All Tires Welcome

For the February 2011 edition of the Southern California Rivendell Bicycle Appreciation Society took us out of Mt. Helix and into the varied terrain of San Diego’s East County. From neighborhood roads to singletrack, then country road to some strada bianca on Sloane Canyon Rd., a big downhill, up and over the Crest ecological preserve before making our way back to Dustin’s house, or route-planner and host. Lee made a map:

In terms of mixed terrain, this is about as mixed as you could get. The singletrack was not technical, but still quite exhilarating. Sloane Canyon Rd. was revelatory – I just didnt’ know there was a long stretch of mellow strada bianca so close to the older suburbs of La Mesa and Rancho San Diego. That will surely be a regular ride for me.

Willow Glen out to the backcountry

Then after a river crossing, it was mostly hike-a-bike for those of us without knobbies, as the “kitty litter over hard pack” made it all but impossible for most of us (save Dustin) to make it up to the Dehesa Rd.

Lee navigating upper Sloane Canyon. Photo by Senor Mikey

Up to the kitty litter on Sloane Canyon

After a long downhill, we stopped at a redneck convenience store/foreign car junkyard for provisions. Then onward into Crest and up over the top of the ecological preserve. Like on Sloane Canyon, the road climbing seemed gradual to me, but the big climbs were focused in the doubletrack. The trail was fairly mellow, but there were some hike-a-bike sections like in the rock gardens. Welcome to San Diego County!

Jim smartly walks the Hillborne through the rock garden in Crest Preserve

Lee and I both cramped a little as we made it back to Willow Glen. Dustin thankfully had some endurolyte pills and I swore never to forget those again. After Lee, Jim, and I repacked our bags, we started and Dustin, Aaron, Mike & Pete must have been haulin’ because they were out of sight. I got us lost on a wrong turn, but we made it back, hungry and ready to stop.


I can’t imagine a better group of people to ride with, as always with this group. Temps were in the upper 70s as our Feb. high pressure system waned. Nepalese food and a fine collection of Southern California micro-brews awaited us back at Dustin’s house. Equipment varied from road doubles with 30mm tires to Dustin’s Blacksheep with Nanoraptors. The Protovelo in “Klunker” mode was a blast. I certainly lost some efficiency with the Albatross bars and experienced some light steering on singletrack, but my experiment lowering them paid off. I think they’d be great on a tour. Overall, a highly memorable day.

Klunker before the ride.

Versatility: Aaron's Romulus with a double & Jim's Hillborne with the 36t "pancake" cassette - perhaps my favorite bike of the day.



  1. Paleo Velo

    Nice write up! I have a less detailed ride report-mostly a pictorial–coming up on my blog in a couple of days.

    I think your Klunker was the coolest bike out there!

    • Esteban

      I was pleased with the set-up — not a dog at all. What a difference a few cm makes in h’bar height and a normal saddle. I wrote it first thing this morning so I wouldn’t be tempted to do it during the day.

  2. Paleo Velo

    I think Albatross bars are especially sensitive to getting the height right. Since they reach back behind the stem and most people set them up high for comfort, it’s easy to make the steering too light and create a position that sucks for any kind of climbing. At least that’s been my experience on my wife’s bike.

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