The weeks leading up to the Super Bowl weekend were downright chaotic in the Bay Area and while there was some humor directed at the issues, there also was an uneasy feeling of corporate greediness, inequality and injustice and just bizarro choices in general that permeated daily life.

With all of that said, I’m glad I was able to coordinate with my friends in January and plan an escape from San Francisco for the Super Bowl weekend. Most people joined for a quick S240 to the Madrone Campground at Samuel P. Taylor State Park, and a select few braved an extra night at the campground while fending off raccoons and ravens. There was even time for a quick jaunt to Point Reyes Station for some excellent pastries, a side trip to Black Mountain Cycles (where Jacquie Phelan and Charlie Cunningham were just chillin’ on the couch) and an afternoon hike to Mount Barnabe. All in all, a good weekend and hopefully just one of many camping trips planned for 2016.

Here’s a collection of some of the great moments as documented by the Instagrams and flickr’s of the internets (click the photos for the sources, I ain’t taking credit for your photo mastery!):

super bowl weekend bike camping 2016

Boyz on The Hoods #escapefromsportsball

Escape from Stuporbowl Camping trip to Samuel P Taylor

Summer Skool Sessions #3 – North Bay Route

It appears school is back in session and it’s debatable whether or not it’s still summer, but come join us anyway for our final curated ride of the year! Ride #3 will take place on Saturday September 26th and we’ll be embarking on a ‘best of’ dirt tour of Marin county.

Meet up is at 8:00am at Dynamo Donuts in the Marina (GPS: 37.805847, -122.447447). Roll out at 8:30am.

2015-09-10 (1)

We’ll be riding 30+ miles of dirt fire roads & trails on this 70 mile ride. For the North Bay savvy, we’ll be riding Old Railroad Grade -> 7 Sisters -> Bolinas Ridge Trail -> Cross Marin Trail -> Old Railroad Grade (White’s Hill) -> Larkspur/Tiburon Ferry back.

Expect large roots & ruts on Bolinas Ridge Trail. You can certainly run what you brung, but try to bring 45+ tires or 30+ tires with your rad bike skillz.

Remember to bring your lunch money, because we’ll be stopping at Arti’s Indian Cafe for lunch in Lagunitas (sandwiches from nearby deli are also good).


The leg between the two water spots: West Point Inn & Samuel P. Taylor can be long & thirsty. Bring 2-3 large water bottles. We will try to make the 4:45pm Ferry at Larkspur but will go to Tiburon if that doesn’t work out.

Hope to see you there!

Summer Skool Sessions #2 – Peninsula MTBrevet Ride Report

With summer in full swing, it feels like “The Days Are Just Packed”. Trying to make the most of these long days, this past weekend’s Summer Skool Session #2 ride (a.k.a. MTBrevet) tried to emulate these feelings of carefree exploration and wonderment of the great outdoors.

It was great to see a grip load of people meet up for the ride at the 4th and King station at Caltrain in San Francisco, as we nearly took over the train car. It was even cooler to see a few more people hop on Caltrain along the way at different stations and another group meet us at the proper ride start in Mountain View. All in all, we had a head count of 24 during the ride. There was such a quirky mix of rando bikes, cross bikes, mountain bikes, and other bikes that defied conventional categorization. Surely with that many people and bikes, there would be some pressure for the route to be amazing, right?

Safe to say, after rounding each corner or climbing up the next set of hills, riders were greeted with scenery that seemed to transcend the views that they had just seen. About midway through the ride, there was a magical Hot Dog stand oasis that provided much needed sustenance and hydration for the group. Shortly after departing from this oasis, there was a stark change in the scenery on the route and it pushed us into full “mind blown” territory.

After forty some miles and somewhere between 5000-6000 ft of climbing, with nearly half of it on single track, the group stopped at the Alpine Inn for a few post ride burgers and brews. Here are some highlights from the ride:


(Source: Jake Mann)

A photo posted by Brian (@brianoei) on

A photo posted by Gabe (@olgrumpy) on

A video posted by Brian (@brianoei) on

You can check out Jenny Oh’s ride report and photos here, peep Manny’s photos here, and view some other photos from the ride here. Stay tuned for the details for the final Summer Skool Sessions ride of the year!

Summer Skool Sessions #2 – Peninsula MTBrevet

(Photo Source: Manny Acosta)

Ride #2 of our Summer Skool Sessions will take place on Saturday, June 27th.

