobato
Joshua Simpson
Christopher K. Walker

Drone Operator:
Ryan Gury

(in order of appearance):
Stoney Street - Amon Tobin
The New York Editor - Amon Tobin
Sketch For Summer - The Durutti Column
Where The Sun Beats - Blue Sky Black Death

Friday, July 18, 2014

Rivendell Bike Works

Every once in while we come across a group of people that are doing things differently in their unique ways, with a philosophy that is a clearly opposite to anything we consider a norm in todays "modern"world.
One of these people is a small dedicated group that are well known by theirs whimsical shop name Rivendell Bike Works. They are a "Old School" bike shops that deserve a lots of respect in cycling community catering to Un-Racers in our world dominated by Carbon-fiber, spandex and super expensive components. Rivendell is not your average run of the mill shop focused on racing and sporting aspect of bicycle community. They are unique in the way that their focus is more toward personal satisfaction of their clientele and a general comfort of anyone riding their bikes.
 The leader of this bunch and founder of the Rivendell is Grant Petersen, his Philosophy has struck me deep in to my souls core and pointed me in a different direction. One that I enjoy a lot more.
Watch this short movie about the shop, the founder, his people and philosophy that is very unique in today's world.

Rivendell People from Jay Bird Films on Vimeo.

Also visit them on web as well and take look at what they do and what they offer in their shop

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Surprise! People Aged 60-79 Are Behind More Than a Third of the Biking Boom

Surprise! People Aged 60-79 Are Behind More Than a Third of the Biking Boom

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Michael Andersen blogs for The Green Lane Project, a PeopleForBikes program that helps U.S. cities build better bike lanes to create low-stress streets.
The national surge in bicycling since 1995 may have more to do with hip surgeries than hipsters.
More than a third of the increase is coming from people between the ages of 60 and 79, an analysis of federal data shows.
As recently as the Clinton administration, biking was for the young. Riding a bicycle over the age of 55 was very rare; riding over the age of 75 was almost unheard of. Even today, the rapid drop in car use among young adults sometimes leads to assumptions that millennials are driving the nationwide boom in bike trips.
There’s no question that Generation Y’s tendency to favor city life and declining enthusiasm for car ownershiphas boosted bike transportation. But as the older civil rights generation and the baby boomers who followed them have entered their golden years, they’ve quietly transformed what it means to be the kind of person who rides a bicycle.
biking rates by age
Vertical scale measures share of all trips taken by bicycle. Graphs: National Household Travel Survey
So see the rest of the story see link below

Sheriffs Blame Cyclist Victim in OC Road Rage Bottle-Throwing Incident

On May 31st, 2014, Bryan Larsen was bicycling on a crowded stretch of Pacific Coast Highway in south Orange County. He began to notice a pattern of harassment by the occupants of a large white 4×4 Ram Truck, with Texas license plate 65-500. When passing cyclists, the truck would spew thick black coal-rolling exhaust.

Larsen got out his phone and began to record video. He then captured this road rage incident.  The truck swerved out of the car lane toward the cyclist in the bike lane. The truck slowed and its passenger threw a bottle full of Gatorade at the cyclist. When Larsen held his phone up and shouted that he had captured the incident on video, the truck blasted more exhaust and drove away.

To read the rest of the story use link below:

Sheriffs Blame Cyclist Victim in OC Road Rage Bottle-Throwing Incident

My wife's first ever S24O

So we finally did it!!
I have been promising my wife for a while now to take her to experience her first Sub 24 hour Overnight camping trip or better known among a small and elite group of cyclist as famed S24O.
S24O is exactly what its name stands for, it is a short bike ride to a location where we camp just for a single night and that we go back home. It is a very easy to pack for someone new to bike traveling. The short duration of the trip allows one to use his bike commuting gear, as well as limited camping gear one can have a successful overnight bike trip.
To be honest there was not to much planning involved.. I text my wife at her work and ask if she would like to try it (since my friends and I have been talking about it for months now), her response was: "yes, where?" I had my answer ready: "Joseph D. Grant County Park!!"
"Wait a minute, that is up  Mt. Hamilton?" oh no I heard the doubt in my wives voice: "It isn't so bad honey you will see", she somewhat reluctantly agreed to my proposal.
So plans and reservations were made, I could hardly wait for Friday afternoon to get home from work and load our bikes with gear that was currently sitting on the floor of our garage organized with military precision to make this inaugural trip successful.

Total weight of our gear didn't exceed 30lb.

Our Trustworthy Steads Loaded and ready to go...

Plan was that we would arrive early enough to be able to set our tent and make some freeze-dry food and Tea for dinner. We didn't worry to much about speed of our progress but rather enjoying the ride. Along the way we encounter many "serious" cyclist riding this same route in their Spandex shorts and bike jerseys, keeping their eyes on bike computers to monitor speed, heart rate and cadence...
Taking in the view of San Jose from the Mt. Hamilton Road

Laurie crushing the stereotype riding in a dress and Keen Sandals!!

Road up Mt. Hamilton offers a new perspective for an avid photographer such as Laurie

...but first let's take a selfie!!

One of the "Luxury" items that we had taken with us was this set of Goal Zero potable speakers that we blasted music from... 

"Catch me if you can!!" it's all i heard as she blasted past me

Old barn along the road to Joseph D. Grant County Park

Wonderful sunset in East Bay hills

We are hear and it wasn't hard at all

Reflecting and enjoying the sunset  

Cows didn't even notice us as they were grazing along the road... well as these feral pigs didn't mind posing for us at the entrance to park

Diner getting prepared under beautiful stars and with classical music in background 

Night was so warm that we didn't use rain fly on our tent and that made for an amazing star gazing night until we fell asleep 

Sunrise directly above Mt. Hamilton

Old Mans Beard moss hanging from local oak threes  

But first let me take a selfie!!

Breakfast of champions!!

Taking notes from the trip and putting it down on paper...

...and enjoying our neighbors song.


Time to pack it all back on bikes...

..."do we have to leave already??".

Let the music carry us home!!

But first let's take a selfie!!

... and another one!!

Home sweet Home!!

First thing that come out Laurie's mouth was: "This was so easy and fun!! When are we going again??".  This confirms that our first trip was a success and a promise that we will have more to come ... ... < to be continued > !! 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Caltrain Raises Fares for Go Pass, Paper Tickets

Caltrain’s Board of Directors approved a set of fare increases last week that will raise up to $598,000 in farebox revenue. Caltrain will hike prices for its annual unlimited-ride Go Pass, paper one-way tickets and day passes, and special-event parking fees. Farebox revenues are projected to total $75 million in 2015, paying 60 percent of Caltrain’s $126 million operating budget....
For the rest of  see link below, 

Caltrain Raises Fares for Go Pass, Paper Tickets