23 April, 2019

California Road Trip and Eroica 2019

by Igor

Another Eroica California is in the books! This year, instead of renting a regular car and staying at hotels, we rented a 1983 Vanagon Westfalia for our road trip so we could camp and really get out into the thick of nature. Our plan was to pick up the van in LA, drive up to Cambria (Eroica) through the Carrizo Plain, and then back to LA hugging the coast. Needless to say, we had a spectacular time seeing friends, meeting new ones, building awesome family memories, and riding bikes in warm weather.

Starting out from LA, Brad from Road Runner Bags told us of his super secret camping spot up that can only be accessed by way of an old......wait. I'm not going to give it away.

The first night was spent getting acclimated to the Van, assembling the bikes, and seeing how to arrange everything within the Van for the trip.

And lots of toddler wranglin'.

Of course we brought our novelty antenna topper. Without the branding, how else will you know it's a VO mobile?

We made a detour to Bakersfield to stretch our legs, ride the local trails, and check out all the oil pumps.

 Made it to our next campsite just in time for an awesome sunset.

And some magnificently stark lighting in the morning.

We quickly packed up and made our way towards the Carrizo Plain. If you've never driven an old Bus or Vanagon, there are several things you need to know: 1) they're slow. Remember this is a 1.9l motor pushing your living and bedroom. 2) they need a lot of airflow to stay cool. Even the Wasserboxer motors could overheat if pushed too hard 3) not great on gas. Small motor + heavy vehicle = when you see a sign that says "last services for 75 miles" you take that exit and fill up even if you think you're good. There's a lot of hills coming up.

The superbloom was incredible. From afar, the hills were painted by yellows, purples, and blues. It was truly a sight to behold and we're very glad we took this route.

Lots of dirt and gravel roads took us up the rest of the way to the National Monument.

Please note: not a single flower was hurt in the making of these photos. I think the media sensationalized the amount of people frolicking in the flowers. While we were there, everyone was very respectful of nature and stayed on the trails.

From Carrizo, we made our way to Cambria and met up with Tom of Porter Cycles. He won this year's "Best New Builder" at NAHBS with his "Winged Victory" city bike.

Right after the show, he buttoned up another touring bike and is riding back home to Brooklyn! Be sure to give him a follow and send lots of love on his Instagram page!

The following day's swap meet was absolutely filled with the most drool-worthy bikes including this early titanium Teledyne Titan racing bike with a ludicrous amount of drillium components.

Sometimes the coolest bikes are the ones actually being ridden in the classic event.

You may still be thirsty during your ride if you have this bottle.

Lots of VO Drillium, too!

A wild Wizard sighting!

The Nova ride starting grid. This was the second year they organized a ride where folks could ride any bike including carbon, clicky pedals, integrated shifters, etc...

More VO in the field.

Lots of Rustines Grips, too!

Neat sack.

Alan road bikes are so cool. This one was exceptionally clean.

We also got to hang out with John of Fitz Cycles who makes some of the most beautiful, classic randonneurs and tourers with a bunch of trick details.

Including this triple triangle'd, double bolted seat collar.

Of course, with VO bits including 650b Zeppelin Fenders, Retro Bottle Cages, and Randonneur Handlebars.

Reed was also here with his pink Fitz Rando.

Reed is very tall. I think he may need to raise the seat up a bit on Adrian's small Neutrino.

The owner of this Peugeot bought it new. He's only changed out components as they've worn or needed replacing. It's a wonderful machine that really has aged gracefully.

Check out the little clip for the excess cable.

It's always a sight to see a Brian Baylis. Absolutely stunning work.

We met Jeremy and Therese! I even had a little guest spot on their great Eroica video.

Check out Wilson's Rene Herse outfitted with our Metallic Braid Housing, Course Handlebars, and Retro Bottle Cages.

Rollout for the classic ride!

So I had actually brought another set of Randonneur Drop Handlebars for the actual ride rather than these Curvy Ones. But after riding a whole bunch with Theodore and finding them exceptionally comfortable on my Campeur, I kept them on for the ride!

The owner of this Legnano (sorry I forgot your name!) made this amazing jersey and used an old embroidery machine to do the logo and detail work. It was a real thing of beauty.

Hey Jesse! We were following Jesse's journey re-building a tired, late-model Bianchi into an awesome retro-modern build using a whole bunch of VO products.

This older tourer was a treat to see. Lots of great integration with the lighting, fenders, and racks as well as lots of little details that would be missed unless you got close-up.

All you can do is smile after nearly eating it attempting an endo.

Brad from Road Runner Bags deserves a big thank you! He is a terrific VO ambassador and we're happy to have such a great relationship with the whole RRB crew.

We had a fantastic California trip this year and we were very happy with the turnout to Eroica. Though, I will say, something was amiss at this year's event. Maybe it was a change of venue, maybe someone dropped the ball, or something else, but I hope the Eroica organizers can learn from the shortcomings of this year's event: more diverse food selection, improved and safer 35mi route, and far less awkward dinner the night before. While the Eroica event was a bit of a letdown compared to years past, we still had an absolutely wonderful time in California.

We made sure to take some additional time to hike, beach, and ride some more.

This July, we're going to France's Anjou Velo Vintage. We're super excited for the event and can't wait to stretch our legs through the gorgeous canal paths, country roads, and towns rural France has to offer.

See ya later, California!


wilsonhubbell said...

Great pictures, and thanks for posting them! We hope to see you again for Eroica 2020.
Wilson (grey Rene Herse w/VO bars, cable housing, bottle cages - and fenders)

Joe T said...

Great write up as always! Thanks for sharing!

bill said...

I saw the "Henry Wildberry" cameo. I love the VO jersey, any chance those would ever be available to your customers?

VeloOrange said...

Hey Bill,

We'd like to but the supplier doesn't have much stock and is out in a key size. We're looking for another option, but we are working to get them in.


Aaron said...

How does Adrian feel about the single chainring on the Neutrino? Are there chainline issues on the extreme ends? How about preferred gear range with that setup? I'm rebuilding my Bike Friday and might be going with something like the pictured build of the Neutrino, probably swapping chainrings according to a tour's terrain and surfaces.

What are your thoughts on adding shifter bosses to the Neutrino? I love having them on the headtube where they're an easy reach without the butt load of housing run and cable clutter. The Mercier Nano design is a good example. I would welcome an equivalent clamp setup. The best I can do right now is a possible kludge with disparate parts, and I don't drop cash on kludge anymore.

Anonymous said...

And the Graftek hiding behind the Teledyne!

Rod A Bruckdorfer said...

Thank you for sharing your trip to Eroica. Wow, what at trip. Thanks, Rod

bob said...

Hi Igor,Appreciate you making time to share,show,explain places you 3 visited,experienced on your calif journey! Theo sure had a great time,too!..Good for you 3!.......bob/Port Townsend Cyclery

Dana C Constance said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences at Eroica - I agree it was a great time but also agree with the challenges the event can learn from. I ended up doing the short route, which was too short and flat in my opinion. It would be nice to see them offer something closer to a 50-mile ride with some elevation and gravel. I have done the bigger rides in past years and the difference between the short and long is massive!

That said, I hope to do it again next year and be able to possible run into you...



Steve said...

Beautiful journey, beautiful family.