Things will work a little bit differently for this route, as we will meet up at:

4th and King Caltrain Station at 8:00am
– Board the Southbound Train #422 at 8:15am
– Arrive at Mountain View Station at 9:31am

As usual, run what you brung, but unless you have sick skillz, you may want to bring at least a 700×40 width tire with some tread or be prepared to walk or cool it now on some of the sections.

Summer Skool Sessions #1 – OG Fauxvet Route

So the Boyz have been getting a failing grade in the blogosphere this past calendar year, so we’ve been forced to enroll in Summer Skool Sessions.

This past Saturday was the first ride in our series, a tried and tested route through some beautiful coastal scenery and redwood forests. Here are some highlights from the grams of instant:

A video posted by Brian (@brianoei) on

A photo posted by Ian (@iankizublair) on

A photo posted by Brian (@brianoei) on

Stay tuned and keep your eyeholes open for more details about ride numero #2 and #3 of the series.

SEA to PDX “Backdoor” Tour Diary – Day 5

After a bit of preemptive celebratory evening at Thunder Island Brewery, we moseyed back to our campsite and retired to our encampment of tightly concentrated tents, or “tentrification” as I so proudly coined it. Unfortunately throughout the night, there was a seemingly endless amount of freight trains passing by along the Columbia River, blowing their horns to announce their presence.

Despite the groggy night’s rest, we awoke to a stunning view of the Columbia River and headed for the local diner, where we wolfed down some more traditional breakfast fare. As we were getting ready to leave the establishment, Brian was standing outside with his shirt off and was lathering on sunscreen while others of us were in various states of undress, and a customer walked out and gasped. I thought the sight of a group of such handsome and strong gentlemen startled him but in actuality he simply said to his family, “Look there’s a whole bunch of naked people out here!”

Leaving the city of Cascade Locks, we made it onto the Columbia River Gorge Bike Route, which was a pleasant bit of separated bikeway infrastructure. It was a nice feeling after previously being exposed to insults on the roadways near the Washington/Oregon border. This well maintained multi-use path that was gradual in grade and had plenty of foliage to provide us cover. There was one section that had to be traversed by a set of 50 or so steps of stairs and we struggled to lift our loaded bikes (maybe not as strong as I thought) onto the wheel tracks on the side of the stairs and push them up the obstacle.

Nathan had conversed with some locals at Thunder Road Brewing who had given us suggestions to make some detours to check out some waterfalls in the area. They had told us that Wahclella Falls was a nice short detour that wouldn’t set us off course for the rest of the day. We spent about an hour marveling at the falls, especially since the drought conditions have hit most of California really hard. It was nice visiting these specific falls because later down the road we saw various other waterfalls, or should I say parking lots full of people trying to go see waterfalls.

The last big climb of the day was up to Vista House, a weird looking observatory that looks out upon the Columbia River Valley. After we all had visited the small gift shop, I had noticed that the majority of the group had opted for an ice cream sandwich and a Coca Cola. As we sat in the shade and ate our nearly identical treats, I realized it had been a long 5 days on the road (7 counting the travel day) and it started to show, if not in our beards, then in our attitudes. Everyone was still jovial but it was as if most of the spectacular riding had been completed and we were just anticipating to get to our finish point. The last 20 miles or so were a complete blur. There were an endless number of suburban cities along the way to Portland and the scenery transitioned from suburban wasteland to slightly more interesting neighborhoods. Topher mentioned at a certain point he was really disoriented when he began to see sidewalks and traffic lights again.

By the time we reached our final destination in Portland, we were all completely zoned out. We snapped a picture at the awesome 8-bit mural outside Velo Cult and knocked back a few beers to return to normality. The mechanics in the shop gave us compliments about our bikes and snapped some photos of our ragtag group. Sky, the owner of Velo Cult, welcomed us into his establishment and gave us a tour of the spiffy surroundings and the downstairs areas.

The group said their final goodbyes to Bill, who had a train to catch back to Seattle, while the rest of us dispersed to visit our different groups of Portland friends. The next 3 days were spent gorging ourselves with food, visiting bikes shops and aimless wandering. We had made plans to meet up with Joshua Bryant and Russ and Laura from The Path Less Pedaled and we all had a great time exchanging our various touring and biking stories. Joshua was even nice enough to take us on a morning ramble up to Mt. Tabor the next morning before he had work!

