Cyclists living on the Eastside of Los Angeles have no shortage of amazing places to ride. An extensive network of pavement, fire road and single track weaves high into the Angeles National Forest, providing seemingly endless ways to get lost and suffer all within pedaling distance of riders’ doorsteps. Unfortunately, due to the numerous fires raging up and down the state of California, and the local Bobcat Fire, access to this impressive terrain has been temporarily suspended for all recreation.
Words & Images by Jordan Clark Haggard
Fortunately there are some unique alternatives for cyclists living in the City of Angels. Los Angeles has an extensive patchwork of trails and dirt paths scattered throughout its neighborhoods. Some of these are quick shortcuts between houses. Others are locals’ rogue paths that bypass busy streets; sections of dirt that parallel winding roads; or intentionally made mixed-use paths through city parks. Linking these segments together riders can create endless routes ideally suited for modern gravel bikes.
Los Angeles embraced automobiles from their inception. Consequently, much of the infrastructure around cars made the city less than ideal for cyclists and pedestrians. But despite the car centric urban planning, cyclists have found their own way to enjoy the city. Equipped with high quality wheels and efficient rubber, a rider is able to glide quickly over the city’s pavement and scramble up asphalt inclines between these dirt detours. A gravel bike’s stability and expanded gearing is essential on the steep, loose gravel climbs that take riders into the hilly neighborhoods that surround Los Angeles. Views of iconic landmarks flicker in the open spaces between trees and houses; upon reaching the apex of virtually every climb, vast landscapes and ocean views await. These sections of dirt provide a reprieve from traffic and congestion of the city.
Spinergy’s GXX carbon wheels are a great weapon for tackling any urban adventure. The wheels weigh in at 1,590 grams, making them competitively light and quite snappy. This weight does not come at the sacrifice of durability, though, thanks in part to PBO fiber spokes which are three times stronger than steel spokes at half the weight. The patented PBO spokes increase acceleration and performance, while providing a smoother, more compliant ride over rough surfaces that reduces rider fatigue. With a 24mm internal rim width optimized to accommodate tires in excess of 40mm, these tubeless-ready wheels are ideally suited for the city dweller looking to ride a mixture of surfaces. The GXX rims have another little secret. A foam core does more than just increase stiffness; it also prevents water from entering the rim, keeping debris and general nastiness out of the wheels as they fly across the city in search of more gravel goodness.