It’s been nearly a month since we got back from the trip and I only have some rough conclusions about how I feel about the tour. Mainly it’s that we were inspired by a bunch of cool e-famous bike people who turned out to be *gasp* real nice in person as well. While we didn’t get to meet up with Mr. Heine, he served as the main catalyst for this trip, as it was after reading too many issues of Bicycle Quarterly, that members of our group were curious to see how the gravel and dirt roads of Washington compared with California’s offerings. In e-mail exchanges, Jan was very helpful by providing a GPS route that formed the basis of the trip. The Path Less Pedaled were instrumental in guiding many of our early interests in touring and providing us information and motivation to get out and explore the world by bike, and Russ and Laura were extremely down to earth and great people to be around. When talking with them in person, you see how much knowledge they have accumulated over the years and that they genuinely enjoy helping others get into bike touring. Likewise, Martina and Jason from Swift Industries and Joshua Bryant of Cycles J Bryant are also very rad peepz and when they aren’t making awesome products or going on cool rides like the Oregon Outback, they don’t find it beneath themselves to slum it and ride with Boyz on the Hoods.

Seriously, the main takeaway is that it was empowering to plan, embark and finish a tour of this nature. I feel like a dork for writing all these wordy ride reports but hey, if it gets someone stoked to go out on a bike ride, S240 or a cross continental tour, or whatever, then mission accomplished! Anyways I’ve written way too many words about this trip now and without any further delay, enjoy the world premiere of our super pro video edit from the tour:

#bdbsummercamp – Coyote Hills Regional Park

Summer is coming to a close but there was still time for a jaunt over to the Coyote Hills Regional Park for a quick overnight camping trip. I don’t explore the East Bay as much as I should so shout out (and thanks!) to Box Dog Bikes for organizin’ and coordinatin’ this trip! Check out more of the photos here, cuz you know pictures proved it happened.

SEA to PDX “Backdoor” Tour Diary – Day 4

We were just about halfway done with our tour and we already had one slightly amusing anecdote about how our group was described along with a less fortunate experience that almost marred our trip. Despite the highs and woes, the waters of Lake Takhlakh had purified and rejuvenated us, so we felt ready to complete the remainder of the tour.

We stopped by Takhlakh Lake one last time before departing and it was a pleasant start to the morning. We spent the early morning on FR-23, which was an amazing forest road where Brian had an educational moment amidst all the rad riding:

As we rode out of Lake Takhlakh, I was happy to get onto the ‘famous’ Baby Shoe pass, popularized by that one 650b tire. As my Grand Bois Hetres (Full Disclosure: Boyz on the Hoods does not receive any commission for shilling for companies) rumbled through the washboards, I looked around for a nearby person to complain to. Fortunately the wise Dave was nearby and I muttered “damn washboards, why do they even exist?”

Much to surprise, Dave new exactly why they exist and proceeded to educate me on the physics on how they are created. While the reason behind washboard creations isn’t particularly interesting, it did make me remember some things I enjoy about bike touring and long bike rides: riding in the middle of nowhere, hanging out with friends, and talking about nothing.

So the next time your boss walks behind you and spies you reading a Boyz on the Hoods ride report, you can talk about the educational merits of this blog and how it makes you a more complete and well-rounded employee!

After getting a full forearm workout from the washboardy roads, we were back on solid pavement and cruising along. The group stuck together (i.e. Topher decided to ride with us “slowpokes” because he was out of tubes) and we looked back to get one last gorgeous view of Mount Adams. The group had agreed that seeing Mount Rainier on our second day was impressive in its own right but it was the slightly smaller Mount Adams that seemed to make a more lasting impression. The remote roads and the unobstructed views of nature seemed to make this portion of the ride a much more enjoyable segment.

We stopped by a nice little cafe in Trout Lake, WA and it was a nice little oasis. The backyard of the cafe was spacious and had a tetherball court, a badminton net, some game boards and multiple patio chairs. The group spread out and basked in the sun before enjoying our meal.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty uneventful, and it wasn’t until we were nearing the Washington/Oregon border that things began to ramp up in excitement. I’ll let Nick take the role of storyteller for this next portion:

It all started with a small green “CARSON” town line sign in the distance. Downhill and into a strong headwind, the group pushed hard in a single-file formation similar to those fast lead-out trains seen at the end of a pro tour stage. Topher was on the front, just as in the several days prior, setting a rapid pace and gunning for another of his many “wins” for town/city/county line sprints.

“He’s been winning these all along…” I thought to myself while sitting fifth wheel “..and he’s not getting this one!”

So off I went, poked my nose into the wind and laid the hammer down, rocketing off the front and catching the peloton by surprise. Three hundred yards, two hundred yards, the pavement on Wind River Highway was moving rapidly under my tires, and I briefly peeked down to see 32.2mph on my Garmin. I realize my 70lb, fully-bagged, dirt tire touring bike just doesn’t move like a skinny tire bike does.

Soon the length of a football field is all that exists between me and success but Topher is gaining fast and Brian is joining in on the party as well. I give it one more big push, endure a little more pain, ignore the wind, then all of a sudden I hear a “zoooom” and the Topher-Train steams right on by me at full tilt. I sit up, conceding defeat, thinking about how much better an upcoming snack could have tasted with a win.

We regroup and pull into the Wind River Market across from a wood mill operation. The location is clean and well merchandised, with the girl behind the counter engaging many of us in conversation. As with other previous stops, nine guys with bikes and gear tend to consume the curbside, and we were on full display, some removing clothing that earned stern stares and comments from the locals. I’m not sure we all felt it at the time, but the vibe at the stop made us feel unwelcome.

Maybe it was the lack of blood from the sprint, or the headwind, or the toll of long days in the saddle. Maybe the glare from the gruff mill workers in the patchwork pickup truck or the group of young guys packed into the sedan. It wasn’t the warm welcome we were used to but it was a good preamble to the seven remaining miles that existed between Carson and our campsite.

After consuming various sugar-filled treats, we headed back out into the stiff headwind on the aptly named Wind River Highway en route to downtown Carson. The bad vibes continued as we soon encountered several motorists who yelled out their interpretation of our sexual orientation and several large trucks that squeezed us onto the curbs and into open parking spots through town. What happened to our open roads and kind greetings? We keep the pedals turning, single-file simply for our safety, and not nearly as playful as before. Soon we find ourselves spread out, riding in several small groups, and merging into the Lewis and Clark Highway. Motorists increase their speed, the shoulder gets narrower, and our anxiety increases which quickly snuffs out any conversation between us. We all sense the danger and work to get through it as quickly as possible.

Soon we drop into the Hood River area of the highway where we’re treated to beautiful mountains with water surrounding us on all sides. An old rusted train bridge sits in stark contrast to the green and blue, just as we bike in contrast to the two-lane highway. The imminent danger of speeding cars and trucks void any enjoyment and the headwinds start to hit gale force levels. Nathan, one of the most positive and genuinely unselfish people I’ve ever met, pops around our group and gets on the front. It’s obvious that his time in the Bay Area wind has paid off as he taps out a solid tempo. He rides with confidence and as if the wind is non-existent which brings a new calm to the group. The last few miles of highway go by quickly and we soon find ourselves regrouping at the entrance to the Bridge of the Gods. Only 1,854ft of steel truss cantilever bridge exist between our current location and the taste of beer on our lips.

The Bridge of the Gods connects Washington and Oregon and our trip across it reminded of the scene from Stand By Me. Sure there wasn’t a train or anything behind us but it was simply terrifying to look down while riding over the bridge and see the Columbia River peeking back at you. As I looked around at my peers nervously travering the bridge, I couldn’t help but notice Carlin had a big fat stupid grin on his face as he was waving his camera around to capture the photo above.

After crossing the bridge and only wetting ourselves a little bit in the process, we came to the toll booth on the other end and realized we owed a $0.50 toll fee per cyclist (or pedestrian). We begrudgingly paid and rode another half mile in Oregon before being immediately greeted by bike lanes welcoming us into the city and directing us to our location. It was a nice contrast from the stares and heckling we had just experienced on the Washington border by Carson.

After arriving in Cascade Locks, we quickly set up at a campground which only had slightly better ambiance than the RV park that we stayed at in Packwood. Why were we all stupidly excited to be in Cascade Locks? Well, months prior to my route planning, I had come across this video by The Path Less Pedaled:

The owners at Thunder Island Brewing greeted us as we rolled in and were really stoked for us to make the trip out to check them out. They had ample outdoor seating had a gorgeous view of the Columbia River and the Bridge of the Gods that we had just escaped. It was an amazing way to end the day and it’s an experience that I would highly recommend.